Saturday, December 16, 2006

you don't just have a body, you ARE a body

awoke early to a quiet, christmas light filled home. so i lit my candles and sat in silence, waiting. it was a beautiful way to start the day.

after my knees gave out i sat on the stool, bemoaning the creaks i felt from the fall i took the other day. still so thankful nothing broke, but feeling every one of my 41 years.

i moved over to the computer and opened my email. each day i start with the storypeople. today's message said that he gets along much better with his relatives now that most of them are dead. it made me smile.

then i moved on to the newsletter from CBE - christians for biblical equality. they are a voice crying in the wilderness for me. i clicked on their newsletter and saw that this one focused on eating disorders and the church, body image and raising ourselves and our daughters to be engaged with their appetites, both sexual and regarding food. those two always go hand in hand.

i will link to all of the rich and wonderful articles here so you don't miss any, but i want to highlight the largest ah-ha i had this morning (many more will follow) that said "you don't just have a body, you are a body". obvious, eh? not for me.

the dualism that we, especially in the church, view our bodies with nears gnostic heretical proportions. did you know that rates for eating disorders are higher at christian colleges than others? something is drastically wrong with our theology and the way we are raising our girls.

i am a body. it's supposed to be that way. god made me that way. light bulb.

shocking that at 41 it had never occurred to me that it was not just a necessary evil, but that it's where i am, and the holy spirit is to dwell. it's always felt like two separate things. my body was (is, if i am really honest with myself) a curse. something that traps the real me inside who so longs to be free. lots of maintenance and much shame is associated with it. like i said in a post months ago, in my world women were either cooking meat or a piece of meat. there was no in between in my childhood.

i am a body.

i think i started to understand this a bit when i was pregnant with my kids. it was the first, and really, again, if i'm honest, the only times i have ever felt present in my body for extended periods of time. reading that back i realize how very lame (and sad) that is. i know much of what these articles explain is so necessary for me to understand. remedial, basic principles are necessary to re-wire the messed up circuitry in my head.

realizing things like this re-ignites the anger and betrayal i feel toward those in power in the church. i want them to have to answer for the mess they've made. disengaging generations of women from their bodies, the bodies god intended for them to inhabit and indwell, animate and engage the universe in. now you're reaping what you have sown. brokenness, confusion, inability to engage, addiction and even death. i hope it tastes like dust, cobweb filled dust.

i am a body. you can't take that away from me now. i will teach it to every woman, girl, boy and man i am able to. you are a body too. god meant it that way.

here are the articles from the newsletter:

all artwork is done by eric nykamp of eyekons - read his story here:

about the artist


Chris said...

Thanks, bobbie, for the links - I had somehow missed hearing about that organization and my "I want to read that" list just grew enormously.

I've been thinking on the same things lately. Just yesterday I had one of those epiphany moments, where I saw more than ever before how easily I separate my body from "myself" in my thinking. This actually happened while driving home from seeing the chiropractor, and having a 15 minute massage. Suddenly, I understood the feeling of living in my body in a different way.

It's been one of those seasons for me, where so many threads of thought from different areas have been coming together... In my Ignatian Spiritual Exercises group we have been praying to understand Jesus' humanity and humanness, and to understand Mary more, during this season. I think this is really helping to unlock some things for me.

Amy A. said...

I appreciate the links. You always find such great stuff. Thanks for sharing.

BarBarA said...

Excellent post an important subject to bring up. I have had a love/hate relationship with my body all my life. As a child my body was used, as I grew up I am the one who abused it. It's looked at with lust or disgust depending on where I am in my cycle of life. I live in my body but I am NOT my body. These days I hide in my body because its safe, but I am not caring for it properly so it will probably give out in the next 20 years and then I will be gone...because I need my body to live in.

Sorry, I kind of got carried away, wasn't intending to write so much! But thanks for a place to write it.

patchouli said...

bobbie, I wish I could sit with you and hold your hand--and let you hold mine.

Suzanna said...

I'm visiting because Si tagged you. I love this post and everything else on your recent posts.

We can take time to write about so many things on our blogs, and I am appreciating that there has been encouraging words here amidst the reality.
Thanks for your thoughts. Merry Christmas!