Repost: Compulsion to motion
Writing is a muscle. So even on days when there isn’t much to say, one must write.
Today I spoke with a very old and beautifully strong friend. And her body is tired. And we spoke about other bodies in the movement. The invisible ones. Not the ones that get painted in stylised forms on placards. Not the ones who have the dubious glory of glaring persecution. But the ones who are the cogs. The finance person. The accountant. The logistics person. The one who coordinates things like milestones and deliverables, and writes reports. The ones who do the kinds of labour that is there in every kind of work. Even in this work that has within its heart the need to change its logic and mechanisms.
These bodies are often female bodies. And maybe the body of our aunt. The imagined aunt. Sometimes the bodies don’t even inhabit the politics. Not the radical fiery politics anyway. But a much more important, gentler, more persistent politics of care, compassion and responsibility. They get shit done. The non-poetic kind of shit. They everyday shit that needs to get done. And what happens when the apparatus of persecution targets these bodies?
The rhetoric and flesh sometimes do not mingle. When embraced by the wildfires of current drama, there is no time for you to have stones in your gallbladder, or suffer from the invisible thinning of your stomach lining, or be needing the time for your body chemistry to adjust to the new necessary sugar/gluten/lactose-free diet so you can walk without feeling like there are knives under your skin, or have aching loss and sadness sit in your bones.
So we struggle to be well. We hurry our bodies to heal, and become stronger. We compact rest into pockets of days that consist of nothing where we can. Forgetting that it takes time to forget. I wonder how long it would take for my fingers to forget exactly which alphabet rests on which key on the keyboard. Or my mind to forget to reach for my screen.
Even as I speak (type) – I am training my muscle.
I read once in a book about how to care for carnivorous plants, that plants want to live. It’s easy to forget that because the plants under the scrutiny of human hands and eyes all seem so fragile and die so easily. At least to me. Until they become an unruly shadow of a jungle, then the compulsion appears stronger.
I am surrounded by plants planted by other people. That are then entrusted to me for care. Sometimes by accident, sometimes by design, always, by life’s paths.
They live. Mostly.
Reposted from an old blog: 22 December 2016
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