• The Material Issue

    Are You My Body?

    The Material Issue
    Body3web

    Are You My Body?

    I can’t find my body because it isn’t there.

    Emotion is real because we feel it in the body. My heart is broken, you make me sick, weak in the knees. It’s such a cliché that we barely know it anymore. In the experience of PTSD, of moments and feelings so big that the body can’t hold them and shuts down, we know even less. The space between perceptible and overwhelming grows narrower and narrower. Living every day like that, it starts to feel like maybe we don’t have a body at all.

    But these experiences, too, are made material, whether we know it or not; every horror we experience is written into our genome. Everything is material, because material is everything we interface with and also through which everything we call immaterial is expressed. The stuff of our lives, our thoughts and our feelings, is simply stuff.

    This theory works well for an earth sign like me. My mantra is I’ll believe it when I see it. In every failing relationship, I’ve stuck around until the sex stopped being fun. That, to me, has always been the final, irrevocable sign. I couldn’t trust my emotions or my thoughts; my anger was misplaced, my indignation overblown, my urge to run away a pathological compulsion. But when my body tells me, it’s time to go.

    In my spiritual practice, trauma materialized as a felt connection to archetypical figures and wounds found in dreams, responds to actions I take in the “real” world, the relationships I build with plants and stones, the pages and pictures I bury or burn. But magic isn’t real because it has effects; we simply know it. Practicing magic has brought me back to my body and introduced me to new pieces of it and memories it holds. But when I walk around in a dream going, “are you my body? Are you my body?” everything says no.

    I can’t find my body because my body isn’t there. It’s asleep. Sometimes the answer is so obvious you can’t even think it. It’s just there, self-evident, like the experience beneath the haze of dissociation.

    I can’t find my body, so I can’t find my anger, my conviction, my fight. I don’t show up to things. My natal Mars is underwater. I can barely leave a lover, and I can’t handle a crowd. This makes me feel useless. I start at the beginning, practice saying no in the mirror. A rock forms in my throat like a plum pit, but the pit isn’t my body, it’s not even real. I couldn’t throw it through a window if I tried.

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