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Body = Me


(I first wrote this on 6/15/03)

I'm reading a classic book on schizophrenia -- The Divided Self, by R. D. Laing. He rejects the medical/behavioral model and jumps inside his clients, empathizing with them, and experiencing why their thoughts have organized themselves in ways that appear insane to most observers.

The book is so compelling, so empathic, I'm falling into it. This experience reminds me of something my Abnormal Psychology professor told me on the first day of class: "We will all see bits of ourselves and our friends in these descriptions of mental disorders. That doesn't mean we are all crazy."

(I majored in Psychology in college and went on to study the discipline in graduate school.)

As I rode home on the Metro I read his chapter on the mind/body split. Some schizophrenics feel permanently split off from their own bodies, observing their bodies as you would observe a pet or a friend. This chapter felt spooky to me ... because I am very much an analytical intellectual observer, and I spend a lot of my free time inside my mind instead of inside my body.

Even though I enjoy exercise, I approach it from an analytical framework -- that of keeping my body well-tuned.

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Sometimes I do feel like I'm living in my body. When I'm touching somebody else, or receiving touch. When I'm working out especially hard. When I'm dancing free-form to my favorite songs. When I meditate upon my breath and my heartbeat. When I masturbate. When I eat a gratifying meal. When I'm baking or cooking or doing chores around the apartment.

I live in my body more now than ever before ... so much more that it pulls me back when I wander too far. Yet, I realized on the Metro that right now my body is my anchor, not my home.

I want to make it my home.


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