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Bodies

The Weight

TW: Weight issues

One of the first things I do every morning, after I’ve tended the Snoop and poured my first cup of coffee, is work with my tarot cards. (I’m a witch, by the way. Which I’ll probably get to eventually, as soon as I can figure out what I want to say about it.) Some days, I have very specific questions, others I just ask for a general feel for the day, anything I need to know, keep an eye out for, whatever.

All I asked this morning was for the day’s card. Just whatever. Tell me something. What I got was this:

Tarot card of a woman whose body is made of steak, standing on a scale, captioned Judgment
Judgment card from The Housewives Tarot

And just like that, before I’d even had my first sip of coffee, I had to confront the issue of my weight. Thanks, Dude.

 

This is the card description from the book:

The time has come to weigh the facts ““ and yourself! Judgment is about abandoning bad habits and accepting yourself for who you really are. Don’t be modest; take credit for all your good deeds and valuable traits. Shed the negative thoughts that weigh you down with their high-calorie burdens. True happiness is more about eliminating low self-esteem than losing those pesky five pounds.

My first reaction (ganked from my personal Tumblr):

Except it’s way more than five pounds, and quite frankly, my weight is the only thing hurting my self-esteem now. I have tried for a couple of years now to love myself as I am, to accept my new size, my new shape … and I am failing miserably. Just flunking out all over the fucking place. I cannot look at my whole self in the mirror and accept what I see. “That’s not me!” I scream. Nor is it who I want to be. The body dysphoria is fucking awful. I cannot look at my whole self without setting off a chain of hate and fury.

Give me my body back!

I don’t care if it’s the one I had at twenty or the one I had at forty. Either one, or anything in between, I don’t care. Anything but this smoking wreck that illness and childbirth has given me.

At this point it will take more time, effort and mental anguish to accept myself as I am than it will to lose the weight. 

 

I hate to use the term body dysphoria, it seems appropriative, but honestly I don’t know what else to call it. When I look in the mirror I do not see a body that I recognize as mine. It doesn’t look like mine, it doesn’t feel like mine, and it hurts my head so much I wound up getting rid of damn near every opportunity to see myself from the shoulders down.

It’s not that my body has changed at all that disconnects me from it. I can look in the mirror and see all the changes age and spotty maintenance have brought to my face and I don’t feel disconnected from it. My cheeks may be a little fuller and starting the slow sag of middle age, the crow’s feet and laugh lines have become a part of the landscape, but it’s still my face and I can look at it in the mirror and love it. It’s not Body Dysmorphic Disorder, either. I’m not seeing something that isn’t really there, or isn’t as bad as I think it is.

I’m carting around a stomach that makes me look nine months pregnant. In fact, I’d bet every dime I have to my name the only reason people don’t ask when I’m due is my white hair (which I love, for the record). It’s from the last pregnancy, of course. My body was already wrecked and barely recovered from thyroid problems, but then I got knocked up and all hell broke loose. I gained all kinds of weight and the muscles in my abdomen are flat destroyed.

I look in the mirror and see a round stomach, see a body that looks like it should be busy growing a baby, but it’s not, and never will again. I’m not pregnant I’m just fat, and I don’t know how to be fat.

I know how to be big. As I aged, my size increased up to around a 12 or 14 before I got sick (it’s kind of hard to remember, honestly. It’s not just my body the illness has wrecked). After the illness/medications started taking their toll, I hovered around 16 or 18. And I was OK with all that. I could still look in the mirror and feel connected to myself. There were always some insecurities, of course, no matter how good my body was there was always some asshole willing to point out any flaws.

(What always pissed me off the most is the people who would fall over themselves admiring my heart-shaped ass and then turn around and tell me my thighs were too big. Like, do you think toothpicks would be able to hold up this much awesomeness?)

Anyway, it was always something, my thighs were too meaty or my tits were too small, but I could always love myself because I always looked like I was supposed to.

But now I don’t and there are no words for how much I hate it. I look at myself and am horrified by what I see.

Which absolutely makes me feel like hypocrite, a traitor to the cause. I firmly support true fat acceptance, loving the body you’re given, HAES®, all that. I’m a firm believer in destroying the notion that thinner is the winner. All sizes and shapes are beautiful.

Except my own, of course.

I’ve been desperately trying to accept and love my body just as it is. It’s not working, and I can’t keep on like this. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself I want to weep. Shoot myself in the fucking head. Something. The dysphoria and disconnect is killing me. All my clothes are wearing out and I can’t even go buy new ones because of the mirrors. Every time I have to go into a dressing room I leave with a fucked up head.

Something has to give. I have to choose – accept it or change it. Neither one will be easy.

Fuck it,  if I’m going to have to sweat or cry or be miserable to get to an end point, I’m going to shoot for the one that includes being able to once again see my crotch without a mirror.

 

For more on weight issues, may I suggest this piece by Susan, and everything by Golda Poretsky and Dr. Deah Schwartz.

 

By Brenda

40-something-something stay home mom, floating somewhere between traditional and strange. I’m addicted to music, making things and my computer.

8 replies on “The Weight”

“Like, do you think toothpicks would be able to hold up this much awesomeness?”

I love that. I just do. And I’m sorry that there’s absolutely jack shit I can do to make you feel better on this. All I can do is tell you that I love you, and that you are no “traitor to the cause”: you were the one that helped teach me and your daughter to love ourselves for who we are, not how we look, and I haven’t forgotten it. I may complain when my jeans stop fitting, but for the most part, I am alright with myself. You helped me be that way. And if I could do the same for you, I would. *hugs tightly*

I’m 47 and feel like, over the past year or two, I have physically turned into someone else. I hate it. I hate the way I look and feel such utter despair whenever I have to confront my physical self. I wasn’t that crazy about the way I used to look but I understand what to accentuate, etc. I feel like there are no good things about the way I look now. I hate the way my pants fit, the way my tops bunch through the waist. I never feel good about the way I look any more. Writing this is making me cry, so I’m stopping.

Oh honey, I’m so sorry I made you cry. I’d give anything to have some magical advice for you. Fuck, even for myself, you know? I turned 48 a few months ago, and between the chronic illnesses and menopause everything seems to be getting worse.

I’ve hit rock bottom, but for me it’s always a blessing when I do – it means the terrifying free-fall is over, and the only thing left to do is assess the damage and figure out how to climb the fuck back up.

And hey, just for the record, I could always use some climbing buddies ….

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