Please welcome today’s guest, Rae House. Rae graduated from Calvin in 2018 with a bachelors in biology, and she lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and cat. Rae is working on her PhD in molecular and cellular biology and plans on being in school forever. Rae’s hobbies include calling her mom, tattooing her friends, and rescuing injured cranes.
We are embodied. Our bodies differ, but we exist.
I exist, but I spent a long time trying to exist less. I now love the space I take, but getting to this point was hard. It took fresh air and old mountains to be where I am today, and I want to share part of that journey with you.
As the light lingered into evening, and I lingered in Michigan.
I used to play orchestral music. I would grow anxious during multi-bar rests, and that summer was a page-long, repeating pause. I would practice thirty-second notes when counting down bars, and that summer was spent in stagnant movement: biking and counting calories. I could make a granola bar last an hour. It’s easy to lose your place when measuring nothing, and I was constantly cold, my body dissolving. By the end of summer I weighed one hundred pounds.
Then I fell in love and fell out of love. I was Apollinaire, saying:
L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente
(Love goes away like this flowing water
Love goes away
Life is so slow
And hope is so violent)
I spent my year sad and hurting. But, in a way, the hurt was good, because it forced my body to feel. My hundred pounds ached, and I saw myself, really looked for the first time in a long time. A hundred pounds became too few. I needed more space.
I started by doing something for me. Something that was for him, that was now just for me. I went to the Alps, to a place where people think and eat together, and in that together I grew. I was still cold, but I was cold because mountain snow is wet. I was still dissolving, but I was dissolving because mountain fog is thick. The light did not linger, but, instead, hid behind rocks and in crags.
I spent my alpine time reading and writing, in a taking on and giving up. I took on the crags and clouds and winds. I cast off dust and breathed deeply. It was good. I was good. I was.
I exist, and I exist more and more and more every day. As my baby grows, I grow. Before the mountains, growing would’ve scared me. Now, as the light becomes its dimmest, I breathe in thoughts of alpine air, and grow together.
I. of crags and clouds
a solid face,
dark blue, pale gray
a white mass,
II. an exercise in personification, “the wind”
she catches frizzy fog—
ends split, curls fly
III. library dust
cast off excess
breathless and beaming
IV. hypoxia is a deprivation of oxygen
lines of habit-hounds trailing the scent of papal-piping. “whack, exhale, gasp. whack, exhale, gasp. all together now!”
when he left, i sat back and breathed deeply:
ribs expanding sackcloth shrouds in glorious aerobic praise
(give thanks to the LORD)
I share this with you to encourage you to be. Embodiment can be difficult and it’s easy to want to be less. But I can attest to the fact that being more is better. So take up space; you exist.