tw body image; tw trauma
i’ve been thinking about my relationship with my body for a while. i’ve been neglecting my own body for years now to the point that i am not even sure when it started (teen years, probably) and that i don’t even know when/if i’ll ever get over it completely. when i was kid it was a non issue – like i didn’t have problems with it and i was lucky enough to not have experiences of it being sexualized (catcalling, etc.). but i often felt like it needed to happen for me to acknowledge my body. and it’s sick to the point that when i was a teen, i was afraid of it happening, but found it strange when it didn’t happen – like: why do gross adult men do not find me attractive?! i now know why i thought weird shit like that. or even when i expected boys to hit on me just to validate who i was – i wasn’t even interested. or i thought that me being interested was secondary to them letting me know they were interested (??). thank god for feminism.
there was that one time when my brother’s friend tried to force himself on me and kiss me and i often think about that but for some reason i haven’t brought that to therapy (more on that one day). besides that, there was nothing that happened to me that wasn’t consensual. yet, there were situations where i was too conscious of what was expected of me/my body image instead of just what i felt comfortable with. to this day, i can’t really wear shorts or skirts, not like i would like to. i like wearing them and i think they are rather comfortable, but every time i am walking and my thighs rub against each other is just this loud voice in my head that says FAT and it’s also like everyone can SEE that my thighs are rubbing and getting sweaty and i feel horrible – to sum up, not a good feeling. a few years back, i was ashamed my legs used to have mosquito bites all around them – i guess it made me feel childish and not at all feminine and defeated all the purpose of wearing dresses or skirts (since i already feel childish when also wearing pants and sneakers and my go to womanly image is to wear dresses/skirts – so when i wear them i mean serious business. i’d say it’s when i am on my high cloud of affirmation/self love).
and then yesterday it was so freaking hot and my friend invited me to eat some ice cream. i was feeling rather free after a 3 hour session cleaning my house and a cold shower. the sun was so bright. i decided to put on this outfit i had bought before my birthday even but hadn’t worn. it’s this short jumpsuit in my favorite shade of green and it has little hearts in blue and pink – it’s something i don’t wear normally, basically. and i felt very excited to put it on for the first time but my legs weren’t shaved so i kept up a (very) long debate in my head of wether i should just roll with it or not. well, thank god for feminism again. because i was able to imagine people looking down on me and answers to that (which made me feel better), but the actual point was: to not give a fuck. because it’s my body and i can do whatever i want. my first test was going to the mall to have lunch before meeting my friend and everything was FINE. nobody even noticed my legs, or perhaps i really wasn’t noticing if anyone was looking at them – which would be different if i saw someone i know or something, but let’s focus on the positive. and i kept asking myself: why have i ever let what other people think of me influence my decisions? DAMN. it was liberating.
then i came back home, my friend stopped by to pick me up. we talked a little in the car and i told her: i decided to say ‘fuck you to society today by showing off my unshaved legs’ (i know i was justifying myself to her, but it’s what i do when i feel insecure). she didn’t bat an eye and said ‘OF COURSE. GOOD FOR YOU’. and i was glad i didn’t feel uncomfortable next to her or judged – and i wondered if this would vary depending on whom i was with, which is also okay. and while she was driving, i remembered some experiences where i kept myself out of having fun/being more relaxed because of hairy legs. which is ridiculous, but that’s what happened. i wouldn’t say i would never wax my legs again, but i am now with such a ‘fuck off’ attitude about it that i hope to embrace in other situations – especially regarding my body. and i also remembered this one day after feminist theory discussion in college (YES. FEMINIST) and my friend came whispering to me: ‘hey, did you notice that girl doesn’t shave her legs?’ and i was just like ‘oh, really? that’s weird, isn’t it?’ and now i just feel very ashamed because who fucking cares. it’s the whole thing with feminism – do whatever you want with your body. i am happy i learned this now. and how much stuff we do that is connected to what other people do/what is considered normal/rules for ~being a lady or whatever. this article gave me a wonderful confidence boost about the subject.
and another thing, that i guess it’s connected with body positivity and stuff that i have been reading about it’s just: to connect with your body in different ways. i don’t do sports or run or do yoga (although once my money situation is a little better i hope to start doing it), but there are other ways. masters of sex (i know, i know) taught me a little about this thing called sensate focusing and i did some further reading about how it can be adapted to solo sessions. when there is no sex involved, it basically means: take good care of your body. this goes from applying lotion to stretching and acknowledging you have body parts with different needs and functions. one example: i really don’t like my feet, but sometimes i look at them and think positive things about them (if you think i am crazy for doing this, you should know i am crazier than that) – like: just thanking you for putting me up and walking me to work today and back. sometimes i write to parts of me i am not very fond of. i’ve been trying to draw them as well, but haven’t been able to put that much effort and compromise into that area lately. what i mean is: every effort goes a long way, wether it’s related to your mind, body or soul. take care of yourself ♥
listening while writing: Bill Callahan – Riding for the Feeling