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this body will never be safe from harm

March 31, 2012

scintilla prompt: talk about the ways in which your body is awesome (I dropped the ball on this, but I plan to make up all the prompts I didn’t previously do, including the options I did not choose originally. Look for a slew of entries soon!)

There’s a line in Jeff Buckley’s “Mojo Pin”, one of my favorite songs, in which he sings “this body will never be safe from harm”. I’ve used it in my writing often, always with the addendum “I won’t let it”. There was a time in my life when no one would leave me in an apartment by myself. There was a time when I wasn’t allowed to lock the door while showering. Though I rarely think about it these days, I’m so proud that time is over. I’ve learned to abide. I’ve learned it’s going to be okay. I’ve gained and lost weight, starved myself and indulged to often. Taken to yoga and the gym, and spent days at home, in bed, never wanting to leave. This body is my home. This body may one day be home to babies. This body will evolve, change shape, grow, shrink, wither, wrinkle, die. This body will roll over in bed after dancing all night long and be sore but smiling. This body carries me through this life. This body’s aches and pains destroy me. This body’s triumphs exalt me:

I’ve got these 42-inch hips, and though I’m not quite an hourglass I’m a pretty banging pear. The most beautiful eyes at least three different men have ever seen. A green grey blue shot through with flecks of brown and a second, star-shaped brown-gold iris right around the pupil. Almond shaped. Laugh lines on my face, showing I’ve had more than a few good times. Arms that have embraced two nephews and one niece with all the love in the world. Arms that have lifted a grown man out of bed and placed him in his wheelchair. Arms that support my body during downward dog and plank push up and, though they wobble, they never collapse. Wide feet shaped just like my father’s. A ‘funny’ thumb I inherited from my abuelo. Too short, too wide, doesn’t match the one on my right hand, but every time someone comments on it I think of one of the amazing people whose blood, and talent, now runs through my veins. A too-small mouth that’s always talking, loudly, about TRUTH – POWER – POETRY – INJUSTICE. Knock-knees that turn inward and give my stance some swagger. Eyes like a hawk, ears like a nosy neighbor.

This body fights off chronic bouts of bronchitis and spells of sciatica, a bones-deep depression that’s never easy to shake. This body wears 5-inch heels with pride, with sass, and then limps home at the end of the night. This body begs for caffeine every morning. This body is warm and inviting.

This body has more than 20 scars etched into it. A birthmark on my left breast and shoulder, beauty mark on my thigh and the bottom of my foot. Wavy brown hair that refuses to lie flat, toes that curl, under-arms that jiggle.

I’ve decided to keep this body safe from harm.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Karen Duffy permalink
    April 1, 2012 9:04 am

    A comment on the body from a nurses’ perspective: this body was bathed and lotioned and cuddled as an infant. Fine hair, gummy, toothless smile, diapered body. Span 80 years and the body again thin hair, now white, and agiain, the toothless gummy grin and now in adult incontinent pants. Body bathed and lotioned by caregivers. Full circle.

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