This Body’s Map

I say these words out loud. I feel the weight of them. What is it about a woman and her body? From self-inflicted physical mutilation to the rapid deterioration of the mind through illness, to the metaphor of “skin slipping off bone” through aging, the brokenness and emptiness of physical abuse—even something as innocent as the exposure to an entire season’s heat—we cannot take our bodies for granted.

To place ourselves amongst other women forces us to take this un-mapped journey. In this issue of Room we wanted our readers to patch together their own quilted definition of body and what it means to own this space we occupy. And even though the physical self can be lost, the same can be said about the space it takes up. How do we replant our roots when they are constantly being pulled out, tested, examined, and tossed aside?

In Jen Sookfong Lee’s “Night Garden,” we see how the body, marriage, lust, and love can tangle and wrap around each other forcing us to choose. It becomes about space, belonging, finding a spot to fit. In the feature interview with Betsy Warland, she generously offers her thoughts on living “between” and a life-long feeling of being on the outside.

In “Boyish” the line “But how can I have spiked hair and be a girl?” strikes a chord. At what point did we lose the ability to define our-selves? So many questions emerge while so many questions are an-swered. A beautiful symphony of being yourself and finding yourself. With this year’s creative non-fiction winner, “An Atmospheric Pressure,” images are stamped on foreheads: “Picture the girl . . . imagine the boy . . .” the spot where these definitions and borders line the map, is up to us, and up to discovery. Take this journey with us. Start with our cover artist’s “Dangerous” depiction of watching a mother deteriorate before your eyes, in dripping watercolour: everything lining the path that leads us back home.



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