Body and I

Anna Lesiczka
2st March 2023

I am sick again. Two days after I arrived at my destination, a virus caught me. I don’t understand - I was wearing a hat, a warm coat, and underpants. I am taking new pills to support my immunity system and I rarely forget about vitamin D. Every day I drink tea and eat a lot of lemons… At least I don’t have plans to travel anywhere far away for the coming three months. Even though I have a lot of time to be sick, it always pisses me off.

Maybe I got too stressed about my work, or maybe it was because of this gloomy day when I was crossing the bridge and I almost couldn’t walk and breathe because of the wind and rain. Or maybe because it was so cold in my studio. Or did somebody just infect me?

I was fourteen years old, sitting in my father’s car waiting for him in front of the store, and I suddenly had pain in my legs. I didn’t know where it was coming from. It made me think about other parts of my body that hurt recently. There were so many. I got very upset and thought that the only solution was to die. Being a shy person I couldn’t stand the thought of going to many doctors to check up on my health and examine the reasons for my multiple pains. It was too much to survive the rest of this life, especially since it was only the beginning and it could only get worse.

I am less hypochondriac since I am aware that many of my physical symptoms come from my mind. When in high school I had a strong pain in my arm nobody found anything wrong with it. I did everything possible to examine it because there were days that I couldn’t move it at all, just almost like it didn’t belong to the rest of my body. But now I use this arm normally. After two years the pain was gone by itself. 

When I had a free day, I was waking up with a feeling that something was wrong. I used to be a Sunday sicker. I was calling the doctors I know in panic and when nobody could help, Ijust walked to the hospital. They have never cured me and I was coming back home with a feeling that I am on a highway to death.

Although it might not be a highway, it’s a bike path.  And it inevitably leads to death. Luckily I am not alone there, but with all the species currently existing. What I can do to improve my comfort is to communicate with my body every month, all days of the week.

Usually, we suck at communication. And I use “we” because I barely feel that my body is me. The feeling doesn’t necessarily come from a point where I am not satisfied with what it looks like. Sometimes I would just rather not have it at all. Why should I then be surprised that it doesn’t like me either? We don’t know how to cooperate and consider ourselves as one. Most of the things I receive from it are pains. 

I forget about all the pleasures coming from the physical part of existence like even how sweet walking is after a virus finally leaves.

We had dinner with my friend’s parents. At some point, her young sister said something about her period and they started talking about it. I don’t remember how it happened when her mom called me “a failure of medicine” (meaning science, not remedy). It was coming from her awareness of my own neglected problems. I still can connect to this term on many levels.

In primary and middle school, I had the ambition to be the best student in class which I managed to fulfill. I always got straight As in biology. I could show the diversity of the protists' structures, explain the importance of ferns and horsetails in nature, list the features that make it possible to classify an organism as a fungus, describe the reproduction and development of fish, explain the role and interaction of muscles, tendons, bones, and joints in the performance of movements, etc.

I believe my biology teacher thought I wanted to be a doctor. I spent much time learning every chapter from a textbook. I guess that good students are often designated to choose a career in medicine. I somehow could do it because I knew how to learn and I’ve always been dedicated, but I had never truly considered it. By choosing an art high school, I said a final goodbye to any possible future in science. I truly regretted it only once, but my grandma regrets it all the time.

She already has one grandchild who is a doctor - my cousin. And once he was telling a story about a person he used to work with - a young doctor. She was afraid of everything and all she wanted to do was to go to the houses where someone just died and note the time of their death. She didn’t want to touch the body that was alive. Eventually, she left somewhere, so we don’t know if she still does her job. That would be me as a doctor -  “a failure of medicine”

My mom says that generally, I just have problems accepting that I am an animal. I agree but for some reason, it doesn’t come to me so easily. Whenever I start rebuilding a connection with my body, I blame myself that I gave up at a moment when it became too difficult and I give up again.  Maybe it’s my wrong understanding of a relationship with the physical world.

I lose a sense of my physicality more whenever I gain weight. Sometimes I think that it should be the opposite because the body becomes heavier and takes up more space. But I feel like with every gram of fat my true body is less visible. If I don’t mind what and when I eat, I let the connection fade away. If I am skinnier, life is usually more demanding. I can’t hide so I have to stand up for myself. I feel more honest and confident. Then sometimes I enjoy being fluffier because I can let myself be invisible and reckless. But it’s really only sometimes.