Balance is hard.
Standing on my right foot and my ankle reminds me
that it held up the weight of my body
plus 8 other bodies
plus the fluid that invariably collects
plus the weight
of the childhood trauma I experienced.
My ankles held
We shift to the left foot
and that ankle takes up the story
where the right ankle left off.
This foot adds in the bit
about the tiny foot bones
that get spiral fractures
with too much use.
But what is too much use?
My body is telling me
it has used up
one normal lifetime of experience.
We fold ourselves up over the left foot,
center the hips ,he says,
and find your sweet spot.
My hips are wide, open, competent carriers
of heavy heavy loads.
But the core between them
The core of my womanhood
that holds the uterus
that held 8 tiny humans
and then pushed them into this world.
I’m done, it says.
I’ve done my job.
Stop pushing me.
The only bits left to come out
are the very parts of me
that held on
so 8 humans could have life.
and now we are on the floor,
opening into a pose whose center of balance is
that holds on to arthritis like a badge of honor.
I cannot even try that pose
in honor of my tailbone
that was crushed beneath the weight of eight babies formed.
Enough it says.
I’ve given enough.
It is time, I reply,
for me to give to you.
To the tailbone I give you rest. Much deserved rest.
Thank you for holding the ends together of
every step I’ve taken,
every child I’ve carried,
every seat I’ve sat upon.
And fold in and over to the side,
and up into a new pose that stretches the knees.
that have carried the weight of this too-heavy body,
each pregnancy building more heaviness upon the last.
Triggered nights and anxious days
fed by constant snacking.
The back of the left knee is in nearly constant pain now.
But I never know if the pain
is a cry for attention diverted from my growing heart
or for a cry for attention that may require an actual doctor.
Gently, I tell it.
Let’s stretch together gently
if stretching is what you need.
Years of unbending,
of demanding things a certain way to maintain control over the unpredictability of triggers
and the insane demands of the mental health of others
and the chaos of many young children
with needs piled
We no longer need to be in control all the time.
We can experience the joy
So now, my dear knees, we bend together.
We breathe together.
I listen to your story and I encourage you to bend,
Together we can unwind,
Together we can unwind the stories wound into my joints and organs
The stories that tightened knots in my core
no longer elicit emotional responses
but my body
still remembers them.
seeks to rest,
not stretch itself.
seeks to protect,
to threaten being too brittle to be used any longer.
But I will not allow it.
I still need you, my love.
We have far to go
and places to see
and people to love
and breath to breathe
and sky to fly in.
I will stretch you
and challenge you
and breathe into your core
and balance on your rolling instability
and honor your story.
With every breath
and every stretch
and every movement
this is my promise to you -
I will honor your story.