The Body Remembers
Just get over it.
Why can’t you just get let it go?
Because it has not gone anywhere. It is still here.
The first time I did yoga I cried.
And every time after that for six months.
At the mat, I came face to face
with my self hatred.
At the mat, I discovered the way
I hold my trauma in the space between my pelvic bones.
Some people brought towels to class
to wipe away their sweat.
My towel wiped away my snot and tears,
as a lifetime of holding trauma was released,
in sudden waves that washed over me,
salty memories licking my skin.
The body remembers.
I have a safe home now.
I have a gentle, loving husband who adores me
and would do anything to protect me from harm.
But I still have to ask him not to stand in doorways
that block my exit from a room,
because blind panic crawls up my spine
like a thousand tiny spiders.
The body remembers. (Even if the mind does not.)
Because the truth is,
I really don’t remember much of what happened.
I do remember the aftermath.
The fall out.
The shame and blame.
But of the initial acts, I recall a game of pretend,
played out under covers.
Memory has kindly laid a fog around the specifics
of how my vulva became rubbed so raw as to require
I guess it must have hurt at some point.
I don’t recall the pain.
At least, not the physical pain.
But the body remembers.
Yesterday a toddler
full of joy and cheerful abandon
ran full tilt into my back
and shockwaves echoed my trauma.
No. Please stop that.
The body remembers.
And no, I do not want to hear about your magic therapy
or 12-step program that will “cure” me so I can be “normal like you.
And no, I do not want your pity either.
What I want is for you to see me.
To see my scars like you would see the scars of a burn victim.
As proof of my will to live and love
through un-imaginable pain.
Because my body remembers.
And these scars show the world that I survived.
© Joyelle Brandt 2016
This poem is part of a series of works Joyelle is creating called Written on the Body that explore how our bodies contain and reflect our lived experiences, and the map that trauma leaves on the body.