In a comment on this post by Jessica, I prefaced a statement about my sleep habits by saying: "I am much more mortal, embodied, and human than I realized when I was 18...." And then this morning, as I clicked through some links from Sarah Bessey, I found this article that put into words (ironically) some of my own struggle with using words. And all of this made me think about embodiment.
Before I wrote this, I washed the dishes. I put my hands in hot, soapy water, and wiped a dishrag over ceramic plates and cups. I scrubbed a wood cutting board that smelled of the onions chopped on its surface. I drained the water from the sink, then brought my cast iron pans over from the stove to coax the debris of breakfast cooking off their surfaces - eggs from one, bacon from the other. I rinsed coffee grounds out of my french press. I wiped the counters and the stovetop.
After the dishes, I took care of a diaper, left to soak before I started the dishes. There's little that's more embodied than a dirty cloth diaper, waiting to be swished, rinsed, scrubbed, wrung out, and dropped in a pail with other diapers to await wash day.
This, here, is life. The thoughts that I think about it in my head are not life. The abstractions and lessons and principles that I take from it are not life. This is life.
Embodied. Rinsing eggs off of cast iron. Wringing toilet water out of cotton.
I struggle with how to use the words that I have been given, because I want life to embody the abstraction of my words, instead of using the abstraction of words to convey the embodiment of life. When I kept copious journals as a teen, they weren't so much for the purpose of pouring out life as it was, but for rationalizing life as it was with the big things that I thought life should mean. They were for wrangling, bending, and obfuscating, not for expressing clearly. As a coping mechanism for an emotional teen, this isn't the end of the world, but now as an adult I struggle with the place of words (which I love) in my life. I would still like to use them to construct what I think that my life should be, instead of conveying what my life is. I want to skip ahead. I want to use abstraction to justify, excuse, or rationalize life. But over and over I have heard a call to embody. To use words to show things as they are. I hope that in the future, this space will do a better job with that.
And now everything that I need to learn in life (embodied in my child) has woken up from his nap. So long!