25 February 2010


I've written a few blogs recently that mentioned my relationship with my body, so I decided that this is something worth blogging about, considering it's something I live with constantly.

Perhaps there was a time when we were one, a time when we were young and happy and fresh. Somehow, I doubt even that. I feel like my relationship with my body has been wrong and lacking something since I've been alive. Some of these things I remember feeling when I was still in Russia, meaning I was at most six years old.  Still, no doubt that this was once just an afterthought on the periphery of my life. Today, it's a constant struggle, dead center stage.

I've never felt attached to my body. I've always considered it a vessel for myself, a trap, a prison. I sometimes thought that death and only death could free me from my body. My body didn't fit me. Sometimes, I felt like it was too large for me, I was like a rattle. Other times, it was too small, and I was squished. Most of the time, it was some of both.

My body developed a personality of its own. It would have mood swing: random moods, unrelated to how I was physically feeling or what my mental mood was.  And it was powerful. When my body-mood was at it's worst, my mind would inadvertently follow.  My body-mood could impact how I feel more than any occurrences, more than any emotional downfalls, more than anything else. I became a slave to my body.

Then, the real physical symptoms set in. Not the crazy "mood" stuff that for which I could barely pinpoint a physical sensation, but real feelings: shooting pains in my legs, arms and face; hypersensitivity; motor tics. I saw doctors, got MRIs, everything. But there was no cause. Conversion disorder: physical symptoms for psychological reasons.

The tics are the worst. It's real mind vs body battle. On one hand, there's the body, completely in pain, growing tense, a sensation, a desire to do something I don't want to do. On the other hand, there's the mind, trying to withhold, because if I do it once, I'll do it again, and again, and again, because these tics can and do hurt me. But the pain grows, the tension builds, my body wins. I move. And I know that I consciously willed that movement, only I really couldn't help it.

Now, there were days when my body-mood was awful, but other days, I would barely notice it, it was just in the corner of my mind somewhere, and I'd feel somewhat normal. It took me a long time to realize that even at the best of times I'm not in the best of states.

May 09 I tripped psycoblin mushrooms for the first time in my life. While my mind experience extreme euphoria and deep, scattered thought, most of my trip took place in my body. My body experienced what I can best describe as a return to normalcy.  Suddenly, we were one. I walked, raving about how amazing it is, that I'm walking, not my feet, those strange foreign body parts way off in some other land. No, I was walking. I was touching. I was feeling. I was moving. I was climbing a tree, a tree with the lowest branch so high up, I never thought I could dare climb it. But I did! There was so much I could do that I never knew before.

After the trip, my entire perspective on my relationship with my body has changed. I no longer try to battle my body every step of the way, but instead, I am working to become one with it.  It's difficult. My tool is yoga. Yoga helps me feel strong, powerful, and connected. Since moving to Boulder, I've been doing yoga at the Wesley Fellowship, and it's been great: the instructor is amazing, and it's really helping my relationship with my body. However, each step of the way is a struggle. Except for the occasional yoga-high, I still never feel in my body, and, at times, the gap between us is so huge, I can't help but roll up in a ball and


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