Good morning good morning! It’s grey out today, the sun still tucked under fog, and I’m watching the people with their dogs: the smoker lighting his cigarette while his german shepherd runs around off leash; the young man holding a leash attached to his pale-furred barker in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other; the woman walking the little Boston Terrier that Sophie so loves to wrestle with.
This morning so far it’s quiet out, the commuter traffic not yet picked up and I’m here with freesia on the table and a cup of jasmine green tea. Today is maybe all about the smells. My body’s a little tight this morning; some yoga or stretching would be good — how do you welcome your body into a new day?
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Yesterday, my analyst said, “You don’t have to the the body of evidence anymore.” He was reflecting on this thing that I am wrangling with inside these days, this idea that perhaps my identity and self is not Incest all the way through.
I have written about this idea before, that I have felt it was my job to show and tell the world about my stepfather’s actions, about his violation and violences — I believed that if I were ok, if I appeared to be unscathed, if I were healthy and successful and enjoying life, that that would mean he had gotten away with it. Can you see this bind that I tied myself into?
You cannot be successful, Jen, because that means he wins. What?
And then there are the ways that I didn’t want the incest-naysayers to be right, the people who want to pretend like it’s no big deal, the ones who deal with struggle by asking us to forget about it, move on, just move on. You’re more than that, they’d say — and I would think, fuck you! Sure, I’ve had more experiences than just incest, but none that affected me so deeply — none that so throughly altered my constitution. Who are you to tell me to get over it and move on?
You don’t have to be the body of evidence anymore. I wrote about this some, yesterday, on the Coming Home blog: that I have begun to reconsider myself as entirely shaped by Incest, that I am questioning these metaphors that I made for myself — that incest is the membrane that surrounds me, permeates every pore, is the sticky stuff I have to reach out through in order to engage the world in any way.
Who am I if I’m not all incest? Here’s the thing — I’m quite a bit. I’m longing and playful, I’m puppy-adoring and bird-watching, I’m curious about creativity, my sexuality is not entirely of his making (this is a new piece I’m only just beginning to be able to tend to), I’m writing new songs: I don’t have to be the keeper of his sins. He can hold them. He can still be responsible for his actions even if I am not sprawled out on the ground and split open to reveal pounding heart, deciduous entrails, his fingerprints dancing still on the tenderest parts of me. My body does not have to be the forensic evidence. I don’t have to choose to be the walking display of his handiwork.
My embodiment, my sexuality, my psyche just might be more than the stuff which passes through his residue, more than aftermath. More than aftermath. More than simply what’s left.
All I can do just now is hold that possibility — hold what space opens inside me as I consider it, hold what it means for me and my life (for us and our lives, all of us) if we get to be more than evidence of our parents’/caregivers’/commiunities’ crimes. What if we get to be more than police-tape labeled bundles stacked in piles in a dusty locker somewhere? What if they are still fully responsible for their actions while we we get to be full and complicated selves, flying off into these green grey mornings?
Ah, yes — what then?
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This could be a write for today: “You don’t have to be the body of evidence.” Take your notebook, give it just 10 minutes (unless you want more), and dive in — what comes up for you when you read that phrase? Notice if you’re irritated, angry, frustrated, excited — write exactly as you are called to write. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.
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Be as easy as you can be with yourself on this day. Thanks for all the truths that your living has named and created and shaped. Thanks thanks thanks for your words.