24 November 2012

Maybe It's More Than a Headache

I have not read Susan Sontag's "Illness as Metaphor."  Things are happening in my body lately and my attention is frequently drawn to it. I ponder whether they are "age-related" or need immediate attention by a healthcare professional. I ask myself if it's related to cigarette smoking.

And I consider it as metaphor. As a symbol of some metaphysical expression from my deepest self that I should attend and translate...and be healed of.

In CA, lots of people pay attention to their bodies. They exercise and eat right; they avoid scents and additives and gluten and nuts. They buy ergonomically correct furniture and footwear.

They want to live as long as they can, feeling as good -- physically -- as they can.

I couldn't get into it very much when I lived there. When it comes right down to it, my core belief runs along the lines of "Whatever happens will happen." You might devote your life to eating healthy and then get hit by a truck one day, crossing the street after an appointment with your chiropractor. Anything can happen and it's all out of my control.

Here in MS, people don't pay much attention to their bodies (although I learned this holiday weekend that lots of people "don't do sweets"). I see a lot of obesity and there's no such thing as an "organic aisle" at the only market alternative to Wal-Mart.

And, paradoxically, I am more and more inclined to take care of my body living here.

I would not ask to lose my sight or mobility; still, when my knees bother me or my vision blurs after hours on the computer or at the piano, I contemplate what life would be like if I could not see, if I could not walk. The contemplation doesn't frighten or horrify me. People live good lives without sight or mobility. Life is not about our physical existence

and yet

an essential aspect of living is profoundly physical.

I tease myself with an invitation to go all out for physical health: start exercising, stop smoking, drink water, eat organic. Just do it for a while and see what it's like.

I tell myself "You can still be your own juicy, spicy, edgy self. You don't have to get all California-airy-fairy."

I see the whole thing as part of that thing I was talking about in the last post. That feeling like it's time to get on task with some projects. Including stepping up the maintenance of my physical health.