Chemistry is an elusive thing.
How to explain the way our cells attract, the way our atoms gravitate towards each other? How to explain the way the chemicals in our bodies react the way they do, the way that tension builds between us like a thickness filling the air?
When I’m with you I can feel your skin pulse beneath my hands, my palms, heavy, searching your torso. Your flesh responds so viscerally - warming, tensing, softening, bending to fit the curves of my own. Is there anything in this world more real than the heat that manifests during the moments we share together?
We are opposite poles being inexplicably pulled together. We are magnetic.
On eating (or not).
This may be an unfair assumption, but I believe that all women struggle with unhealthy eating habits at some point in their lives.
When I was 16, I started dating a boy. It wasn’t really a “relationship,” but it lasted 3 months, and during the brief space of time in which I called this boy my “boyfriend,” there existed a constant tension between us, an incessant push and pull. It was simple, really. I wanted his attention and affection, and he didn’t want to give it. It ended because he was never really emotionally present.
Also during this brief space of time, I genuinely thought I was anorexic. I was in such a depression over this boy, I would go days consuming only the bare minimum required to merely sustain consciousness. I would go so long without eating, I wouldn’t even notice the sound of my stomach grinding against itself with every inhale and exhale, the sound of it caving as it essentially ate itself.
It’s surprisingly not difficult to withhold food from yourself. The hunger hits like a wall after the first 12 hours or so, but after that - if you climb over that wall, if you ignore it, your appetite suddenly wanes. It hides as your mental determination beats it into submission. A vague weakness passes through you, but for the most part, you can carry on about your day without too much distraction.
I climbed over this wall a lot while I was busy moping about my “boyfriend,” the physical and emotional pain paralleling each other. Because I was consuming such a minimal amount of food during this time, even the small bits of food I was eating were hard to keep down. I wasn’t exactly binging and purging - just purging the little that was even there. I weighed 79 lbs when I was 17.
Anyways, the reason I don’t think I had an actual eating disorder was because it only lasted for a brief period of time. I believe my eating habits were strongly tied to the way I felt about my boyfriend rather than a misguided body image, and as I got over him, I also got over the desire to suppress my appetite.
However, this is not to say that I don’t still encounter and struggle with the occasional starvation binge. Being skinny can be an addiction. When clothes that once hung loosely off your body suddenly start to hug it, it can be terrifying. In 2011, I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed, and it was only 105-fucking-pounds. It took me 20-something years to break 100 lbs, and when it finally happened, I freaked out. That December I got sick with a fever that confined me to my bed, and even though initially I couldn’t eat because I was sick, I eventually didn’t eat because I wanted to see how much further I could push myself to shave off just a few more pounds. And indeed, there was a period of time when withholding food for a couple of days at a time was my go-to activity to get skinny fast.
I talk about this frequently, but I fucking love yoga, and a big reason for this is that since I’ve started practicing and going to the gym on a regular basis, I’ve stopped feeling the impetus to step on a scale every time I leave my apartment. I haven’t weighed myself in months, but it’s empowering to know that even though I probably weigh more than 100 lbs now, some of that weight is muscle - muscle that allows me to do more push-ups, that gives my core the strength to hold an inversion, that lets me balance my entire body in all sorts of standing and arm balance positions. I’ve learned to prioritize strength over how skinny my arm looks on my hip in photos, and I don’t have to force myself to eat on a regular basis, because I can’t go to the gym if my limbs are shaky, I can’t go if there’s a chance my legs will buckle beneath me.
There are still rare nights when I have to force myself to eat dinner, which is strange to admit considering my infamous reputation to eat out for every meal. But though the drive to stay petite is still something that sits faintly in the back of my mind, and will probably forever sit, I feel confident in the fact that it’s no longer something with which I “struggle,” because I’ve learned that strength feels much more gratifying than the literal emptiness of starving to be skinny.
“Skin and kisses.”
Cleaning out my external hard drive this afternoon and stumbled upon pages and pages and pages of old writing that I’d mostly forgotten about. I originally wrote and posted this on April 19, 2007 on a blog that no longer exists. Reposting because I’m feeling nostalgic.
PS. This is about Chris. We’ve come a long way in the last 6 years.
His hands fit the curves of my waist as if I was sculpted specifically for him to touch me.
Wait. I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
So there’s this guy with chocolate eyes and cinnamon skin whose heartbeat cradles me to sleep at night. Sometimes I find myself sinking into the creases of his smile, melting into the contours of his bones. The sound of his laughter reverberates in my pulse, and often I’m caught by the mere inflections of his speech. I’m so attracted to the talent that pours through his fingertips. As if there’s a life force hiding in the creases of his knuckles, sleeping in the wrinkles of his fingertips, merely waiting to be spilled onto any surface placed in front of him. There are times when I just wish he would glide his palms along my flesh and mold me into something better or something beautiful. Something worth him.
Lately I’ve been a little captivated with this life that lies tangent to my own. Suddenly I’m at an intersection with someone whose passion is racing fiercely against my own, and the heat is so intense that I’m almost intimidated to continue. I’m afraid that eventually one of us will burn out and leave the other trailing behind. There are some afternoons that I’ll spend taking naps in his arms and breathing in the faint scent of his skin pressed against my own, and I wonder if those fragments of contentment are worth their inevitable end. You know, realistically speaking. But I guess that’s the whole point of life. Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, right? Not that this is love, though, this is just an introduction. The quote just fits.
Anyways, I guess this is relevant news because I’ve never been with someone who left me small kisses on the nape of my neck to wake up to. I’ve never been with someone who didn’t talk to me with words thick with charm and dripping with deceit. I just don’t think I’ve ever been with someone worth being with, as terrible as that might sound. Looking back on my pathetic dating past, I wouldn’t take the malice back. And though I’m not even “with” this guy, whatever that’s supposed to mean, so far he’s the only one who’s felt worth the time I’ve been spending with him.
It’s been a fast life with heavy days and hours that stretch from early in the morning to late at night, but I’ve been happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I can feel your pulse in the pages.
I’ve been feeling a little lonely recently.
Loneliness is no stranger to me. It comes to visit from time to time, when the ghost of your body disappears from my sheets, when the heat from your skin dissipates into the air. It crawls into bed with me, traces the goosebumps along my skin, creeps and settles under the folds of my blanket. It is a coldness that seeps right into my veins.
There are days where your absence is nothing but a passing thought. And there are moments, like this moment, where your absence is a weight that sits heavily on my chest. I wonder, where are you? Are you happy where you are? Do you think about me during the quiet moments of your days? Do you feel my absence late at night? Do these words reach out to you and find their way into your lap, do they fill the space between us like a bridge across the distance?
I grow weary of missing you.
I see my death in many ways.
I live with a strange fixation on my mortality. Images of my death break through my waking moments, visceral, flashing like distant memories from a life previously lived.
While driving across the Bay Bridge I can see my car fishtailing in the rain, careening over the rail and plummeting into the depths below. I feel the water stabbing at my skin like a million shards of glass, feel it as it engulfs and squeezes all trace of oxygen from my lungs. I can see rescue workers pulling my body from the shores of the bay, see it thick and swollen from days immersed in salt water. I see them retrieving vestiges from the wreckage, see my journal streaked with blotches of ink that once formed words.
While walking home I can see myself being attacked from behind, feel a knife or a bullet dig deep into my abdomen. I see myself collapsed on the ground and clutching my open wound; I feel the blood hot and viscous through my fingers like wax. I hear myself struggling to cry for help, hear the words sputter, choke and spit from my throat. I watch my life paint the concrete in shades of crimson red.
In my apartment I see myself coming home to a stranger waiting for me in the darkness. I feel his weight bear down upon me, see his eyes behind the ski mask. I hear the pounding on the walls - the angry sound of my body forcefully thrown - I feel the bruises as they collect deep beneath my skin.
On the Muni I hear a loud crack and see the explosion from the outside. I see the mushroom cloud of smoke and flames, feel the split second of heat searing the skin off my bones until there is nothing left to feel. I see the 6 o’clock news reports, hear details of the attack. My name is one in a laundry list of names; our loved ones cry and express their grief to the press.
I can hear the eulogies at my funeral, see the tears that streak my loved ones’ faces. I hear them sharing anecdotes of our shared time together - the dinner checks we split, the glasses of wine we cheered, the distances of time we traveled together as acquaintances, friends, family. I see the procession march quietly to my final resting place, see the flowers delicately strewn across my coffin. I read my obituary in the paper - my life abbreviated into a 250-word side bar.
I live day-to-day with an acute awareness of my mortality; I feel the reality of it in every movement. Images of my death assault my daily thoughts in a manner comparable only to the violence of the death itself; they jolt me awake at night like a low and distant rumble, increasing in intensity as they burrow into my subconscious.
My death has a face; it presents itself to me in many ways.
I’m sorry to be a stranger here…
But it’s difficult to write when the pieces of life fit together so neatly, when the edges fold and crease exactly as they should.
At some point I’ll be back more long-term, and the words will flow freely like water through an open tap, but now is not that time.
These days my lungs breathe almost too easily, the air rushes through and feels cleansing in my veins. I’m just really happy, really complete; there is a fullness in my heart that spreads and reaches like an electrical current.
I feel entirely of electricity.