The Road from My Shoulder


John Milton: “A woman’s shoulders are the front lines of her mystique, and her neck, if she’s alive, has all the mystery of a border town. A no-man’s land in that battle between the mind and the body.” – The Devil’s Advocate

I have fallen in love with the curve of my shoulder. The gentle slope that my fingers travel from just behind my jaw down the side of my neck. They settle into the valley where it and my shoulder meet and join together, ball in joint, hand in hand. Beneath it, the terrace of my collarbone beckons, but only for a moment! There are other places to explore. The round of my shoulder pulls my fingers in a circle, tracing its sphere as if it were a small planet unto itself. I can feel the strength in it as the muscle presses back against my prodding fingertips, proving the work is worth it. There is also some tension there that bespeaks of some needed TLC, my body reminding me that care goes hand-in-hand with work.

I walk my fingers along the flat of my shoulder blade, up the back of my neck, feeling my spine press upward as my head curls forward. That beautiful sweet spot at the bottom of my skull calls, but that is not my focus for the moment. Forgive me, I get distracted sometimes.

I am slowly learning to love my body. To walk my fingers over its inches, feel my own skin, find my own strength, revel in my own softness and curves. There are days (and nights) that I just sit or lie in bed and run my fingers over my hips to feel the barely-there scars that tell tales of growth and blossoming. I knead them over my feet to relieve the weariness of a day’s coming and going. I brush them over my calves, pressing them under that muscle and deciding to work for more of a defined niche to hook them. I am finding what is beautiful in this body of mine. Or, rather, finding this body of mine and learning to call it beautiful. This is the only body that I will ever have, and I am rather liking that I am learning to love it.

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