Writing the Body

I wrote my body, not my shadow, by writing to a friend with affection and openness. I wrote my body by eating toast naked in front of a mirror and watching myself chew and chew and knowing that I was nourishing my body and giving my body energy.

I wrote my body by facing it head on because our bodies are a kind of writing and living is a kind of writing and facing my body means acknowledging the agency in not being quiet about it. There are things I feel I can’t do with my body and then I do them anyway. That’s called, writing.

I wrote my body after putting only my shirt back on and sitting cross-legged on an afghan with the mirror to my left now, quick glances at my body to acknowledge my body. Writing is more than words on a page.

How is my body like writing? I asked myself earlier this week. What do I do in writing that I also wish I could do with my body? I wanted to know this, too.

Then I decided that accepting my body is a radical act, a feminist act, and that writing my thoughts down is also a feminist act, a radical act, and so to be more radical and more situated in my feminist stance I could keep writing about accepting my body, keep looking at my body more responsibly in the mirror.

It’s hard not to like and dislike one’s body within the systems already designed for us, the equations of value and appearances that we’re born into and in some ways can’t ever escape, not entirely, even as we rebuild our relationships to ourselves. You can’t unknow them or forget them. You can set them aside and learn other things and build other things and form other habits and remember old ones cautiously, informed by them in some way, the way that dismissal or refusal or running away is always informed by the dismissed, the refused, the away.

My body is a body that will eventually go away.

Good spaces are so fragile and fleeting. How can looking in the mirror, writing the body, writing about my body make me feel less fragile, more centered in a good space, self-commanded, asserted?

Is the goal to command one’s body?

I think it is okay to order goodness.

All the times in which I’ve let my hands hit the keyboard and my body synchronized a tiny bit further.

Sometimes I shower and sometimes I don’t—don’t wash my hair, don’t cut my nails, don’t wonder what I look like from every conceivable angle.

In most sentences you can replace “angle” with “anger” and the meaning holds.

Hold the anger, hold the quiet, hold the music, hold the words on the page until they stand on their own, in the meantime cradling their tender little necks.

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