This house, this house that is a body

Face towards the sun as the wind blows with delight. I turn to the south to follow its warmth. I am not kept by the canvas drawn curtains, lopsided and shifty, they sway. The wood panels, broken and chipped. This old house, drawing near to its century, holds a lifetime of change. Oh, this place has been rattled with rage, ached with grief, and tortured by growth. Sometimes this tiny place feels like it’s bursting at the seams. Sometimes it feel much too big, perhaps empty and hollow. This is the house of change. That’s supported life and growth. I’ve rigged my body in its corners, places where I mend and heal. There’s not enough oil to quiet its creaks. It is the house that shakes and sways when trucks pass the neighboring alley. This house, like the body, holds a lifetime of change.
Your body, like a house, holds a lifetime of change. How you move, can spot where memories remain. There are emotions that seep between your folds and formations. Your smile says one thing, your eyes another. Doors that open, a heart closed-off or burdened. What’s brought you to your knees, is where some of the hardest floors and walls are kept. Unless you’ve unlocked your house, for all to break-in, to ravage your insides. Only you know how you’ve kept your house, this body, this life. Your body holds onto the life you are living.
I think if we knew deep down what has brought each of us to our knees, we’d never rely on tongued judgments or screened perceptions for proof of such life. Rely less on another to determine such fate. You’ll have to penetrate the superficial to go in deep, to wash the walls and dust the furniture of each other.
This is for my sister, Jade, who sits alongside my knees as much as she does heel-toeing in dance steps on flames. Kauai, we are ready and coming for you.

stephanie birch

it's only a body

It’s only a body.
This body that houses the innards of me. A body that once lived quite disconnected and abused; for purchase and gains and misuse from others. It’s this body that displays tom-boys scars and proven athleticism. This body that was - and still at times - mocked for its size and intake. This body is long and lanky and more often ungrounded and shaky. It is this body that has nourished life and birthed a child. This body on display has kept me moving and living. This is the body that longed for curves to fill out the womanly ways. This body unable to reach one point or another of standards untrainable. This is the body that is shaped from living, mothering, strengthening, and aging. This is the body I remain in and hold steadfast and high.
It is this body, I strengthen.
It is this body, I’ve reconnected.
It is this body, I love.
It is this body that is wrinkled, scarred, and resurrected. It’s taken years to learn what strength can do for the physical and the mental. I learned at the age of 19 that a 100lbs girl can save a 300lbs man 13ft underwater. I know now that strength is as much mental as it is physical.
Never stop showing up for yourself and your life.