This dream of flesh is a nightmare at times. There is so much required to maintain it – the cleaning and feeding, the exercise and preening. The judgements of it made by me – who finds it always lacking – and of others who always seem to find something nice to say about it when they dare comment at all. There are the dreams for what has come from my flesh – my children — who incubated within it and who I often find lacking in how they clean and feed their own, now separate flesh. They are so spoiled by the willingness of their flesh to follow any command that they don’t understand that it, the flesh that houses their spirit, is actually a temple. It disappointments me when I see them treating it the way renters treat a property with the careless abandon that no harm is permanent – and besides it’s someone else’s job to clean it up.
I dream that their flesh will be and do more than I have done or am capable of commanding mine to do. I dream of my flesh being stronger, faster, better – or at least not barreling toward decline at an accelerated pace. I dream of my flesh not wobbling and shaking. I dream.
Shhh… don’t tell … but I’ve always longed to be a pole dancer. No, not as a professional who struts her stuff to pay the rent but… I wouldn’t mind looking like one. Long, lanky, flexible and graceful. Able not to just walk in high heels but to dance and strut in them too. To walk high above stilettos with confidence – no wobble, no ankle twisting with only perfectly coiffed hair above my head. To command attention by being objectified – then fucking with those who dared to do such a thing with a razor-sharp retort. To embrace the contradiction of feminism and fuck the world with it. To combine beauty and vanity and brains. To mess with stereotypes, preconceived notions. To change me. To change the world. To buy a pair of stilettos.
“Unpack it,” responded my writing teacher when I read the fruits of our 15-minute writing prompt, “Unnamed Longing.”
“Sheila Kelley. The S Factor,” chimed in one of my writerly compatriots. The three other women chimed in. “Let’s go to a class,” grew into a consensus – a dare.
Even in my prime, long and lithe were never fitting descriptors. I had a muscular, hourglass figure. Now, my body is like an hourglass with too much sand. So, the idea of this me, fecund with flesh and with a diagnosed movement disorder in addition to natural lack of coordination swinging on a pole seemed too absurd for words… which of course made the idea tempting for this absurd-loving klutz…
But, I resisted. The idea of traversing the 405 to attempt an exercise that would make me feel even less like a pole dancer…. I think I’ll stick with what little body confidence remains in my warped psyche. Some dreams …of the flesh and beyond should remain just that… a dream, something ephemeral for which to strive – from the comfort of the bed in which I slumber.