My Body/Brain Disconnect

Image found here.
As I lay in bed this morning, I was chewing on some deep thoughts about relationships and intimacy. I want to be closer to the Best Husband Ever, as well as people in general. I tend to be very closed off in terms of relationships, be it with co-workers, friends, or family. I stay guarded and, while that might keep me from experiencing much of the hurt than sometimes accompanies close relationships, it also keeps me from experiencing the beautiful parts of relationships, too.

The other day, I checked out a book from the library on the Best Husband Ever's recommendation, A Magic of Twilight by S. L. Farrell. Flipping through the novel, I landed on Farrell's dedication page. It said:

For Denise
You are in everything I do

I was floored. Clearly S. L. Farrell and Denise are very, very close. Perhaps they are spouses, lovers, or simply share a deep friendship. Whatever their relationship can be classified as, these two people are obviously intimate and vulnerable with each other. What's more, I realized that I can't say that anybody I know is "in everything I do" (not even God, really), and that fact makes me incredibly sad.

As I lay there in bed, thinking about this first brush with Farrell's novel, a memory rose to the front of my mind. Several years ago, just before I met the man who would become the Best Husband Ever, I was walking downtown with a close friend of mine. This was also around the time that eating disordered thoughts were beginning take hold of my brain. I remember being hungry, and telling my friend that I rather enjoyed the feeling of being empty. The fact that having no food in my stomach also made my belly look flatter was a bonus.

Reflcting on that obviously misguided comment I made four years ago, a new idea occurred to me. The most intimate relationship I have is with myself, with my body. I live with my body. We all do, of course. We can't get away from our secretions, our smells, our physical abilities (or lack of abilities). We experience the world through our bodies, using sights and sounds, smells, and tastes, as well as deeper feelings like when a handsome boy makes girl's heart beat faster.

I know that I am not my body. My identity is more than what I look like, more than my physical form. But . . . my body is my closest companion. If I can feel my body telling me it is hungry, and then willfully misinterpret its message as I did that day while walking with my friend, how can I expect to experience healthy relationships with other people? If I can't have a good relationship with the inner workings and needs of my own flesh, why do I think it should be easy to be intimate with a whole other person?

I don't know if this post makes sense, or if it's even accurate. But I am flaggergasted at this [probably not-so-new] realization -- that I don't know my own body. After nearly thirty years, this skin is still a stranger to me, its inhabitant and daily user. And that knowledge is more sad and disturbing than all of my other relationship-related lacks.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I am eager to hear other perspectives. Or, in other words, help!

Check out photographer Jodi Bieber's Real Beauty project, an extension of the Dove campaign, which I randomly came across while writing this post and found to be very powerful.

Never miss a post

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to our Love List and never miss a thing. Plus, when you sign up, you get a free copy of 31 Days of Writing Wild. Win!

We won't send you spam. Ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit