Journaling Day 2: I Am Supposed to Have a Conversation with My Body

30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge
Day 2 Prompt:

Today when you begin your writing, spend a few moments to bring your awareness to your physical experience and tune in to your body. Run an inventory check from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. In your journal, greet your body/tension or feeling. Perhaps ask its name. Then ask what is has to tell you today. What is the message your body has for you? How does it feel? Is there any pain or tension? Is there any sensation you’ve been ignoring? Allow the words to flow. Once your body has responded, ask the next question that occurs to you. Type the questions and answers on separate lines, and indicate which “voice” is speaking throughout the conversation.

Uhhhh…what? After reading that prompt three times I’m even more tempted to throw the prompt out of the window. I was trying to avoid this kind of creative writing assignment…

But damn, Day Two and I already don’t want to do this? Blaaaaaaaah. Okay. I’ll give it a go.

Hey Body, what’s up?

Oh, you know. There’s a knot in my left calf, my right ankle has a dull throb of pain, there’s a vague ouchy spot in my lower right jaw, my butt knows it’s been sitting all day, and I could use some extra sleep tonight.

Well I’m sure all that can be difficult.

Yeah, I used to be much fitter but the mechanics haven’t worked smoothly for almost a year now, so things were bound to get worse.

Weren’t the ankle and calf issues from that long stretch of inactivity?

That’s my best guess. A difficult autumn followed by the worst winter weather of my life…well, such circumstances don’t lend themselves to much outdoor activity, you know. Then when I tried to get moving again in the spring, it was too much, too soon, on tight tendons and rusty muscles. Straining a few tendons here and there shouldn’t have been surprising.

I thought the tendon situation would improve with rest?

Apparently that wasn’t the right thing to do—it just led to even tighter muscles and tendons. Low levels of activity combined with lots of stretching—that seems to be the ticket.

But you’re going through physical therapy now. Is that helping?

The therapists tell me it is, but I’m not sure. My right plantar fascia feels great; no pain there. But the Achilles and calf muscles don’t feel so great. They feel like they’ve been overstretched. There’s a lot of inflammation going on.

What about the tiredness you mentioned?

Well, that’s probably the result of several things. You know I might have started grinding my teeth at night again.

Oh, I’ll make sure to get the mouthguard tonight.

Yeah, so that might be a general sign of stress and anxiety that’s causing me more issues. And the sleep apnea symptoms returned a few months ago.

Right, I know. I think that’s from gaining a bunch of weight last winter. But I plugged in the CPAP machine a month ago, so we can handle those symptoms.

Sure, but the underlying problem is probably too much fatness and not enough fitness. And that’s not just the likely set of causes for the “CPAP-nea.” The Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis are related to that too. You have to make the time to exercise. It’s not going to get any easier.

I know, I know. But there aren’t only problems with the physiological. The Achilles pain rules out running, biking, hiking, even long walks and most gym cardio options. Besides that, though, it’s been darker and colder out! I don’t have the energy to drag myself to the gym in the dark drizzly fall weather when I can’t even do most exercises there.

But you need to. These issues aren’t going to get any better unless you go. And trust me, there are plenty of other things that can start hurting.

Yeah, I know…

But do you think about it? Do you want lower back pain? How about diabetes? More varicose veins from sitting all day? Weak arms? Having to buy more ill-fitting clothes because you gain 20 more pounds over the winter? Where will you find clothes that fit me?

Fuck, Body, it’s not like I’m not trying. Sheesh. I didn’t expect to be berated here.

Well I didn’t expect to be betrayed.

Betrayed? Really? That’s how you feel? I have news for you, Body. You think you’re so different. You think you’re special! You think I’m treating you poorly. You think I’m holding you back and hurting your back. But you forget—we’re the same, you and I. The same! Where you go, I go.

I know you don’t like it. You want to think of us as two separate entities. But we’re not. I am You. Your feelings are my feelings. Look, please understand, I’m doing the best I can, just as when you limp from tendinitis you’re still doing the best you can. If we want to be better, we need to take the time to understand each other’s needs. We need to communicate those to each other. We need to work on them together.

…You’re right. But you know as well as I do that sometimes you don’t listen to me. Actually, a lot of the time you don’t listen to me.

Yeah, I know; it’s something that I am working on. I’m sorry. I think as time passes I’ll have to make sure that I listen to what you’re trying to tell me. And if I don’t understand at first, I’m sure you’ll do what you did with the ankle and keep trying to tell me, to make sure I listen and do something to help you. I’m sorry. I really am. I promise I will try to be better. I was taught to be at war with you. It’s been hard to learn to listen to you. It’s been hard to learn to love you. I promise I’ll keep trying.

That really means a lot to me. I appreciate it! You know my time is limited, and I don’t want to waste it with something that could have been avoided or prevented. I know you have your own shit going on, and I know it’s tough to pay attention to all the details I throw your way. But I really want to be here for you when you need me.

Yeah, I understand. I just forget sometimes. I’m glad we talked about this, though. It will help me remember that the things I care about should be a priority in my life, and that the things that are a priority in life are things I should care for.

That’s a good way to put it, Mind. And take care of yourself too! Hee hee, that will also mean you’re taking care of me. It’ll be time well invested. We’ll both be better for it.

Ha, good point! You take care too, Body.

We’ll do our best!


Featured image from web4camguy on Flickr.