I live in a sensitive body—the canary in a coalmine, the girl whose 7th grade “science” experiment involved a thousand variables to test how fast her body could run on different surfaces, the adolescent who closed her eyes through the entirety of Terminator II and any other movie with a shred of violence (still), the young woman who had a prolonged physical reaction to living in New Mexico, the professional who got shooting pains down her legs within three weeks of her first 9-5 desk job, the mama whose second child turned from head down to breech in late stage pregnancy after the 2016 presidential election results and then flipped down again after her mama stopped crying (circumstance or not, it happened), and in turn, the woman who noticed her postpartum vagina lift at the Women’s March. These are only a few examples.
Some people comment: “Wow, you’re so sensitive.” It’s rarely meant as a compliment.
Others says: “Me too… god.”
Every day, I squat down to my toddler’s level and ask her to try to be kind to others and to herself. I have to ask the same of myself, to not be mad at my body or feel betrayed by it. Why can’t you just go on a run and be normal? At three months postpartum, I notice things: my face turns hot and itchy when eating a corn tortilla, my right big toe seizes up when my right-sided pelvic muscles feel strained, my bellybutton is now off center and maybe that has something to do with the low back ache at 4am every night.
I need to love my body to be with my body so I’ve reframed sensitive to mean in tune, mean aware, mean awake. New language. Awake body. Turns out, there are huge benefits of living in an awake body. For the last decade, body-workers have told me that my body is quick to respond and shift, very very willing to change, one of them said. And my mother reminds me, “You have always been strong.” I’ve never lacked stamina, endurance or get-up. I just feel everything.
So be it.
But here’s my pressing everyday question: how do I take my awake body (or you yours) and interface with the ever-presence of technology? I mean it. I’m really asking. Those close to me know I’ve forever been either righteous or apologetic about my fractured relationship to social media. I’ve fallen in and out of being online. I’ve missed a lot—of laughs, opportunities, and connectedness. I’ve also been insanely present in my tactile life. My frustrations with social media goes beyond the normal qualms of what screentime does to our social skills and brain. It’s not even an intellectual discussion for me. My body is NOT INTERESTED. I have to coerce it. You can do it, honey, just five more minutes on Instagram and then you get to water the plants.
I can stay up all dark night to navigate a heated, hard and emotionally taxing conversation with my husband. Gear up for it like a bullfighter. Focused. Sharp. Determined to break into the light. I stay and weather the discomfort. Could go another 24 hours no problem. But more than fifteen minutes on Facebook zaps all the energy I’ve got.
Maybe it’s about chosen investment.
I want a hands-free life.
I want to have both my hands available to reach, hug, cook, and dig.
I want to be in my life more than I post images about my life.
I want to be cuddling with my second-born daughter for longer than I want to be snapping these pictures of that moment.
I don’t want to have my phone in my pocket every time I leave the house just in case there is a keeper photo somewhere in the future, plus the amount of photos to store somewhere on a cloud I can't see overwhelms me. But damn, so many great moments go undocumented. I know the value of social media, especially for someone who wants to be part of and contribute to the collective current conversation (plus keeping up with the day-to-day of my close friends who live faraway is the best). To that end, here I am starting a blog to explore how narrative and the body inform one another. It’s my jam.
Again: You can do it, honey, just finish your blog and then you can rub your face in the dirt.
This question is not answered. It’s a wild boar. It paces around me in circles. In the early days of cell phones, I used to complain they hurt my head. People teased me. But now we know they hurt your head. My body knows something. Our bodies are wise. They send us so many messages and hope we listen. Maybe it can be my pacer, run along beside me during my social media and tech moments and let me know when to slow and speed up and take a break.
My body, my pacer.
It's a start.