COME ON UP TO THE HOUSE
By: Lauren Anderson
I better come clean.
This is hard for me, and honestly I would rather be writing about anything else today. I want to tell you all a triumphant tale of me overcoming something small but significant. I want to share a win. But I don’t have that story today.
I woke up this morning and it was as if I was seeing myself for the first time. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror. I have changed–and not in the ways I have been working towards.
It’s like I was walking up a mountain, and thought I was just setting up my tent to rest for the night, but when I woke up, I see I backslid back down most of the mountain.
And even though I know I am very different from how I used to be, I am staring up at the mountain resenting all the ground I lost, and lamenting how to “start over”. Especially now knowing what I know.
You see, at some point in the past couple months I think I managed to dislodge from my body again. And if I am being very very honest, I have been living entirely inside my head. I am shocked and annoyed to be here, after all the work, and all the learning… but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened.
If you’ve been following along in this blog, you know one of the things I’ve been working on the most in my fitness journey is being inside my whole body—as opposed to living my life from the neck up. Cause that’s how I used to operate. Concerning myself only with things that occurred in my mind. Leaving my neglected body to fend for itself.
One thing I have done in the past couple years is fuse my head back onto my body. I started listening and loving this form that I used to hate and take for granted. It was beautiful. It’s the difference between being alone and lost in the dark scary woods- or inside a safe and warm, toasty cabin.
So when I rolled out of bed, and looked at myself and didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me, I could feel my cheeks getting hot– but before I freaked out I did something new. Something that probably wouldn’t have been an option before. I looked at her, and even though I was kinda surprised at what I was witnessing, I smiled.
I look different. I feel different. But she is not gone.
Okay… this is good. All is not lost. The old me would’ve given up or chosen more destruction. The old me would’ve said shitty things about myself and gone back to bed. Defeat and retreat. But instead, I moved my hands up and down my limbs and told myself it was okay.
In a sense, I mothered myself. In the way that a proverbial mother might. I gave comfort and reassurance. I tried to show some unconditional love. And as I stood there hugging my own body, I said out loud,
“Okay, Lauren. It’s time to come on up to the house.”
Now if you know me at all, you know I’m a big Tom Waits fan. “Come on Up to the House” is a song of his off of his Mule Variations album, and it’s one of my favorites. The lyrics are basically like:
“When the moon is broken and the sky is cracked, come on up to the house
The only things you see, is all you lack, you gotta come on up to the house.”
“Does life seem nasty, brutish and short? Come on up to the house
The seas are stormy and you cant find no port, You gotta come on up to the house.”
If you haven’t heard it, it’s worth a listen. But I think I love the song mostly because it’s rich in metaphor– DUH. And the idea of being called back to the safety of “the house” by your mother when it’s starting to get dark outside, touches on the needs of my child self.
It’s comfort. It’s care. It’s safety. It’s all the things we love about the idea of being “home”.
And basically, that’s how I like to see my body as well. I often think about my body as a home for my soul. And lately I have been living outside of it, and away from it. Concerning myself with everything but what was happening to my “house”.
If that makes any sense?
I’m standing here hugging myself and calling myself back home. And then suddenly, I might not be as far back down the mountain as I thought.
Okay, okay. This is good. So I put on my detective hat.
How did I dislodge from my body again? What happened? Well… If I am tracking correctly, when I fell down the stairs and hurt myself, was also around the same time I started to work on some really heavy stuff in therapy.
The work I did/am doing in therapy is really important to me getting healthy, but it is, by it’s nature, very much in and of the mind.
So between the therapy work, and the pain that my literal body was in, I think I just dipped out. I traveled back into my head and forgot about the body that needed me. And here we are months later, and I’m just now realizing it.
I know I have options. I mean, I could beat myself up. I could get really mad at myself. I could give up. I could run further out into the woods and get lost there in the dark and cold for a bit longer.
Or, I could be compassionate. I can give myself a break. I can notice that I have been missing. Like a good mother might. And I can call myself back up to the house.
I could take a minute to remember it was warm and safe there. It’s happy there. When I am residing in my FULL BODY, not just my head, I feel strong and good. When I support my body, my body supports me. And that’s what I want.
It’s hard to admit that I got lost again. It’s been hard to realize that I backslid away from my body. The relationship that I’ve been so proud of, and that was so hard-won.
But if I look closely, I think this might be an important reminder for me. I am no where near where I started. Every inch or mile I’ve traveled has taught me something I needed to know to get to where I am now. Even though I got lost, I can hear a voice in the distance.
I can see the glow of the lights. I can smell the smoke from the chimney.
I can hear myself calling to myself. “You better come on up to the house.”
And I think I will.