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By Alisha Hiebert
She tells me to rock my hips. Back and forth, side to side. I rock my hips – thinking of their wideness and fullness and how someone once told me that these are prerequisites for good birthing hips – keeping the hoop balanced and spinning.
I forgot what it was like to feel my own body. To have it belong solely to me and no one else. No one exists inside these hips besides me – no man, no traitor, and no child – and as I rock it becomes a sort of mourning song mixed with the freshness of remembering how to feel the weight of my femininity inside of them.
I rock and I long: for love, for a baby, for grounding. I rock and my womanhood sings, “Do you see me?”
I rock and my hips swivel and they feel strong and able and they are mine. I can feel them as they spin.
I thought I didn’t know how to move them. But she’s standing there, coaching me, telling me to shake faster and rock more and that I’ll get the hang of it soon and if I rock hard enough and spin fast enough maybe I’ll find the key that unlocks something. So I move my hips like I didn’t know I could, like it is a dance my mind forgot the steps to—but my body remembers.
And I laugh at myself, and the way these old hips move like they are tired of storing secrets in their midst. I watch as they become lighter, as the secrets spill out of my body from between my legs onto the grass.
I want a baby. I want to be loved. I want a man between my legs, with his hands gentle on these hips like every secret is something that can be ground out. I had a man between my legs once, his hands rough and carving years’ worth of secrets into these hips. I tried to believe in love once, and it hurt. It hurt, damn it, and I didn’t know if my body would remember how to be a body again or if my heart would believe in anything and I thought I lost the fibrous, juicy parts of who I was but I found them. I found them here, do you see that? I want to gut myself, to spread all my insides out on the table and examine them under the light. Everything feels so full, so heavy, so compact. I want to spread myself thin, to remember who I am and where I came from. I want to go home, to the stars, and the earth and the sun.
The secrets leave me not in a loud gush but in a soft trickle down my leg and I think I leave them there. I leave in a sticky dew drop on the grass the constant pulling at my own body as it tries to become whole and the need to carry these scars like fresh bleeding wounds and the fresh bleeding wounds carried as though they are a poisonous promise.
I didn’t think I could do that, with just a hoop around my hips, but I did. It was like remembering what my body was made to do. Exist in completion, in itself and entirety, becoming and unbecoming with every rocking thump.
And I am woman now.
I am full now, human now, child of the earth, sun, moon, and stars now, broken now, becoming now, I am enough now.
I am mermaid now. I have no fear of depths, cannot thrive in shallow living, with this body becoming less parts and more whole.
I must dive into the depths of the juicy, bloody core of me in order to find healing.
The body remembers what the mind forgets.
Even if it is simply how to be whole.