My body is a house I live in. It has a picket fence and checkered linoleum floors. It is a haunted house. It contains haunted relics and haunted paintings and a haunted doll and there is a well out back. It is a castle—with a moat. With alligators and barbed wire and a drawbridge. It is a shabby apartment with dead plants and too many dishes in the sink. I do all the dishes because I am polite and because they overwhelm me. You don’t use dishes because I do the dishes and that makes you uncomfortable.
My body has a mortgage. I am in debt over my head over my body and my bank account is overdrawn. I pay rent on my body. My body is owned by a landlord and my landlord never shows the house to other prospective renters because I sign my lease every year for twenty-three years. I’m squatting in my body. I’m down on my knees in my body but my body is upright and my knees stick out from my body’s calves and it is a gruesome sight.
Sometimes I spend every day in my body. Sometimes I’m afraid to leave my body. I’m afraid of what happens outside my body and I still feel afraid inside my body. Sometimes my bed is unmade inside my body and I lay on top of the half-covered, half-bare mattress (even though the slippery mattress is unpleasant to me).
Sometimes I am never in my body. I work all day and I go out after work and I fuck someone after I go out and I wake up hungover and go back to work. Sometimes my body doesn’t see me for days. Sometimes I come home after a seven-day weekend and my body has been waiting for me under the standing-lamp in the yellow chair reading the bible and tapping her foot.
Sometimes I stand outside my body and smoke a cigarette—but I don’t smoke, I just want to look cool. My body coughs and I say shut up and my body follows suite because I taught it to listen when I talk by dousing it with water when it misbehaves.
Why do we love to compare our bodies to things? Or is it just me? I’d rather think of my body as anything but what it is. It is a structure. It does have levels and layers and beams for support. And I have two windows and a door. I’d rather think of my eyes and my mouth and my urethra as anything but what they are. They are gross. They are wet.
I’d rather speak in paradoxical, nonsensical metaphors and be confusing and chase my tail than ever face my manic mind and my busy brain and my weak, scrawny body for what it is. I fear, if I recognized it, it would fall in. I think that thinking too hard would send a wrecking ball through my skull, or foreclose the house, or I would be evicted, or worse, held to my lease in a court of law. If I unionized my body and the bodies around me I might feel safe. I
f I wrote about my body as a functioning, moving thing, I would have to move it forward and I’d have to WD-40 the rusted hinges and go go go go go. I write to make sense of things—I write to move others to act, while I stay still, writing, not acting. Questioning, never answering. If I wrote an article without the word “gender” in it, I’d have to leave my comfort zone and without my comfort zone I’d be lost. Shit!