I have been thinking lately about how I see myself and it causes me some angst, this has been on my mind a weight on my heart even. I know, it shouldn’t I am a tough old broad, generally not given to inner flights of fancy or brooding about what cannot be changed. My fifty-fifth birthday has come and gone now, I am past middle age and heading towards, well something else entirely.
Why am I noodling this? What am I really talking about; I am talking about Me, Myself, I, Id, Ego; all the things that make me ME. More importantly, I am talking about what I see in the mirror of my mind versus how others judge me when they see me on the street or meet me for the first time. Perhaps even more hurtful it is how those close to me offer up their helpful suggestions and thoughts on my ‘health’ and appearance.
I wonder does it never cross their minds to ask, “How do you feel today?”
Can it be that even those closest to me have decided I made a personal choice and it was to be fat? Do the people who claim they love me honestly think (this is a stretch, the thinking part) this is the look I chose? That I enjoy being laughed at on the street, dismissed as lazy and worse stupid. Do those who profess their care for me truly believe I don’t see myself, know my ass enters the room approximately thirty-two seconds after my boobs? Do they think this doesn’t bother me?
Of course it does you bunch of insensitive social incompetents!
There was a time in my life I wanted to be a Ballerina, I wanted to float across the floor in beautiful flowing costumes en pointe’ making art with my body. Then my body betrayed me, my ballet teacher smacked my breasts emerging like angry beehives from my chest and explained in her thick Russian accent, “No prima ballerina has breasts like a peasant!”
Ten years of grinding practice only to be told my peasant breasts were not the stuff of ballerinas. Nevertheless, I continued to dance, because I loved it. I also took gymnastics, rode horses, skied, ran, played soccer and did many other things all because I loved them. After all, with prima ballerina off the table everything else was on! There were times I brutalized my body, it didn’t matter I just kept going. I tore my knees up; I would walk again long before they healed properly.
I learned many forms of dance from ballet to belly; dance was my favorite form of expression and art. Dance was my heart.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
That is how much I gained in the first two years after I was shot. Sometimes I lose some of it. Then I have another setback, another surgery or another round of partial paralysis. The reality is I don’t think I will ever lose it, not ever. Before I was shot I had already gained weight, I was in a miserable marriage and I was unhappy, I wasn’t fat but I was no longer thin and perfect either.
I wonder I look at those words and I wonder no longer thin and perfect. What does that mean, perfect in what respect and perfect according to what measurement. Who or what am I measuring myself against?
Now at fifty-five I use wonderful words to describe myself, words like Zaftig, which is one of my favorites. I laugh along with others at the shallowness of a society that would dare to judge me on my dress size without taking the time to value my intellect, my capabilities or my accomplishments. The reality is their judgment hurts. My own judgment hurts truthfully I am diminished by both.
Don’t you want to lose weight?
I am asked this question quite frequently. The answer is always the same, of course I do you nitwits. I also want to live without pain, wake up every morning leap out of bed without any numb spots anywhere on my body. Given a choice, I will take pain free over thin any day of the week. I won’t achieve that one in my lifetime either.
Would I like to lose weight?
Certainly, I would love to lose weight. I would love to shop in stores that didn’t specialize for ‘fat girls’. I would love to go to the gym and not feel ashamed; in fact, I would love to not be afraid to go to the gym.
I would like to go to the gym and not feel like an alien, not be stared at as if I belonged somewhere else, anywhere else but there.
I would like for people to see me and not judge me. I would like to look in the mirror and not judge myself.
Why in the hell do gyms have so many damned mirrors anyway?
I would like to not be asked by those who profess to love me why I don’t lose weight. I would love, just once for someone, anyone who loves me to ask me how I feel today.
I have read so many great blogs recently on the subject of our bodies and social judgment; one stands out in part because as a woman it hit home I hope you will go read Sweet Mother http://sweetmotherlover.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/dear-fat-dudes/
I previously wrote this, a lighter look at the subject. https://valentinelogar.com/category/personal-notes/
The truth is, this might just be my reality. I can eat the best I can. I can walk on the days I am not hurting so badly it is all I can do to crawl out of bed. I can try to overcome my fear of the gym, but I suspect that one is harder than anyone can imagine. My truth is, I live within the body I have and it doesn’t love me. I don’t fit the world and I don’t have the fight left to force the issue. We are so shallow we are willing to diminish anyone that doesn’t fit our narrow vision of beauty forgetting there is a whole person inside the body we judge not good enough. So today I will cheer for those women like Jennifer Livingston who was brave enough to address the man who berated her for her ‘choice’ to be obese. I wish more of us were willing to stand up to those who are so socially inept, cruel and frankly stupid.