This sauna is a salt pan.
It collects the sediment from my briny body waters. The fracturing of my family, the rage, the absolute despair—this hot closet converts it all into sweat and vapour.
The smell is not quite right. A ripe combination of mildew and naked lady parts. The cedar boards are worn splinter-less and a greenish film seems to be finding its way into the grain. I keep the lights off and a number of my concerns are diminished.
Most often, I sit legs crossed with my back against the wall. I don’t bother stripping down. Pants and shirt become cellophane around my shape. It’s uncomfortable, but I rely on this tactile feedback to know I’ve still got a body; at least some general casing around my organs.
I leave red-faced and soggy. In exchange for perspiration, this sauna offers an ounce of clarity. Today, it is this: I am loved, I am lifted, and I am backed by a pack of feral angels.
But this battle I am fighting—this one is my own.
This dark path will accept only my footsteps.
There was a moment in the birth of my daughter—around the 30th hour. Draped over the edge of a bathtub, I looked to my mom and screamed, “I need God! Where the f*ck is God?!”
My mom, without hesitation, replied, “God? No, baby. This is your work.”
The moment you realise the armour fits you and you alone—that moment sucks.
But wait for the moments that follow.
Watch what happens when you rise to the occasion—not because you want to, but because your life depends on it.
Let yourself grieve. Throw your tantrum of defiance. Shake your fists at a world that has done you wrong and circumstances you do not feel you deserve.
And then, suit up, train hard and fight like hell.
I think the brave women come to this sauna. Trading our minerals for moments of silence, we let our bodies leak their oceans.
I am the product of this heat’s distillation process and although I have had moments where the line between tears and sweat cannot be found, I always come out swinging.
Author: Brook van der Linde
Editor: Erin Lawson