The pros and cons of being in a body

Madame Weebles —  September 26, 2013 — 138 Comments

“You aren’t in your body.”

For years I heard this from therapists and healers. You aren’t in your body. What the hell does that mean?? What kind of hippy-dippy crap is this? Of course I’m in my body. I’m sitting here. You can see me. It’s not like I’m floating around in the ether. If I’m not dead, then I’m in my body. So why don’t you shut the fuck up, go eat your bean sprouts, play with your crystals, and leave me alone.

Go away.

Go away.

It took me ages to wrap my head around what “being in your body” actually means. It means being present in my body, using it mindfully to experience the world. The body isn’t a vessel that contains the real “me”—it’s part of the real “me.” I had wrongly dismissed it as nothing but a shell, an unwieldy blob I had to lurch around in.

See, I got tripped up by the difference between the body and its appearance. Its appearance has no bearing on my personality, intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, or anything else, but my body itself is part of what makes up ME. It might not look the way I want, it might make weird crunchy noises when I stand up, it might hurt from time to time. But it’s not a separate entity, and I should value it and take care of it. Because as we all know, it sucks when the body breaks down. As Count Rugen so wisely observed, “If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.”

Bodies allow us to enjoy the sensual pleasures of this world, like food, sex, twerking, and this thing. So many wonderful things to experience. You can pet soft, furry animals, relish cool breezes on a hot day, feel sand squishing between your toes, see cheery, colorful flowers. But as with anything, there are pros and cons.

Pros

  • Opposable Thumbs. This could also be a con, because there are people who are so stupid they don’t deserve opposable thumbs. It gives them an unfair advantage over other, more intelligent life forms, like barnacles and algae.
  • Chocolate Pudding. I know I already mentioned food as one of the earthly delights, but chocolate pudding deserves its own category. That smooth, sweet, silky, creamy deliciousness. We couldn’t enjoy that without our bodies.
  • Ice Cream. See “Chocolate Pudding” above.
  • Crucial Communication Skills. Our bodies allow us to curse out people who annoy us. Or, if our mouths are full because we’re eating pudding or ice cream, we can flip them the bird. With both hands if necessary.

Cons

  • The Human Spine. If there was ever an argument against the existence of Intelligent Design, this is it. Otherwise some sort of update would surely have been pushed through already. Homo sapiens has walked the earth for a few hundred thousand years now, and we’re still only on Spine v1.0?
  • Bad Hair Days. I may not know my life’s purpose, but I do know that I was not put on earth to look like a Chia pet.
  • The Bra. BraNot the most comfortable item in the world. Also not the quietest. My bras creak like the hold of an old whaling ship. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t in need of so much structural support, but as it is, my undergarment situation is less than ideal.

I’d say the pros outweigh the cons, but ask me again when it’s humid, my back hurts, and my brassiere needs a shot of WD-40.

In the meantime, take your bodies out for some pudding and savor every spoonful.

138 responses to The pros and cons of being in a body

  1. 

    Not a day goes by for me without thinking two things: “I wish I could rip my spine out of my body and get some relief from this nonstop pain and agony” (I have lower back disc problems) and “what the fuck happened to my bra?” I pulled it out of the dryer just now and the wires have all melted in a twisted mess yet again. So to sum up: I don’t need a spine or boulder-holders.

    • 

      Yet another example that we are, in fact, twins, my Luscious Vixen. I too have lower back disc problems. Everything from L3 to S1 is a train wreck. When Spine 2.0 is finally released, we’re having a party. The bra thing is BULLSHIT. Some people say, “But you should wash your bras by hand.” Excuse me, I don’t have time to sit there scrubbing these things all day. Fuck you. So yeah, I’ve pulled many a twisty, fucked-up bra out of the wash as well. They look like Picasso sculptures.

  2. 

    Well my spine is in good order, and I don’t need much structural support out front – just a couple of modest sized cupped hands are enough (I’m just giving you an idea of size, not saying I walk round with someone’s modest sized cupped hands supporting them!). So it’s just the bad hair day thing on the cons for me, so pretty good all in all there! I would also add synchronised swimming to the pros…if I could do synchronised swimming.

    • 

      Sigh…synchronized swimming. Indeed a pro. Very difficult to do with a body, but even more difficult to do without one. Using someone’s hands in lieu of a brassiere, you may be onto something, Vanessa. Hands are adjustable and they usually don’t have underwires. Bonus points if the hands are attached to someone really handsome. (HA!! HANDsome—I didn’t even realize that was funny until after I typed it!)

  3. 

    when you think about others your own problems have time to rest

  4. 

    I thank my body for being a vessel for communication through interpretive dance.

  5. 

    My knees make crunchy noises when I kneel down and stand up again, I don;t spend any time praying, I must be kneeling for something else.

    Bodies pro’s far outweigh the cons. It means kids can use a silly, swaying walk,pretending they are cool so I may ridicule them. The whole arm/elbow/shoulder construction is great for giving people a good forceful push on the underground too.

  6. 

    You are right on about the ol’ spine. It seriously is meant to work for the average human living in the year 10,000 B.C. when the average life span was 30.

  7. 

    As I just finished the most amazing double-layer chocolate raspberry cake lovingly baked by my husband (we put it in the freezer to thaw it sparingly and ended up eating the whole thing frozen), I won’t take you up on your excellent suggestion to eat pudding. I’ve had enough chocolate for… a week. In the meantime, I will take my body and me out for a walk and savor the delicious taste of fall. Thanks for the boost!

    • 

      Double-layer chocolate raspberry cake is most definitely a pro. I would have housed that baby frozen as well, Brenda. Today is a beautiful crisp fall day here as well, I shall take my body for a walk today too. Enjoy!

  8. 

    Neat post! Some days I agree completely (less the bra issue), others less so… you linked to the GOP as an example of stupidity and not Hotspur’s blog? Whaddup?

    I have to ask: YOUR BRAS CREAK?!? Good lord… no wonder you hate your spine. It would work if you weren’t carrying 70% of your weight above your sternum, Weebs. Just saying.

  9. 

    I heard a great quote once that helped me to better understand being present in a body – that is: “Be where your body is.” I like it and it seems to work for me when I remember to do it. As far as the spine thing goes? Yeah, bipedal locomotion is great for making opposable thumbs actually available for use, but I think we still need a few more millenia to evolve that spine. Then again, if the human spine were perfect, I’d be out of business…

    • 

      It was such an eye-opener when I finally *got* what it meant to be in your body, Cathy. I never understood before what it meant, what it meant to be grounded. Now I get it, finally. Our faulty spines have kept a lot of people in business, so you have a good point there—I’m sure you’ll never run out of clients, fortunately!

  10. 

    I love this piece. Especially the part about the bra. Having been fortunate to possess a small enough bust that I chose to go braless for most of my adult life, then having them balloon last year until they felt like foreign bodies, no longer even a part of me. . . Which I guess brings us full circle to your main theme, huh? I’m still determined to keep shrinking my boobs (they’re slowly cooperating), by willpower alone if need be, but I bump into things with them less now.

    In any case, I really love this piece. :)

    • 

      Hiya Ruby! So glad you enjoyed this. The Girls really can feel like foreign bodies, I know. But they’re still attached to us, they’re still part of us. So be kind to them.

      • 

        Always, Mme Weebles! I may be willing them back to smallness (I’ve already succeeded in going down two cup sizes, but that’s probably due to stopping the medication which caused them to grow ridiculously), but while they are. . . not-so-small, I’m making sure to treat them right. Like you say, I’m very much in my body, and I like it, on the balance, in fact I love it, which is more than most women can say, so I consider myself extraordinarily lucky!

        Did I mention I really loved this? I did? Well, not within the last hour, so –

        I really loved this. ;)

  11. 

    LC,
    Farts are always a pro. As my wise grandfather used to say “Tis better to have an empty house than a bad tenant.”
    xo
    Julia

  12. 

    It wasn’t unti the second time I went rock climbing that I realized me and my body were the same.
    (The first time, I was having to much fun and scared too shitless to notice.)

  13. 

    I LOVE chocolate pudding! Also chocolate ice cream!

  14. 

    Hi Weebles!!

    Regarding this: “The Bra. Not the most comfortable item in the world. Also not the quietest. My bras creak like the hold of an old whaling ship. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t in need of so much structural support, but as it is, my undergarment situation is less than ideal.”

    My recommendation is that you should free yourself from this burden, There is no need to endure any sort of uncomfortable situation if there is no need. Also – I think you should post about your new-found freedom on a regular, maybe even twice a day basis. And include photos. You know, for posterity and your reader’s education. We need to know what it’s like to feel free.

    Thanks in advance, your good and curious friend,

    ei

  15. 

    Cons: Viruses. (Says she, honking and hacking.) Joints and ligaments that wear out after only a lousy 50 years. What kind of performance is that? I’m looking for a LIFETIME warranty here!
    Pros: Food (mmm, ice cream!). Beer. Mattress dancing. Not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily one at a time. ;-)

  16. 

    Funny how therapists latch onto phrases…some of them really funny
    In the 70′s it was all “Get your shit together” “When I get my shit together”…hey, that happens pretty much every day?…(if not, realistically get more apples/bananas/fiber/drink more water/get some exercise…And get on with life)
    HIlarious post…barnacles are jealous….we should worry…

    • 

      I say that frequently: “I need to get my shit together.” So many of us needing to get our shit together, it’s epidemic! My therapist is pretty damned awesome, and when SHE said “You’re not in your body” I thought, “HER TOO??” So that’s when I figured I should look into what the fuck that actually meant.

  17. 

    Definitely a pro. That campfire scene in Blazing Saddles wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t have the ability to break wind.

  18. 

    I like the idea that my body is a medium for me to experience the world. I do not like spines, muscles, or being awake most of the time. I do like pudding. I am going to eat some with my thumbs and think about this for a while.

  19. 

    Additional to arguments against intelligent design– eyelashes. Yes, they do an important job, but they also eject without warning and are apparently shaped specifically for sticking to eyeballs.

  20. 

    Pro: getting to enjoy cake – very similar to pudding and ice cream, but a level above
    Con: “funny bones” – I mean, what the heck? Also, tail bones…

    And to add to the fart discussion…
    Pro: my farts
    Con: everyone elses

  21. 

    That’s one big, fucking bra.

  22. 

    Love this, Weebs! I like to think my mind and body communicate with one another and look out for each other. My body certainly is not as fluid and mobile as it used to be! I have to remember to treat it with respect and treat it to pudding once in awhile. Bean sprouts, no! That’s the way to ruin a perfectly good dish.

  23. 

    You fill our house with laughter. Not an exaggeration.

  24. 

    You are so right about the spine (and the chocolate pudding and ice cream, of course). How is it possible to have so much technology and yet still suffer our miserable spines that lead to millions of back maladies around the world? Then again, maybe it’s because of technology we have those back problems. So much hunching over. Must get up and stand rigid against a wall now…

    • 

      Carrie, have you ever had that experience where you stand rigid against the wall to straighten yourself out and you have to do it really slowly so you don’t have a spasm? That’s really fun. And technology hasn’t helped us, that’s for sure. I thought it was supposed to make our lives easier and better. I’m peeved.

  25. 

    As someone who is rarely present I can understand what it is like to wrestle with the idea. I also wonder though if you could ever get out of a therapy bill that way… I mean if I am not in my body… who’s going to pay the good doctor?

  26. 

    Magical? Moi? You delight me, Soul Walker.

  27. 

    Hate it when my bra needs WD-40.

  28. 

    I fucking HATE wearing a bra….HATE IT! But my DD’s can’t be let out loose in the wind as that would probably be socially unaccpetable in an office work environment or any environment. Still hate them.

  29. 

    I’ve also heard many women also say that menstruation is a great tool, as it helps them stay in tune with the moon’s phases.

    • 

      If by “in tune with the moon’s phases” you mean “reminded on a monthly basis why it’s a good thing that I don’t carry a firearm because for one week of every month I’d be thinning out the herd,” then yes. Absolutely.

  30. 

    I believe ghosts can curse, so it might not fit on your “Pro” list.

    To fill that hole, you might wanna consider adding “bacon” and/or “Italian red wine.”

  31. 

    This was SO funny and insightful. The inclusion of chocolate pudding and the spine did it for me!
    Be Healed Sister! -mumbles into cubic zirconium-

  32. 

    “If there was ever an argument against the existence of Intelligent Design, this is it.” Absolutely brilliant, Weebs! And so true. From what I remember of my biological anthropology courses, add the birth process to that argument. Apparently it never got word about the bipedalism upgrade requirements, either.

  33. 

    Mmmmm did someone mention puddings? :) Great I will bring along a big spoon, nooo not for my big mouth cheeky, I meant so that I could have… Never mind :) lmao I hope that your back is doing a lot better by the time you read this one and if not then I can call round later and give you one :) Nooo I mean a friendly massage, not what you were thinking :) lol

    Have a wonderful rest of evening and be good, or else? ;)

    Andro xxxx

  34. 

    I’ve had scant experiences with therapists and even less with healers, but if any of them talked that out-of-body-smack I’d have walked out as soon as my session was done never to return. I’d have gone straight home to blog about the foolishness of it all.

  35. 

    Weebles, honestly, my experience with women must be far less legendary than I had supposed, for I have yet to hear a creaking bra hereabouts. Are you sure you are okay?

  36. 

    I use my body – specifically my toes when kicking table legs – for inventing new swear words; I am most definitely in my body when that happens.

  37. 

    Great post. Also, I am both fascinated and mystified by your noisy bras.

    • 

      Sorry for the tardy reply, Stephanie—I’ve been busy oiling my brassieres. It’s a full-time job, truly. As for your being fascinated and mystified by the noisy bras, let me tell you: they’re not nearly as sexy as they sound. Most men seem not to find the creaking noise erotic, in my experience.

  38. 

    Uh-oh…are you going to start eating bean sprouts now? Just don’t put them in your puddin’.

    Also, I’ve totally had bras that creak.

    • 

      No bean sprouts in the puddin’, I assure you. I would never ruin a perfectly good bowl of pudding that way. NEVER! And see, I knew there were other broads out there with the creaky bra issue. Solidarity, sister.

  39. 

    I plan to eat my ice cream and play with my therapy crystals at the same time. Body = blown.

  40. 

    I think you’re misunderstanding your therapist and healer (do you HAVE a healer, by the way? Like some of us “have” an accountant or an attorney? Because having a healer sounds way more cool…in a new-age kind of way.) If you’re not in your body it’s because you’re having an “out of body experience”. Otherwise known as dead, unless your Patrick Swayze in “Ghost.” Although now.. don’t want to be disrespectful of the Permanently Out of Body.

    Anyway, thanks for the link for that great spaghetti tongs-thingie. I’m ordering today.

    • 

      I actually do have a healer, as hippy-dippy as that sounds. And I respect the fact that you want to be sensitive to the Permanently Out of Body, Peg. You’re a good person. Also, did you buy the spaghetti-tong thingie? It will change your life, I guarantee it.

  41. 

    Weebs, you are always good. I’m rather fond of my body and really glad I don’t have to wear a bra. Speaking of that the pic was hilarious.
    Hope all is well with you and you have a good supply of chocolate pudding. It reminded me I have some instant in the cupboard just waiting for milk and a stir. Think I’ll go do that now. :)

  42. 

    I had no idea bras made noise. Thank you, Professor Weebles, for my continued education.

  43. 

    The Bra (women) = The Jock Strap (men). I feel your pain.

  44. 

    WD-40 – I think I need that for my spine too.

  45. 

    I love you. Just saying…

  46. 

    good grief! i thought that my ‘creaky bra’ situation was simply because i am lazy and wear them until i am down to the last five bra molecules… you mean they do this NEW? and to other people? you are a fountain of useful knowledge, Weebs! Carry on!

  47. 

    I can certainly sympathize with your spine difficulties, I was born with Spina Bifida (Spina Bifida month in October), luckily for me a mild case so I can still walk, but not mild enough to keep me from having almost daily pain. Bras – humpf! I wear an I cup (you know the letter that follows H) so I need a heck of a lot of support & there is no bra made on earth comfortable enough for most women, much less women who actually need the support. Down with both!

    • 

      I’m so sorry about the daily pain, that must be really difficult, benze. I’ve never met anyone who was born with spina bifida, but I’m glad yours is a mild case, at least. And an I cup? Damn, girl. I thought my Gs were a lot. Solidarity!!

  48. 

    Oh, cross here – I had a comment all typed out and the Internet ate it.

    I saw something online (might have been on here or it could have been on Facebook) saying “you ARE a soul, you HAVE a body”. Which kind of makes sense. But joining the two together isn’t easy – my thoughts are very good at flitting off, and I’m also very good at ignoring what my body is trying to tell me. Like on Saturday afternoon, I was gardening, and I’ve not done any kneeling down and weeding work for quite a while. After I think 45 minutes (might have been less), my legs had started to shake, but I chose to ignore them and kept on going until I’d finished where I was working. (Part of this may have also been to not try to look like a wimp to the Sister who was working in the garden with me.) I spent most of Sunday trying not to wince as I stood up or sat down, and was probably walking like John Wayne (so I’m very glad our habits are nearly ankle length).

    Another pro to having a body: Tattoos. Bit difficult to get body art without a body, right? ;)

    • 

      Very difficult to get body art without a body indeed. It IS hard to reconcile the body with the soul and mind a lot of the time, this is my biggest challenge. I have a tendency to “check out” of my body and just live in my head most of the time. It feels easier that way, somehow. But then my body reminds me it’s here, either with pain or some other sign, and then I realize I need to become more grounded in my body again. It’s an ongoing process…

      • 

        I could get all theological here about it all but it’s too late and my bed is calling my name! But there is a big part of being fully human that means we’re supposed to live in perfect harmony with ourselves, never mind anything else. Technically, when you throw together “body, mind, soul” or “body, spirit, soul” or whatever combination you can find, you find that each human being is actually a community. If we ignore one part of that combination, then we de-humanise ourselves and we become less.

        Hmmn, I appear to have been quite philiosophical for half past nine pee emm on a Thursday!

        • 

          But it looks good on you, Lou. I’ve compartmentalized myself for so long that it’s a tough thing to try to integrate all the parts. But as you wisely pointed out, if we don’t, we de-humanize (or de-humanise, for the zed-shunning English speakers among us!) ourselves and aren’t living up to our full potential.

          • 

            I don’t shun Z, I just spell words correctly, based on the fact that the language is English, and I am English. ;) :p
            If we don’t integrate ourselves, we can’t then effectively help others. And that’s when problems start and because we don’t see ourselves as human, we don’t see others as human either. I have a feeling that this is the problem that most of our politicians have.

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