Brown Sweater

That's not right.

This is a very VERY new piece I’m working on. It’s in a very rough ROUGH draft-y format. Be kind (and helpful!) with the comments.

The body has a language of its own. It speaks. I became obsessed with the dialogue of my body in graduate school. I wanted to see how the body spoke for the vacillating emotions of my mind. I wanted to listen to the movements, to the body that I was not used to hearing. Now, I am interested in the language I place on my body. What do I say to her? What words empower me to move, to act, to feel myself. To feel like myself.

I have yet to discover this language, this power in naming.

I have been thinking about home a lot lately. Never having felt settled in the spaces that were supposed to provide me a home, I turn to what feels familiar: my body. But this body is constantly shifting. It is familiar in its unfamiliarity. It is a body I try to hold close to me, a body I am constantly renaming as mine. I want to find a language to put with my body, to sift into her skin in order to find this home. It feels fitting. If I can find a home in my body, then I will always have my home with me. I can finally settle down and live with me.

Instead of hearing my body, I want my body to hear me. I need her to fit into my language, to open up to the possibilities of what I might want to say. Yes. Move. Go. Accept. These words seem simple. But they are commands. My body will not listen to what I tell her to do. She needs to be encouraged. We need to settle on our dream of a common language in order to understand one another. We need that perfect fit. It’s a matter of imagining, seeking, colliding.

My body feels like a mess. I’ve been avoiding the possible home of my body because of all the clutter. She has been moving in ways I do not feel are my own. Moving to fiercely to allow me to move in. I know I have to figure out how to make it feel as if my body is housing, supporting the situation that is me. Then, perhaps I can start cleaning up the mess. I continue to seek out that language, that poetry of existence. I do not know how this language will feel, but I do not question if it exists. It’s a language I sense lying on my skin.

I am at a used clothing store, browsing. I find a brown sweater. It looks a little misshapen, but I have been on the hunt for this V-neck, soft brown sweater since I pictured it in my head.. I want brown because I imagine it feels calming, bringing my body back to the earth in a way. I want its fabric to soothe, and its V-neck to give it style. So far, this sweater has only existed in my imagination. It has been three months since I dreamed of it. I have yet to find the perfect fit. It is a matter of imagining, seeking, colliding.

I wrestle the brown sweater I have found in this used clothing store over my head. It engulfs me. In the excess of fabric, I get lost trying to find the hole in which to direct my head out. This is not the right fit. The fabric is not soft enough, and I am swimming in its expanse. My skin cannot cling to it in the way I need it to. The space between texture and skin is too big. It makes me itch.

While I am annoyed at yet another failed finding, I am not disappointed. I have become accustomed to things not fitting.

I do not want to settle for anything less than what I want. If I did, it would further shift my body away from itself. If I settled for language too large in its descriptive landscape, too wide to be exact enough to claim as mine and mine only, the words would have too much wiggle room. They would escape. I know I need to keep looking, to continue dreaming about what it is I am searching for. It is a matter of imagining, seeking, colliding.

I return the garment to the silver rack bustling with other once-worn shirts. As my hand moves away from the hangers, I spot another brown sweater. Instead of a solid light brown color, this one has stripes of heather gray and dark mud brown. The V-neck is what I desire, mostly to show off my chest tattoo. To hint at the inked language peeking out from the fabric. The stripes are lively yet focused, and the size looks about right. I decide to give it another go.

I gaze at the striped sweater. Maybe if this one fits right, I can finally feel found in what I imagine I want. I am back in the dressing room. This time, when I wrestle the sweater over my head it is not because I cannot find the neck, but it is to squeeze into the tight cotton weave. I slither my arms into place as the sweater grabs hold tight to my skin. I am suctioned into a space in which the clothes breathe with me. The stripes lift and expand as my lungs lift and expand. I can see the bottom of my rib cage poking out, and I cannot remember when that started happening again. I reside in a shifting body I rarely recognize as my own.

I try to mold into the tight fit of the brown and gray. And while I could be satisfied with it, I still know it does not feel quite right. My body is still not settled. It feels too well wrapped, too well known. My skin needs space to think out loud. To test out its language before it declares and inhabites. To scout out a home before it moves in.

I strip off the striped sweater, and for the third time stand in front of the silver rack still bustling with other once-worn shirts. Discarded memories from other closets. Here I am, a woman gazing at garments given up on by other women—girls grown out of their bodies—wondering if I’ll ever know what the perfect fit and texture of language feels like on my own form.

I leave, knowing I will continue to wonder if I’ll ever be able to find that perfect space, that perfect home, those perfect words. It is a matter of imagining, seeking, colliding.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Mindy said,

    I see wear you are going with this and I like it! Everyone can relate to the brown sweater. Keep creating. love, Mom


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