what the body knows.

I’ve been working on graduating. Part of that is working through a series of poems, using research to supplement those poems. This is out of my comfort zone, not something I’ve ever really explored. For a few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to research a poem, write a poem based off that research, and tie everything together.

I tried to talk about the trauma. It’s too fresh. So, with a little less than half a semester left, I’ve been reworking my entire portfolio. I’ve banned myself from writing the poems i normally write. these poems i wrote aren’t lost, they’re just on the back burner, so that i can let time do its thing and i can heal more. you can’t heal from wounds when you’re constantly

i’ve been researching the process of decay, which is fitting, my entire life is the process of decay.

yesterday, i blacked out at work. i’m officially dehydrated. i’m home sick in my harry potter robe, sitting on my couch in my “office” writing poems and listening to music and trying to do some research, all while being gentle to myself.

i’m going to stop capitalising words because my hands today are swollen and i can’t hold a pen and i have to get the words out while i have them.

i’ve been drinking cranberry juice and i have chamomile tea. i have had a fever since yesterday. my entire left side of my body is weak. there is the usual joint pains, but the pain today is the worst in my hands, my left knee, left arm, the whole arm, but especially the elbow.

as a chronically ill person, i thought i had made peace with what my life is going to look like. specialist after specialist, new foods they tell you that you can’t eat, working through pain, sleeping and waking like you didn’t sleep. pain meds and different ways of managing pain. i’m out of my meds. i’m weak. i’m in bed or on the couch. but i’m also a starving poet. literally starving. half the reasons i got in this mess was because i basically stopped eating.

i would eat a free sandwich at work or a bit of dinner at home, but mostly, i don’t eat because i am trans and poor and sick and i needed to pay for my meds and the gas to get me to and from work and school.

i blacked out because i push too hard.

part of that is a symptom of surviving as long as i have. i don’t know when to quit because if you stop you die and if you sleep you die and you just push through the pain.

part of that is because i’ve been sick for a long time, in varying degrees, but the decay is the same.

i look back on what little i remember from my life and i think, oh, i was healthy then, but i really wasn’t, i was sick, i just didn’t know it.

i am trying to remember to be gentle with myself. that i’m not lazy for taking a break. that it’s okay that i can’t do as much right now, i just have to keep doing what i can. i know i need to do laundry, and make some proper food, and finish unpacking from my 3rd move in 3 years. i need to do the mountain of homework needed to graduate. i need to finish my taxes.

i feel like i’m under water most days.

i feel like a wooden floor after a flood.

i read two years ago that our bodies cells replace itself every seven years and as a trauma survivor, it’s something that i grabbed onto when i was in the abyss and needed to hang on lest i fell through the crater. it’s one of those ways i come back to myself. one day, i’ll have a body that hasn’t been abused.

today i learned that’s not exactly true. white blood cells stay in your body for a few months. colon cells only live a few days. cells die and respawn all the time. but our mind stays throughout our entire lives. those neurons never really die.

i don’t know what to make of that.

my mind has been hijacked and i have memories that aren’t mine, or twisted, and i can tell you about twenty different stories from some events. part of the problem with ptsd, which i have been researching for a long time, is that our brains rewire themselves. they need to. we just witnessed or experienced extreme trauma. we need to survive. we go into flight or fight mode. it’s been over a year since the worst of it, and i still don’t know how to sleep properly. just when i think i’m going to get comfortable enough, something pulls me out of that peaceful place and i’m thrown into a nightmare.

i’ve spent a year trying to get back to where i was. and i kept telling myself that yes, my body is going to come back new and i’m going to be okay. there are things that heal, and the mind is one of them, but my mind is going to always carry the weight of what it experienced.

which brings me back to something dumbledore told harry. just because it’s happening inside your own head doesn’t mean it’s not real.

just because i see ghosts and walk houses blown apart doesn’t mean that what i experience isn’t real.

maybe it is a good thing our minds survive.


i keep trying to do the best i can and move forward and live. part of that process is going to be scaling things back for a while. i need to destress. part of studying decaying though, is that positive. when we die, our bodies eventually become life force for things like trees and fungus and we might not be conscious of it, but eventually, we grow into something else, even after complete devastation. that’s something i can hang onto.


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