Surrender, sometimes

Yesterday evening was the first time I ever did a cycle of very gentle yoga with the express intention of being just that: gentle with myself. It was the sweetest, tenderest unexpected gift. I moved where I felt called to, refrained from judging myself, doing only what felt good to myself; I thanked my body for her existence, for its healing one day at a time, my stomach lining for dutifully absorbing antibiotics. Of course it’s being sick that takes me here: restful and watchful with myself, listening to every bone whirr and creak and settle. After being fever-racked and falling into the body ache and sweat of it — it’s good to be climbing out on the other side. Existence is the frailest of things. I thought about some of my ancestors who didn’t have the luxury of taking time off from work to recover, of resting through their healing and being able to be gentle with themselves in all the ways they would have liked to.

I also found myself momentarily captivated by a photo of me I picked up sometime when I was home. It fell out of a book that slid off a stack. It’s me in Kiddies Carnival on one of the parade routes: St. James or maybe downtown. Not a little kid but not full-fledged young adult, that in-between stage. I look strangely self-possessed, one arm akimbo, a standard clenched strongly, shimmering. I confront the camera, my plaited bang, a long arc of glitter curved up the side of my cheek like warpaint: Who is this girl?

Evenings of cradling yourself are necessary, of listening to new Ishawna: a small wine to open hips (more on that in an upcoming post), of medicine and melancholy and knowing you are trying. That you are a thriving, slowly crumbling being.

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