I am not only proving myself to others, I am proving myself to myself. I often forget while doing so that love is balance, that recovery takes longer than maintenance does, and that rest is not failure, just as hunger is not a sign of weakness. It’s the body asking for what it needs. Then, it’s me listening and understanding that the body is my best friend.
No other being will ever devote so much attention to mending, nurturing, assisting, or accompanying me. It feels my pain before I do, and often because I choose not to. It earns me my joys, it remembers every one of my setbacks. It houses for me behind closed doors every sight and sound I decided I wasn’t ready for. It knows better than I do what is possible, and what isn’t. What balance is. But it doesn’t force that reality on me. It speaks quietly and when I choose not to listen, it unconditionally takes over at the breaking point, holds no resentment of its own, and works right through the pain I’ve set myself up for.
This body was never holding me back; I just chose to work against it instead of with it. I depersonalized it as a tool, decided it was nothing without me, and didn't consider what I was without it. I made demands, set unfair goals, and blamed pieces of the system for when I fell short, despite them simply being the first external sign of an entire system being used unsustainably.
I never gave credit to the continuous miracles this body performed while I pretended to be superhuman by day and slept on fumes at night. The punished muscles, nicks, sprains, scrapes, strains, burns, bruises, and bones not allowed to fully rest while battling bacteria 24/7. All while I pumped cortisol through my poorly hydrated, poorly fed system. I never stopped going. In terms of distance, maybe I did impressively. I paced myself for a dozen moving finish lines and used the space between races to train instead of celebrating. Somewhere in the mileage, I did prove myself to others but because I never learned how to have a conversation with this body, I failed to prove myself to myself.
I never stopped. I was proud of that. But the body never stopped either.
If community is where humans infuse space with honesty and vulnerability, home is where they find each other. Liann works to capture this metamorphosis of place through mixed media and her writing.