Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm completely someone.

Interesting post over at Shapely Prose today. That Kate Harding always manages to ring my bell when I least expect it, particularly this quote:

So many of us go through our lives as fat people doing our very best to ignore our bodies entirely, to pretend they’re just not there, because thinking about these shameful vessels we live in is so painful. (Which is one reason why exercise can seem like such a daunting task when you’re new to it. It means actually acknowledging your body and inhabiting it, instead of keeping your mind — the good part of you — comfortably separate from its housing.)

I spent years disconnected from my body. Dialogue from the movie "Impromptu" starring Judy Davis and Hugh Grant summed up my attitude almost perfectly. Hugh Grant plays Chopin, who was reluctant to enter into a love affair with French writer George Sand (Judy Davis) primarily because he was chronically ill: " body is such a great disappointment to me, that I've already said goodbye to it, I'm... not really in it any more, I'm just... happier floating about in music. And if I should come back inside this miserable collection of bones, then I am afraid that it would probably collapse altogether." My primary interest was my brain and the development of it. It was my refuge from a world that I didn't feel a part of--to trot out yet ANOTHER quote, this time from the Beach Boys: "I just wasn't made for these times". My twenties were essentially spent writing screenplays and spending as much time inside my head as I possibly could because my head wasn't a disappointment to me. Of course, the kind of world inside my head was as Fantasy of Being Thin as you get. In my head, I was thin (or, at the very least, just merely "chubby", since it seemed like the chubby girls were able to get something of a pass, socially speaking), even though the main characters in my screenplays were always fat girls who managed to get The Guy. But they were never fat like me, they were Showbiz Fat, girls who were maybe, maybe clocking in at a double-digit size. They had "problem areas", but they certainly didn't have problem areas like me with my big belly and my wibwobbly thighs and stretch marks and varicose veins. Think America Ferrera or Kate Winslet or Toni Collette (in "Muriel's Wedding"). It was utterly inconceivable to me that a girl that looked like me could ever, EVER get The Guy, so I certainly wasn't going to write that way. I felt I was doing my part simply making it clear that the lead female wasn't a cookie-cutter starlet.

As I've gotten older and become more invested in fat acceptance and the amount of kick-ass shit my body is capable of, it's now my brain that's developed problem areas. It's almost like my brain's a bit pissed off that I've stopped spending as much time inside of it. So every time I make some sort of a step forward in my own personal affection toward myself, the brain is determined to amp up the voice that tells me how completely stupid I am for thinking I'm worth anything. Basically, my brain is the most poorly-trained yappy dog you can imagine, and no amount of scolding shuts the fucker up. Like I'm wearing a Pomeranian as a hat and I can never take it off. What makes it super-frustrating is that there's a significant portion of my brain that has remained cool and Spock-logical and tells me when the more irrational, Goofy Spock-illogical portion is kicking in to not listen to Goofy Spock because Goofy Spock is just that: goofy. However, when so much shit in the media and entertainment and life in general is parroting exactly what Goofy Spock is hissing, it's nigh impossible to resist sliding back into my old ways and my old hatred. When you put up dating profiles on various sites and don't get a bite...yeah, a little difficult to hitch up oneself by the bootstraps and be all "YAY ME!" Or seeing people that are appalling winding up in happy relationships...not exactly something to inspire one to whip out the pom-poms (not to be confused with the Pomeranian Hat) and jump around screaming "J-A-N-E YOU ARE FAB AND OVER 30!!!!"

(If you're thinking I'm inordinately focused on relationships and love, why, you would be correct. It's a consistent pain point and has been since I figured out that boys didn't actually have cooties. Though they all seem to think I still do.)

But divorcing my body from my brain, despite all the hiccups, doesn't make me whole and it doesn't make me happy. It simply makes me unbalanced. I'm not fully present. I spent so much time not being present in the interest of avoiding being hurt that I managed to miss out on a lot of things, a lot of opportunities. Trying to avoid being hurt didn't stop me from being hurt. I may not have been getting hurt by unrequited love, but I was getting hurt by any number of other things, whether it was failing to make a living by writing or performing or even having the gumption to try; or failing to avoid having to move back home with my parents at 33. My head is still trying to learn that my body isn't simply here to be a hindrance or a hairshirt. It can be a source of strength, strength that my head may not have at any given time. It can be a source of pride. It can be a canvas. It can be any number of things I can imagine--but instead of keeping it inside my head, it needs to stop hiding. I need to stop hiding.


fillyjonk said...

Like I'm wearing a Pomeranian as a hat and I can never take it off.

This is the best thing I have ever heard.

spacedcowgirl said...

Shoot!! That's what I get for being behind. I was just coming to express my love for the Pomeranian comment but FJ beat me to it. :)

Mind if I use this simile to illustrate what it's like to have OCD? It's awesome.

Jane said...

Feel free!