One day at calligraphy class, Teacher said, “relax your wrist otherwise the brush cannot swirl through.” I looked up at him, in a perplexed lightning of understanding: “I do not know where my wrist is…”
Well of course, I know where my wrist is. I just cannot feel it, nor know when it has tightened up or when it is relaxed. I could not sense where or how my physical body was. Same for my shoulders – I do not know when they are tense and hunched up, but everyone else can see it.
I have been so disconnected from my body. I do not know how to relax my hip or if my knees were curving in while practicing taichi. The energy does not flow. I could not feel my body, I could not feel my mind, I could not feel my soul.
More detrimentally, I do not open up. Sure, people can see that I cry, I laugh, I tantrum, I yell, I grimace. But I have constructed a wall so that no one gets beyond a particular point. I remember while I was working in Japan, and everything made me feel like I was living the dream and all was going well, one guy I was quasi-dating told me I was “emotionally unavailable,” and that no one could really get to know me. I brushed him off, and retorted, “look at how many friends I have!” Quantity, not quality. I was defensive and dismissed his well-intentioned comment. I rationalized and intellectualized that he was being unreasonable.
I pushed people away unknowingly, I would not allow them to see me in pain, I would not dare risk my own hurt just to try to let anyone come marginally close.
Nah, I was the perfect Nochie, in a suit, heels, matching handbag and belt, important, professional, and strong. I would not weep or acknowledge I needed help.
But I do need help. In fact, I think I need help right this moment. I have been combatting a migraine since the weekend, I have stomach cramps, I feel exhausted, I am unhappy at some relationships, I am overwhelmed with the list of things that I would like to do (e.g. write!), I do not know how my knees are full of bruises. I have not exercised. I make excuses of traffic and skip basketball.
I just want to play – I saw these ducks in a shopping mall and somehow they spoke to me. Be playful, is that not what I say to everyone? Then why do I find it so difficult to be playful today? I want to hang out with my bears, write stories, draw pictures, smile to myself. I want to bake and cook and build pretty little desserts like I used to. Then I remember how I need to work on my WeChat account for the Chinese audience, that the Bearapy website needs more bear posts, that I need to minimize the size of photos, add watermarks, upload them, type, get the ebook translated into Chinese…
I feel suffocated, I feel anxious, I feel like my boat is anchored in a pool of dead water, tangled up in weeds, and stuck. I feel inundated. I feel lonely.
It is time to feel myself, let myself feel the connections within me, and let others see – and not be conscious of their judgments on me.
So I tense up. I try too hard to free myself. Like the calligraphy brush, I try to control the factors I think are within my control. I am unable to trust that the brush will do it’s work if only I would give it space to.
Be me. Let me find my wrist first….