My Narrative Body

Our bodies hold our stories and in those stories are great clues to how we perceive our identities and our perspectives.

The narrative my body holds spans a vast plain of roles and circumstances including my movement signatures, my emotional responses, embodied values, and histories of action.

My movement tends to be smooth, forceful, and perpetually in rebound. These days it aches post-performance, making my desire to perform less appealing. There have been times that this has been true in teaching, too. I have been glad to give up teaching 6 hours a day.

My left big-toe joint hints of arthritis and my stress moves up my spine from the site of two lower-back injuries. I loved both experiences that produced the injuries- not the moment of injury itself- but the pieces I was rehearsing and the artists I was working with. It is too bad those don’t comfort me more when the discomfort appears.

As a mother, my body often feels as though it is not my own. Sometimes this feels intrusive.

My hands resemble those of my mother sometimes. My face shows evidence of Vaughans and Barkers. My mannerisms, cooking habits, hand-writing and knitting reflect the legacies of my families.

Heat and movement have been the sources of healing, as they were also included in the greater landscape when I incurred pain.

I process by placing myself within a context to directly interact with information or scenarios and I often do this physically.

And then there is the story I want my body to tell. To some extent, this is done with a simple change of perspective. To other extents, it involves a change of practice.

I am developing a new spine. Through my work with Trent McEntire in my pilates certification, I am at once challenged by and reinvented with movement outside of my current habits, resulting in new patterns. I feel interested and invested in ways I have not for years. I can help others do this, too.

By re-patterning my movement, I am feeling a re-patterning of emotional responses as well. The result is that the healed stays healed. More healing is invited.

I am changing my food story by paying attention to how my body feels in response to what I eat. I want the story to be healthful, socially and environmentally considerate. Mindful.

I invite stillness.

My body is the source of great affection and nurturing for the people living in my home. We are a cuddly group and I take pride in the source of comfort that I provide but also that which I accept. My daughter has a way of rubbing my back as she hugs me that elicits the same feeling as I had when my mother did the same thing. I realize she is mirroring me- this action has been passed down without words.

I am grateful for what my body is able to do, and for all it has done for me. There was a long stretch of time through which I pushed and pulled and expected my body to simply be there for me, because it could and it always had. Now, I seek to take care of my body.

That is the new narrative. One of care, gratitude, and history.

What is the narrative you embody?

How does it compare to the one you want to tell?