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Reframing the body as an ally

Body of mine, I am trying to protect, is scaring me.

The pandemic has brought forth a sense of a paradoxical relationship with our bodies – a paradox that may be new to some of us but appears in the everyday lives of people with eating disorders, anxiety and trauma-related disorders, psychosomatic disorders, or medical conditions.

It is challenging – maybe, also exhausting – to change almost every aspect of our lives to accommodate the measures that will keep our bodies safe. While being forced to stay home (away from work, and away from family, friends or loved ones) is a noticeable step, even the everyday routine has been affected. Having to change our diets as a result of what food is most accessible. Layering up our bodies with protective wear before stepping out of home. Taking out time to disinfect anything that we buy. Even spending those extra seconds to wash our hands using a method that complies with the healthcare guidelines. Each of these actions serve as indicators that our bodies are in the path of potential danger and dealing with something unfamiliar. With every repetition of these actions, a micro-dose of anxious feelings and physiological responses may emerge within the body that we are trying to protect. It is no easy feat to have to constantly care for a body that evokes fear or anxiety – quite literally on a physiological level, as well as through stressful contemplation of what might happen to it when considering different outcomes.

And yet, the same body is an ally right now. It still is a home to the person that we are. By making changes in how we use and protect our bodies, we are potentially saving our lives and those of others. As the body adapts to these changes, it deserves the same patience and compassion that we are offering to the mind in its quest for coping and making meaning of life in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe, we need to reframe. Maybe, the body does not want us scared, but is scared for us. Those moments of fear and anxiety may feel uncomfortable, unwanted, intrusive, and even disruptive. But underlying them might be the intention of our bodies to remind us that they want us to be safe.

Body of mine, is scared for my safety, is my ally.

Written by: Late Aditi Trivedi

Trivedi, A. (2020). Soma Lunes. ang(st), DISTANCED 2.0 Project.

Artwork by Lunes originally published as a part of the DISTANCED 2.0 Project by ang(st) zine.


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