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  • Writer's pictureErin Clark

Sauna for the soul

I saw a #poledance move on IG today that looked both cool and like something my body could, usually, do.

The living room is dusty. No one sits here. I dragged my banana leaf palm out of the loneliness of an unloved space into my room and the pole, stoically, remained. I have had no heart for it. Until, suddenly, and so deeply, today.

“Body,” I cooed sweetly. “Could we try it?”

My body raised its proverbial eyebrow in intrigue and incredulity.

I visualized my body pivoting around my shoulder against the cool, bruising metal. a pencil shape (my head, the eraser, pointing to the ground) and then over like a somersault with straight legs until my belly rests on my arm. I haven’t visualized my body in radical motion since we all died last March and moved, in a great migration, to the bardo. like a pulse, the visualization throbbed.

Is it fair to lie (literally) dormant for.. a year (oh god), and then in a flash desire deadlifts. No. But desire is not fair. The surge of wanting was like a sauna for my spirit. The grieving knotted in my body melted. Not fair, but I could be reasonable.

“Oh body, please.” I begged.

“Let’s try something that should still be doable first, if you can pull up at all,” my body suggested.

So we did that, a meathook. my arm takes that much weight when I transfer from chair to bed and back. It simply shifts to the vertical plane on the pole.

My left elbow stings, do nerves atrophy like muscles do? There’s a tightness that makes my fingertips tingle. My neck and wrists take all the true strain and there’s no way to exercise them to prepare for this. Not like shoulders and biceps and abs I can engage in bed while I binge Netflix.

“Thank you, I love you, tell me if it’s too much,” I chant as I warm up.

I pull my purple chaise lounge from its corner to connect with my backdrop, turn on the faux fire place, build my body a training Fort of jewel tones and radiant heat.

Did I achieve deadlift wonder? No, of course not. I pulled my body up, over, inversion, Strain into stumble. Strain into nothing. Strain into sweat. I film, i give up. I don’t give up, because I have an urge and I didn’t before.

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