Laila Soliman / Stacy Hardy – Dear you, too little or too big
Dear you, too little or too big,
I do not know where you are in your body now, but you might be feeling close to it or very far away. You might be feeling like your body is expanding because something is growing inside of it or that it is shrinking because something invaded it and is eating you away. You could be feeling the self love everyone talks about or the self hate, or you might even be ignoring your body.
In all cases.
We are inviting you to experience this score – to try out the instructions that feel most appealing to you.
And the ones that seem awful you may leave for another time…
Do you ever feel like a part of your body is literally too light? Or maybe rather too heavy?
Lie on the floor.
Remember the history of each part of your body while scanning it.
Grab a heavy round object, a melon for example.
Move it along each part of your body.
Let it rest on each spot until it feels like it is a part of you that has grown under your skin, as a living being.
Does its weight comfort and warm you? Or does it cause you pain?
Whatever it is, adapt and welcome it with unconditional love.
Try to try.
Do you ever feel uncomfortable in your body? Too hot or too cold? The claustrophobic suffocation of in your own skin? Do you dread the gapping loneliness of your bed?
If it is a cold night fill a hot water bottle with boiling water.
Climb into bed and hug the bottle to your chest. Hug it tighter. Drink its heat.
Move it to the cold spot between your legs. Clamp your thighs tightly around it. Feel the heat from your groin rise to your stomach. Revel in the heat.
Imagine the water bottle is a part of you, a new heat generating organ in your body. Where in your body is this organ located – next to the heart, below the stomach? Name the organ.
When you wake up, discard the hot water bottle but keep the organ.
Next time you feel cold, touch your body in the place where the new organ is located.
Feel the heat radiating.
Alternatively, if it is a warm night, one where the heat makes sleep impossible., soak your sheets in water.
Lay under the wet sheets. Crawl into their cool embrace. Imagine the sheets are a second skin. Let them envelop you, join with your skin.
In the morning, get out of bed wearing that skin.
Carry its cool embrace with you out into the sun.
Repeat this whenever you feel lonely at night.
Do you ever feel your body has deserted you? Left while you were watching it leave?
Kneel in front of your washing machine and put your head in the opening.
Sigh and imagine your head separated from your body.
Which feels heavier? Your head or your body?
If you could choose based on that moment, which would you keep?
Get up and for the next few minutes (or as long as you feel like it). Walk around the house, imagine that you are moving with only that which you kept.
Whenever your head is giving you trouble remember you survived once with only your body, while your head was in the washing machine.
Anything that bothers you is not there.
Do you ever feel trapped in your own skin? Too big or too small? Slowed down by the weight of your body, or frightened by its frailty, its limitations and weaknesses.
Stand in an empty bathtub.
Relax your legs and raise your hands above your head.
Stretch them as high as you can.
Imagine your body elongating.
Think of your solid body changing into a liquid body and then a gas body.
Feel your limbs become liquid, your organs dissolving.
Imagine that all the holes of your body are opening.
Picture your body as a jet of steam, half of your dispersing up through the bathroom vent fan in the ceiling and the other half whirling down the drainhole.
Every once in a while enjoy the lightness of your floating head that has left your body behind.
Does your body ever act up and takes over your life?
Did you ever have a sudden uncontrolled or inexplicable physical symptom?
Catch yourself every time your body releases any liquid, air, or sound, an electrical sensation, a sudden flow of heat or coldness from any of your body parts.
Know that you have no control.
Imagine what it is inside your body that might be causing it this?
How does it feel being inside you?
Is it trying to escape? Or building a home?
Is it trying to tell you something?
Is what happens a cause of pain or a release of pain?
Is it a sign of love or a punishment?
For what it is, know there is another being inside of you, that you cannot control.
Do you ever feel like there is something living inside your body?
An angry creature growling and clawing at your stomach? A giant reptile squeezing your heart? Like the pitter-patter under your ribs is not your heart beating but the footsteps of something running in your chest?
Lie quietly. Listen to your body, to its infinite inward echoes, the rumbles in your stomach, the enigma of creaks and squeaks in your bones.
Imagine the being inside of you.
As small as unimaginable, as big as an impulse, as dormant as a wintering seed, as alive as frenzy, tucked inside your body’s lining.
Is it furry?
Does it have limbs – hands that can hold, feet that can run?
Or does it slither and slide?
Give it a name.
Slowly befriend your creature.
Stroke the part of your body where it resides.
Whisper its name over and over.
Call it to you.
Once you have its full attention, tell it things. Secrets you would never share with anyone – past traumas and heartbreaks.
Invite it to do the same…
Do you think you might have made a new friend?
Did you have a secret friend as a child?
Do you ever feel lonely? All alone?
Does it frighten you?
Stand naked in your bathtub/shower.
Remove your shower head so you end up with only the tube.
Open the water, set the heat to room temperature and direct its flow to your stomach.
Imagine this sensation on different parts of your stomach.
Try different levels of water pressure.
Imagine this is the effect of something moving inside of you.
Imagine there is something growing inside of you.
Imagine if this was the effect of something eating you up from the inside.
Imagine what is inside.
What do you wish for? Does it still frighten you?
In all cases, decide to befriend it. Lucky is she who has a secret friend.
Do you ever wish you could just do away with your body?
Does life ever seem too much to bear?
Climb into a warm bath.
Clamp your nose using your fingers.
Take a deep breath through your mouth and submerge your head.
Hold it there as long as you can.
Feel the oxygen draining from your blood.
Panic grips your chest. Hold. Hold. Hold until your lungs burn.
Until you can’t anymore.
Until every part of you is screaming.
Take a deep breath and feel the fresh air enter your lungs, filling them, your chest expanding.
Climb out of the bath.
Still dripping, go to the mirror.
Look at the water glistening on your skin. The shine of your eyes.
Breathe in the day’s bright remains.
What stopped you from staying under?
Celebrate the air around you. Your capacity to drink it. Its gift of life.
Remember you are never truly alone in your body.
Laila Soliman / Stacy Hardy
Cairo, Egypt / Cape Town, South Africa
16 April 2021