Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Body Is Not My Body

My body is not my body. It has not belonged to me for quite some time.

It used to belong to me. In the days before I became known as "Mom." My body used to be wild and free-- free to have that second, third, fourth shot of whiskey; free to dance in dark bars and kiss in dark stairwells; free to stay out all night if I wanted, to see shows and to meet new people. My body wasn't chained to anyone or anything.

My body is not my body. It is now home to a nursling toddler and a developing embryo. My breasts are no longer mine to give to a would-be lover. They belong to a one-year-old boy who is up far past his bedtime. My back is not my back. It no longer bends and flexes in asanas. It now aches under the pressure of this creature growing inside of me. My arms are not my arms. Instead, they belong to this house, which has a constant need to be cleaned or repaired. My mouth is not my mouth. It is no longer available for conversation that extends past toddler level. My brain is not even my brain. It is no longer free to think of politics, religion, the environment, or even which outfit I should wear today. It only thinks of how to respond to tantrums and whether or not I'm endangering my child by feeding him this instead of that because my exhaustion level is at its peak, and I can't possibly bear to be at that stove for an hour when we are hungry now, and WHY have I not prepared meals ahead of time so all I need to do is heat them up for moments like this?

My body is not my body. It is more difficult than I expected to go from being free to being tethered. My love for my children is like nothing I've ever felt before, and yet the desire for my body to be my own again is overwhelming. I don't have the desire to return to stairwells or empty bottles. Now I dream of long showers and hot meals. I dream of sitting cross-legged and barefoot, reading books by the lake. Taking naps in hammocks. Seeing live music. Spending hours in deep conversation in a circle of friends. I'm made to feel selfish for desiring a life outside of my current one. A life of mental and spiritual growth. Like being a mom is the only choice for my body, and I'm no longer allowed to be anyone other than that.

My body is not my body, although I hope someday for it to belong to me again.

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