Posts Tagged ‘body image’

I hate uncertainty. I need clarity in all things. With that in mind, I hate even more when I allow the filters through which I was taught (brainwashed) to see the world to influence me. I know where those lenses came from. I know why I think this way. So why can’t I stop it?

While I feel free here in Israel in a way I never have before, there are times when I pause in terror of conflict or potential conflict. This includes times when I’m asked where I want to eat, whether I want to do something or not, what do I think of (blank)…

Then there are the bigger things. I’ve finally loosened up to the point where I can not only interact with others, but I’m actually having fun. And then I feel like shit for having fun. Like its so exhilarating, it must be wrong. I half expect some sort of punishment to fall on me.

Fun has come in the form of dancing mostly. This week drinking also, since I’ve realized if I’m not set out to destroy myself, it’s okay. And drinking doesn’t mean drunk. Drunks freak me out. But so do clubs.

Anyways. I avoided clubs and dancing for the longest time. My experience of going out to dance included seeing how many guys I could lure at the urging of my ex. This was when I was recently exited, and had turned down stripping jobs (as if that would have eased me out of the lifestyle. NOT). He knew all this. That’s why he got a sadistic kick out it (just like he did when I broke down crying cause I didn’t want to work anymore in any aspect of the trade). Not to mention being molested in clubs by drunks. Which my ex thought was funny.

So. Dancing. I went dancing before I left for Israel. It was a transformational experience. It had nothing to do with seduction, pretense, performance. Just feeling the music. Was amazing.

I don’t think I’d be able to go out now if I hadn’t that night. The only thing I care about is the music. No one else matters, nothing else exists, it doesn’t matter what I look like.

This is intensity. Reaching the moment where I am so overcome by the beat that I lose my Self in the moment. I dance smiling like an idiot cause it’s the greatest high.

Unfortunately, I later come back to myself. And with returning self-awareness there condemnation and doubt, even though I know there is no reason for it.

But I think to myself of the way I have gone out of my way to avoid people who party or drink in any way. Avoiding, but not judging. So why do I judge myself? What am I judging myself for? What is harmful about enjoyment?

I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, doing things I would not have been able to do months ago, even. Its amazing. And terrifying.

It’s a learning curve that feels more a twisted maze.

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Free choice. Something that I really didn’t have for most of my life. Whether it was from doctors, being overly medicated, being pushed into choices due to disability, to being dictated to by a multitude of abusers. One would argue I never had to make any real decisions of my own.

I say ‘sure‘ in response to most things. My ‘sure‘ is not an agreement, but neither is it a disagreement. It is a neutral yet polite and positive response to something I have not yet made my mind up about. And it may very well take me a long time to make my mind up, because I like knowing my choice comes directly from me. I dislike any hint of being pushed in a direction I am uncertain I want to go in.

However, sometimes it borders on ridiculous. I answer ‘sure‘ as if I still am somewhat expecting a violent reaction from others. Which, to be honest, I am. There is a tension still there when a decision to be made is directed to me.

And yes, it is a lot easier to just let someone else make a choice, and go along with it. Which is what I typically do. And which is what I can’t really do here in Israel, where people really know their own minds and voice it.

I’ve even been told that being here is good for me cause it’ll force me to learn to make choices for myself. Which I completely agree with. But it is a statement that also makes me feel very much like a child.

Meanwhile, it is my choice to be indecisive about a lot of things. I choose to take time to make my mind up about things.

I was thinking about this cause it’s been really hard and draining, the last several weeks. I had a moderate freakout which lead to a shared cigarette and buying makeup and earrings for the lobe piercings I retired long ago. Which really isn’t a big deal on the surface, but in my mind it was the first step back into oblivion.

However, smoking made me realize why I stopped in the first place (it’s really yuck. I had to decontaminate myself afterwards). And wearing makeup does not make me look like a whore. Nor do multiple earrings.

Which made me look at why I kept thinking like that, and realizing I’m still internalizing J’s abuse long after his exit from my life. I just figured he was right: I was a whore, therefore I looked like one. So I tried to eradicate any lingering ‘signs’ (weight, clothes, hair, appearance, everything). Which is ridiculous. And brings me back to choice. Perspective too, since anyone who is human could be a ‘whore’, and what does that word mean anyways? Cause it’s really not applicable to me, despite what I lived through (circling back to choice).

Anyways.

So I essentially said fuck you in my head, and hoped he got the message, wherever he is. And went late to class this morning just to put on some makeup.

I did my nails too.

πŸ™‚

For a long time I wanted to be sexually neutral. I remember at 16 I wanted to cut my breasts off. I even have a scar above my left breast, where I dug into my skin, thinking I could cut them off by myself.

Since I was 16, I’ve used a Mirena IUD for severe pelvic pain. The thought being that without a period, there would be no reason for my pelvis to hurt.

This has been true, to an extent. I had the IUD removed when I was 18. I freaked out so badly I had it reinserted, and have kept it since.

Its one of those things I’m aware of but don’t really acknowledge:Β The need to remove anything that makes me a woman.

This is kinda a weird place to be in, cause I fully embrace my femininity. Yet there are times when I do not want to be female at all.

Its a trigger that’s been waiting in the background. There, and I know of it. Just the trigger and I ignore each others existence. Until, of course, I have to face it head on.

Like, when I’m sharing quarters with other women, and one of them asks me if I have a tampon. And my first instinct is to lash out violently. So while I smile apologetically and say no, I’m envisioning a bloodbath where there will no longer be anything left to mark us as women.

This could possibly be playing into my heightened awareness of what I am wearing, and my need to disappear behind clothes, and the frightening realization that its not actually possible. And the knots in my stomach twist a little more.

I tried to unsex myself before. By losing too much weight, by gaining too much weight, by trying to remove or restrain my curves, went out with my head veiled. I pierced sexual body parts multiple times in a twisted form of self-injury.

And, of course, I still don’t get my period.

Which made me wonder about my capacity to heal.

So I’m sitting in a hotel room, having just been at my great-aunt’s surprise bday. Still in my dress. Thankfully shoeless (I started the night off in heels. Decided it was ridiculous to have sore, burning feet, and promptly switched to my baby blue Vibrams. Looked uber sexy with the little black dress πŸ™‚

I think I fretted over seeing family for nothing. Yes, there was surprise that I was there. But I tend to forget just how awesome my family is, having isolated myself for so long. I end up wondering if I had just forced myself to remain in that bubble, would all the shit that’s happened to me still have happened? Probably yes.

So, from the hotel room comment, you can deduce I am in another city. While here, I’m planning on shopping. I was all pumped to buy new clothes this morning. Didn’t end up happening. I got pissed and returned to my room. It started with the grey sky and cool temperature, and ended with a saleslady giving me that haughty “what are you doing here?” look. And I realized that the effort I’d have to make of actually putting on clothes to try was way too much.

The night before I drove here, I was helping my mother pick clothes to bring. I tried giving her a pep talk. That beauty is a social construct that changes with the times at society’s whims. And fuck what other people think (referring to her exposing her arms).

I thought about that since. Beauty. And what it means. There is a post I did a while back where I commented about how my ability to see beauty in anyone is not a good thing. I fully take that back. Because I do see beauty in everyone. But I don’t want to fuck them. Which was what I was confused about before. Appreciation does not equal lust.

Anyways…

Beauty. I went to the party this evening with my arms and legs exposed. Gasp! Not only are my arms not toned, but they are scarred too. My arms obviously scarred. I wore my septum piercing too. This was not for a reaction. This was to be authentic to myself. Because I am comfortable as I am. And… well, fuck everyone else.

I ended up leaving early. Mostly because my feet were killing me in my gorgeous heels. I ended up sitting on the bed, wanting to go back again. I like being around others. It’s nice to realize I can carry a conversation and make small talk and smile and mean it. I don’t think I give myself enough credit at times (okay, all the time).

So as soon as I had tossed my heels, I get a call. My parents and aunts and uncles escaped the party also. And invited me to go grab a burger with them. The drive there and back was entertaining and enlightening and sad. The conversation was loud, outspoken, tactless, and truthful.

The burger was awesome. We snuck back into the party just in time for dessert. But by then the excitement had kinda died down.

It’s weird. I had to live a double life for a long time. And in a way, it’s like I am again. But I guess that applies to most people. You see the face the other person presents. Tonight, I tried to merge the various sides of myself. I did that with the exposure of my scars, my septum, my lack of makeup (mascara and lipstick don’t count when everyone else pancakes it on), showing my half-finished tattoo that’s on my leg (a coverup. It used to be a girl blowing her brains out. It’s now a water/lotus flower/rock scene). I survived. That’s what it shows. The fact I refused to wrap my body up just because I’m not acceptably thin. Looking in the mirror I could finally see that I have lost weight. And I felt awesome. And confident. And beautiful. And comfortable.

So. Theme song for this post:Β http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQDSDbfVde8

Cause this song makes me super happy whenever I hear it. And it’s safe to turn up the volume πŸ™‚

I find it hard to maintain interest in anyone. And this goes beyond romantic entanglements. This includes friends and family as well. It’s not unusual for me to just not contact a friend for a period of time, and then ease back into conversation. But… the people who are my friends are the few who just continue to be there year after year. I can probably count on one hand the people who I’ve kept around and want to keep around. It’s weird. It would be awesome to have a group to hangout with (my friends are all individual friendships with vastly different personalities/lifestyles from each other. I can’t actually bring them together. Like the kinkster with the extremely religious. That’ll go over well. Not.).

With family… Fuck. I come from a tight knit family. Even with those who live overseas. I’ve been actively avoiding them for a long long time. At first, I would make up excuses based on the various things that ailed me (pain, anxiety, whatever). But eventually, I stopped saying anything. It was just a given that if family got together, I wouldn’t show up. I’m pretty sure my youngest cousin has no idea who I am. And she’s now a few years old (fuck, I don’t even know her age).

Anyways. I had promised myself to be more social, which is kinda what brought me to date again (I know, totally the wrong way to go about it). But I’ve been making an effort to initiate contact with friends instead of ignoring. Gotta start somewhere.

I’ve been thinking about my avoidance of those I used to be close to. Especially because it’s my great-aunt’s birthday later this month. Her husband is throwing her a surprise party. I have to face them sometime, and I figure this would be a good place to start. Especially since I’d be staying in the hotel where the party is, so really, I have a built in exit strategy.

It’s stressful. The people in my family are well off, well educated, stable… My cousins close in age to me are studying in various parts of the country, living independently, have jobs, relationships, friendships, pets. And then there’s me. Ex-whore who never graduated high school. Weird fact about me – I’d rather admit I was prostituted then someone without a high school diploma. Regardless of the fact that I got into university anyways on the strength of my grades.

Anyways. It’s the questions and comments from others that is stressing me. The whole “what are you doing with your life” conversation that comes from people you haven’t seen in ages. WTF do I say? “Well, I recently got myself off drugs after being raped yet again. It made me realize that what I’m doing wasn’t working for me. And now I sit in my room and write about myself so unknown people can hear my thoughts”?

Hmm.

Part of me wants to say something like that just for the reaction. Then my better judgement kicks in. My therapist offered to roleplay those awkward questions to lessen the anxiety. And I guess I’ll actually have to do that now.

Even though I don’t feel inadequate or worthless, I know if I start measuring myself against them, I’ll lose. Even though what I’m doing and where I am is just as important as studying Russian Lit for the hell of it (One of my cousins. Really, what does one do with an education in Russian Literature?).

Plus there’s the whole body image thing. I’d be lying if I said I’m totally confident in my skin.

I’m not. I fake it really well. But my weight and appearance isn’t something I like to talk about, and rarely like being commented on. Both have zero relevance to me as a person. But, they aren’t blind. I’ve lost 40+lbs in the last while, but I’m still bigger then I used to be (I mean at my baseline weight, not my skinny unhealthy self). And a few of the women in my family really have no tact when it comes to stuff like that. And then I start comparing myself to my sister, who I still think is the pretty one. Or my aunt, who used to be a model (the magazine kind).

So I can’t even comment about my weight, or the fact I’m losing it, cause I don’t want it to be something they focus on (I end up thinking they’re mentally calculating the 40+lbs back on my frame. Or thinking about how good I used to look). But it’s there. I’m not invisible.

Then to dating. I’ve noticed that I have an uncanny ability to tell when a guy is interested, or about to pick me up. In public, I mean. And I hate hate hate being hit on in public. But if it’s a guy I’ve chatted with for a bit, and decide to meet, I really can’t tell. I actually have no clue if he’s interested or not. It has to be said. Otherwise, I’m oblivious.

I was wondering why that was the other day, while I was swinging in the park (it’s a very meditative activity. I highly recommend it). It occurred to be that it’s some sort of residual survival instinct from being a pro. I’d have to evaluate a guy in the few seconds from him opening the door to me walking in and him shutting it. I had to know, instantly, whether I’d be safe or not. So, now, if it’s someone I want to be interested in, or might be interested in, or just someone to know for fun… I can’t. I can’t read them. It unbalances me.

I’ve also realized I’m kinda chasing that connection I had with J. It was just this instant click.

So now, it’s easy to lose interest. Cause if I can’t get that click, I don’t see the point. Or the guy will say something, and I’ll suddenly think to myself, fuck I’m bored. And like that, I’m done.

But… it’s better then toying with men. And it’s better then just giving into sex. I’ve realized a perverse pleasure in saying no. It’s an awesome word. I love it. But it’s also false empowerment.

Back to family.

I also have to get used to small talk. Small talk bores me. If I can’t get into an in depth discussion, I don’t want to speak. And there’s a lot of superficiality in that branch of my family. It’s just not stuff I care about. My life experience has been so vastly different that I get stuck on words and just listen and nod my head and murmur appropriately and daydream. Or find a corner and read.

One person I am looking forward to seeing. One of my younger cousins. Who doesn’t really know me, but seems to adore me regardless. I’m not crazy about kids, never have been. But she just has a spark that’s refreshing to be around. Crazy wild imagination too. Last time I saw her we build a fairy tale castle out of styrofoam and glitter. It was awesome.

At the very least though, it’ll bring some excitement.