Friday, September 23, 2011

 "Everything you’ve experienced is stored in your body at a cellular level. Each cell is a record of all of it. I’ve felt it in your skin. Being born. Being held. The time you fell off your bike and weren’t that hurt but very scared. That brutal sunburn on your shoulders at 14. The time you fell out of a tree and broke your collarbone. The first time you felt deeply loved. The person who hurt you so badly you thought you were broken for good. Your muscles remember it. They remember it like it happened 10 minutes ago."
-Kate Batolotta
It's funny to think of our physical body as having a memory, but the more I think about it the more I know it must be true. I think our bodies must have a clearer picture of the past than our minds. When we are afraid our bodies react, based on instinct or maybe based on remembrance of the pain something caused before. In our minds we rationalize, we hesitate. Our minds are cloudy with not just actions but thoughts and emotions about actions. Nothing ever comes out exactly the way it went in. Our bodies are just as they appear. What we've given what we've taken from it. It shows the neglect and abuse, it shows the care and love we put in. Our minds twist the good and turn it to bad as well as taking the bad and convincing us it can be good.
When I was growing up Mama had a Christmas ornament that, any time I looked at it, I felt like I would throw up. I'm not exaggerating. It made me physically ill just to see it. I have no idea why this is. My brain has no recollection of anything bad that happened in reference to this ornament, but my body remembered something. I always made Mama put it on the back of the tree. When I became an adult there was finally a Christmas when Mama pulled it out of the box to put on the tree and I took it down and threw it away. Yet another fallacy of the brain. What took me so long to realize I could remove the culprit causing the problem when my body had been telling me it was bad all this time?
I can look at every scar on my body, every mark and tell a story. The lines from where I wore my wedding ring won't go away either. Stretch marks from being pregnant, I wouldn't even want to give those up I don't think. My body tells a story of me that I can't tell. The muscle in my left arm, that is bigger than my right from carrying trays in restaurants years ago, remembers how hard I worked when so much of it seemed like play. The pain that comes and goes almost daily now across the back of my neck and shoulders remembers how much emotion I can handle in my head and in my heart and takes one for the team not allowing the emotion to surface when it's too much. The jiggles, well pretty much everywhere, tell you I'd really much rather give into my vices and enjoy every moment in the moment instead of considering the consequences.
I know that my body remembers my childhood. We lived out in the country and didn't have big tvs or video games or cable. We spent a lot of time outside, we gardened, we hiked through the woods, we played in the creek. We were outdoor kids even when we didn't want to be honestly. Now, while you probably wouldn't expect to see me hiking much and I'm positive I'm not planning on getting in a creek anytime soon without cement shoes, there is nothing that can change my whole outlook on life like a walk in the sun. My body remembers. I like the smell of freshly cut grass, I even like the smell of a skunk spray, when you pick it up through your car window as you are driving by. If that's not an involuntary remembrance, I certainly don't know what is!
My body aches when it's time to ache, cries when it's time to cry, and belly laughs and picks me up when it's time to enjoy life. It's so involuntary, more and more so as I get older.
I think our bodies remember what our mind cannot or possibly what our mind doesn't realize it should. It remembers and reacts, without hesitation.

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