So off I went on my little adventure, flying (as it were) by the seat of my pants. I love wandering about the world without a plan, a little lost, anonymous. Most of my experience with violence and trauma has come from people I know--family members, friends, lovers, etc. Blowing about like a dandelion is a chance to withdraw into myself in a way that is not possible when I am home. Every now and then I just need to hit the road.
I know when it started, this habit of withdrawing into myself. I withdrew a long time ago until it felt mostly like I lived behind my eyes. I didn't really realize this was true until I gave birth to my first son. That pregnancy forced me to acknowledge the rest of my body that I had ignored for many years. The loss of control I experienced in pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing sent me into therapy. I still have to remind myself sometimes that I don't live only in my head--that I inhabit the whole of my body.
This is why I don't like when people touch my face. I don't like it at all. I had to learn how to make eye contact, and I still become uncomfortable if I have to maintain it too long--it feels like an intruder in my house. So much happened to my face that I am very protective of it.
Tonight I was driving with the boys in the car. Another car pulled up alongside me on the highway and kept pace with mine for a few minutes. It's a bit creepy when people do that. I glanced to my left, annoyed that the car stayed alongside me even when I slowed down, and I was startled to realize that the car's passenger was staring at me. I felt violated. I felt scared. I doubt he meant anything by it--how could a stranger know how I feel about my face?
A friend of mine talks about retreating into her cave when life gets painful. For me that space is behind my eyes. I've learned two things over the last ten years:
--It is possible, when I think about it, to inhabit my whole body. That's why I'm learning to dance. It feels strange to move like that--with my whole body instead of just my head. But I'm learning.
--I have a rich interior life, and I like to invite people into that space. I just wish people would take off their shoes and tread lightly when they get in the door. I think this is why Moses took off his shoes.