Anorexia, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, poverty, PTSD, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality

an open letter to my body

Dear Body,

I am very sorry for the way I have treated you lately and in the past.  I want so much to have a good relationship with you but I become jealous.  I become insecure.  To come to intimacy with you I must practice unconditional love.  I’m not there yet.  I stare in the big mirror in yoga class and words HATE HATE HATE HATE just keep popping up over and over as I notice thighs like trunks of trees and flat saggy bottom pulled down by gravity.

I ask you how many squats I must do, bottom, to make you like a shelf and you say that is not how it works, you say you are like my ski slope nose and are just a part of me.  And you ask me, why must I change when this is who I am?  I turn away and avoid looking at you in the mirror but sometimes see you flopping around in my shadow as I run and I despise you for hurting my ego.

I know the shape of my skeleton is only slightly different from the shapes of bones around me but when I got a DEXA body scan and saw pillows of fat around my hips I cried.  I cried myself to sleep 30% body fat even as I restrict my diet and workout four hours a day.  Please leave my bones, fat, please go away and help me to sleep better at night with your weight lifted from my hips.

And you, small breasts, what of you?  I thought you would grow and yet you remain the same small shape, barely a handful, appearing like small bumps in comparison to my thighs. I have no trust for the man who says he likes my huge bottom and small breasts.  I cannot believe that. You are a sociopath anyway and this just compounds the problem as the external world validates what I already think—no one could possibly love this body and he is lying.

Then others speak of body acceptance and these are the same folks who have bodies of fairies or who are so obese that to continue to accept means horrible medical consequences.  It’s very hard for me to hear them say breathe, love, change your thinking, eat for nourishment.  I do these things and yet the feel of any bra or pair of pants sinking into pockets of fat is enough to drive me to punch the walls of my home. I see these holes knowing where they came from.  Self-hate. I fix the holes until the next time I become so irritable with weight gain i scream and cry and punch. Do you hear me yet, body?

I meet men who say they love me but manipulate me telling me how very unattractive my insecurities are and I sink deeper and deeper and tears become more and more frequent as I tell him I am human, we are all insecure about a few things.  He walks away saying I text too much and he has worked on himself too long that my unhappiness with my body would make him feel uncomfortable.  I know the faulty thinking in this, body.  This has gone beyond knowing and my soul is bruised.  I let my spirit become deadened by the weight of you, body.

You, body, have always been my enemy when you grew out of control when I was just a 12 year old girl.  Growing, growing, out and up over six feet tall.  And no one was like you, body, no one was as tall as you or wore the same size jeans.  The dysmorphic tendencies grew worse and worse and when I see another tall female we are strange cats.  And I feel she is always skinnier than me.

I know the faulty logic.  Skinnier is not better.  Overtraining is rough.  Counseling is to manage the myriad of problems I create for myself outside of body image (there are many) and I keep close to my heart the things I do to you in private outside of just screaming at you.  I write this public letter to you not for pity, not to be told I have a problem (this I know) but so we can begin to mend, forgive each other and grow healthy again.

I know I can love you again.  I know we can grow or shrink and that these small steps are what matter.  I took off my shirt in yoga the other day wearing a sports bra to cover my tiny breasts and pulled up my spandex over my large hips and I closed my eyes.  You, body, are the shell.  I’m fortunate to have you in the transient lifetime so let us make peace.  Let us love each other again.

Jen

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver

Archetypes, Asana, Body Image, character study, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Trains, Universiality, Wyoming

greenbelt lunch

Driving, showering, running. Epiphany times.  I think sometimes the blog I have created paints a picture that is not necessarily accurate.  I don’t feel my life is tragic.  I don’t regret anything I have done.  Do I question myself and pray to gawd e’r day to send me a friend? Well, heck yes.  But there is so much to admire in this world.  Things to take in, then let go, and prepare for death and the next transient experience.  These are the things I believe.  These are the things I feel.  Things are the things I want to be with.

I’ve started running five miles at lunch, sometimes it’s timed, but mostly it’s to take in these windy Wyoming high plains I have called home for 13 years.   I run from my house to cross the train bridge downtown to get to the green belt. On the west end there is a little garden area that is watered by the same woman every day.  She wears a floppy hat and khaki pants and we are like two hands of a clock passing each other at different tempos.  She a pendulum, I a metronome beating to the glorious rhythm of life.  Her hose sprays from patches of grass to hollyhocks as she takes care of this tiny pseudo-garden juxtaposed by trains and a tall cigar shaped Union Pacific landmark that would be too much trouble to take down.  She has surrounded three sunflowers with a small enclosure and each living thing has become its own landscape its own piece of art.  We never talk but I appreciate her so much for what she does and how she takes care of a corner of the world that I have come to love.

As I continue my run along the dark gray paved green belt I’ve started to see another wonderful woman whose beauty strikes me.  She has a curious gait and bends her elbows at ninety degrees swinging back and forth like the tin man yet so fluid she floats.  Animated yet subtle.  A wonderful paradox, a metaphor for running, for life.  She is so beautiful and smiles at me every day and I wave and smile back under my salt and sweat soaked ball cap.  I think as I reflect and remember she is some kind of temporary angel whose human beauty matches the beauty of the land.  Her smile becomes like golden leaves in fall and her eyes reveal the blue that is lost in the green gray of the Laramie River.  I want to see myself as I see this woman and how she takes care of that corner of myself that I will come to love.

The locusts are everywhere in August and September and they flutter and hop and greet me while I wonder how much frost it will take for them to become dormant and spawn again.  I occasionally mistake them for butterflies and who is to say they can’t be butterflies with short spurts of flight zipping across the path yellow, cream, gold, black, brown.  I mistook a frog for a locust friend the other day as he sat with his nature-green-paisley back to me and I wondered why this locust wasn’t zipping and then he hopped like a tiny surprise, an expected yet anticipated phone call.  Just a bit up the path there is a grove of trees like an inviting painted alley welcoming whistling, trotting, and other hidden street activities.

And then there are those things not as conventionally beautiful—the freezer company across the field, the row of billboards to the east, the college apartments around the bend.  The river goes down and down in the dry August days and in parts it has become filled with bacteria and algae and I look over a bridge and spit into the water thinking how I would never bathe there.  Its color a light stony green like the eyes of a ex-lover when he was stoned.  But it is the home of other living things that need that space to live.  I stop under the bridge too and see the “lover” graffiti that I see all over town—it’s not elaborate and I create a picture of an annoying seventeen year old in my head who things lovers are worth using graffiti tags.  While all isn’t pleasant it’s all there to observe, to witness, and then to let go.  And when I smell the whiff of a cigarette from a loud truck I remember it is often those things that are the hardest to love that we need to come love.

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.”

-Deepak Chopra

Archetypes, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Suicide, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

the most selfish person i know (a biography)

Every day is filled with tiny baby setbacks and tiny baby victories and I’ve been putting off blogging about it because I realize how much I exist in my own head.  My head is not in the bell curve, it’s not appealing to many folks, it would be cancelled after one season.  I am so very selfish and spend so much time alone.  My world is all I have.  My thoughts are my friends, my thoughts are my enemies. As I work to share my world I create experiences to validate that which I already believe—I don’t understand intimate relationships.  I don’t understand friendship.  And I certainly don’t understand the intimate/friendship combo of a long term relationship.

I set the stage for my lonely, tragic, existential play at a young age, ready to be analyzed over and over like an awful Shakespearean play that I have to pretend to like because it seems to be what I ought do.  What ought I do?  It was Valentine’s Day and I was sixteen.  We skipped school and filled a brown, sticky, stained bong with snow and took rips of the dirtiest ditch weed a kid could get their hands on.  We skipped from house to house where parents would have us or where parents were gone and we could drink stolen brandy or Bud Light and listen to Tom Petty.  We would often drive around the dirt roads that connected coal mine to oil rig to ranch to old schoolhouse.  As we passed the same plastic bong around I thought—this is it.  This is all I need.

We arrived home and my parents had tried to show me love.  They sent me flowers only to find I had skipped school and had come home smelling of booze and weed.  My parents had never sent me flowers, all of us had trouble understanding these human relationships.  My face felt hot and I bit the pieces of skin around my fingernails that smelled like Marlboro Reds.  Harsh words, questions, and raised voices.  I swung my hair over the tie dye shirt I was wearing and told my parents:  I wanted to spend the day with someone I love.  That one is drugs.

Drugs won’t purposely miss your call.  Drugs don’t give you an STD.  Drugs don’t say that you text too much.  Drugs don’t call you insecure.  Drugs don’t avoid eye contact with you but stare at your overdeveloped thighs and hips.  Drugs don’t tell you that you remind them too much of an ex and would-you-just-quit that.  Drugs don’t stalk you for seven years.  Drugs don’t punch you so hard during sex you lose your hearing for three days.  Drugs won’t fuck you only past 10 pm because you are the other woman.  Drugs won’t take money you left on the counter.  Drugs won’t ask you to suck their dick for blow.  And yet, drugs take you all these places emotionally.  Maybe I ought treat them like an ex.

My uncle once told me that my brilliant grandfather experienced setbacks in his career because of the fire.  The crazy.  That which runs in our family which I have seen firsthand and experienced even more deeply firsthand.  I knew I was round the bend when I seventeen and I shot up a half gram of meth that had been cooked up hours before.  I lost my vision.  I lost my hearing.  I barely made it up the stairs.  When I had finished lying on the bed staring at souls circling above me, I walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.  I had switched, something had turned.  There goes the screw.  Like Alice, I had gone to the other side.  Manic.  Depressed.  Crazy.  Gifted. Touched by fire. Out there.  Ridiculous.  Ludicrous, preposterous, risible, farcical.

Will I ruin my career?  Will my soul mate be crystal meth?  I don’t believe in either of these things, because maybe I’m crazy enough to understand that while my attributes aren’t valued by all, or many, or a lover, I am not unworthy.  There is no manual of human contact and we create just miniature projections of ourselves.  Some cells want to be with others.  Some organs stand alone.  But no part of the human body is wrong, and no part of me is wrong.  I am selfish.  I am crazy.  I am the most beautiful person you will ever meet.  I say the ugliest things you will ever hear.  Will you still love me?  Because I sure do.

“I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I’m neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, and there is evil, and here I am.”

-Ram Dass 

Archetypes, character study, Christmas, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Universiality

the family tree

Whatever happened, happened a long time ago.  Before you were alive.  Before he was dead.  It happened in the family tree but like in winter, it’s hard to tell which part has died.  All the branches look the same, soft and sparkly in the winter, twisted and soft in the midnight light of summer.  We all see the tree differently in different light, seasons, different elements paint it’s long and sturdy arms. The transgenerational pattern of white, green, brown, black, tree-colors come and go like the patterns of the weather and seasons of the heart.  We fight, branches are cut off, new branches grow, different phases of the living thing—branches in the sky and roots in the ground.  Sky-father and mother-earth, all of our beliefs rest in this tree.  Whatever happened, some say it began in the trunk, in the branches, or in the veins of leaves, arriving as if by train, harsh elements propelled forward.  Some say by saw, by fire, by rain.  It happened before we could name it or give it a feeling, a symbol, a mood.  We sometimes still see the pink elephant, the things we won’t name, slip in and out of the jungle of connections between us, between the vines of our father and his sister around the ferns of our grandmother and her children.  And that’s just the way things are, so we say.  We live and we die and we don’t figure it out but the tree is still alive.  The family moves on through winter and summer.  Spring and autumn.  The tree still stands watered by love and the knowledge that although it might not see it branches on all sides, there is love from all sides, connection.  There are also things that happened a long long time ago to plant this family tree, this line of origin, these blessings of family, prayer, and love.

A Wind Has Blown The Rain Away and Blown

“a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand.  I think i too have known
autumn too long

                  (and what have you to say,
wind wind wind—did you love somebody
and have you the petal of somewhere in your heart
pinched from dumb summer?
                            O crazy daddy
of death dance cruelly for us and start

the last leaf whirling in the final brain
of air!)Let us as we have seen see
doom’s integration………a wind has blown the rain

away and the leaves and the sky and the
trees stand:
             the trees stand.  The trees,
suddenly wait against the moon’s face.”  

ee cummings

Archetypes, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Southern Gothic, Suicide, Wyoming

the art of life

Sometimes I distrust the morning if for nothing other than the light. Harsh blue light creeping from the east casting a shadow behind. Feeling cornered in a smoky room I found through swinging western doors after a journey I wasn’t sure I should travel. Hyper vigilant and jumpy staring through silvered almond eyes that become smaller and less sure, less open in the early dawn. Light drifting upon gravel roads, sparkling from the periphery atop tall grass and yarrow arching, flicking plant hair of dew and little black bugs.

I see a man walking in the afternoons wearing a long sleeve, button up plaid shirt. Faded and worn from the James Cash Penney department store in some small town in Wyoming, maybe Kemmerer, or so I imagine. A gentlemen walking now in the warm afternoon but lost in hot time when clothes were wrapped in brown paper and string. A man displaced finding himself not at a tent revival he thought he’d finally found but on the scoliosis spine of Laramie sidewalks. Maybe its own tent revival, rural, a button up shirt is Sunday’s best, Laramie’s finest. He is looking fine as frog hair. Hymns falling off mouths now pearl buttons, flannel thread a new verse to the same old song, prayers like solid brown slacks. Slight hunch in his back and a bible in his left hand. Head down, hair long past his chin and a long gait staring forward and down, down.

Evening the time of theatre-in-the-round. Tonight the playwright, the designer, the director, the sky. Wearing a gown of deep purple, glowing orange, soft pink swaying in brown-shoe-roads with stockings made of green. Symphony directed by the wind–cottonwoods and aspens flutter, creak and sway, deep bass sounds of thunder and soprano of neighborhood children screaming create the score for the epic of the unwinding evening. Breeze gentle, smells gentle, touch gentle, as the play turns toward the bedroom where spoken lines becomes sighs and the music fades with the gentle breath of sleep.  What dreams may come, said another playwright, and what dreams may be.  Dreams of morning, noon, night, now.

“The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself.”

Emmet Fox

Asana, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Suicide, Universiality

the uncut hair of graves

I keep the phone squished between my shoulder and ear driving to Corona Village to pick up fajitas I had ordered before my dear friend called.  She is dead now.  She hung herself.  I wish I could say I don’t picture her body there hanging, owl tattoo on her right shoulder.  Hair blonde, maybe more brown, jutty cut she had surely given herself to frame her beautiful thinned out almond crystal eyes.  We talk about so many things on the phone.  She hears my voice for who I really am. She sees me for me.

We talk about how she will move to South Carolina soon and I watch the brightly colored tiles that decorate the walls of the restaurant nd wish she were back in Wyoming.  Phone sill squished, I drive home to eat my meal.  To talk to my friend.  To heal my soul.  I dip a chip into guacamole and taste the tiny individual pieces of salt visible on the triangles and she tells me when she admired me for talking about performing oral sex in our English capstone class.  Tells me I used the phrase “sucking dick” and that had liberated her.  I remember that self that wouldn’t wear a belt or a bra and talk frankly of sex in class because I wanted so bad to accept my body and to accept sex and to be a part of something that carries so much power.

My mind flashes back to a care package she had left at my house and I watch as a drop of runny salsa hits the floor and puddles out while I remember what was in the box.  Corsets, bras, whips, and other kinky shit she felt safe enough to give me.  I look at the spot of salsa and smile about how she thought I was something more than I think I am.  In her eyes, to her short choppy hair, I was a sex vixen.  I crouch down and wipe up the blood like salsa with a napkin and shove it back in the takeout bag.

Pushing carrots, celery, and mushrooms around in the foam container soaked in grease and dark red sauce made of chilies and cumin she tells me about how she had to cancel her Facebook account for slugging too much wine in the evenings and writing provocative shit.  That wasn’t her or mine assessments but her graduate program that had broken her down like I had been broken down in my own program.  I drop a tiny spoonful of sour cream onto beans and put them into my mouth while tears start to fall down.  She gets me.  She sees my spark and I see hers and we want to drink wine and perform oral sex on whomever or wherever we feel like.

I’ve wrapped my tortillas in foil and slopped the food from foam into plastic containers.  Organize. Compartmentalize. Anything to give myself the illusion of control.  We get ready to end the phone call and I tell her to keep pushing forward, to give her writing to the world, and I tell her I’ve saved all of her writing.  Even her e-mails.  Nothing can happen more beautiful than death for the awareness of life it gives to all who suffer its consequences.

Hey jenn,
Im getting that piece to you sunday night hell or high water.  I found this article about throwing around words to look learned n after our talky talky bout the mfa boys club n tim like people i thought u might like it too:
http://rhetoric.byu.edu/figures/groupings/Vices.htm
Im usin my phone so pardon all the grammar bad ju ju
Jodi

J. P. Corley

Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Higher Education, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection

porecelin skin

Found myself at the counter with folks I would have run around with years ago. I become passionate and excited to talk about art and to slowly integrate the artist in myself that I so often deny. Words, phrases, thoughts, flung around about consistency in writing, Foucoult, science- fiction, research in science, change. I was excited to talk about this lofty stuff, the result of years in an institution with its own agenda. It all came back to what I care about—people. We are not separate. I am you and you are me and we are the same atoms spinning around. We all have a flow, our dharma, those things we care deeply for and I watch this fall as the earth is in its own passionate stage, changing the color of trees like tye-dye, bushes lit on fire like in a bible story—red and orange and alive. Branches jutting into the sky curling and winding ready for winter naked with brown bark while the rest of us bundle up in our leaves that grow in the cold opposite the trees—coats of fur and down keeping in our energy. Energy is never created or destroyed just like ideas, just like love. These conversations I have with others are not new, this is not the first time I have been here and nostalgia takes another form of energy transferred as we all recall other times and spaces when we in other forms. And as I watch the earth’s autumn art I begin to integrate the artist in myself, the person that scares me with intensity.   Strangely affected by others and the passion, the intensity, is shared amongst us all.