Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Not friends

I have never been good friends with my body.  Not that I’ve ever felt like it’s an enemy, or have been (I think) a terrible enemy to it.  But I don’t understand it very well, I don’t tend to think about it unless I have to, and that’s usually when something goes wrong and I freak out about it.  My areas of expertise have never been in the physical realm — I’m a philosopher and a problem-solver, not an athlete or a beauty, or … anything else that leans hard on one’s body for success (maybe it’s significant that nothing else comes to mind quickly to list).  When I was growing up academics were my field for achievement and imagination was the realm in which I found comfort.  The physical world was just something to get through, and I didn’t do it very gracefully.

The beginnings of anxiety and serious depression nudged me toward paying more attention to my body, leading me eventually to taiji and qigong practice and back into walking for exercise.  I still never really made friends with my body, though.  The past month of anxiety trouble, plus some strange intestinal issues, have focused my attention on my body again, in a weary, annoyed kind of way.  Why are you causing trouble, body?  Can’t you just leave me alone?  Demanding thing.  Why do you hurt?  Why are you tired?  I fed you once already today, isn’t that good enough?  I’ve got things I need to do and you’re not helping, why are you just causing trouble?

Around the annoyance, though, and the fear that annoyance tries to cover up, I’m trying to listen to my body more kindly, trying to hear what it needs and where I’m going wrong.  Because we’re inseparable, my body and me, and if it seems to treat “me” poorly (the rational, decision-making me, and also the emotional, reactive me), then “I” certainly don’t treat it very well sometimes either.  We have to live with each other, my body and I, and it seems like it’d be nice to just be Me, all one person, body and mind and all, helping each other out, not warily wondering what’s going to happen next.  Maybe it’s possible.  I guess we’ll see.

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Losing my voice

The last three weeks have been a wreck.  I’ve had my worst run-in with anxiety in several years, followed by a spell of bad depression, lifting into anger and then the uncomfortable process of moving through the changes anger insists on.  I’ve completely lost all of my routines, have been neglecting the most basic things (like feeding-and-watering-myself basic), and have been feeling icky and limp because of it.  It’s just been strange up in here, y’all.

I haven’t had anything to say.  I haven’t been writing for myself, even, let alone for the world at large.  The whole idea just pushed me away.  I didn’t even want to put words together of feel that it was worth it.  I have felt bad about that.

There’s a thing I’ve learned from my taiji coaches, which I got reminded of a couple of times today.  That sometimes before a new piece of knowledge clicks into understanding, everything gets weird and shaky.  That sometimes part of the process the body undergoes as it assimilates new learning is this stupid awkward phase in which nothing seems to go right.  Everything old gets shaken up in order to make room for something new.

I’m thinking about that now.  I really hope it’s true.  I really hope this stupid awkward painful phase is part of a real process of change underway, and something will be better on the other side.  I really, really badly hope it’s true.

What it boils down to (thoughts from a notebook, 7/10/2012 edition)

…It goes at the deepest hardest thing, which is the lack of affection and physical contact and comfort that has been pervasive through my whole life.  I really just want to be held and feel loved.  So much of my life boils down to that.  This thing I want so badly that I can’t let myself want it at all, can not let myself want, for fear I will never have it at all and my whole life will just be empty, will never feel full, for lack of it.  I just want So. Badly. to be held.

I don’t let myself want anything strongly unless it is absolutely certain I can get it.  Because any unrequited want reminds me of the empty well at the bottom of my spirit.  The bone-dry well which always reminds me, You are not loved, and you are not worthy.

Other good things

I’ve been doing a fair amount of writing and posting in this-here blog lately, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve wanted to and I’m carrying through with that intention.  Very good, I approve of that.

What I have not been doing is tackling the editing of a series of essays I want to publish as a collection.  I feel stuck on a couple of major points, and I haven’t been facing up to them and setting to work.  I had hoped to be farther along by now, but my reluctance to engage my bravery and do the hard stuff means my progress has been poor.

Here is something true: one of the best ways in the world to avoid doing something good, but hard, is to fill up all your time with other good things.  You get to feel all virtuous about what you are doing while easing the bite of the important, good, hard thing that you never “seem to have time for.”

I’m taking a few minutes to feed the blog, and that’s good.  Now I’m all done here.  Bye internet, I have some good, important, hard things to wrestle with today.