A Body Recovered

December 05, 2009

I’ve been having a difficult time lately with my body.  We have not been getting along.  It will not do anything I say, stubbornly holding on to the (fat) cells which protect it from my anger and meanness, knowing full and well that my mind has not been in the right place and I have not been encountering out of joy and love, but out of fear and anger.

Thus, I have been forced to change my perspective, after having to admit defeat because the approach was not working.  So I have changed my mindset, changing my prayers from ones of weight loss and perfection, which my body was constantly falling short of.  I have been praying instead for my body’s assistance in remembering/returning to the body that one has as a child, pre-societal/parental/peer/personal rejection/trauma/pain/hurt.  This is complicated, because for some of us, this hurt originated quite early, thus complicating returning to that state.  I cannot remember a time where I loved my body, or felt comfortable and at ease within my skin.  My first memories are of my body reflected in the eyes of those around me, and harsh words accompanying harsh looks.  I remember eyes resting on my stomach arms legs hips.  I remember learning what a look of judgment felt like deep in my heart, and I remember shame.

It is for this reason that this prayer is of the utmost importance, so that I don’t just keep re-enacting the same dialog with my body.  Intellectually disguising it perhaps, but the barebones structure is the same: you are ugly, you are not worth the space you take up in a room, you are unlovable, there is something wrong with you. I cannot afford to communicate with my body through that lens for a single second longer.  I cannot afford to only be at peace with it when it is responding to my militant rule.  That is not what loving your body despite your size means, and I cannot continue to tell others to strive for something that I cannot achieve.

This new prayer however does come with a visual image, where my body (as is) is laid down upon a slatted bench, as in a sauna, with all of the extra parts that no longer serve me melting away and dripping off, until only the bare bones structure remains.  On one hand this is a weight loss visual.  On the other, this is a conscious attempt to expel that which no longer serves my greater good.  I have long been of the opinion that my weight is 90% emotional and 10% physical.  I have long felt my weight is the retention of the large amount of trauma (and emotional scar tissue) that remains from my youthful negligence and my repeated careless and reckless behavior with my body personally and in the hands of others.  That pain resides within the cells, providing a genetic memory, and a thick security blanket from the world.

I can no longer afford to be insulated by this blanket. I can no longer afford to run and hid behind layers upon layers of cover.  I have to remind myself of the safe environment that I have cultivated so as to provide my body with a safe home, in an attempt to apologize for my prior transgressions where I was not paying as much attention as I should.  I have to remind myself that I am in a place soft and secure enough for those wounds to be on the outside so that I can tend to them, one at a time, making amends and loving them back into good health.  The purpose of this, however, is not to forget.  I do not want to blindly restart the circle of self inflicted abuse. I must remain conscious, but I also cannot live in an alternate reality where I am body-less. Because in this world, things like fitting into your jeans or feeling attractive enough to feel romance physically with your body instead of just your mind, are concrete reminders of your progress.

I must work harder.