Imagine if your body was you. Where would I hide? I've spent so long thinking that beneath my layers of fat there laid the true me, safe from the world. Periodically I'd let her out to play, shed the tower, and ended up wounded--bleeding on the side of the road. Then I'd imagine I could lock up her up, and hide her in the armor that fat seemed to bring. But it is lonely in exile. No one wants the fat girl, and sure that if safe but it's not a really happy life either.
There were days when I could convince myself that it was okay. I had lots of friends, and there was certainly satisfaction in those relationships. But at night, alone, there was no one to hold me, or to touch me intimately. No one to whisper "I love you" before sleep came. And it really did seem that as long as I was fat there wasn't going to be anyone to do those things. When I did fall in love, finally, the person rejected me because of my body. "It's not you, it's just your body." And again there was that idea that this body was somehow not the real me. And the pain...because supposedly I could do something about this body right? I could reshape it, change it, make it somehow more reflective of me?
And I was lucky. I meet someone who thought the fat was sexy. Well who though I was sexy. All of me. When we first dated people would say things like "It's good that he sees your mind." And what that really meant is that someone as hot as H must love brains over beauty because look at you girlfriend. It continues even now where people will say sort of incredulously "Why do you think he loves you." with that slight emphasis on the you. There are so many implications there: he was looking for a green card, he must see something in you the rest of us don't. It's funny because I kind of love that H at times loves me solely out of lust. There are times when I someone to see only my body...because maybe just maybe it's not just my body...maybe it's me.
I should end it there...what a great ending line but I can't. When I lost a large chunk of weight last time (40lbs), I gained 20 of it back very quickly. I freaked out to be honest. The thought of myself as this thinner version was very wacky. And WW really emphasises that this is supposed to be a lifetime thing. I was going from always being the fat girl to being the sort of in between girl (no one is likely to ever call me thin). And I felt like I was losing myself. In a way, I was....
Reading Foucault has made me rethink my attitudes towards my body. He claims in Discipline and Punish that the soul is the prison of the body. Maybe it wasn't the real me I was keeping trapped in those layers of fat. Maybe the real me were the layers of fat. And if Foucault is right in that we can stray afield of ourselves, then maybe me is also this person who's not wrapped layers in fat.
In my head over the last few days, I thought about those moments when I loved my body, when I felt proud of my body. I started to think of the things I love.
1. When I practiced S & M. You end up being incredibly intimate with your body. In order to keep this on a safe level you have to be able to read your body. I could take, initially, incredibly high amounts of pain but it was because i was able to disconnect from my body in ways most people can't. I'd wake up the next day, dying, aching, bruised, and barely able to move. If I was going to continue in this world, I had to learn to read my body better. S & M was a pleasure (and God, what a pleasure) that brought you center to yourself, your body.
2. Bearing children....not the pregnancy part, I hated that. That was like having my body possessed. But the actual pushing out, labor part. Yes, it hurt like hell but the strength it takes to do something like that is not something you realize you possess. It was powerful. It made me trust my body in ways i never had before. Afterward, I felt this quiet pride.
There seems to be a theme here...pain...maybe it's just me...But for me at least pain made me aware that the surface of my body was me. It was not something that didn't belong to me but it was me.
This time around I didn't freak out as much about losing weight. I didn't go into some kind of identity crisis or who I would be if I was fat. I think it's because, through reading Foucault, I am starting to see my body less as an object and more as a subject. As silly as this sounds, I am beginning to realize that my body is me. Maybe there is no duality. I don't even know how to begin with this new ethics but I do know that it involves having to respect and care for my body.