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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