Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Bodies, Our Machines

For most of us our bodies are complete enigmas. They’re these things that function completely without really any conscious thought. They’re full of gushing, messy pieces that look like they could be cooked and put on our dinner plates, they have different valves and parts, holes and linings. They’re responsible for our ability to live and breathe, yet their pieces are completely foreign to us. We claim no responsibility and often have no real relationship with our bodies, yet we live in them, carry them with us and beat the shit out them in the mean time and often they retaliate. They remind us that we don’t necessarily have “the power,” they do. They decide.
Your body decides to get gas, you don’t; it decides to punish you for eating spicy Southwestern quesadillas, you don’t; it decides to crack, to wrinkle, to scar and to stretch- you don’t. It decides to get tired, even when you’re mentally awake your body tells you to stop; to slow down.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of the things you often feel you can’t control within yourselves had an on/off switch, and worked and functioned just as efficiently as the rest of the pieces that make up our being.

I'd like to be able to access SWITCHBOARD in my mind that allowed me to turn off certain emotions, bodily reactions, fears, sweats, blushes....etc. If we had the access to turn on and off ALL OF THE EMOTIONS and REACTIONS that happen to us that are on automatic I think I would feel more connected to mySELF, rather than feeling like I a puppet playing victim to my internal master.

If we could all turn on our “you-ness” and all the pieces we LIKE all the time, rather than just around the people who you know already accept them.

We strive as people to be who we are, and end up only being who we are most of the time with people who know who we are- already.

There are times when I feel like Superwoman and I have this stone cold, hard as a rock capacity to remain tough, to use my inner wall like a shield and build it when I need to or break it when it’s safe. The mind is a powerful thing, it's just a matter of finding the power to harness it and use it consciously.

There are parts of myself that I have turned off through circumstance, experience, desire, relationships, surroundings, etc. My brain has this subconscious outline of who I am and HOW I am in every situation and location and often reacts accordingly without my conscious decision that I wanted certain parts on autopilot.

In LA I turned off warmth because I was used to cold. In New York I turn on warmth because I’m afraid of cold. At home I turn on ease, I turn on this whole side of my personality that makes everything feel and look effortless, because I know I am safe and taken care of. In New York I turn on survival mode,. Where even stopping on a stoop to get an eyelash out of my eye looks frazzled and hurried. In New York I don’t feel pain until I’m steady, until I’ve gotten through the whole day, my back doesnt hurt when I’m lifting (yes lifting, I’ve started a new side job that I’ll inform you of in another post) and running and my feet know that they have a long way to go so they keep going. I turn off awareness and turn on tunnel vision. Tunnel vision though motivating, can also be negative because you lose perspective.

I wish there were certain parts that could stay on ALL THE TIM in order to balance out the switches that turn on without my approval that make me feel insane.

Most importantly, I wish that I had the TIME to USE my brain the way I know I could in order to consciously turn off parts that are unnecessary and often harmful.

The buttons I’d like to keep on automatic all the time are:
which is on most o f the time and is usually only tampered with when others are unkind….

Confidence. This goes into hibernation mode at some of the most critical times of it’s importance…what the FUCK is that about?

Compassion. Because it makes everything better. I believe it is the number one healing emotion that a person can have.

Faith. If I had Faith all the time, I wouldn't worry about the future because I'd know its taken care of.

Humor. making life LIGHT keeps you grounded.

and Courage.

The buttons I'd like to have control over:

Rationality. I don't want this on automatic, otherwise I wouldn't have experienced HALF of what I have. Moving tow New York with 800 dollars was NOT rational...but I'd do it again.

Charm. Though it can be useful, it can be taken as disingenuous.

Lust. If I could control this, I would have made far less bad decisions. But it's fun sometimes...

Perfectionism. This one emotion is often the cause and demise of greatness for me.

Gluttony. Sometimes too much of a good thing IS good.

Snark. yes, sass, snark, spice, BOLDness...I have these ON most of the time, they govern many parts of myself but I'd like to be able to control them a bit more...

The buttons I'd like to keep OFF always:





If you had the access to your inner SWITCHBOARD, what parts would you keep ON/OFF.....which emotions are useful SOMETIMES and harmful at other times??


Anonymous said...

I'd keep on: Happiness, Intelligence, & Compassion.

I'd like to control my financial button. I am so bad with $, I need some control.

And our offs are pretty much identical.

Ben said...

Hm. I'd upgrade myself to the BenAir version so that I am slim always.

Brunhilda said...

I'd turn up the dial on motivation and dedication, and I'd turn down sloth and apathy (not that those are crises now, but I could use less of 'em). I'd turn up effort, friendliness, putting myself out there. I'd turn off doubt, fear of failure, and the kind of pragmatism that keeps me from taking fun chances. Or maybe that last one I should turn on and off as the situation dictates?

Melissa Maris said...

Wow Chelsea, what a great post! For not feeling connected to your body all the time, you sure have an amazingly acute awareness of all the things it is thinking and feeling! I wish I could keep my sense of humor turned ON permanently...90% doesn't always cut it.

Anonymous said...

I want a weight button like those old school dolls where you could shorten or lengthen their hair at the push of a you have any idea what I'm referring to?

Anonymous said...

I would definitely like to turn off my temper since it causes so much drama in my life, along with jealousy and anger. I would love to amp up my motivation to stick with things I start.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Lspoon- INDEED I DO!! And then the button would break and your doll would just have this gnarly RATTY hair. I had a couple of those actually.

Anonymous said...

i mean, you really never cease to amaze me with the brilliancy behind your posts. seriously.

i so wish there could eb a switchboard. definitely help me be a bit more in control when my emotions are, oh, everywhere. le sigh.

happy weekend. xo, b

WhimsicalBird said...

Love this post!

I would keep on my humour, happiness, and compassion buttons, but I need to get jealousy, bitterness, and cynicism off the keyboard.

Katelin said...

Interesting post, I like it.
I would keep on: Happiness, Lust, Reason, Patience and Motivation.

And the off would be: my temper, definitely.

Jess said...

I think anger can be a useful emotion sometimes, actually. And it can help you be strong enough to speak up for yourself. Other than that I pretty much agree with you.

Banana said...

This is something I could Really, Really use right now!

On: Confidence, Drive, Focus, Willpower, Open Mind, Friendly, Polite

Off: Jealousy, Lazy, Worry, Obsessive Compulsion

Control: Stubbornness, Bossy, Fear

Caz said...

That's one reason I am very thankful I have a kinesiology degree. I know HOW our bodies work and why they do what they do. Sure I can't STOP by body from hating me when I eat enormour amounts of spicy food, at least I know before hand WHY it is going to and I can decide whether or not I think it's worth it.
I think psychology majors for the most part may know more about the brain and its functions and how to control the emotional on/off switches that we can't. At the same time, I'd love an on/off switch for motivation, willpower and dedication.

Mike said...

Now hang on a sec, I think you got part of that wrong.

It isn't your body that's betraying you when you eat like shit, for example, it's you.

You KNOW eating fried crap is going to give you indigestion. You shouldn't blame your body, you should blame the decision you CONSCIOUSLY made and accept the consequences.

For example.

Want to know why fat people are fat? Because they can't accept personal responsibility for putting all that food down their own gullet.

They blame their genes, their thyroids, society, EVERYTHING but themselves.

Eat too much and you get fat. Fat people ate too much and now they are fat, and they should accept the consequences of their own actions.

The minute they finally figure out it's their own fault, they are on the road to losing weight, IF THEY WANT TO. Blaming everything but the real reason yields NO results.

I could be wrong. Care to correct me?

BTW - it isn't everybody that can move to a city like New York on 800 bucks. That's like moving to my shit town with a loonie. That takes guts, right on, for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I'd keep on: perspective, happiness, humor, love, faith and trust.

I'd like to control: gluttony, fatigue, guilt.

Unknown said...

I'd turn up the volume on passion, and kindness.

I'd always have the humour button on and make sure empathy is available for all to see.

I would turn down vanity and turn off jealousy.

As always, thank you for another thoughtful post :)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Thank you guys for informing me of your on/off buttons, I love it.

Oh Mike, its good ot see you hear battling me yet again hahaha...and yes you do have that part right, I do agree. But. with that being said, I LOVE FRIED CRAP and I WISH that there was the conscious choice to not have my body react in the ways that it often does...and I do think that you could use a little more compassion towards fat people. Eating too much is often a very serious mental thing that is very hard to control, that is a struggle and inner battle that is EXTREMLY difficult, i'm sure many fat people would like to be thinner, but like many diseases their over eating is something that is very difficult to take control of.

This is part of why I said COMPASSION was an emotion I think is good to have ON.

Meesh-elle my Belle said...

You are really a gifted writer Chelsea. This post came at such a perfect time for me. I relate so strongly to what you said about confidence...isn't it insane how it's just gone in certain moments without any warning? I have found that happens to me in LA far more than it ever did in NYC. I wonder why that is...

Nicoel said...

I'd have a pretty similar control panel, though I wouldn't keep faith on autopilot. I've tried, and it just doesn't work for me. I've been burned too many times...

Britt said...

Wouldn't it be nice to have that kind of control? Maybe we'd become exausted with all the choices too. I would amp up self confidence and turn down the doubt. Among other

Hope you have a great tea party! :)

Ashley said...

I think I would keep on happiness, optimism, energy, intelligence.

I'd turn off lazy.

I am not sure if I would keep on lust or not, interesting post! ;)

KJS said...

Dude. You are so deep.

molly said...

very thought-provoking post...
i definitely agree that too much of a good thing is good

Essentially Me said...

The button that would stay on all the time for me would be my AWARENESS button. Half the battle is knowing what kind of situation you're being thrown into so that you can react accordinlgy. It's nice to have faith and compassion and whatnot turned on all the time, but not when people take advantage of your good nature.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Essentially Me- I think you have a great point. Awareness is imperative.

Meeshelle- THANK YOU :)

brandy said...

Dude. I haven't told you this but your blog has been all sorts of awesome lately. Every post I've been reading has knocked my socks off. Well done!

As for the question of what I would keep on, and what I would like to control... Keep on all the time would be- humor. Perspective. Kindness.

And the control button? Sarcasm. It just gets me into trouble.

JUST ME said...

I'd turn off my desire for all things bad for me...this includes men.

Can there be a switch for perfect hair? Because that would be awesome. If my hair was always perfect.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

I think Confidence can be an overrated virtue. It is good to be a little scared every once in awhile. Builds character.

Alya said...

Automatic: Happiness, Faith, Compassion, Logic

Control: Sensitivity, Impulse, Energy (its always low)

Off: Fear, Jealousy, Doubt.

Kim & Dic said...

although sometimes they say fear is one of the greatest feelings to have because it keeps you on your toes and much more alert to things going on around you...or something like that :)

JD @ said...

Is anyone here aware of the anagram system? I am most definitely a 9 on that personality scale. So I say to all of you whop would dare turn off your laziness, why?? Being lazy sometimes is exactly what the soul needs. Shame on all you uber-americans who want to work all the time. Enjoy being lazy, it is great. Plus I am an odd one in that I see no reason to mess with any of my emotions, otherwise I would not be the great (ha) person I am.

Who? Me? said...

I would not turn off any of the emotions that you would turn off permanently. I would like to have more control over them, but I wouldn't turn them off. Anger spurs us to confront people who need confronted. Fear tells us not to let our toes hang off the bed at night so the boogeyman doesn't get us. Jealousy shows me how much I appreciate my husband and Doubt keeps us from being vain. Do I wish that Fear didn't keep me from moving out of state? Sure. But I'm glad it's there to keep me safe.

Anonymous said...

I'd certainly turn off self doubt, jealousy, and anger. Lord knows I could use less of all those things.

Melain said...

As a mom, I would want to keep the patience button on, FULL TIME. I could also use a motivation switch. Why go do laundry, when blogging is SO MUCH MORE FUN.

Your thoughts were very eloquently stated. I can totally relate to EVERYTHING you said! That's the trick of a great writer, I think.

alexgirl said...

What a great post. So well thought out and insightful. Hmmm... I would definitely turn off:

and I'd turn on (and leave on):
sense of humor
carefree/ability to let things roll of your shoulders

Mike said...

Chelsea -

There are two sides of me. The emotionless asshole dictator that sees things in black and white.

I do have compassion, and sometimes things frustrate me.

While I'm not morbidly obese myself I do have a bit of an extra jiggle these days. Serves me right for skipping the gym since, oh, December!

Fat is a difficult thing because of the following:

#1 - adaptation to eat as much as possible in times of plenty - because starvation was as common as eating.
#2 - That rang true up until only a couple of hundred years ago
#3 - Humans have long life spans and infrequent reproduction (thank god) so adaptation and natural selection are very, very slow in our species
#4 - the body, thinking that you are very very lucky in having so much food, releases endorphins when you eat.
#5 - all that being said, it is very easy for food to become an addiction. The worst part of that addiction is -
#6 - unlike smoking, alcohol or drugs, YOU CANNOT COMPLETELY STOP EATING.

This may seem like a bit of a contradiction to what I said before, but I think both things ring true. The above is part of understanding the nature of yourself and working with it, not using it as an excuse.

alana said...

i'd like to amp up my motivation and self-belief... i could definitely do with some big doses of those right now

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Mike- Thank you for the comment back, I do agree with much of what you are saying in this second post and I do appreciate your opinion, you make some strong points indeed. and #6 TRUE that is why it is so difficult for people.

Alana- I FEEL YA GIRL, don't we alllll

TKTC said...

Dear I feel you on the fickle affairs. I think that's why I so seem to adore the long distance.

You're so Mae West right now. I'm really just loving it. I'm convinced that if I manage to stop being a fuck-up by age 30 that I'll turn into a somewhat interesting person. But can't quit before then, that would be too easy. Must keep fucking up even if it's just a little thing like overdrawing the checking account on a pair of shoes.