How many cookies will it take to push these feelings down into my gut
where I won’t have to feel them? What quantity of food must I consume
to swallow all my anger? My hunger searches for relief.
Feelings rise up, swiftly pulling me along, a broken raft in a raging
river, taking me where it is not safe to go. My body is my enemy. It
stores the truth of all I do not wish to feel. It won’t be tempted to
forget yet still, I try. “Have some more candy, you’ll feel better”.
I pacify its longing like a child at the dentist who screams, “I want
my MOMMY!” and gets a lollipop.
“I want my MOMMY”. Now there’s a truth that I cannot digest and so I bury
It or throw it up. My body knows and threatens to betray my self-sufficiency.
And so I starve it, stuff it, run it, almost kill it; a cruel master bent on its submission to my control.
If I can get my body to obey me, if my wish is its command, I finally have some power over something that’s laid helpless in me since the beginning.
A tiny child cried but could not summon love or food or comfort. She could not tolerate the tortured longing to be held so she erased the terror from her memory (only her body remembers).
What would it mean to treat my body as a faithful friend?What would it take to simply trust in its desires, to love it in its truth, rejoice in its uniqueness?
I must go back, pick up that helpless child and love her in her longing.
I want my mother still. I can’t escape the wish but I can tolerate the wanting.
I have grown a child within me. I’ve wiped her bitter tears. I’ve held her trembling body against my heart. I’ve let her tell her story. And with a mother’s boundless love and generosity, I’ve fed us both.
LBM March 19, 1999