Embodied Tales

My body tells a story. Tales of failure and triumph. Of little moments, habits… of the cost of new life. It is, in the eloquent words of the inimitable Mrs Pullman, a map of where we have been.

There is a gaping hole on my right toe where an intact nail used to reside. A frustrated connection with a toy motorbike when life felt overwhelming last week left some casualties – part of the nail… and the whole of my pride. I glance down now and see brokenness, expectations that went unfulfilled, hopes that were unrealised when I reached to impossible heights to make Dave’s birthday dinner ‘perfect’. I’m not even really sure what that meant in my mind, other than that I wanted to be able to focus on cooking for more than two minutes at a time without being called over as a referee/doctor/mediator.

There is intricate pattern of bruises on my hip. The power of a careening whirlwind, impervious to obstacles, barriers, table corners. I wince as I ponder over where each one was imprinted, what I judged to be so important and urgent that I couldn’t slow my steps, halt my pace for just a moment.

I see the loosened skin on my abdomen – a papery reminder of being stretched, expanding, making way for the explosion of new life. I marvel at the miracle of mechanisms, the beings that exhibit such independence and will, that somehow came from, were once a part of… me.

The mark of generations lingers. Ivy wriggles her toes absently. It is the exact series of movements her father displays. Encoded into his genetics by repetitive power, it lives on in perplexing form. I ball my fists gently, rubbing my thumb over fingers continuously. I am reminded of Deda’s hands, always working away – clenching, unclenching.

Echoes resound. Showing up in our children. Habits we wish to forget, the inability to find satisfaction in small doses.

Our bodies aren’t perfect. Perfection misleads. It smooths over the depths, erases the stories, belies the struggles that make us who we are. If you are anything like me, the promise of perfection merely leads me to frustration, to failing to see the wealth that is desperate to bedazzle.

If I would only just look.

So let the mirror tell its story. Smile wryly at the wrinkles, listen to your tired muscles plead for you to slow down. This season can be manic and crazy, but we don’t have to be subsumed in the vortex of unreachable expectations.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Just be.

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Unfiltered

I hid from my weaknesses for a long time. Pouring myself into another mould – one that I could be proud of, control, contain. When the cracks began to fracture I looked away, then realised resistance would only lead to pain. My selfless helping, what I had hoped was an […]

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Burrowing

Dave banished me from the house today. ‘Take the day to just be’, he said, ‘and don’t even think about coming back before 4:30pm. I’ve got this!’ I was equal parts terrified and excited as I set out, after attending a meeting in the morning. It felt a little foreign […]

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Fire and Ice

I have this theory about self-awareness. It comes in waves. Circumstances suddenly arrange to reveal to us an angle to ourselves or a revelation that had henceforth been hidden. That feeling of intense discomfort and shame (the messy middle, to coin a Brene Brown term) can be so unnerving as […]

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Roots

It owns me Directing my thoughts and channelling my steps Feet glued to a track that glides unseen underneath … The shape of obligation of molding myself  holding myself up to a glinting standard of motherhood sisterhood wifedom.  … Its the voice that bites, condemns that offers snarky words of […]

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