When I throw a ball, I know I can move something in the world beyond me.
The body. That’s the title of this, yes? Survival could be another. I got touched coming out of the womb; nothing was the same after that. The passivity they tried to instill didn’t work. Neither would the slipped vertebrate, struggling to not be taken.
Mary Oliver says, “you only have the let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” I say you also don’t have to be perfect.
Here is what I love: singing – feeling the love come out of my throat. Walking past the trees and leaves, skies and singing birds. Laying on the ground at the park listening to birds, trees, feeling the wind: love. Touch the barks. They all feel different. And the soft petals on a flower, and the colors. Colors, for those of us who see, is a grand gift.
This is the poem: I am the body. I love myself. I am body and joy and the woman who threw a softball to survive. I did! I am looking around the dark of my apartment, writing this poem. The subtle turning of my head tells me my neck still works. I still enjoy feeling the strength in my muscles.
My body…loves…women, sometimes. And men, but in different ways. And deep hugs.
I love that my body and I are gentler now, and also stronger again after disability. I lay in bed at night with that nerve pinched in my lower back which prevents me, easily, from going into any closed property where the doors are heavier than a feather! I drink water which allows me to pee. And I play. Snow still brings me joy. Though cold keeps me inside looking out. And I can see! The walls with the paper with the colors I painted which I moved my body to do.
The pain in my body reminds me to do yoga tomorrow. And love. Me.
And to know I am good. Just remember, dear friends, that you will not always know when I hurt, what my body carries inside; that it helps to get support, to know I am not doing this journey alone.
Lilli Sprintz is a writer living in St. Louis Park.