This poem was first published in The Burgundy Zine blog and online magazine. Click here for the link to the original publication.

The body tells you your truth, if you listen. It knows what you’ve been through, even if you don’t. It knows what you need, before you know you need it. 

A person will feel thirst long after the body actually needs water. If you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long. It’s the body’s way of telling you that it’s been waiting patiently to have water. 

Your body will become sick when it needs rest, or has to fight a foe. Perhaps it’s fighting a virus. Or a problem. Or just overwork. 

Listen. It’s speaking right now. 

Hello. It’s your Body speaking. 

Your arms are heavy and sore. 

They are tired from the weight they carry. Put down your load.

Your legs are cramping. 

You’ve been trudging through your own shit for too long. Sit down and rest. 

Your throat is dry. 

Can you feel the lump there? 

That’s the words you haven’t said. Take time to talk. Let things out. 

Your feet are achey from running. 

Stop.

Your head is trying to tell you something with headaches and migraines. 

It’s trying to tell you that you’ve been thinking about things too much. That you’re trying to figure things out that you shouldn’t have to. That you’re taking on the psychological burden of things that belong to others.

Your shoulders need a break from holding up the world. 

Give it back to Atlas, please.

Your chest is tight and your heart racing. 

Take a deep breath. Look around. Stop holding things in and let it all out in the exhale. 

Your hands throb. 

You’ve been holding them out for others. 

It’s a good thing to do, but now’s the time to hold them out to yourself. Give yourself a hand.

Help yourself. It’s time. 

Listen to what your body is telling you. 

This broken, beautiful body. 

It’s trying to tell you something. Something’s not right. Look at it, accept it. Hold it in your body until it dissipates and heals. 

You can’t heal until you feel, so feel. 

Feel the aches and the throbs and the stabs of pain. 

The exhaustion and the hunger and the lack of appetite. 

Feel the headaches and the chest pains and the heartache. 

They are all telling you where you came from.

Abuse. Neglect. Survival. Growing up too fast. Being made an adult at the age of five. 

The truth that lives in your bones. 

Fear. Abandonment. Confusion. Betrayal. 

This is what lives in the fingers trying to type. The fingers that ache and throb with pain but are trying, trying, to push through the pain to tell their story. 

Feel. Emotional pain is biologically linked to physical pain. Feel both. 

Feel the emotional pain of being neglected. 

Feel the physical pain of being abused. 

Feel the computer keys that will give you freedom and relief. 

Feel the weight of the tiny squares that make these words appear on the page. The bumps on the ‘J’ and the ‘F’ that tell you where your fingers go. The ease with which you can find the letters you need. 

The ease with which your story gets out of your constricted chest and into the world. 

Finally your body can tell its truth. Let it out. 

Let that lump in your throat turn into words that spill onto the page, the table, the floor. 

Words that fill the house with feeling and healing and love. 

Let your fingers bring you expression and redemption and freedom. 

Let your body find a new truth. 

Feel what it’s like to find yourself at 40, now finally living not only as an adult but giving yourself the childhood you never had. Feel the release of decades of trauma coursing through your veins. Decades of emotional pain turned to physical pain, contracting muscles again and again and again. 

Your body knows more than you do. Listen to it. It can tell you your truth.