Sunday, 23 March 2008

the desire not to be something it's okay to be

I hate my wedding video.

Oh, it's well put together, it's actually quite entertaining for a wedding video, and there are many lovely things about it. But I spend the whole time I'm watching it fixated on a bulge in the shoulder blade area over the top of my corset.

I spend the whole time wondering how my husband could bear to marry me.

Logically, this is stupid. Logically, both from my experience and from his own words, my husband adores me and my body. I understand this on an intellectual level.

But since I've been sure most of my life that I am hopelessly undesirable, I find it very hard to trust that love.

That is a goal of the healing process, if you like: not just to love my own body, but to accept others' love for it. More, to understand that love, so that when I watch that video, I can see what my husband sees.

I feel, though, as though I'm in two places at once. Intellectually, I accept and appreciate the notion of fat acceptance. Intellectually, I want to embrace that, and myself. I had about a week of doing exactly that, and I felt great. Unfortunately, it didn't last, and now I'm trying to get it back, while trying to fend off the shades of habits past.

Around the time of my epiphany which resulted in the week or so of feeling great, I had a conversation with a friend who has recently lost a lot of weight, but had also been reading fat acceptance blogs, and she said something that is hitting a chord with me right now. She said, "it's hard to reconcile my belief that it's okay to be fat with my desire not to be."

This is a problem for me at the moment. I want to accept myself fully, regardless of my size. And I do not want to be this fat. I do not want to waste my mental or physical energy trying to lose weight, because that inevitably leads to the exact opposite as well as misery. I want to feel happy with myself because I am me, not because I have managed to coerce my body into fitting into a social standard of beauty.

But oh, how I do not want to be this fat.

Or at least, how I do not want to feel this ashamed, and I still can't conceive of a world in which I am the size I am and am not ashamed of it. So it's not really the size at all, I suppose. It's the shame.

I don't want to be ashamed to want to be smaller, as well as ashamed that I'm this big in the first place. I don't want to be ashamed full stop. And it's that lack of shame that I had for all of a week that actually gave me a really good boost in terms of exercise, because I started doing it for its own sake instead of for the possibility that it might make me lose weight.

I know that, for me, trying to lose weight is destructive. The desire is still here, but I know that the attempt makes me insane. So there's probably not any way to just treat it like hair colour - it's okay to be a redhead, but that doesn't mean I can't want to be a brunette, just for a change. I can't treat it like that, because I really am okay with being a redhead, and I won't see being a brunette as being a huge step forward either in looks or in health. It's just different.

I really need that feeling back, that "it's totally okay to be where I am, and I never ever need to change it" feeling, because at the moment, I'm chasing my tail.

No comments: