My stomach hurts and I realize I’m sucking it in again. I sit up straight and try to relax, giving my organs some room to breathe. I’m listening to the person talking across from me, but now I’m also wondering: where did this come from? When did my body learn to sit this way?
I fall away into conversation again and not two minutes later I catch it all over: the sucking in. The hunch. The pressing of my knees together and the curving down of my shoulders; the tension already building in my hips at 29.
When and how did I learn to hold myself this way?
It’s a question I’ve been examining more and more lately as I begin to tackle these issues—as I begin to address the developmental scoliosis in my spine and the hump at the base of my neck. I’ve been doing yoga, and strengthening my core, and learning to catch myself every time I fall into the “crouch”. Always, the mental instructions are the same:
Even out your hips. Push your butt into your seat. Relax your jaw. Tuck your chin. Drop your shoulders. Lift your neck. Expand your chest. Breathe.
Two years ago, I submitted a research proposal to three University English Departments. Two years ago, no one wanted to see the idea grow. Do I blame them? No. Do I think it was the most cutting edge research ever? No. But damn have I not been able to give up on being OBSESSED with AI technologies, measuring humanity against robots, and Bladerunner ideology and theory.
So, here’s a little snippet from that old grad school application, as a marker of where I was at the time, and where I could have been now if I had been accepted.
“…the most important feature of powerful social movements, is an affirmation of community.”
– From “Young, Brown and Proud: Personal purpose and political activism” by Harsha Walia
Connection requires a crossing of boundaries. It requires seeing one thing in another without disturbance of difference: that old mean thing still snipping at the threads we THE PEOPLE weave when we breach the gap between ourselves and another, when we see ourselves as one. And it seems these days that those who are best at connecting were born to difference, too. With wide focus, they can see it for what it truly is and pass through as if there were no boundary at all—grasping at those other strands with ease and bringing the rest of us gratefully along.
A person who hands themselves over in the service of revealing truth; who gives even their voice in making sure the untold is spoken.
Here in Canada, many still shy away from the basic truth of our colonial history: that European settlers erased the voices of entire populations already living here, stifling the heart of What-We-Could-Have-Been.
Even today reconciliation with this truth sometimes seems little more than a distant hope on the horizon; and yet, there are those who refuse to let such a cause die. Who give even their voices to this truth above all else, and who aren’t afraid to stand up for the many voices which were lost then—voices of healing that we need now more than ever to understand.
Sometimes, when something hurts me, it takes a while for me to feel it. I’m the kind that won’t even realize I’d been so affected until much later, years after, and at random.
Sometimes, what I’ve suppressed never comes to light at all.
Usually this is because, “I don’t know where to put it.” Slow to process, quick to Proceed Past, I’m always moving onto the next thing before I’ve even finished the first. And if one of these things should get stuck in the “forgetting”, the “suppressing”, it’s rejection will likely bring it back up.
Finally found, it causes a shake—a paling, like I’ve seen a ghost. For some time, casting the world in the glare of its light, it is all that I can see.