Dear Body (an apology)

Saturday June 28, 2008 @ 12:27 AM (UTC)

It’s been a rough few years, hasn’t it, my body? I’ve brought you to Residencies and stuffed you with greasy pub fare and cafeteria food, sat you on the cold cement or damp grass until you were sure your flesh would be numb forever. I kept you up late at parties, stood outside near smokers, didn’t balance the occasional beer with the habitual water, and slept in a dorm room full of allergens and stale smoke. Residencies in Seaside, I paced you up and down the frigid beach, and dashed between rooms in the freezing open-air hallways of one hotel wing.

And between? The semesters were almost worse. Returned to your comfortable bed, I kept you awake planning stories. I stayed up all night writing, or planning, or failing to write, and dragged you to a job where you had to stand up for hours, lift heavy things, try to be graceful manipulating messy liquids. When the work shoes wore out, I made you wear them anyway for almost six months, and tried to fob you off with the occasional hot bath.

And what did you do in return? Did my migraine frequency peak, or my feet stop functioning? Did I get scurvy, or pneumonia, or food poisoning? No. You found me a clarity that lies beyond sleep deprivation. You kept me from doing the nod-jerk at all in this, the most dignified Residency of my time. There have been bad times, it’s true, but they seldom interfered with my deadlines. My eyes continued to focus on the books, my fingers to type out stories.

A bit further, body. Out onto a stage in a gown, mortarboard and, against too-late recommendations, non-sensible shoes. Bear with me for one more day of celebration and learning. I can’t promise there isn’t hardship and box-carrying in your future, but this, this has been accomplished. Thanks for sticking with me, body. Thanks for mostly being on my team.

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