That's your gig

by MB


In all fairness - that's your thing. The whole "self deprecating," I'm a fuckup thing. That's your line. You play into that.

I hate that she's right.

(Conversations with JS - 4.13.17)


Untangling

by MB


Dear body, 

It has taken me the better part of 28 years,  but I'm finally beginning to untangle the web of lies you told me.  

I've learned, recently, that just because my body was once a frequently topic of conversation - the length of my legs or the size of my chest were seemingly central to my very existence - does not mean now, as an adult, that it is on the forefront of peoples' minds today. I am no longer disproportionately tall or top heavy. I do not draw stares when I wear bathing suits at appropriate social gatherings, nor does the revelation of my age provoke looks of confusion from innocent inquiries. 

Today, at age 28, 5'4" (+ a half), a size 4, and a 32DDD, I'm actually fairly normal, maybe even statistically average. 

In a room full of women of childbearing age, the very fact that I have my period is not something about which I should be ashamed. No one has ever once asked me how old I was when I began to menstruate, nor asked me to chronicle how the day unfolded.

I've invested so much energy in believing that you were my defining characteristic. That you spoke for me, without me, over me - that your language was louder than the words from my tongue. I profoundly believed that the very there-ness of my flesh overpowered anything I might think or feel to the contrary. Because my body, unlike my words, has never lied.

So I hid my words behind this vessel - this body - convinced she could do the talking for me. I lost my ability to feel along the way.

What are you feeling? my therapist would gently ask?

Nervous. Sweaty, Shaky.

But those weren't feelings, she reminded me. They were my body's reactions. My feelings, she explained softly, could not be described using the same vocabulary.

Say you're anxious. What does that feel like?

Sweaty palms. Rapid heartbeat. Flushed cheeks and fidgeting.

See, she says. That is your body's physical response to the emotion. You are not feeling sweaty, nervous, fidgety. You are feeling anxious.

And slowly, the untangling began. 


Processing

by MB


I think you're processing. You've been (quietly?) (slowly?) processing everything for the past few weeks. I think this lack of productivity is just you processing.

Slow down, Lynette reminded me yesterday. It's o.k. A lot has changed. Everything has changed. You're just processing. 

This has challenged your identity - everything you've ever thought about yourself. And you, especially, are someone who takes awhile to process. It's normal.


Letters to my body

by MB


Dear body,

I hate the way you speak for me without uttering a word, the things you say from the very fact that you take up space in the world.  I hate you for becoming a woman when you should have still been a girl. Most days I still hate you for being a woman; your very existence provokes constant resentment. I hate how much I cringe when I look at pictures of us back then - how ashamed I am of my inability to control you.

I hate you for the way people looked at us when we were younger, breast buds advancing through tanner stages before most girls even knew those defining characteristics.  I hated the purple speedos we wore in Mexico - the way the elastic dug into the skin on your back - and how we had to pretend no one else could see us.

I hate you for the curiosity you instilled in me about my own body - how I hoarded books on development and adolescence. I am not sure I can forgive you for all of the time I spent trying to prove to myself that I was normal -  that there was nothing wrong with me -  and I hate you for robbing me of that time.

Speaking of time - can you imagine what I might have done with all of the time I  would have had had I not ruminated over the imperfectjons of your flesh, counting the ways in which you were broken?

It's been almost 20 years, yet my heart still sinks when I see a young girl in the stages of early development - paralyzed by my own empathy.

I think it's your fault that I've never been normal about dating or men, fearful of my own desire for sex and love. I hate the way your stomach looks when you're in bed with G, wishing your hipbones took up more space in your body. I hate the part of you that convinced me to fuck a married man because I feared intimacy was too dangerous.  I hated how much I enjoyed fucking him - in his car, on his desk, on my bed at 2pm when we should have been at work. I hate how you let him rub his hands over your ribs as he told me he liked his women "skinny and a little naughty." I will never forgive you for being so selfish, and for perpetuating my fear that sex is wrong and men cannot be trusted. 

I hate you for silencing me when I most needed my voice - for knowing what I needed to say but denying me the courage to speak. 

Body, I hate you for the time you robbed me of. For the days and months and years I spent as an alien in my own skin, convinced the problem with you was my fault.  I hate that you're so good at keeping secrets.

I hate the way you've made me fear words like:

  • puberty
  • development
  • hormones
  • period
  • "becoming a woman"

I hate how needy you are and how you refuse to go away.