day 10: body as a project

The following is from a project I took part in called Body Stories. I was asked to free write about my body. This is what fell out.

You can click on the link below to listen. Also, the transcript is below as well.
Is Zero a NumberTranscription

Is there such a thing as fat free? And what are the good fats and is my fat good fat? Only when I was a baby, was my fat caressed and ok’d. My mother unfolded my layers before bath time to reach my folded skin. When I was in middle school she told me someday I’d reach 100 pounds and that is when everything remains. Stretchmarks. Cellulite. Things are looser now and how far along are the muscles? Big is too big and small is not small enough. MATH: Zero is not a number is zero a number? I am recognizing reflections in my skin. Nineteen years of age. Twenty-six. Thirty-two. I eat what my body tells me to. Not NY Times diet trends or my mother or lovers. My belly is schizophrenic and sometimes I am ok with these voices and sometimes I want to starve it away. Girdle it gone. So now I am thirty-four and my thighs are blurry and layered with guilt and years and I am in search of a mirror that that not mislead me. Today I am nude longer—ok in my hair and dryness and flabby and the flesh that refuses to harden. All of this is comforting. There was a time I think maybe I wanted to hide so I added more. What is left? I am a chalkboard of rejected menus—dust still soaking the air, reminding me what I’ve tried, attempted, lost track of. Scars. Scars. Here. Over here. Beneath here. And the worst are the invisible ones. And the worst ones are the ones that have been here the longest—birthed new ones—scars’ offspring. I am my body’s bully. At this age, my mother just reminds me to eat as though I’ll forget. She always wants to know what I am having for supper—maybe because it has been so long since we have had it together. Her body is my future body is her body my future? Diabetes. High cholesterol. Thyroid issues. Sad skin. Medicated, depressed skin. Liver spots and aged neck. And this is my future? If my body came from hers, is that my future?

I never grew up in a house where it was all about, “You must look a certain way,” but, in a really normal way, if we gained or lost weight, it was acknowledged. Everything in our cabinets was fat-free, or sugar-free – diet everything. My mom was in Weight Watchers for a time, and my sister was in Weight Watchers for a time, and that’s how it was. When I was growing up, and I was starting to create all of these scars on my body, then I became so embarrassed of my body and I never showed it. And so, for me, my body’s story is that I have scars on my arms, and they’re not going to go away. In a way, I think it’s important that I still see these scars because they’re a part of me, and they remind me of where I was at one point, and where I’m really not. Our bodies are evolving. They don’t stop. It’s like shedding skin. We’re shedding all over the place and it’s kind of beautiful.

stretchmarks may be used as rulers when stranded in hardware store

How aware are we of what happens below our mouths? Below our chins? Beyond neck….past collarbones….the sloped hill of our bodies….how closely are we paying attention to the quiet language of our skin…are you in need of an appointment…when was the last time you had a pap smear, colonoscopy, have you recently had a stroke you were unaware of…is your eyesight blurry…how many taste buds can you decipher…are there strange sores around your mouth…how scratchy is your throat or belly…are you eating enough…check your scalp…check the calluses on your feet…are your heels cracked…smell your wrists/ do you detect an infection…how frightened are your roots…do your ankles swell…check your std/ has it flared again…how heavy are your bones in the morning…are your knees cracking…have your shoulders curled inward…what color is your urine…how often do you pee…what color was your skin last month and how does it compare to today…are you tracking your menstruation…how many pairs of underwear did you ruin from your blood…how often do you bleed…is it thin…what is your diet…how often do you walk away…how many sexual partners have you consumed/ are there stains…what is beneath your fingernails…what are your habits…how often do you consume coffee cocaine prescription pills alcohol…are you addicted to consumption…how many stitches have you received…have you removed all your cavities…what do you mean you don’t have health insurance…is your liver shaking…what swells inside you…have you filled out the paperwork…how crooked is your spine…what is your income do you have income…are your knuckles exposed…state your family history of diseases…what are you previous diagnoses…are you taking any medication…do you have frequent nose bleeds…what is the minimum you can pay out of pocket…how often are you out of breath…list three emergency contacts…have you signed a waiver…does anyone know you are here…who will drive you home…how often do you feel this way…who is your primary care doctor…sit still…stop crying…is there someone you can call…you are going to need to fill out some more paperwork…what is your mother’s maiden name…why are you crying…do you understand what this means…do I need to call in an interpreter…how long have you been feeling this way…