The prompt from the gorgeous http://anastasiaamour.com/projectpositive/ today is the body. Where do I start?! I was drugged as a child, and walked around in a soporific film of chemicals. Joy and anger were equally blunted. I almost died at thirteen from my seizures. This body is so marvellous that when I woke from my coma, the most pressing urge it had was a chocolate bar, which I demanded with the etiquette of a monkey! My body conspires with my brain to bring levity and irreverence to any situation. I had to dry out from all the barbituate’s I had been put on at the grand old age of thirteen, and did so in ICU over a long period. That tested my mettle, I can tell you! I saw people whom I thought were improving, die, and people who were dying, improve. I saw men of nondescript age go through “the horrors” from alcoholism. Since my spine was broken into pieces, it has become my ultimate BS detector. It screams at me to leave a stressful place, a toxic person or event. “You have no business being here!” When I disobey, I pay. I recall one time when I was living in the city. We had an outside toilet, which I ventured to, and my legs gave way. I was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital. A marvellous voice rang out from the bed beside me in Casualty. This lady and I struck up a conversation. Her legs had collapsed on her that morning too. She had been having treatment for cancer, and was in remission. Victoria was her name. She was an artist, whose work had been exhibited in the Archibald’s. We talked all morning. My spinal pain felt better after pain relief and feeling returned in my left leg. Getting off the bed, I promised to see my surgeon, after I promised Victoria I’d come back and see her. Two days later, I did return, finding her in the oncology ward. Her cancer had returned. Sometimes, our bodies and the stories they tell aren’t only about us. Sometimes, the paths they lead us down can be part of something bigger. I am convinced that my legs fell from under me because I was meant to meet Victoria.
I now have pride in this vehicle. I have been strangled, and had much violence inflicted on this short body. There was a time that I disengaged from it. I starved it, drugged it, drowned it in alcohol. I didn’t want to feel it. Endometriosis made me rage at the agony, and I felt disconnected from the experience of being a woman. My goal when I started IVF was to have a baby. After three cancelled cycles in a row, it changed to just getting to egg pickup. I wanted to awake from the anaesthetic, and know they had retrieved one precious little egg. Living with endometriosis and constant spinal pain, knowing there are more operations and challenges down the line…I have made peace with that. Of course I grieve for what my body has been through, and what has been taken. I am also in awe of what remains, and what has been built upon. The scaffold of bones is like a house of cards, the cards precariously balancing on top of each other. Yet despite immense pain when I lift my arms, I can hold my child. I still breathe. I can eat and drink without tubes. They didn’t know if I would be able to. It’s time to listen to this body, to feel the butterflies in my stomach, the discomfort in my spine. To honour those messages. To stop escaping this body, and feed and water it regularly, and allow it rest. I am in competition with nobody. I know what has been accomplished in the last twenty years. I know how far this body has come. I am still alive. I am here. I will not take a villain’s place and attempt to destroy this body. I am not finishing what they set out to do. No way! This body will be nourished with good food and juices, be pampered and rested. It will experience the endorphin rush of exercising and the contentment of meditation. I will not be hopping on scales and weighing myself, nor judging myself in mirrors. It would be outrageous to do so, an insult after surviving such horrors. I love you, body. So much so that I will cave and give into your demand for Haigh’s violet flower chocolate. If I must… If I have to!