Cover Photo: My Body Is a Lie by Linda Chavers

My Body Is a Lie

Not for the first time I am pushed to accept violence as necessary to my well-being.

What does it take?

To say no and--

In my office, at my job, I am talking. He is listening. He is looking at me. He is looking at me when he asks so earnestly if I would mind if he touched me. Would I mind if he touched my neck, could he check for something there? Things have to happen in order for us to get here. Things have to happen for a man to look at me and ask to touch me. In the middle of the day. At my job. In front of everyone.

Things have to happen for a man to look at me and ask to touch me and for me to say yes. In the middle of the day. In front of everyone.

What do you do?

When the unexpected happens? When the unexpected is so expected that you take crazy for normal. It’s normal isn’t it? He sees something inside me and wants to touch and check. He wants to see if it’s normal. He sees something not normal. I’m feeling normal that morning and I’m feeling happy when we speak. I’m feeling touched by his special attention to me. So when he gets quiet and comes closer I am excited and afraid. And he asks to touch me there because something doesn’t look normal.

What do you say when you’ve been examined without knowing?

Nothing. Because you’re used to this. All girls are.

So it isn’t strange at all really. By the time this older man I barely know puts his hands on my neck in broad daylight I have already come to know my body’s place. Here it is: there is no place for my body. This body of mine has a belonging always relative to someone or something else.

Now here’s the twist: he finds something. He tells me to be concerned. He tells me to keep him in the loop of things. He tells me he can cure me. He tells me I will live to be a hundred years old.

What if there is something? What if my body needs a new place – one with a slab and scapels and masks?

What if this terrible moment is what leads to my healing?


Essays. Memoir. Musings. Pajamas.