I can’t wait for the day that I look down at my own body and feel at home.
I cannot actually remember the last time I felt “at home” in it. Or if I ever did. There were flashes, moments maybe, as a child, but what sticks out the most are the memories of feeling “stuck” in it. Running at a birthday party, and realizing all the other kids were so much faster than me. Playing soccer on a field, and stumbling over my own feet. Squeezing into clothes that didn’t fit in a sweaty dressing room, panicking, hearing voices comment on “how big I was for my age.”
Curling in agony on a public bathroom floor, pressing my hot face against the tile and wishing for death. A prisoner to a chronic pain that I was told for years was "normal."
I suffered from disassociation for a long time. I think part of that just has to do with growing up in religion: “You are not of this world.” You never know when the end of the world could come. No point in settling in with that kind of thinking. Why paint the walls if we might be moving?
I did everything I could to deceive myself from the world I was in, and the world closest to me was my body. I was a fast runner, but not as fast as my thoughts. I was a diligent starver, but the hunger only created more monsters. I was a creative self-harmer, but the scars that once promised escape turned out to be anchors, landmarks on a map that always got me lost.
When I revisited them, I covered their tracks in ink. But there are some days I look at those too and feel estranged. When did those get here? Who put them there? They are flagpoles in the dirt of a war torn country. Things happen to my body. I am a body that things happen to.
Perhaps it’s not the ugly way the flesh has grown over, or the unfamiliar sensation of skin and fat that didn’t used to move that way. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel a sense of belonging even if my arms were clean. It wouldn't look like me anyway.
I used to black out every night, and wake up in strange places...
A basement with wood paneling and a green velvet couch.
The overgrown grass of a friend's backyard.
Pavement, a hardwood bench, and a stranger's boot.
Getting older feels the same: I fall asleep in my bed, and wake up in a strange house every morning; the walls are my body, and I never know who’s home.