Processing

by MB


I think you're processing. You've been (quietly?) (slowly?) processing everything for the past few weeks. I think this lack of productivity is just you processing.

Slow down, Lynette reminded me yesterday. It's o.k. A lot has changed. Everything has changed. You're just processing. 

This has challenged your identity - everything you've ever thought about yourself. And you, especially, are someone who takes awhile to process. It's normal.


Letters to my body

by MB


Dear body,

I hate the way you speak for me without uttering a word, the things you say from the very fact that you take up space in the world.  I hate you for becoming a woman when you should have still been a girl. Most days I still hate you for being a woman; your very existence provokes constant resentment. I hate how much I cringe when I look at pictures of us back then - how ashamed I am of my inability to control you.

I hate you for the way people looked at us when we were younger, breast buds advancing through tanner stages before most girls even knew those defining characteristics.  I hated the purple speedos we wore in Mexico - the way the elastic dug into the skin on your back - and how we had to pretend no one else could see us.

I hate you for the curiosity you instilled in me about my own body - how I hoarded books on development and adolescence. I am not sure I can forgive you for all of the time I spent trying to prove to myself that I was normal -  that there was nothing wrong with me -  and I hate you for robbing me of that time.

Speaking of time - can you imagine what I might have done with all of the time I  would have had had I not ruminated over the imperfectjons of your flesh, counting the ways in which you were broken?

It's been almost 20 years, yet my heart still sinks when I see a young girl in the stages of early development - paralyzed by my own empathy.

I think it's your fault that I've never been normal about dating or men, fearful of my own desire for sex and love. I hate the way your stomach looks when you're in bed with G, wishing your hipbones took up more space in your body. I hate the part of you that convinced me to fuck a married man because I feared intimacy was too dangerous.  I hated how much I enjoyed fucking him - in his car, on his desk, on my bed at 2pm when we should have been at work. I hate how you let him rub his hands over your ribs as he told me he liked his women "skinny and a little naughty." I will never forgive you for being so selfish, and for perpetuating my fear that sex is wrong and men cannot be trusted. 

I hate you for silencing me when I most needed my voice - for knowing what I needed to say but denying me the courage to speak. 

Body, I hate you for the time you robbed me of. For the days and months and years I spent as an alien in my own skin, convinced the problem with you was my fault.  I hate that you're so good at keeping secrets.

I hate the way you've made me fear words like:

  • puberty
  • development
  • hormones
  • period
  • "becoming a woman"

I hate how needy you are and how you refuse to go away. 


2.23.17

by MB


How quickly it happened has no bearing on how long it will last.


E Pluribus unum

by MB


Earlier this evening I sat reticent on the couch. My head perched on the soft skin of my boyfriend's right arm, the tears from  my face pooling neatly into the soft cartilage where his forearm and bicep meet.

Between sobs of happiness and chokes of fear, my chest heaved for the simplicity of rivalry, for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who reminded us that purity and passion have the power to bind our world beyond rackets and crowds and cheering and the perfect slice. 

I cry - I wallow - residual tears from the fight my boyfriend and I had earlier today. Our first real fight. The one where we said things we meant but never intended to say to each other, as if the permanence and not the words were what truly offended us. My chest heaves for the moment we found ourselves caught in - the space where our boundless capacity for selfishness and selflessness collided. 

I cry because I am lonely but not alone. Because I am thousands of kilometers and frequent flier points away from my family. From my country whose passport I carry proudly, but for which I weep behind closed doors of follow non-American aliens abroad. 

I cry for the platform I have been granted but  fear I do not deserve. For the time I've spent wallowing in bed, preoccupied with love and sex and eating disorders and recovery and what it means to be a woman in the world, but for the paltry action I've taken to strengthen the roots which bore these identities. 

I cry because I feel helpless and hopeless and disconnected. Because I love my boyfriend and my life with him and the person I have created from the ashes of my former self. For Lady Lazarus and the battles she waged, and for the apathy burdening my soul.

I cry for the fear of what tomorrow brings and for the selfishness with which such fear burdens me, as though the future were a vessel unto itself, uncontaminated from the realities which give it sustenece. 

I cry because my life is as perfect as it might ever be. Because I am loved and safe and comfortable in my body - things which I once took for granted and often forget to be grateful for and proud of. 

I cry for my friends in Washington and New York and Alaska and Cleveland, for my fellow expats who have no one to cry for and for whom crying is a sign of weakness. I cry because I have the best friends and allies and advocates, and I shudder at the realisation that I cannot be with them in spirit and in body.

I cry because I shoulder the guilt of having a story that I am too afraid to tell - my selfishness denying others the feeling that change my own life - acceptance.