I Am Sloth Kin

This post is a spell of acceptance AND rebellion.

Sarah Pamenter
Jun 9, 2023
2 min read
A brown-throated three-toed sloth hanging by one arm and leg to a slender tree branch.
From ‘The Green Planet’ by Simon Barnes.

I recently realized (with the help of testing and my health practitioner) that the chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms that have been plaguing me for the past few years are likely due to an imbalance, a dysbiosis in my digestive system💩.

There are so many magical experiences✨ this journey has opened my eyes to: the myth of the individual on the micro-scale🦠, the wisdom of old medicine and magic dismissed 🧙‍♀️ 🌿, ridiculed, and excised by mainstream ‘science’ (in quotation marks because no real science needs to resort to such things to work its magic, it speaks for itself), and more recently a deep feeling of kinship to the delightful, mushy-feeling-inducing being that is sloth 🦥 💚.

Last night I was feeding my eyeballs 👁 with some of the beautiful photography in ‘The Green Planet’  book by Simon Barnes 🌍I got for Christmas (it’s based on a BBC Attenborough series that I can not recommend enough, so fucking magical) and I came across a page on the Sloth. It turns out that one of the driving forces for Sloth’s leisurely moving speed (an estimated 0.15mph) is to allow them to maximize the nutrition they get from the huge amount of leaves 🍃 that they can hold in their belly. They’re not ‘lazy’, they’re just going at the pace set by the rate at which they can extract nutrients from their food 🍲, in the least wasteful way, while not burning themselves out!

Is it really my body that is struggling, or has it amazingly adapted?

This resonated so much with me and my current challenges with pacing 🛌 as my body ‘struggles’ to extract ‘enough’ nutrients to live. And it makes me rethink a couple of things. Is it really my body that is ‘struggling’? Or has it amazingly adapted to the change in my digestive microbiome 🦠, resulting in a change in the pace that is sustainable for me to make ‘progress’? And is it that the nutrients I’m getting aren’t enough for me to live? or is it that they’re not enough for me to meet the expectations of a society that expects top cheetah 🐆 speeds 24/7?

I do not mean to invalidate or deny the suffering that comes from living with chronic illness. ❤️ I dearly miss getting out and about in nature and embracing sloth kinship won't stop me from wanting and working towards a relatively more energetic 🔋, faster pace of life compared to the one my current microbiome can support just now. It has however planted the seed 🌱 of a spell✨ in me, a spell of acceptance, appreciation, and incitement to further rebellion.💚

This post is a spell: of acceptance, appreciation, and incitement to further rebellion.

There was so much more magic to learn, even in this short piece, about our gorgeous sloth kin 🦥 . But out of respect for the pace at which my current microbiome provides me 🙏🏼 , and the teachings of sloth, I think I’ll leave them for another day. 💚 🦥💚

Photo ID: taken from ‘The Green Planet’ by Simon Barnes. It shows a brown-throated three-toed sloth hanging by one arm and leg to a slender tree branch with a few large light bright green leaves, against a bright, light blue sky. A baby sloth is nestled in her chest and they are both looking down and out into the distance.

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