Body/bodies (268)

I hate my body 99% of the time. When I was a kid and everything started happening with my brother, I started eating. I was pre-pubescent, and I was eating to not think or feel, to numb. I still do it regularly even now. If my brain is noisy or my body noisy, I go to the fridge and I just stand there and eat. I’m not hungry…in fact sometimes I’m even very aware of how overly full I am, as I continue to put more food into my body to quiet it.

Of course, I became pretty chubby after that. I wasn’t even fat, but I was the chubbiest in my very small year and did have a fair few pounds that I could’ve done without, and so of course I became the “fat kid”, the one to be bullied because they were bigger than the others. And so my hatred for my body began. Because it was causing me to be singled out and picked on. Not only did the kids at school point my weight out, but my grandfather took frequent opportunities to be cruel to me about it. His disgust was very apparent; he was pretty forthcoming. It’s two years since he died on thursday…I’m not sure how I’m feeling about that. Did I ever actually like him?

I also hated my body, because it was my body that men were after. It was my body that my brother used, abused, raped. My body singled me out in my family because it was female, in a generation of all boys.

As I grew up I hated the female curves that were forming on my body. I always thought  (and most of the time still do think) that I have huge horrible thighs. I used to have bigger boobs (now they’re smaller, and I’m actually okay with their size), and I hated them, they just felt wrong on me somehow. Like they didn’t belong, were alien to who I was. What I felt like, and always wanted to cling onto, was a small child’s body. It’s never made sense to me, because it wasn’t the womanliness that caused me to be abused, that attracted him to me. I was abused in a child’s body. The only thing that seems to fit is that I was clinging onto the hope of being rescued and looked after. Nobody will recuse a grownup – they rescue themselves. Nobody is going to take me in and love me if I’m not a kid. I still struggle with this. A few years ago I lost a lot of weight in not a lot of time. My thoughts around food and eating and exercising were extremely disordered. Several times I tried to make myself sick after eating, even though I was actually just terrible at it. I’m still struggling with it. Still wanting to lose weight even though I don’t need to. Wanting to be small, wanting to not take up space, wanting people to figure out I’m not okay, wanting people to treat me like the little parts that I have inside and to take me in and parent me.

My angry part hates my body for taking up space. For existing. For being soft and squishy, for being hurt, and for being a body that can be hurt. She takes a razor blade and punishes the body, feeling pride and satisfaction when the gentle flow of blood rolls down our skin. She would rather our body was made out of cast iron: impenetrable.

And finally I think I should probably finish by quickly mentioning the memories that are now flashing in my mind. Of a body forced to do other peoples bidding. A body that I had no real control over. A body forced and hurt and violated. How am I meant to learn to love the body that got me here, when it did everything that it did? Forced or willing, my body did those things and now harbours shame and resentment and anger and lately a lot of rage.

one hundred & sixty five: greed

this one just makes me want to swear and throw things. it makes me so, so ashamed, and it’s all mixed up in all kinds of stuff from my childhood and i just really don’t even want to write about it but i also want to keep the momentum going on the blog so i’m going to, but ugh.

and ugh again.

*

being greedy is interwoven so tightly for me with selfishness, another word that makes my cheeks flush with shame. wanting anything when i was little was too much, was selfish, was greedy. and what i was most greedy about, and for, was attention.

i was a teacher’s pet. i aspired to be. the moment someone i liked, or admired responded with kindness or positive attention, i bloomed. i can remember the feeling, of literally unfolding, of how my body relaxed and i would feel warm and soft and glowy. i can almost imagine it was a physical thing that happened, that i expanded somehow into the space around me.

i was desperate for attention, and was shamed throughout my life for striving to be seen, to be heard, to be noticed. it was a personal affront to my mom (and she was right to be offended, it was most certainly a commentary on her parenting) and she’d shut it down at every opportunity.

*

all kids are greedy. they are egocentric, they situate themselves at the centre of everything. it is necessarily how kids are, until they reach a certain age. and that natural sense of wanting the biggest slice of cake or of arguing over the larger half of the cookie or wanting the sharpest pencil crayon or holding the teacher’s hand the most times at recess was used as evidence of my selfishness and greed, to support how i was a little girl who didn’t think of others. i can feel myself shrinking even now, recalling it.

*

i’m really struggling to write this next part but it feels important so i’m going to try…it’s just that when i read all the definitions of greed, they mentioned food, and it upset me the most about the word, because my relationship with food is the one area i just haven’t been able to touch in therapy. and it’s fucked up, friends. a real mess.

the completely disordered way i relate to food was inherited at least in part from my constantly-dieting mom, but is also deeply rooted in trauma. i feel like i’m only starting to realize how deeply and it terrifies me. to start, i hate my body. for so so many reasons, mostly the mere fact that i have to have one, that i have to dress it, that i must attend to its needs, that i have to look at it ever, that i have to acknowledge it.

you see, my current body is the type of body my dad was always disgusted about. there was almost nothing worse you could be, than fat (which is a physical manifestation of greed and gluttony, obviously). and…over the years, i have built myself this body, i have cultivated it into my current form, as a way to defy them, as a way to challenge their love, but the thing is, i fucking hate it. like fully, absolutely hate my body. i want to be positive about it, i want to love the fact that i am soft and comfy and curvy but i don’t. i feel (and actually am) heavy, lumbering, ungainly. so so ugly. out of control, and fully broadcasting it to everyone.

everyone who looks at me can see my greed. everyone can see that i take more than my share, that i am selfish, that i am gross. that i’m screaming out for attention, daring to take so much space.

it would be one thing if having this body made me happy, or fulfilled, or proud. if i somehow reclaimed it. if i grew to love it, just as it was. that’s what we’re all meant to do, right? love and accept ourselves?

i can’t. even though i built up layers and layers around me, even though i’m safe now, even though the only person i’m punishing is myself, even though it’s not proving any points anymore. i can’t be gentle about the fact that i’ve done this to myself. that i’ve internalized their disgust so deeply that i am harming my body and my health and my appearance. that i do this in front of my daughter. i can’t love or accept any of it, it’s so incredibly sickening.

forty-eight: curved

i don’t know why, but all day, i thought of this word in relation to the beauty of the human body.

…the curved line of her jaw when i look at her in profile

…the curve of his arms, hidden partially in shadow

…the curve of her cheek, as i pull her closer to me

for whatever reason, it feels like a sensual word, and not in a way that feels awful and bad, for once. it happens so rarely that i’ll just take it, tonight, no questions asked.