My Body, My Temple

Photo by Jaime Rivera on

I belonged to me on the day I was born. Ten fingers, ten toes, bright eyes and a cute little nose. My body was my temple and my soul glowed to be so well housed. I watched my body grow and enjoyed the way my fingers grasped, my coordination growing with me, my mouth beginning to form the words, “no,” and “won’t.” My no meant NO and yes was just a thing that always happened so I wasn’t too worried about it then. My legs grew strong and I pulled myself to standing, took my first step and fell flat on my backside. Pain ran through me but I tried and tried again. We can take a hit, my temple and I. We roller-skated in the living room, skateboarded down the sloping pine floors in the kitchen and ran wild with the neighbor kids. My body and I, me and my temple. We were sugar and flour making all the right mixtures. Sweetness, that’s what those days were, sitting on the porch with Grandma watching the garden grow, just doing nothing, thinking nothing, just being.

And how you grew my temple, and how they saw you, and how I saw them see you. It was disturbing at first but I was supposed to like it so I let them look. Besides, my NO had shrunk to a no so small and ineffectual that it had no power anyway. My NO had been replaced with please, and thank you, and would you mind very much if I… How the niceties of polite society will kill a strong person’s speech, making them just another voiceless supplicant to a patriarchy that hurts the men as much as it hurts the women. Still, in the back of my mind I knew I was the Queen of Sheba and that when a man came to me it would be in gratitude for the sight of me, my temple, my soul’s house, and my soul’s vibrancy shining out through gold and green eyes. I, Queen, would be worshiped.

Sex in this time is a transaction between two unskilled people both hoping to get something they rarely find. I found no sacredness in sex, no illumination so blinding that I transcended my reality. My temple waited for the divine ripples of oneness but was left empty while I was left surprised that it all seemed so mechanical and strange. Try another man, and another. Do this thing and that thing. Be naughty. Be good. It all ended in the same empty exchange of a moment shared without the promised euphoria. I lowered my standards, expected less, withdrew, and forgot that I had ever dreamed I was a Queen.

But dreams come and they go and sometimes they come again wearing gold and smelling of Jasmine and Myrrh. I knew her when I smelt her, her raw sexual perfection glistening with the scented oils painted upon her skin and I remembered what it was to be a Queen, to welcome a man into my bed, giving him the gift of me because I chose him and not because he’d bought me dinner. I remembered what it was to demand worship and to be worshiped and to climb in ecstasy until my world went dark and shuttered. His pleasure was second to mine and I fell in love again with the woman I am. With my internal Queen. With my body. With my temple.

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