Watching in awe as my hands move across the page as if riding a wave I cannot see. Small, supple, strong. Notice the cute white tips of my nails like little crescent moons. I look down at my flat belly, my perky breasts… I’m 45 this week and I love my body more now than I ever did when I was 18. I’m proud of the marathon it has run and the 10 mile a day relay while playing hacky sack with strangers on the highway. 3 pregnancies, 2 births, and the magic of a nursing child resting tenderly on my bare chest. I appreciate the way my eyes pop open at 5am with the overwhelming impulse to spring out of bed and greet the day. I relish the way it envelopes my loved ones, wrapping them tight with muscled arms and legs, mimicking mother earth’s own snug embrace. I enjoy the way my skin pushes against my clothes, no longer sucking in my breath to be something it is not, but fully expanding into who I am. I smile at the peek of my mid drift when I raise my arms stretching elastic to the sky. The playful flash of pink not so much sexy as sensual. Sexy is for someone else’s pleasure. This is me. All 120 pounds 5 foot 3 inches of me. Compact and tough. Tingling with life.
I can’t lose myself in someone else’s world anymore. I’m too invested in my own. Too curious and intrigued by what comes next. So even though I might melt like warm chocolate as you massage my shoulders from behind as I write. Close my eyes and drink you in as your lips lightly brush my cheek. I may even slip between the sheets and slide up close to the warmth radiating from you. Explore what it means to fully inhabit these bodies we’ve been given. Curling up tight or stretching out bare feeling the kiss of the fan on sweaty skin. I’ll still be up at the crack of dawn, lighting the candle.
Life is too precious to be squandered.
So I savor it in my mouth like tomatoes from the garden, the explosion of a peach picked from a tree. I yearn to peel away the protective casing, scratch beneath the surface. I want to feel the life of the tree when I touch it, solid and smooth, the tree who sacrificed itself so I could write upon its flesh at this long, sturdy table. I want to hear the voice of that tree who once stood majestic in the forest, songs whistling through its leaves, still vibrating in this wood. I want to know my own face before my parents were born. Recognize the seed of Her still emanating from my center. Go back to the tree, the seed. The soft, supple hands… watching the words pour out of them like liquid on paper. Watercolors blending, creating new hues. Allowing me to be reborn, to reshape my life again with each breath. Like a river stone rubbed smooth by the constant flow of water. Turning it over and over with my nimble fingers like a precious gem. Observing where it catches light. Its strength is its vulnerability, its capacity to be molded and shaped over time.
So let the critics spin themselves out like crickets rubbing their legs together in the night. Pounding primate chests don’t impress me. I will stand firm in the storm. Counting the rings on my tree, spiraling out from my core, stronger each year. And I will take on all who try to belittle, condescend or control me. Recognizing even the slow drain of power and agency that masquerades as love and concern.
I have no use for you anymore.
Instead, I will carefully weave these strands of my life into a beautiful braid. Lovingly craft all the left over scraps that others discard into a quilt, spin a world from the silk of my own body. Carve out space enough for me to breathe in this dizzying world.
And as each day is born, souls will dance in and out of my story, exchanging life breath, learning, growing, and sometimes moving on. May I always touch lightly, gently. Tai chi push hands. Centered over my feet, rooted to the ground. Bending, not breaking. Knowing my own power allows me to be soft and pliable without betraying my essence.
Because this quest is painstakingly etched into my body. So many illnesses weathered, disgraces overcome, the prodding, poking, cutting and sealing of wounds. Pumped full of poison only to be cleansed time and again. Detoxing. Healing. It is all there when I walk and I lose myself in the swaying rhythm, the gentle rocking back and forth, the inhale and exhale of air, the thinness of my waist, the weight of my arms swinging. One fluid motion, no beginning, no end. I am still becoming, every moment.
So I humbly bow each morning to honor this body, this vehicle who carries me on this journey. I cherish the way it balances on one foot as I ease into Dancer, rooted deeply to the earth, feeling the curve of my arch, my toes stretching out against the ground. Fingertips reaching to the sky, foot pressing against thigh as I lengthen into Tree pose. Shoulders at ease, hands folded over heart. Eyes blazing like search lights to some point always beyond me. Seeking, forever seeking. Then turning gracefully into Triangle from grounded Warrior. Intensely aware of leg muscles, hips, shoulders, fingers. Hear them click into alignment as I shift in careful increments creating a bridge. Feel the energy rush through as I form a flat plane, arms spread like wings touching both earth and sky. Eyes glancing ever upwards.
This is what it feels like to be me.