Welcome to pergola.
I mentioned in my intro that I feel like I've lost the plot on what we're all doing. And leaving the apocalyptic elements of this year aside, most of us have complained of feeling like we're living groundhog day. So sure, the plot has been erased, in many ways.
But I think what I really mean is that I've been left alone with my body. I've had this itching sensation of being stuck in my body - confined in it, tethered to it, just dealing with it, ceaselessly.
And it makes sense. There's been a fundamental shift in how we're able to use our bodies. They were once vehicles for us, transporting us into experiences that let us seep out of ourselves. That convinced us we had eight legs on the ground around us, so wide and certain were we. That turned our chests into a mesh for the breeze to blow through, rinsing our marrow as it went. That let us charge through the fronts of ourselves, or graze our own sides. That made us look at our hands and think, how far they are, from me. Our proprioception stretched to meet us where we had already gone, well beyond the lines of ourselves. We asked forgiveness, not permission, from our bodies.
And instead we've been relegated to just sitting, cautiously and determinedly, in our bodies. To feeding them, cleaning them, stretching them, exercising them, putting them to sleep, and, when we do get to take them places, sanitizing their public tips.
In a way, it feels as if staying home and sitting in our bodies has calcified the mind-body divide. I would not have predicted this. We learn so much about grounding into our bodies, coming back to our bodies, staying in our bodies during conflict or hardship. We are taught that, if we just remain steadfast with our bodies - stay listening to their heartbeats, their breaths, their pricks and pringles - then we’ll be okay.
I haven’t stayed with my body. At this point, my body is the just a parka that I’m holding in a busy store in January, and it certainly is warm isn’t it, because it’s making my forearm sweat - god even my sleeve is kinda damp - is there nowhere I can drop it off? Shouldn’t stores like this have some kind of repository for coats? A garderobe?
Oh no? This isn’t a museum in Europe? Oh sorry, I just got confused for a second by the plastic hangers and the $9.99 + up rack. Obviousssly this isn’t a museum in Europe, but are we also precluded from having some air in here? Is North America now too stingy for air??
I’m not being dramatic! I’m never dramatic. I’m just speaking out loud.
I’m also not hissing at you. You’re hissing.
Ok well sorry, I can’t really put it down just anywhere - someone might take it, and it wasn’t exactly cheap you know. Which is why it’s so warm.
Okay! Okay! You’re right. You’re right, I’ll need it the second I get outside, that’s true, so, no, I’ll just hold it. It’s fine. I’ll just switch arms. No, thanks, you can’t hold it for me.
No, remember? You physically can’t hold it for me. We talked about this?
I’ve got it, it’s fine. It’s fine.
Sometimes I catch sight of my body in a mirror as I’m passing by and think, Huh - you're still here? How have you been? But I don't wait for the answer. It’ll be here later.
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