My body woke me up when the sky was still dark and my house was quiet.
Take me for a walk?
I shuffled about in the shadows of my house putting on shoes, finding a shirt, throwing on a jacket, pulling up my hair.
Outside was spring-like, not the bone-chilling reception we've had these past few months.
The birds were up too, perched high in the bare trees, chatty, noisy little things.
I walked and walked, talked myself into climbing up an inclined street until I reached the top and looked out onto my still, frosted town. The red-roofed library, the stacked Kimball tower, the dark sky-scraping Nu Skin building, the white rounded temple, all in my view. I stopped and listened to the drumming of heartbeats in my ears.
That's when my body started talking to me.
You've got to trust me.
It told me.
When I am hungry, I will tell you.
You'll hear it in chambered echoes, grumbles and moans.
DON'T FEED ME until you hear my call.
When I am lonely, I will tell you.
A lump will well up in your throat, like you've swallowed cotton, and tears will form in your eyes.
DON'T FEED ME. Try making a connection with the fine collection of friends you love.
When I am anxious, I will tell you.
Your heart will beat fast, your breath will struggle to leave the lungs and you might feel full of fire.
DON'T FEED ME. Instead, sit down and fight for those breaths. Let the oxygen pour into you — clearing the veins and vessels. Close your eyes. Identify the fear that is squeezing you.
When I feel depressed, I will tell you.
There will be a significant lack of energy, a slumpy reaction to bed-leaving. My mind will slow down and thoughts will become like black puffy clouds.
DON'T FEED ME. Instead, fill your head back up with new thoughts, ideas from books and discussions. Replace the dirty fuel in your mind with clean energy.
When I feel stressed, I will tell you.
Like rubber bands squeezing around your cranium, your head throbbing, your stomach turning, your muscles tightening.
DON'T FEED ME. Instead, write it all out, everything you are feeling. Look over the list and examine.
When I feel sick, I will tell you.
Fevers, aches, pains and physical discomfort.
DON'T FEED ME. Take care of me, bathe me, give me lots of water and put me to bed.
When I feel happy, I will tell you.
Goose bumps infiltrate your skin, you will feel light and airy, propped up on energy, buzzing in your blood.
DON'T FEED ME. Use the excess vivacity to spread your sentiments to someone else.
When I need exercise, I will tell you.
Your legs will ache to be walked, your back will beg to be stretched, your heart will ask to be throbbed.
DON'T FEED ME. Walk me. And don't exercise me until I say so, please, or we will battle.
When I feel lazy, content, competitive, peaceful, overwhelmed, snippy, snappy, hot, cold, tired, frustrated, thirsty, full, beaming and bright, I will tell you.
DON'T FEED ME. None of these sentiments require food. Excess surplus will have to be stored. I will have to make more of us — human shelves in rolls and lumps — to organize the overflow intake. Don't make me do that, please. There are babies to feed, children to squeeze, a husband to kiss. Right now, we don't have a lot of steam to become a storage facility as well.
But when I feel hungry, I will send you a message of emptiness of stomach, dizziness of head, a sensation in your mouth extending into your throat that reads, I NEED FOOD. PLEASE DON'T STARVE ME.
Then, feed me.
C. Jane Kendrick is creator of the award-winning blog cjanerun.com. She lives in Provo with her husband and three children. She likes waffles, burritos and vacuuming. Always vacuuming. CONTACT: fb C. Jane Kendrick, twitter C.JaneKendrick