Thursday, July 07, 2005

Butter and Cigarettes and Rambling and Self Disclosure

In my next life, when I get to design my own world, butter and cigarettes are going to be wonderfully nutritious and good for you--kind of like soy. (Am I the only one who HATES soy? I hate soy milk. I hate tofu. I hate those little soy nuts. I'm tired of people trying to get me to eat soy!) Doctors and nutrition gurus will say things like, "Just try and work butter into your diet where you can. Have some on your toast in the morning; add a little to your vegetables; put some on your popcorn." It will be the same with cigarettes. Instead of advice to use the stairs and park far away from the grocery store, it will be, "Try to have a cigarette on your lunch break or squeeze one in before bed time."

My body and I are in this constant struggle. About 5 years ago, I started taking yoga and actually realized that I HAD a body. Before this, I just went around in it, but never paid much attention to it (other than basically not liking it). Because of several experiences as a teenager with horny boys (and some men), combined with church related guilt about sexuality, I spent a lot of time thinking that my body was inherently a bad thing. I honestly don't know if I'll ever feel comfortable with the body I have.

Of course, my yoga practice totally went in the shitter when I had Sophie, and for the past 3 years I've been either ignoring or actively being destructive toward my body. My weight has gone up and down, thanks to diet pills and eating disorders. I've started smoking again and use butter fairly indiscriminately. I haven't spent hardly any time outside just enjoying the mountains and desert and feeling the sun and wind and sand and registering that my body and I are a part of nature.

So this morning I finally went to the chiropractor because I literally couldn't relax my shoulders. They were somewhere up around my ears, and wouldn't come down. My chiropractor isn't a crackity crack guy. He does trigger and pressure points. Anyhoo, he put his thumb on this place on my neck, and I start bawling like I'd just watched the end of "Finding Neverland." Not from physical pain--though it did hurt--but from some bizarre internal emotional or spiritual pain that had been sitting in that spot for awhile. Apparently, this spot triggered some of that body hate fucked-up feeling stuff, because today I'm feeling very reflective, and, well, fucked-up about it.

After the chiropractor, instead of going home and cleaning my house (it's Sophie's pre-school day) I drove up the mountain, found a rock to sit on by the creek, and, well, sat. This is something I haven't done in YEARS. I used to do it almost religiously in the summer time. I sat and sat and felt the sun and put my feet in the freezing water and bawled again for a bit and came to a couple of mild realizations.

One--that mothers are women and people too, and when we forget that-- forget that our internal struggles with ourselves and our spiritual nature and all the shitty luggage that we carry around with ourselves still need to be addressed and given validation and contemplation, things can go awry. (I love the word awry. I also love the word nebulous, but couldn't find anywhere to work it in today.)

Two--that I live in a beautiful, beautiful place, and I need to start sharing it more with Sophie. When I was in college, I was outside so much that I always knew which phase the moon was in. I spent more time outside and in the mountains than anywhere else. Of course, much of that was because the mountain was a great place to go for any, um, socially unacceptable activity that you cared to participate in. Now that I'm big--and limit my socially unacceptable behaviors to a couple of Jack and Cokes every once in a while, and have a house with air conditioning, and a daughter, and, and, and, and, and, the mountains and desert have become strangers to me.

Although he's not one of my Favorite poets, I love this Robert Frost poem, "Acquainted with the night."

Acquainted With the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain--and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

It's one of the only poems I make my students memorize. I feel like I've lost my acquaintanceship (a word?)-- my friendship with the natural world, and with my body, and that it's time I call both of them up for a lunch date.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Totally loosing track of yourself


Angie said...

Wow, that's awesome that you can be so vulnerable and that you are willing to be...bravo to you!!
I completely get the body hatred thing, been there for many many years, done it all too (pills, disorders, fad dieting, exercisolic sp?) I think in general we women just hate ourselves and are appearances because the standard of beauty changes like the wind in this society.
It's good to be self-aware of that and ourselves in relation to that and our own feelings/struggles.... thanks for sharing!!

TD said...

Beautiful post. I'm not a mother, but I definitely relate to the feeling of being out of synch with your body, your self, and the world around you. It's one of the reasons I started running. Another reason was the sense of self-loathing I felt every time I looked in the mirror, but I digress.

You have an amazing ability to combine humor and honesty in your writing. This post made me laugh (particularly the butter part), but it made me a little weepy, too. Most of all, it made me want to book a flight to Utah, swing by your house to pick you up, and go for a long walk in the mountains.

Missuz J said...


Your comment made ME a little weepy. Thanks.

NME said...

That was really moving. I can totally relate. I too have a bad relationship with my body and fell in love with yoga and haven't been for about a year. Miss it alot. Thank you for this post. It meant something to me.

patrice said...

I wish for you this:
a body you know and love,
and butter Pall Malls.

my haiku to you.

Jen said...

Great post- I hope you do start to share the great outdoors with Sophie. I am sure she would love it.

Rebecca said...

Take some time for yourself once in a while. You have needs as an individual. But share your love of the outdoors with Sophie! It'll do you both wonders!

A Man without a Band said...

Okay, sweetie, you know I love you. And it would appear quite a few others do as well. None of that matters, tho, lessen' you love yourself.

So now I'll be funny. I was hoping you would say the worst thing today was simply, "anything that doesn't kill you." Sometimes we wish it did, right?

I could make a couple other lighter comments (a couple Jack and Cokes?), but on a serious note, it makes me sad for the world how many beautiful women never realize or believe it.