My body is incredible.
Now I’m not talking figure or anything, no no no. I may be making slow-step progress but that’s a fair few flights of stairs away yet.
No, it’s the processes and functionalities pumping away constantly, at all times of the day and night, that’s utterly blowing my mind.
When I was a kid I always used to draw over my veins with felt pens, so the web of threading criss crossing my arms and legs was traced. Today in class I suddenly got my biro and outlined my arm veins. I was absolutely marvelling at them. Little passages with blood being pumped throughout my body. I hadn’t given them a thought since I was about seven, aside from fleetingly in Baradene science class in a detached way (but seriously, did anyone listen to Mrs Proctor aside from Bunsen Burner experiments?)
Learning about the anatomical structure of the body leaves me flabbergasted. So much is happening in me at once, all the systems at work deserve so many high 5’s. In the Western world when someone alludes to their body you instantly assume it’s the physical, external one. Here, there is so much emphasis on the inner self and functionalities and it has me considering that aspect too. And shit my body is sensational! Sometimes in asanas, instead of thinking, fantastic, this is leaning out my thighs! I find myself visualising the stimulation of prana and the internal systems.
My attitude to my body is changing. I’m looking at it in wonder instead of hatred and disgust. My observations are turning to its capabilities, not its shortcomings. It’s pretty phenomenal.
I think it helps that there’s hardly any mirrors or reflective surfaces here to study (ok obsess about) myself through. At home wherever there is anything that casts a reflection of myself I’m honed in on it ASAP. It’s not a vanity thing, not at all; it’s seeing how thin I look. Having body dysmorphia means most of the time the image isn’t what is desired, so the despair sets in and slumps the rest of the day. But here, all I have is a minute, film-covered mirror that I can hardly see myself in. It’s so refreshing. I’m probably sporting copious facial hairs and mango strings all through my teeth that I won’t be aware of until I get back to Delhi.
And isn’t it absolute Murphy’s law; I’m eating three meals a day and have deleted the calorie counting app on my phone, and I’ve lost weight. And I don’t care. I truly don’t! Usually I’d be rejoicing that I’d gotten past the plateau but here I get a mere evanescent thrill. And to be completely honest, this morning it sort of fucked me off; in the bow pose my hips were crunching on the ground and it was piercingly painful. I momentarily cursed the Ayurvedic diet.
I look at Eva’s physique enviously. She’s so strong and fit and can master so many strength-based asanas that I haven’t got a hope in hell of conquering just yet. She’s healthy. For so many years that word has been an insult and offensive term to me, but now it’s my aim. I WANT TO BE HEALTHY. Why would I starve or cram to bursting this impeccable inner machine? It needs nursing and respecting with love and fuel, not abusing.
And I’m getting so tuned into my bod! The first few classes I was constantly being told to realign myself to be straight and I was perplexed; was I not in line? Eva took photos to show me and bloody hell, I was so out of whack. But now, slowly but surely, I can feel and judge when I’m a bit off.
I’m just getting aware and comfortable with every part. I’ve got a thing about my throat, and only two people have ever been able to touch it – Abbey and Jason. Even when they have, there’s vomit churning in my stomach. Whenever we had puberty talks at school or I heard adults discussing things like mammograms, my throat would always tingle and feel all closed up and suffocated, and I’d feel extremely nauseous. But here my neck is tweaked and touched and the throat-related bile rising remains inanimate.
This afternoon I just got lost exploring my freckles. When I was a kid I had about five dotted about my body, but when I started rowing and training in the sun everyday more and more slowly appeared. They fascinate me. It’s like a canvas of join the dots! Once again the biro came out and I made pictures out of them (scrubbing at my pen covered arms and legs tonight in the shower with a shitty piece of lemon soap had me cursing myself a bit). They make me so unique, just scattered about in all shapes and sizes. I’m like a white night sky with scatterings of brown stars. Shit, even the multiple bruises tinting my legs and arms have me entranced like a small baby with a mobile (dangly thing hanging from the ceiling, not a cellular device. Though in this day and age, I wouldn’t be surprised if a newborn was engaging in Candy Crush on an IPad).
And just to take home this sudden captivation with my body, for this evening’s jaunty jog up and down the driveway I listened to the crooning of John Mayer’s Your Body is a Wonderland on repeat. My own personal new mantra? It may be the case.