Yearly, my body rejects something new. Wheat was first. Then asparagus, broccoli, and green pepper together. Red meat followed. This year, grapefruit and red wine. One day I ingest these things I have eaten all my life and my body simply says no. With a period. It leaves no room for negotiation.
I wonder what’s going on in there. How does the body make these decisions? I look for meaning in them, for connections between the rejections. That is the stoic in me, the one that believes all things are connected. Yet the phenomena remain random, the banned foods don’t fit neatly into any buckets. I can eat most nightshades but not all. I can’t eat wheat or gluten but don’t have Celiac disease. One citrus is unacceptable while all others bring joy.
“Your body is not in control!” the YouTube personal trainer yells three quarters of the way through the workout. “It’s all in your mind! You don’t have to listen to that pain! Come on, just 30 more seconds. You can do anything for 30 seconds!”
He actually believes that. I know he does, because I follow him on Instagram and that’s pretty much how he lives his life: mind over body, his body is his project. And honestly, he’s got the muscle definition to show for it, so I can’t argue with his methods. Me, though, I’ve learned to listen to my body. It’s taken me years, but now I obey it, respect its whims and temper tantrums. Every morning, I ask it what it wants. Often, it wants to sweat and strain and stretch. Some days it wants to sit with green tea and read instead, and I give it that. I’ve stopped fighting, started feeling.
The poet in me still overthinks it, though, looks for the connections between wheat and broccoli, grapefruit and wine. This body is fodder for creativity, its millions of nerve endings bringing the world to me.