The Whispering Body

by Lori Dwyer on November 10, 2011 · 6 comments

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“Your body always whispers before it screams.”
Source unknown.

Now, in the after, I’m trying to teach myself to live more authentically. I guess, by osmosis, I’m teaching my children with me as I go.

I’m what I think they refer to in pop psychology as a Type A personality. I take things to excess. Those who know me will tell you, possibly shaking their heads as they do, that I drink too much caffeine, I smoke too many cigarettes, and I eat too much crap. I treat my body badly sometimes. And for some reason, it’s still nice to me.

I’m guessing that won’t last forever. I’m thirty now, after all. Isn’t that when they say the downward slide begins…?

In the Before it was so easy to ignore my body. I was tired, always tired, but happy most of the time and not stressed, so my body simply went along for the ride. Now, it’s different… grief and stress and the physical work of taking care of two small people has begun to take its toll on my body. I’m having to start to listen to it more closely.

My body gives me warning signs if it’s being over worked, over used or abused. I get thrush in places it’s probably best not to talk about, and other things reoccur that I won’t mention either. My mouth breaks out in ulcers, my lips get sore and dry. I get pimples and styes and any tiny scratch becomes an infected welt. My body tells me- enough is enough.

And I know well enough what I need. Generally it’s food… sometimes I’ll read the menu when eating out and my mouth will involuntary salivate as I glance past the listing of steaks, imaging a steak so cooked it’s charcoal. I need iron. My skin is dry and feels scratchy and I can’t quite slow down and catch my breath- I’m dehydrated and badly need water. I’m cranky and short tempered with my children, I need a break, to do some yoga and meditate, switch off from the world for a bit. My muscles are sore and aching, my shoulders feel tight and clenched; that means I need exercise, to walk for a few days in a row so my muscles stretch out… spending so much time at he computer will have that effect.

And sleep, I always need to sleep. I know as my body gets weaker and reacts more to everything, as I get crankier and less able to concentrate that I need sleep, more than the six hours I usually spare myself.

And I try to teach my children that perspective too. Listen to your body, it is telling you things. I ask my son, do you notice how you feel good after you spend the day running around, but your grumpy if you watch TV all day? And I watch him think about it, process it, weigh it up… I watch him realise that his well being is integrated with what he does with himself, how he treats himself pyshically as well as mentally.

I’ve amended my habits so I suck on a bottle of water all day, rather than a can of cola, and I encourage my children to do the same- water or milk are the liquids of choice here, with juice and lemonade being ‘sometimes drinks’. Fruit and yoghurt are encouraged as snacks, and carbohydrates fill in where they won’t eat protein.

I don’t know much about all of this, and that scares me sometimes. How am I supposed to raise two people to take good care of their bodies, when I take such terrible care of myself? Which I why, I suppose, I’m trying to give them a sense of awareness of themselves and mindfulness of their bodies; the knowledge of what is going to feed them physically and spiritually and what is not.

It’s an important skill to have, and one so many of us are missing as our bodies become more and more like shells that we exist in… the art of learning to listen to the whispers of your body, to hear it before it needs to scream.


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The Quit family series highlights how
smoking can impact your family and is made possible by Quit Victoria. Smoking doesn’t have
to kill you to have an enormous impact on you and your family. You CAN
Quit. Make an appointment with your GP or meet Mick to learn more.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Wanderlust November 11, 2011 at 2:21 am

Lori, I love that you are writing all this out — your concerns, fears, thoughts. I think that is such a huge and important step in making changes, both mentally and physically. You have been through SO much. You have assimilated SO much change. And yet you are looking at making more changes, big ones. So much respect for you, my love.

And yay, the Speak Out button looks so sexy on your sidebar. Thanks, xoxo


Melissa November 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

It's so hard to juggle the needs of the kids, work, chores … finally, somewhere the needs of my own body get neglected. I finally made a conscious choice to put the needs of my body on my radar. Working out, eating healthy, and yoga, and boy-oh-boy has it made a big difference. It's tough to stick with it (everyone else's needs always seem so much more important) but I'm trying – and it's worth the effort.
You deserve to feel better and be healthy.


Madam Bipolar November 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Take care, Lori. Although I do recommend a vino at 5pm everyday. For the anti-oxidants.


georgi November 10, 2011 at 1:04 pm

take care lori. take some iron supplements, they'll do wonders for giving you some more energy. xo


Mum on the Run November 10, 2011 at 9:05 am

If I gave my body the same respect and care that I give my son's – I'd be a walking health campaign.
His body is sunscreened, fed, rested and loved before mine gets clothed most days!!!
Fantastic post, Lori.


Miss Pink November 10, 2011 at 8:30 am

I love this.
It's so so so true.
I've been getting headaches, really painful headaches at the same time every day since Sunday, and for once water isn't shifting them. Usually it does (with headaches being a sign of dehydration), but not this week.

I have never clicked being in physical pain as to needing some excercise though. Maybe it's my extreme avoidance of it? But glad you mentioned it, because it might make me push myself to do it some more!


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