Once, I was soft.
My hips swayed with chimes and bells and my shoulders rocked like midday waves, sweet and steady and rhythmic.
Then this softness fractured
and something else emerged like shrugging off a shell.
Now, I am ruthless.
I have become drumming hail on zinc. I need to move and quickly. Quick and driving and taught. I push and pull until I am tired and then keep going. My lungs burst with effort and my heart rises to my throat and I want my body to ache.
Like I am preparing for battle. Like Artemis and Amazon women and sleek half-jaguar women surround me and push me in ways I need to be pushed.
The ways that my body craves to move is astounding. I’ve been wanting to go hard. When I cannot lift my arms an inch more, when an instructor demands more resistance–I laugh because testing limits is fun, not frustrating.
Then I try. I usually impress myself.
Sweat-sheened and breathing hard. This is not pretty, and it feels so good.
I’ve stopped caring what people at the gym think about my belly and thighs and where my bra indents my back. I’ve stopped caring that I’m not wearing makeup and my hair is matted to my face and I’m rocking a serious sweat-stache. I’ve stopped comparing myself to other women and am inspired by how fucking incredible and strong they are. It makes me feel strong too.
There’s a scene in Mortal Kombat where Sonja Blade is fighting Kano, and she finally pins him with her legs. Shang Tsung screams “Finish him!” and she breaks Kano’s neck
with her THIGHS.
In these times of change, our bodies reveal secrets. Some bodies need softness as self-care: footbaths, luxurious naps, grounding food and gentle movement.
Some bodies’ self-care is exertion, a way to release the pressure valve: it is pushing, it is screaming, it is physical sensation. Sometimes it is pain–the pain of growth and change.
Most bodies need a little bit of both. Self-care can be many things.
We prepare for battle in different ways. We are all different kinds of warriors.