It’s been a tough couple of days for me, attending a conference. Hours of back to back presentations, while sitting on hard, low chairs. Oh, if only they had optional extra seat cushions for those of us with non-short legs. And loud networking sessions with so many voices clamouring like madly mating frogs.

I’m not used to being around a whole lot of people, period, never mind all day. There was a quiet half-hour where I was able to stretch my legs out on a couch and sort out where my mind and emotions were. I felt lonely in a crowd.

And now, at home, trying to sleep, my sorrow grows. I’ve never before felt the urge to press my hand against my neck and windpipe, but now I do. Maybe it’s an amplification of that old habit of breathing slowly and just letting my body rest without breathing in for a while. Something I discovered I found soothing.

My sorrow grieves the loss of life for me, loss of any value in life for me. Life was always more trouble than it was worth. I lost the chance to be treasured as a baby. I lost the chance to have a good relationship with my close sibling. I lost the chance to ever be really part of any group while growing up. I lost the chance to have my interests encouraged and nurtured so that my life grew up around me. I lost the chance to be aware of my own beauty as a young woman.

One day I found a picture of some cute girl about age 15-16 holding my cat. What? And she was wearing my dress or nightgown that I got for Christmas that year. And … she was me. I never knew at the time that I was “beautiful.” No one ever told me that. No, actually people called me “sir,” quite often!

And now I love to see the artistic beauty of belly dancers, and I love to do a bit of dancing myself. But how great it would have been to be able to do it back then. However, with no conscious connection to my own body, I could not do that. Back then, I was shy to look at myself in the mirror, except in private. Like, you wouldn’t catch me looking at my reflection in a store window or anywhere else public.

I lost the chance to study my interests or create a meaningful career. Or have friends or community connections.  I worked, but it wasn’t meaningful to me.

Time to lie down and try not breathing in, again.

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