Being Ready for When People Are Now Ready, If We Still Can
It’s on my heart that married to the surgeon who violated me is the kindest doctor I’ve ever met.
A counterpart fitting of your trust.
Fitting of my trust.
That reads as sad,
and totally true.
No part hyperbole,
softened or unremembered.
Nothing in me safe under a hard shell.
The ones cancer’s carry on their backs,
and make their homes out of.
The ones we’re wise enough to leave but not destroy when we outgrow them.
The way something of value can now be valued by someone else.
And the way your body is not asked to become vulnerable sacrificially.
Self sacrifice is a learned form of hone making,
airborne in our environments,
dismissive of bodies as homes.
Immaterial of the damage they weather because we can’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t leave them.
She asked me if the speculum was too warm as she leant it against my inner thigh,
before inserting it,
followed by her gloves hand,
as she opened by asking me how it was for me to have my IUD inserted a tear earlier.
The same day that an earlier she had injected water into my ankle to try to resolve the blockage,
with the same warmth,
a learned form of care extended to me in a moment when I needed it.
A kindness that was first kind to my body,
as my home,
and as a site that showed damage still being understood and realized after the fact.
I received her warm cadence as I resisted leaving my shell,
knowing it wasn’t yet outgrown,
and not the time or way to replace.
How ensnared we get by hospitality,
undiscerning of needs known first to yourself,
met in partnership but not through exchange.
Never as knowledge someone has about you.
Not as something that entices you to leave or want another home.
Shells are purposeful,
fit to you,
not designed to grow,
and yet not us, and not because we aren’t free to need more.
To need bigger.
To need safer.
To need mobile.
To need sturdy.
To need translucent, seen through, unable to shield us from seeing things we have the chance to do something about.
To have opportunities to be in the presence of what is kind,
and what is also not ours to tend.
In the shifting from shell to shell,
the change we embrace and the change thrust on us,
and are brought to us.
in the luckiest seasons,
met with graciousness,
and self rootedness,
we bring ourselves to where we could be home.
In those settings,
with and without fellowship,
we answer what only we can.
Is this time for this?
Is this mine to do?
Is this mine to do with you?
Is this for me, and for more than me, and not only both?
Can I hold onto something,
a warming speculum,
a question I can receive now,
and still be in my body’s home?
Perhaps answering that is essential to what we do with our shared and different and unreconciled answers.
Answers that are also our experiences of home.
Perceptions that speak to us before we feel home in our bodies,
as those leading us to be guests in their homes rather than residents of our own.
Caressing us as they’ve learned to,
and maybe not yet because they mean to.
Wanting to, willing to, and not equipped.