“Time will always come around To meet you with the answers Home is in your body Homebody” – Nai Palm, Homebody
When I was 15 years old, my younger cousin and I were walking along the main road, heading home from buying snacks at the store. We were close then, best friends. She was younger than me; both of us were at different stages of puberty. As we laughed and chatted on our way home, an older man drove past. He hooted at us and made a lewd gesture with his hand, laughing at our surprise and confusion. I didn’t know what the gesture meant, but I knew it didn’t feel good.
And then there it was – shame, like a heavy blanket, enveloped me. At the time, I didn’t understand why I had responded that way. I didn’t know why I wanted the ground to open up so that I could disappear out of sight, sink down out of my body. It was a peculiar Thing.
This Thing split me down the middle; or rather, into so many ‘middles’ that I found it hard to trust myself, demarcate and uphold healthy boundaries or make decisions that were in my best interest. I had a deep discomfort with occupying my body. Instead of seeing my quirks as a normal part of my personality, my mistakes as a normal part of my life experience and my difficulties as a normal part of growing and changing, shame permeated everything, so that life for me had a sense of urgency and stagnation at the same time. It felt like no matter how much I grew, or what I accomplished, I was an impostor. My life didn’t ‘fit’.
When I first encountered magic mushrooms, I was at art school. It was a Tuesday afternoon after studio time, and I had taken about a gram. I sat alone on the lawn in the front area of campus, watching people; feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and observing the silhouettes of the trees as they swayed in the wind. It was pleasant, but not particularly life-changing.
Many years later I found my way back to psilocybin. A dear friend invited me to take some shrooms with him. I remembered the warmth of my first encounter with them and immediately agreed. He acted as a sitter for me, and we spent the day drinking mushroom tea, eating fruit and talking. I remember feeling a sense of mild unease – he told me to breathe through it. I did, and the feeling passed. Following this experience, I decided to take a spiritual journey; a full trip. I spent the next few weeks microdosing and researching, preparing.
Needless to say, the day I took my trip was one of the most significant days of my life. I had never occupied my body like that before, so fully. It was beautiful and frightening. A significant moment that stands out was when I cried; I cried a lot during the trip. The first tears I cried were not mine. Even in the intensity of my experience, I had the acute knowledge that those tears belonged to my foremothers. I wept for these women I didn’t know, who were connected to me by blood. I didn’t know what had caused them pain, but I cried for them. Next, I wept for myself; for the way I had rendered myself invisible and small in my own life. I cried until there were no tears left and rage swiftly took their place. It felt as though all the anger that I had swallowed, since that first encounter with the lewd man in the car, rose up into my throat, and I spent the next cycle of my trip allowing the rage to flow through me. Once the storm had passed, a beautiful, pleasurable calm came over me.
So while I wanted to have a ‘spiritual’ experience (and it really was), the mushroom medicine grounded me in my body and pulled to the front of my consciousness the unease, shame, and rage that I had inherited from my Mothers, and the invisibility I had experienced in my lifetime. The medicine showed me that all these can pass through my body; pain, tears, rage – but that I didn’t have to allow them to make a home there. My body is mine.
My microdosing regimen following this experience helped me (in conjunction with journaling, therapy and art-making) to feel safe in my body for the first time since I was a child. I determined to sleep when I am tired, eat when I am hungry, give myself loving touch when I bathe, clothe myself, and speak kindly to myself.
I am developing an unshakable trust in myself. There is a deep knowing that comes from honouring my needs. There is wisdom in my body, and nobody can take that away from me. I trust my gut and listen to my feelings of anxiety or safety. I lean into my pleasure.
I decided to curate a pleasant internal environment, a relationship that is based on love, respect, compassion and care. Included in this are responsibility, accountability and forgiveness. I no longer carry around so much shame. I am enjoying the journey, the mundane, chaotic glitter-in-the-air that is Life. And I know that I am safe.
About the Author: Ngozi Chukura is a multidisciplinary Nigerian/Motswana artist based in Botswana. Her work often uses the female form to explore themes related to spirituality and nature and lives at the intersection of intuition and action.
Microdosing has helped her to understand and appreciate that transition, flow and change
are the nature of the universe, and she is free to invent, reinvent and ground herself
whenever she chooses. She is leaning into the idea that home is always where she makes it – and
that she is safe.
As part of her journey with psychedelics, She is shifting her artistic practice to become more
grounded in Love, healing, community and participation. Her experience in the
communication space has opened her up to a deeper understanding of the potential for
making meaning, and how creativity can heal trauma and unearth potential.