Because I have trauma in my past, I sometimes have little panics. They usually result from something invasive happening that I can’t control. When they come, I feel cut off from the progress I’ve made and my body feels closed off and defensive. I usually can quiet them by finding some time to lie under a blanket and watch sitcoms with Sweetie.
Yesterday was a panicky day, for three reasons.
The first reason is that I’ve been pushing myself really hard, and it’s left me feeling exposed, and not in the nice way. Yesterday’s story was fun to write, but it was the most explicit thing I’ve ever written, and so it felt a little scary. I’ve been making a lot of wonderful connections, but I’m having trouble finding space for myself. Old fears about being dirty, pathetic, and slutty have crept in despite my best efforts. I don’t know if it’s safe to keep writing about Bill, even though I think that part of the story is important.
Another (legitimate!) reason to panic is that we have been watching Gasland in Environmental Conservation class. Watching it makes me feel like this project is hopeless, that it’s foolish to try to be body positive in a country where water and air (and there fore bodies) are so poisonously abused. I felt the same way after I saw Food, Inc. How is it possible for bodies to ever feel free and loved in a system that values them so little, where money trumps health and sustainability? At least with food I could change where I shop, but what can you do about fracking? Give up electricity?
After that, the third reason may seem trivial, but it still has to do with invasion and space. For a month or so, some construction guys have been working in the lot behind our yard, directly across from our bedroom where I sit and do schoolwork. They have the radio on, tuned to an endless stream of aggressive misogyny. Sometimes earplugs don’t make a difference. When I asked the guys to turn it down, they were dismissive and threatening, calling me fat and stupid. There’s really nothing I can do about it, and it feels like I’ve lost my privacy. We’re talking about getting a new apartment this summer, but for now, I can’t get away. When I’m under stress, it’s hard to get away from my deep-rooted fear that no place is safe, that men will always be threats.
Tonight, though, Sweetie and the Mayor of Kittentown have both agreed to come to Poly Karaoke with me. I imagine they’ll be to shy to sing, but maybe my two favorite introverts will both hold my hand at the same time. Their bodies are safe places for me, and so are songs. I’ve been practicing my song all month.
For now, I’m going to stop pushing myself. This three day weekend has Sweetie’s name written all over it, and maybe we’ll go for a nature walk.