A Year Ago This Week–Week Twenty

Continuing the weekly arguments that 2016 was not all bad, I’ve created a series of posts designed to exonerate the year. This is the twentieth installment in that series.

A year ago this week my self-portrait project included one of my best moles, near many of my best freckles, amid tan lines from running and hiking in girl clothes. When Danielle asked me how I want to feel when I look at myself in the mirror I said a bunch of nice things, but the most significant answer a year later?


Photo May 12, 4 48 42 PM

Imagine magic eye surgery that disallows the identification of any part of our bodies as a flaw. A mole is just a mole. A roll is just a roll. A wrinkle. A swell. An angle. A texture. The eye can only approve. Which means the mouth can say in truth I approve of you and You are flawless. Hands can only caress in appreciation and care. The brain can only sigh with satisfaction and contentment. A year ago this week, this was my practice; regarding my body with reverence. I was revered in 2016.

A year ago this week I read a poignant blog by someone I admire and disagreed with the premise that sometimes “we are not for everyone.” If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that we inhabit this planet for the purpose of being FOR each other. We are here FOR each other. I believe this bone-deep and I am told that my bones are made of stars. The stars represent the physical limits of our cosmic knowledge, so I believe it at star-depth. But I understood her suggestion even as I disagreed. I wrote in my journal:

Whether we happen to be operating in harmony or dissonance there is no escaping the truth that I am here for you. You are here for me. We, Us, Them, our existence is only relevant in relation to each other. Like it or not, that’s who we are and what we are — for each other. In 2016, I was truly yours truly. And you were mine. Truly.

Nothing else I did or wrote during Week Twenty feels more important than these two insights. I’m sensing a subtle pressure on my inner pause button. I am compelled to tarry in what my friend Bella calls the holy hush. A break in the action to take it back in. To be still enough that I may become permeable enough. A spiritual interlude to reabsorb the wisdom.

I started this project to exonerate something that most people wished to throw away; so that I could revisit particular points in my practice. A year later these points bear repeating, which proves that 2016 was not all bad. Some of it was timelessly effectual.

— Mercy

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