Somatical Myth-Making & Its Discontents

Story-telling is fun; to weave a retrospective narrative about one’s journey to the present allows us to envelop our experience within the cradle of meaning. Such context is comforting, even if the pillows that line this contextual cradle are not real pillows but conceptual ones, wrought of no sterner stuff than stipulation.

My foot hurts.

The bluntness of such a statement echoes hollow, uncertain, vulnerable.

…because I favour this leg to compensate for a sprained ankle on the other side after I habitually hold my head a little leftwards as a vestigial gesture of driving with my head out of the car window to escape from my step-mother, who used to gripe at me for my aggressive traffic habits during the summer before my sixteenth birthday when I was learning to drive & I had my head cocked just like that so that I didn’t notice old three-leggéd Buster Brown lounging on the stairwell and he’s a Newfoundland so he hardly noticed when I tripped over him and nearly went careening straight into the door at the bottom—the dog hardly blinked but my ankle certainly hasn’t forgotten that encounter…

Suddenly I have an explanation & a context for my suffering. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it’s meaningful. But it didn’t really solve anything. As tantalizing as it is to construct such narratives, their ultimate utility is often very little. Often it were a better husbandry of the psychic effort that such an endeavor demands to return instead to addressing the fundamental project of cultivating the body’s innate recovery & health, addressing
Mobility,
Possibility,
Adaptability,
Support,
Ease in the body.
Stories can frame the process & clothe it in the linens of context. But we must ensure that the frame does not become a constraint—that the linens accommodate for the growth of, & do not stifle, their subject. Otherwise, by prejudiced perception, we miss the bigger picture & forfeit progress therefore. If I cling too insistently to the historical context of my painful foot, I may psychologically bind myself to continued physical suffering. To free myself, I must let go of the explanation & address my condition in present-tense. No story is ever the whole story. Especially this one.

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