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My body, My Soul. My arm, My heart.

May 11, 2009

In this post, a Carleton woman shares how she began to think of her body as part of her whole self.

I have a scar on my left arm. It is about an inch and a half long and rests between my wrist and my elbow. I gave this scar to myself by running the blade of a scissor across my flesh. Surprisingly, it is the only one of its kind that remains and I’m really glad it does.

Let me explain. I first knew that something was wrong when, in 3rd grade, I cried every day for a week after school. There was no discernable reason for my tears, I was just sad. Since then, I have experienced varying degrees of sadness, which at times has reached nearly unbearable pitches. Sometimes I understand where the despair came from, but much of the time I do not. This is usually confusing and always makes me feel completely out of control.

In an effort to find answers and reclaim agency over myself, I would try and physically manifest my pain, in other words draw attention away from the emotional grief by causing other types of issues and hurt. I developed an eating disorder. In this way, I channeled my anguish, convinced myself that if I could control every ounce of food that went into my mouth, I wouldn’t have to think about my other issues. Obviously, this was not sustainable. Other times, when the despair would be so intense that I was literally brought to my knees, I would cause myself physical pain. I cut and hit myself, threw arms against hard objects and pulled out my hair. Pretty much, I would do anything to escape from the mindnumbing emotional turmoil. Clearly, this was not healthy.

In retrospect, I have come to understand that the worst mistake (among many) in my logic was to separate my body from the rest of my being. I took out my emotional pain on my body as if my inner and physical selves were different entities. In my mind, the physical was more real than the emotional and damaging my physical was somehow different than harming my true being. I know now that this is far from the truth. I know now that everything I do to my body, I do to my entire self. When I starve my body, I starve my soul. When I bruise my arm, I bruise my heart.

I have experienced transcendent happiness as well as debilitating sadness and my body has been there with me for both. My scar is a reminder that any attempt to deny this fact is futile. And I challenge myself, right now to never let myself disassociate my being from my body again. And I challenge all of you, whomever you are and wherever you may be, to do the same.

The author would like to note that she would be happy to talk to anyone about these issues. You can contact her by emailing

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