On the night of the Hunter’s full moon, I dreamt that a moon was stuck on the left-side wall of my uterus. I dreamt it was the color of deep crimson, glowing the slow red of tinted lava lamps. Pulsating and heavy. In my sleep, a familiar character had a line hooked from his boat to the moon. He urged his boat forward, with muscle and motor, in the attempt to dislodge the moon and drown it in the blue waters underneath. The sea that fills my organs. The sea itself was busy spilling and splitting off into rivers outside my body.
I was made, with neither warning nor desire, into a fighter. The girl-child in me knows this better than any variations of my self.
She was there when it all happened, when the world in the form of a man nearly smashed her head in with a wooden chair, part of a set made for children, her first workstation. She saw anger, hatred. Fear and convenience. She saw how easy it has been made to destroy the girl’s dreams and trap the woman, over and over again.
She saw the woman jump in between the girl-child’s head and the angry furniture, Stop! Please! She saw futures in that dark room in all its miniature child-sized domesticity, and the entire fucking universe knew that her work started there and then.
She saw clearly how the woman had to say, Please! She saw the woman’s fierceness, the woman’s love, and how it was made orphaned and bruised.
The girl-child took what she saw and swallowed it, slowly, over the years. Her first home taught her to worry, always, about sudden violence. Her body taught her to claim memory and space, learning how to disappear into books and reappear with language. The animal in her taught her how not to die.
My childhood memories come back strongest in Octobers. My body ages here every year, but the age coursing through the marrow of my bones tastes like the words ancient, grief, death. It’s too much.
As it is now, my body struggling with debilitating ailments. Muscle spasms, voice loss, sores and swelling, phantom fevers, lethargy as sudden as flashbacks. These pains I can’t – don’t want to – bear, traceable only in memories.
In the past few weeks or months, I could see myself wilting from the pain. It became physically impossible on most days to perform for external expectations. It became scary when I couldn’t pull myself through tasks that usually came easily to me, like chores and meeting deadlines. I started to fear how much I was going to lose if this didn’t let up so I kept waiting for the week when I felt the familiar break through, when I felt I had returned fully to my already compromised functionality. And then it just didn’t let up.
There is a fire in my head and sometimes all I can hear is its crackling as the sparks get stranded into nothingness. My body has started to crave a winter, what it understands as a universal slowing down, which is expected around the end of the year but not this early. I wake up expecting somehow to be underwater, then I go through the rest of the day with breathing troubles.
Body and thoughts paralyzed under the pressure to function, to sell my energy so I can afford to build a home away from violence. Maybe. Finally.
The fight, fight, fight response, conditioned into me since forever ago, still kicks on, stumbling over my desperate need for rest. It’s exhausting keeping track of all this – trying to stay afloat through awareness.
In the process of moving houses now, I have no choice but to push myself to an extent. Thankfully, I’m not doing this particular task alone. I am trying to be careful about how much pressure I’m being held under, but I’m wavering a lot, I’ve noticed.
Things are new, different this time around and I know I have to allow them to be so. I know this is how things grow, that there is decay at the edges – or center – of Change.
There might be a lot of tugging and pulling until something finally gives for some relief to take over. In a few days, I would’ve survived much longer than my childhood self ever thought I would.
I hold my breath and hope I find the space for whatever this will mean to me.
Cover image from my personal collection.