This guest post is from Lorraine who I consider to be my first ‘internet friend’. She doesn’t write very often, but when she does she makes me laugh, nod in agreement, take things more seriously and cut through my own bullshit. She has applied her beautiful, unflinching honesty to the word ‘Body’ and shares the first small thing she is doing to care for herself a little more…
Wee frizz has been reflecting on the word body this year and is inviting us to do the same. Recently she talked about how she would whip up Annabel Karmel storms in the kitchen for her babies and yet not take the same care preparing her own meals. I can fully identify with that. But I have to admit that when I think about the word body what I eat is very far down the list of what springs to mind.
For me the word body makes me think about pregnancy and breast feeding. Of what I wear or don’t wear and why. I think about sex. I think about what it feels like to run or swim or lie in a hot bath. I think about how long it has taken me to feel like I inhabit my own body and be present in it. I think about how long it has taken me to enjoy inhabiting this body. I think about the ways I still struggle with this. I think about scars and stretch marks, hairy legs and flabby parts. I think about how my body needs rest and exercise and how as someone recently pointed out to me I sometimes have a habit of sabotaging myself in these areas by not taking the opportunities available to me.
When it comes to giving my body attention I feel like I don’t deserve to ‘indulge’. For example, I love to swim and it’s good for me both mentally and physically but I ‘can’t’ justify the cost of joining our local gym. I like to wear dresses but I feel like I’m getting too ‘above my station’ if I do. I often feel the need for an afternoon nap but I feel guilty about it because people who work all day don’t get that luxury.
In writing this I realise that when I was pregnant I listened to my body well because in doing so I felt I was caring for the unborn child inside me. I rested, I walked, I ate well. But I’m a bit crap at doing those things for just me. It feels selfish. And being selfish is a sin don’t you know!
I suppose until this moment I’ve never thought to consider why our bodies are valuable theologically. Are they? If so why? Perhaps it’s my slightly fundamental upbringing that emphasised the finiteness of our current bodies and the new body that awaits us.
I don’t have any answers, only more questions but one thing I do know is that rest and exercise make me a much less crazy person. Which makes me easier to live with. And that alone is perhaps reason enough for me to go and join my local gym this week.
Lorraine lives in Dublin with her husband and young son and laughed when I asked her for a bio. She is one of Jaybercrow and Espero‘s favourite people. She likes Jenny Lewis, but likes Gillian Welch way more. She writes at transfarmer.wordpress.com.
(Read rest of series so far here)