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Pillow Talk

Today I felt the familiar pangs of conversing with my body, it forever unyielding to my demands that it shape itself pretty now. That it chase itself back to its few glory days.

I tell my body that I would be ready to appreciate those days of yore now that I know what I missed while vying for the shapes and sizes of the other women around me.

Over and over my mind and I have run this particular proclamation to my body.

Then, we are good on our road, until the mind closes in and starts to overtake my strides.

You'll never make it there, you are too far gone, it taunts. It is too late. It isn't possible for you.

Then, so predictable--it attacks the most vulnerable part of me. The part I hide, keep covered, feel sure is my perfect disgrace: my belly.

The scale tipped in favor of shame today. Shame that I'd let the house of my being become so run down. That I'd let myself use food to comfort me, pick me up, enhance experience-- and that in the process I'd packed on the extra pounds.

From my journal:

My mind is closing in on me. Telling me my body is yucky--especially my belly. No man would or should love it. And even if anyone tried, there is no way I'd let them love it. I'd have to pretend it wasn't there, and so would he. I am tired of pretending. So many years of not wanting my belly touched, no matter what its size.

My mind is saying I can do whatever I can to the rest of me to be presentable, but the truth remains that I will always be undesirable underneath. I will always be a disappointment. And even if he can get past it, I won't.

After I'd finished writing this, I sat in silence, bowing my head half in disgrace, and half with a seedling of hope. Because with no help from me, bits of light have begun to penetrate even the darkest shadows of my experience. And although every part of me wants to run like hell, I am staying put when brushing up against these pockets of darkness. And the show that unfolds has been beyond my wildest dreams.

Today I wanted to dig deeper--stay with the scary parts, and let them help me to understand. I found myself sinking deep down into the heart, hearing all of the noise, but finding myself tuning it out, swimming deep into the ocean of my being, where I could no longer tell which way was up. And instead of panic, I just let myself float there, in darkness.

And what I noticed down there was that it was so quiet. Just floating. No agenda.

I noticed that I actually didn't want something divine or not, to swoop down with a cape and save me, until the next time I needed saving.

And with the ritual of rescue no longer desired, no longer craved, I was just suspended. I was done being afraid--with the entire cycle of it. I was done with all of it. If I got nothing from sitting there in the darkness, so be it. I didn't care. All I knew was that I could no longer be perturbed by this separation in my being. Let it be there, but I would give myself up to the monsters lurking down there-- take me, I'm ready, no more waiting for you to get me.

But as is happening more and more, the monsters revealed themselves as merely shadows. And instead of being caught, I was fed.

In the quiet, I was taken to those precarious early days as a three pound baby, with a twin on the verge of death--in a box, where all that was given me was a bottle.

The bottle was the key to survival.

It was reliable. It was the bread of life. Even if it left me forever hungry, it kept me alive.

Thank you for keeping me alive. Thank you for keeping me hungry.

And somewhere from the depths a message rose up for that man, (who I think is really me in disguise) who lives in my head.

All the safe parts are exposed to him, but not my core. The vulnerable parts are hidden. My breasts, and my belly cloaked. And just before I reveal them, I hear myself give him the lay of the land:

I welcome you to my temple.

It might look more to you like a haunted house.

Many ghosts circulate within, replaying their harrowing experiences, over and over. They seek protection for the flesh they no longer own.

Most of what you see won't hurt you--nothing a little housekeeping won't shine up again.

However, there is one door that you must enter with caution. You could lose your mind in there, and never be able to find your way back. And yet, should you choose to enter, we may finally taste the freedom we've always dreamed of.

You will find this door at my heart, but you cannot exit the same way you go in, and once you are in, it is a terrifying maze full of wrong turns and dead-ends.

If you are lucky, you will find the exit through my naval. But let me warn you, it is highly guarded, and should you decide to enter, there is no turning back. It might mean certain death for us both.

I'm not sure I understand. He says, with a curious look of wonderment. I can tell he is overly confidant, as most men. Seems I must spell out the danger.

You see, this is sacred ground--simultaneously a womb and a graveyard. It is a juxtaposition of the strangest kind. A place that houses and nourishes life, battling with that which shuts life out. All battlefields become sacred, as the casualties grow.

Don't be fooled by the shrines erected as war memorials here. They are hollow and empty. If you look closely, you'll find the plaques spew gibberish.

It is the ghosts that run things down here. And at every turn they will be after your life-force--to suck you dry, as they were unable to find their own.

What has happened here is ancient and terrible, and you won't be able to tell that it isn't happening all over again, such is the reality turned in and over on itself.

The first ghosts that will try and grab you are the ones that have waited lifetimes hungering for connection, for safety, for sustenance. Be careful of these ones. They resemble hungry children. It won't be easy to leave them behind.

Then you will be met by those who lived the good life, but were never satisfied, whose eyes have become hollow with pretense. They walk around proud and triumphant-- but you won't escape their terrible screams of anguish. They will seep into the core of you and attempt to seal themselves inside your vessel, and you will never be the same when their nightmares reside as you.

But the most terrifying will be the blind. For no matter what you say to ease their pain, they will never believe you. They will push you up and over precipices, and the last thing you see as you fall to your death will be eyes that never even saw you.

It will take strength and fortitude to journey into the depths with me. We might not make it.

The only hope you have, is if you walk this ground with reverence, honoring the past, the casualties--dressing the wounds, and tracing the scars with tender caress-- holding a steadfast purpose to love beyond appearance, for healing, and for redemption.

A strong connection with your own lifeline would be a plus.

And I should tell you that a secret will be revealed upon your exit--that is, if you make it.

Godspeed, beloved.

And if he is lucky enough to make it out safely, here is the secret: that this body that he thought was mine, that bore my name, with the demons that he thought he was fighting off single handedly, wasn't. That in truth, it bore all our names.

And the game was never as it seemed.

We were never alone. We were never in any danger. We were right there along side one another the whole time. The ghosts were never real, and the game was merely for us to remember a place in us that never knew fear.

And our love? Our love was merely the excuse we needed to finally take that leap of faith, that would mobilize us into making perhaps the greatest decision of our lives: that we would risk death to find one another.

That we could no longer remain separate from the Whole.

So, perhaps my belly isn't just a portal for new life to enter, but a portal to another world for me to travel through--a divine threshold to another kind of experiencing of life. Perhaps it might be pointing the way home-- and just maybe it is possible, as I look at the heart of my body in the mirror, I can hold the sensuousness of my breasts and tummy close to myself, and feel pillowed by softness, just as I would hold my child close to these parts, to calm and soothe. And only time will tell if my body will look differently in this light.
Worth a try though.


  1. Brooke, this piece was visceral. I read, but even as I read I felt myself leaving my chair, and the lamp sitting tableside, and descending, but not really downward…inward. I followed you there and was a little frightened about what I might find. I wasn’t sure that I would make it back, at least not in the same condition that I went in. But I went anyway because it was all so familiar and who can look away from a train wreck.
    I kept bumping into myself, which was quite confusing because it was you that you were writing about and not me. Yet, there I was looking at me, and looking at my ghosts, and that needy kid, and the man down the hall.
    I was hoping for a soft landing, one that would bring me around to the beginning with all the freshness and optimism of a morning prayer. But I am not the same because now I see. I see that it is good. Thank you for that.
    I can’t believe how amazing your writing is Brooke. I just love it; although I must say, it’s not for the nonchalant or the shallow.

  2. Thank you for this very authentic comment, Leah. Thank you for going on the ride with me. Somehow I think the motto 'go where no man/woman has gone before' is striking a chord in my being--maybe just to see if you'll actually come along. Thank you for reading, and I will say that since writing this post, my belly feels more like hallowed ground to be treated with reverence, compassion, and a deep honoring. So, I came out changed too, although I'm not sure I set out for that to happen. XO to you. And thank you again for sharing such rich thoughts about your experience with this piece. It was powerful that you kept bumping into yourself too. Glad I really wasn't alone down there:)

  3. Such a beautiful articulation of something all women need to hear.
    Thank you from the depths of my being and belly!

  4. My Dear Brooke, I love coming here and going deep sea diving with you. I just love it! There are so many voices chattering on and on about so many things; things that hold no meaning for me; things that distract me from what is real. It’s so refreshing to come here and find words that carry me inward and help me to see the light. There is no more time for pretending; I want to live again. ;)

  5. Ok, I don't have much time right now, but I will be back again and I decided after reading this post I will be back later on and read a lot of your blog. I am drawn to the way you tell your story, the words, the feelings, everything. I can relate to a lot of it too. Beautifully written although some of it I wish you didn't feel. You're beautiful. I'm sure of it. You should be too! I'll be back later when I have more time to take this all in!

  6. "And although every part of me wants to run like hell, I am staying put when brushing up against these pockets of darkness."

    This is so very brave, Brooke. This is what I too am attempting to do. To stay.

    "But as is happening more and more, the monsters revealed themselves as merely shadows. And instead of being caught, I was fed."

    You were very beautiful.

    "The only hope you have, is if you walk this ground with reverence, honoring the past, the casualties--dressing the wounds, and tracing the scars with tender caress-- holding a steadfast purpose to love beyond appearance, for healing, and for redemption."

    Tracing the scars with tender caress...

    I followed you too, Brooke, and there I was. There is no separation--there really isn't.

    It is such a comfort to be here with you. A divine threshold, indeed.

    Thank you for sharing the depths of you--so very beautiful.

  7. you leave me speechless with your words, the way you write it out deep. love.

  8. The day I read this post, I was going for a walk and the poem "A women without a belly is like a sky without stars" kept running through my mind on repeat. I had a strange experience then - I sensed everything through my belly, and I walked guided by my belly. What an odd but wonderful feeling. That place down there that I have such a hard time excepting as it is was nothing but softness - warm, wise softness that was guiding me with a natural authority. I love this new perception and the loving feeling that is right back now when I think of that experience.


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