Beyoncé and Body Surfing

This summer I finally learned how to body surf. That feeling. The thrill of what your body can do, its latent power. Flying through fizzing water, skimming the hard, silky surface of the ocean, tumbled with salt up your nose and hair everywhere. That feeling of joy, when it’s just your body and the ocean and you’re kicking on the cusp of it and then you’re there, inside these big loving arms with a rush of endorphins like a train coming.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Beyoncé’s new album and that was summer: body surfing and Beyoncé and my injured knee recovering enough for me to run again. And this line: Goddamnit I’m comfortable in my skinBecause we’re not meant to be, billion dollar industries are built around us not being comfortable in our skin.

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And then you’re sunburnt and salt slicked and walking back to the car in your bikini and you look in a mirrored window and your thighs are wobbling and it just doesn’t matter, because they deliver so much happiness, and they can slice through the ocean and they can run 10ks and ignore the lactic acid and the blisters. God knows the last thing I want to write is yet another body image story, because we all know that models are photoshopped and big is beautiful, because we’re all trying to love our bodies in world where self hate and insecurity are normalised.

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But goddamnit, I do love my body. I love what it does and how it feels, and that day I loved they way my thighs wobbled and the way the warm wind through the window felt on my skin as we drove home, the way we sang at the the top of our lungs the whole way. Beyoncé, of course:

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst

Perfection is a disease of a nation…

We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see

It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Dear OCD

Francis Picabia - Portrait d’Yvette, 1942

Dear OCD,

We’ve been spending a lot of time together recently, maybe a bit too much time. I think we should have some time apart.

Why?

Remember New Year’s at Peat’s Ridge, I’d been looking forward to it for months, but with you there I couldn’t relax because I was worried about the front door not being locked. Yeah, I know we checked it ten times, but we weren’t sure were we? It niggled and niggled. Do you reckon I’m the first person to burst into tears during laughter yoga?

You make me irrational. You make every stick a syringe, every stain a cataclysmic contaminant. We have sat miserably through lovely celebration dinners, stomach clenching over some over-thought chain of contamination, ending in dread. I touched the fork that fell on the floor, and then my napkin, and then oh my fucking god my other hand touched the napkin and then I touched the pimple on my face, therefore – hot face, palpitating heart, can’t breathe, going to cry – I am pretty much definitely contaminated now. Fuck. Continue reading

Being sad

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Ah me, I’ve been having a bit of a hard day today. The kind of day no amount of chocolate or tea or hugs can really fix. The kind of day where you can’t stop crying and nothing seems good and you ache all over. I have an essay due on Monday, but when I tried reading the texts I’m using, the words didn’t make sense, like my brain has put up a solid wall so nothing can get through, like those words are just fingernails scraping the the inside of my skull.

It’s a good day. It’s just not sinking in. It’s one of those sunny Autumn days, it’s cold in the house, but I’ve been sitting in a big easy chair with my feet on the window and they’re warm. A Miner bird came up and perched on the window ledge and examined them very carefully with his shiny, yellow rimmed eyes, he’s probably never seen seen the soles of a human being’s feet before. Continue reading

Smile!

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, Polish tobacco farmers near Windsor Locks, Connecticut (LOC)

I had kind of a hard day today so I thought I’d share something nice. This is Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, tobacco farmers in Connecticut in 1940. The photo is from the Library of Congress.  Try looking at their faces and not feeling just a bit better about life.

Three Good Things

Flowers and painting

I have a tendency to rush from thing to thing. I’m a busy person. I work, I study, I write. But the thing is, I’m not always happy. Since I was a teenager I have had periods of depression. During my most recent bout a therapist told me that one of the things actually definitely proven to make people feel better was writing down three things every day that went well, that they’re grateful for. Lovely things. I was skeptical, but I went with it.

And it worked.

Writing down the good means that suddenly days seem impossibly full of nice things. New yellow undies, good conversations with friends, wandering round the city in the rain and everything shining, finding the most amazing pair of ’90s fluro swimmers in vinnies – not only because now I have amazing fluro swimmers which also have little black frills and fish pictures, but also because it means one day it will be summer again, how nice it is to come home when someone’s been baking and the kettle’s on.

Things overlooked and forgotten when your mind is playing a constant negative loop and unhelpful thoughts are imprinted on the inside of your skull. I really think you shape the world by how you see it, it’s just that sometimes my mind can’t quite seem to see the good. Sometimes it just needs help I guess, and all the good it can get.