I find it very difficult to feel as if I am “present” in my body.
There are all kinds of reasons for this. It’s at least partially because I am very particular about physical contact. With people I know and trust, I can be very tactile. With people I’ve never met or have any misgivings about, physical contact can be repugnant – it makes me feel nauseous, and leaves me with an abiding desire to shower several times and/or shed my skin.
In my day-to-day life, I find it very difficult to focus and to stay rooted in the here and now. I am neuroatypical. I have a laundry-list of ways in which this affects me. On a good day, I am giddy and excitable in a childlike sort of way. Most days, I am depressive, anxious, and prone to withdrawing into the infinitely expansive prison which is my own skull. Moreover, as a genderqueer person, this body is often alien to me. It feels like little more than a meat car. Nominally, at least, I am driving it, but I can put it on autopilot with little trouble or outwardly noticeable effect.
At times, sensation can be an unwelcome distraction. But in the right place, with the right person(s), it can be transformative. It can bring me back into myself from wherever meandering pathway my mind has chosen to lead me down. More than that, it can bring me into true contact with the person providing the sensation. A hug will bring me into the safe space enclosed by the arms of whoever is hugging me.
More effective, however, is pain. More effective still – and this came as a surprise to me, at the time of discovery – is rope play.
Play such as the scene I described in my last post is, at the same time, one of the most grounding and ecstatic things I have ever experienced. The rope (a sensation in itself) binds me, literally and metaphorically, into myself. The pain makes it impossible, inconceivable, to want to drift away, and yet the feelings are like a different world in themselves. My body is more than just a shell I can abandon. It’s a vessel, a journey, a network of tightly packed nerves that are coming alive.
Aside from when I am performing, there are few things that can make me want to inhabit my body more than that.