The light comes in from the far corner of my room. That's how I know if I have slept past dawn, and it is a comfort to me. I have, in my adult life, been prone to waking up at different hours of the night, and this corner lets me know how well I have done.
When I see the light shining in the far corner, I have done well.
It isn't so bad sleeping in a storage space. It is large enough to fit my art supplies, clothes and bike gear, and leave a space for me to sleep, work, and write.
The bed I sleep on is bumpy. I turn over in it and feel as if I am about to be ousted by some mysterious and insistent force that is always pushing, pushing, pushing. My blankets are slippery and they slide off the bed throughout the night. I wake up in the dark sometimes, wondering why it is so cold. My floor just lays there, grinning.
I live in a space with tools and handling things. A stark contrast to the spaces of an ancient youth. One in particular, my Aunt's house held a White Living Room. It was full of things I couldn't touch, and walls that held art of every sort, each piece completely unrelated to the next. It was not a room to be lived in, but admired. I never understood that room.
My bones need to live in a space that feels occupied. There is no comfort found in spaces that appear unused, or meant for observation. My blood chills when my body is too careful of its path between objects that seem to hold some mysterious and overriding value. My mind and heart spin downward into the posture of defense, like I am against the objects that surround me, and my struggle for dominance rages within me as long as I am contained within these cold spaces.
These rooms live in many homes, and my experiences within them bring me back to The Architecture of Happiness: "One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings and streets we’re surrounded by."
My aunt's living room stands in my memory as a bright white reminder that this is the norm. Taking great pride in the stuff acquired is an early lesson, and it is hard to shake when it is combined with the exhaustingly ubiquitous and brutal dogma of comparison. I have many times found myself in the awkward situation of being explained to, or educated about this religion. I understand it, I just don't want to have to pray to that particular god.
It might be ego, but I want to feel like I am more important than the things that surround me. To feel my clothes supporting my lifestyle instead of working against it is a joy I create daily with as much enthusiasm as I can muster.
And my body. My body. My body I hold above all things; dresses, cars, shoes, homes, or any other item which a person might acquire. I take joy from being in my skin and living a life that encourages love of body. If I bought into the myth of ideal in this culture, I would have to believe on some level that I am inherently flawed.
I am not flawed, I am floating on the beauty of the human experience that does not require my body to be thin, or tall, or anything other than what it is. I am living in a body that has been handed down to me from generations of people who labored under unrealistic expectations and assumptions in order to not appear to be what they were. People who kept secrets in their cells, hid their love, passion, and unique wonder in their sinew, and in the end, died a stranger to their own bodies.
What a lonely life it would be, to live without a body.
I am endeavoring to end this for their sake, and for mine. I do not want to be another person watching her body die, even as her hate for it burns brightly. I cannot stand the thought of being against my very self when I breathe my last. I want to say good-bye to my body, in the end, with gratitude, love, and compassion. I want to say good-bye to my body knowing it is the one thing in this world that truly held me.
I cannot say all the things I want to say about the daily work I do to love and honor my body, but this comes close. What do you think? Does this ring a bell? How do you feel about dying in the body you occupy? Would you change your relationship?
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