“Now is the time for you,” the chiropractor said. “It’s time for you to take care of yourself.”
His answer, of course, was that I should take care of myself the same way he takes care of himself, by taking care of my body. Follow the guidelines for proper eating, exercise, take supplements and have all the treatments that can help.
I do know that most people lead an embodied life. They ran and jumped and played, they followed their physical desire, worked to stay fit, polished their appearance and even picked a fight now and then.
That’s not my experience. Between my disembodied parents, my need to retreat into my big brain, and my transgender nature, my body always followed along, a practical requirement rather than defining me. From my earliest days, I was clear that I was spirit living a human life.
Is this my time now? Is now, a time in life when so many others are starting to understand that they are not their body, time for me to enter my body, reshape my body, experience my body?
I always seem to have lived life out of order. I was adultified early, needing to TP take care of my parents, being the one who brought context to the family. I was scapegoated for that, “Stupid” becoming my name, but I knew someone had to do the work.
Are old souls just a way some kids are born, or is that phenomenon a way some kids need to survive? Do our very early relations with our parents change the way we think, demanding that we come out of skin based mode and find strength somewhere else?
My kindergarten teacher wanted me to skip a grade, mostly because I had at least third grade reading skills. The principal asked me to stand on one foot and I almost fell over, or so the story goes, showing that I didn’t have the physical maturity to move forward. Studies show, though, that kids can’t read until they have body control; how did I accomplish such a feat?
In high school, I was without training and with a concealed heart, so dating was always strained and strange. Looking back, I see the patterns of a femme, but at the time, I was just lost betwixt and between. I just wasn’t cocky enough to be a guy, but being a girl was always beyond the realm of possibility, no matter how I listened to Harry Benjamin and Virginia Prince.
My trans path has also been unembodied. I knew early that my passing distance would always be close, that my puberty is writ very large in my bones. I decided on a “transnatural” way, not using hormones or surgery to try and female my body to some extent, not imagining that I could hide away my biology and history.
This is an unusual path, as most transpeople want to assign magic to hormones and modifications. I had to trust the magic in my heart.
I know that many people are particular about what they eat — vegan, organic, gluten free and all that — and love their exercise/fitness classes, everything from spinning to yoga.
For them, I suspect, part of this is reclaiming and regaining the vitality of their youth. They know what being embodied felt like and want to regain some of that power.
For me, that historical record, that feeling in my bones just isn’t there. I don’t have it to call back, don’t have it to trust, don’t have it to support and lift me. There is nothing to reclaim; anything has to be made new. I may have dreamed of being a dancer, but between denial and a few moments on stage, that was as hollow as most of my wishes.
To become embodied, with whatever benefits that can bring at my age, I need to embrace a whole different paradigm, a new way of being in the world. I know that can’t just be being hidden and healthy, rather I need to be more exposed. And if I am more revealed, I need to be more rewarded, which has always been the challenge for me.
“I have the need to have the feeling that it is good to be alive,” a banner of Charles Schulz’s Linus said in my high school bedroom.
In the end, it is a sense of joie de vivre that makes humans appealing. We want to be around people who are exuberant and positive.
How does becoming more embodied peel away barriers to delight?
I was told years ago that the first place you lose weight is in the face, allowing people to see at a glance that you are more revealed, more present.
Does becoming more embodied allow you to stop focusing on the demons around you, the people whose fear leads them to act out, and let you start celebrating the angels around you, those whose love embraces and illuminates others? Does it allow you to attract those smart, open and aware people in a new and better way?
I certainly use my words to express myself, to pursue my own therapy. My Jonathan Winters energy, though, all those voices and manifestations have to be freeze dried to be captured in text, removing almost all the vitality. People who even talk to me on the phone, experiencing me as an interactive radio show, know that I am more sly, more funny and more vibrant by voice.
Beyond that, in image and in person, there is even more, more that I don’t share because I am used to people finding me overwhelming, baffling, off-putting, too much and just plain weird.
Going back to reclaim the embodiment I missed and gaining the benefits that accrue from that seems like a lovely idea. I question, though, if it is a practical or achievable idea, wondering what the cost for even trying it might be. Is the support there now for me to overcome blocks that stopped me when I faced them at the time most people gained embodiment, a time when I was young and fit? Does anyone really get my challenges in a way that lets them help?
Focusing on maintaining and using my body is far from a bad idea. Doing so has certainly helped many, many people get vigor and focus back into their lives.
For someone who never really achieved embodiment, though, somehow it is hard to imagine it coming now.