This Too, Shall Pass
Too many nights I hate myself, too many nights of dispair, too many nights of self-loathing, too many nights I just don’t care. -Anon.
This quote was found spraypainted on a building on the DTES in Vancouver a few years ago, and it was so profound, that it was covered on almost every major news program in BC. It stayed with me, and I like to reference it now and again when the subject of self-image and self-doubt arise.
It’s strange, I’m beginning to think that we women tend to mirror one another. Victoria went to bed last night feeling unhappy and insecure, and I woke up this morning feeling the same way. I spent all morning completely consumed by thoughts of doubt about everything, over-thinking and self-conscious, and by the end of the day, as I knew it would, all of those feelings passed. I don’t know if they have with Tori, and who knows where mine came from? All I can assume is that they were created in sympathy. It’s not that I don’t ever feel insecure; I do. But being confident in yourself requires the ability to push down and silence your negative thoughts. I would even say, that to a certain extent, a certain amount of narcissism is required to be secure in onesself, and to have it is healthy.
I’m fortunate to look and feel the way I do. I’m not the skinniest or fittest woman I know, but I do try. I’m proud of the efforts and accomplishments I’ve made. Go me, you know? I’ve lost upwards of 100 pounds in the last few years. I’ve bounced back once or twice, and I’ve gained back the 30 pounds of atrophy-weight I lost when I was in the hospital, but I am proud. Sometimes it scares me, the attention my new body gets. I wasn’t always a smaller woman. When I lost the weight, people actually looked at me, and those who only ever looked at my face looked at all of me. Some people didn’t recognize me at all. People who had ignored me all my life were suddenly paying attention to me. People who made fun of me all my life suddenly had no idea who I even was, but they were nice to me, inclusive, and interested in getting to know me.
The strangest part is being approached by people you envied in high school and having them tell you how jealous they were of you. That is definitely a hard stair to climb. It seems unreal.
I definitely get stereotyped now. There are people who won’t talk to me because they think I’ll be an elitist, idealist bitch who doesn’t have time for people who need to wear a plus size. There are people who will only talk to me because they think I’d be fun to get drunk with and to then take advantage of. I had one guy tell me not to bother trying to be nice to him, because he knew he didn’t stand a chance with me because he wasn’t skinny.
I won’t lie. I am more attracted to fit men, but it isn’t actually a requirement, and it isn’t because that’s what the media idealizes. It’s because fit people lead fit lifestyles, and I want to immerse myself in the influence of people who want to live healthy, productive lives, who take care of themselves and their bodies. I find being around fit people incredibly motivating. I feel better about myself and my spirit when I am out and about and being active. I’m less attracted to people who would influence me to spend less time tending to my desired lifestyle. I do like to stay in and watch movies and relax and cuddle and do all of those things, but I am determined not to let that become me again. And fit doesn’t necessarily mean that they look like Calvin Klein models, either.
I’m making friends with a guy from work, named Ben. He’s overweight and somehow it manages to come up every single time we work, because some asshat has to point out the obvious. Ben has not always been overweight, and he doesn’t want to stay that way. He’s also a music aficionado, and doesn’t really have much of a social life (nor do I, unfortunately). I’ve invited him to go dancing at a club sometime. Neither of us are drinkers and I have no friends close to my age here who like to go just to dance. I LOVE to dance, because I get to stand up and shake, shimmy and flex for hours. Dancing, though sweaty and crowded, is a ton of fun. This is an example of surrounding yourself with the influences you desire in your life. He wants to be more active as well, so we’ve found a common ground as friends to go dance!
I think of body image in this way: I am glad that I’m not anorexic and imagining myself as a Macy’s Day Float in the mirror, when in actuality you could turn my ribcage into a bookshelf. I’m glad that I’m not so large that it would require surgery if I lost enough weight. No matter what size I am (within reason) there is always going to be someone looking at me wishing they looked like this, the same as there is always going to be someone for me to look at so that I could wish I looked like they do. It’s a vicious circle and eventually you have to be happy with what you have and have the resolve and determination to improve upon yourself if you wish to (for yourself and your own satisfaction with your body and not to silence the scrutiny of the public!!). You control your own destiny.
Besides, at the end of the day, this is all just packaging and presentation. Who you are on the inside truly determines your ultimate beauty. The most visually pleasing woman on Earth could still be the ugliest, given the misfortune of having a terrible personality. I’ve been on dates with gorgeous men who still made me wish I’d been clog dancing into a meat-grinder instead of being on my date. Anyone who disgregards the true you that you are on the inside in order to get close to the shell of who you are on the outside isn’t worth it. And anyone who makes you feel like crap about yourself or how you look doesn’t either.
As my day wore on, all of this positive thinking made me feel truly sexy.
One of the sexiest, most sensual and loving images I have ever seen.
Caress by Luis Royo from “Prohibited II”
I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I’ve got muscles you’ve never even dreamed of. I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne and you’d beg me to hurt you just a little bit more.