When my friend, Annika Martins invited me to join her blog crawl in celebration of her coming-soon new website, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. For one thing, I’m crazy about Annika. For another, I’m truly excited about her new direction, her plans for the future and her hellbent northiness. I’d have said yes anyway, but then she told me what the blog crawl question was, and the deal was sealed.
She asked, “What do you need to celebrate?”
And as I read her question, my answer came as easily and unconsciously as an exhale, as clear and bright and unequivocal as the day outside my window. “I need to celebrate me,” I thought, and not the me I usually write about – the one who’s trying to figure out what it means to live, love and write fearlessly and from the heart – but the skin and bones, blood and guts, absolutely non-metaphorical me.
Recently I wrote a post titled Body Math. It was a hard post to write; I held my breath when I pressed publish. In Body Math, I talk about a time when thoughts of my body consumed me, when my distorted view of it informed every single decision I made, and yet I could not have been more separated from it. My body was not a temple. It wasn’t sacred or strong or beautiful.
It was a predicament, a situation to be controlled and contained.
All these years later, it’s painful for me to look back on that time, though in the weeks since I posted, I’ve revisited the subject often in the pages of my notebook, remembering scenes I’d forgotten, examining them like rocks under a microscope, then putting them away until I’m ready to pull them back out again days later. There are jewels here, knowledge buried deep, secrets being unearthed. It’s a process. An ongoing, slightly treacherous, very necessary personal excavation.
So when Annika asked me what I need to celebrate, I thought immediately of my physical self, my poor, beleaguered body that has been the subject of so much loathing and longing and fear and brutal examination. It’s one thing to accept it. I’ve done that. It’s quite another thing to declare it a cause for celebration…
So instead of lamenting its age, its size, its shape, I’m going to celebrate how my body does damn near everything I ask it to, how it bends and balances and breathes on the mat; how it runs and makes love and hikes and dances; how sometimes it knows things first (before my mind does), and that’s when it sends me coded messages – the braille of goosebumps, the Morse code of a pounding heart.
I’m going to celebrate the intricacy of me: my miracle of a central nervous system; my amazingly dependable eyelids; my shoulders, my hands, my feet, my skin, my wrists, my ankles, my hips. It’s a wonder more doesn’t go wrong, actually, considering all these moving, (swaying, twisting) parts. It’s more poetry isn’t it, than math, more rhyme than reason.
There’s no need to solve for X.
Today, I’m celebrating my body for the pale, freckled, bruised, aging, beautiful, resilient, able, astonishing thing that it is. Because it deserves it. And because I’m grateful. And because it makes me sad that it took this long for me to finally just say, “thank you.”
I’m one of 10 writers Annika asked to blog about celebration. See what the others had to say and get info on how you can join in at The Celebration Series.
I’ll be taking a week off to… well, write mostly, and plan and plant and recenter myself. So no post next Monday, but I’ll be back on the 16th.