I was laying on the I-swear-it's-smaller-than-twin-size bed in the outpatient facility, waiting for my surgery to get started when a second anesthesiologist stepped inside the curtain and began thumbing my chart while introducing herself and asking me to tell her about the surgery I was to have. (Spoiler alert: Was not major, hence, outpatient facility.) When I told her what I was getting done, and that it had been exacerbated after having my second child, she laughed and said, "Ruined your body, huh?" referring to my pregnancies.
How peculiar are the things that people say to others, which means, how peculiar are the thoughts and voices inside of others. In no universe would I make my children bear the brunt of responsibility for whatever has happened or will happen to my body as a result of my carrying of them. It was my decision, and I accept whatever comes with having made that decision, twice. I also know bodies aren't static. They are vessels, designed for living and dying. The vessel is born, and the vessel will begin to break down and eventually, cease operation. Pregnancy has forever altered my body, but that is not ruin, no matter how I may feel about my body today. There are so many things that can bring actual ruin to my body.
A few friends have asked me if I've been writing or if I'd start a blog again, and while I want to pursue some sort of daily writing practice, I don't know if I have the juice for a blog anymore. Encounters like this happen all the time, but now I understand that people mostly aren't thinking when they speak, they are just repeating the same ideas they've had passed down to them. Knowing that makes one much less reactive.
Continuing with the "body" theme of the past couple days... I guess October is as good a time as any to contemplate one's relationship with the body. (Hello Halloween and oncoming Scorpio season and everything else.)
It's interesting to reflect on this feeling from two years ago:
I also know bodies aren't static. They are vessels, designed for living and dying. The vessel is born, and the vessel will begin to break down and eventually, cease operation. Pregnancy has forever altered my body, but that is not ruin, no matter how I may feel about my body today.
None of this is false, and I do actually feel this way. But I can also acknowledge that part of this feeling is because I am privileged to have a body that has mostly stayed inside its lines--a body that has spread in a way that's considered acceptable, attractive, even. The kind of men I tend to like also tend to like attributes of the body I have now. (And have made it clear to me.) Bigger ass, bigger tits, wider hips, thicker thighs. (Apparently, they like pooches too.) There's a reel on Instagram (that originally came from TikTok, probably--everything is a reel now) where a woman looks forlorn because her body isn't what she considers acceptable, and then in the next frame of the reel, the woman, now representing a male perspective, gets up and moves in a way that suggests pleasure; the text accompanying the visual indicated that men don't give a fuck about the shit women have deemed unattractive; even further: they like the things women are hesitant to accept.
There are layers I'm not even addressing, though they are relatively obvious, but I am at least establishing this superficial context: I recognize the privilege I have, regardless of how I feel.
I don't think that feeling was acceptance as it may have appeared, but rather a well-worn disconnection-as-survival-technique. It has long been easier to do that, to take an experience and distill it for an audience, not even because I'm a writer, but because to deal with these things in real time means to have to make a connection with another human being, to admit being affected by something they did. And after a lifetime of being teased for how rattled other humans and experiences could make me, it felt better to use my words to evaluate, like an alien on an anthropological mission. I could remain detached, be smarter and more eloquent than you heaux, and cushion it with the realization that someone like that anesthesiologist is just a human, bless her heart, she don't know no better.
In Chani Nicholas's excellent book, You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance, under a description of my astrological sun sign, she writes:
You can develop too hard a shell, a good defense for your tender underbelly but one that can lead to isolation... you'll need to find ways to honor the strength of your vulnerability while developing the healthy boundaries necessary for living a life connected to other messy, loving, and changeable humans.
I'm just a human. Bless my heart. I didn't know no better.
In short, my body isn't ruined. But it is different. And most days I am incredibly, terribly ambivalent about that.
And in terms of being asked to start a blog again: I was incredibly, terribly ambivalent about that, too. At least, about starting the kind of blog I used to have--a place where my personal thinkpieces, coupled with quasi-poems and rants that essentially were made for Twitter before I had Twitter, all lived. I don't ever plan on having a space like that again, because it's not who I am anymore. My interests and writing desires are very different these days. I long for quiet. But that longing is driven by a desire to flatten, to shrink, to remain in the safety of the margins, even when I know the safety is a trap.
So, no, I don't have the juice for the kind of blog I was used to writing anymore. I no longer write-to-flex-my-intelligence out of a deeply-rooted insecurity of the kind I've learned (on Instagram, of course) is typical of Gifted/Honors/magnet kids. I just write when I feel like I have something I want to say. And when I don't, I won't. Thanks for reading me when I do.