My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘body image’ Category

This (like most things here lately) is for my personal reference later or never, or whatever. I feel like the more I record right now ( and I feel like recording random things), the freer my mind is, so:

Compliment: dinner was good

Good call yesterday- Disney store instead of dollar store for b-day gift

Unfortunate comment that wasn’t a joke yesterday- you should eat only half a cookie, I’ve lost weight, you haven’t, we’re going to the beach soon

Thankful that- stayed up with Nat last night and watched a movie (she couldn’t sleep) while I slept

First (and basically only) conversation this morning- where are the clothes I want (that I told you nothing about but need right now) and put them in the dryer for me, isn’t the picture she drew in her cousin’s b-day card cute, the dog chewed up my shoe – I need new ones, the house is a mess, look at it, it’s a mess, you need to do something about it. love you, bye.

I feel like maybe I’m not, or haven’t been paying attention to parts of my day or life that ultimately matter, that I’m overlooking something crucial on a day to day basis for whatever reason (peacekeeping, too busy, too tired, too oblivious,too confused, too thrown off guard, too anxious, too whatever)… and then I’m looking back and realizing that maybe the things I was overlooking were important, changed my life, changed me…by not paying attention to certain things, I’m apathetically allowing things I don’t want in my life, or allowing my life, my day, my self to be steered into places I don’t want to be…I don’t know, it’s just a little theory….I obviously am in need of a variation in approach to my daily life and various things within my daily life. Just some trial and error here. I’ll see if writing seemingly useless, random, petty, odd, personal info about my days and interactions will matter… Maybe because I don’t have as much time to decompress and evaluate as I used to…I don’t know…just gonna try it. Beware: more trivial, possibly dull, and nonsensical things to come…

I have a different kind of blog tonight. Tonight, I am glad I have a place to blog because I have a string of thoughts going through my head that I’d much rather just editorialize than get into a conversation about at this point. Besides the fact that there is not one to have this conversation with, at least right now.

A friend of mine joined a group on facebook. It is this group:

Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook)

I was curious, so I went to the group. I scrolled through hundreds of pictures, read comments, browsed discussions. And I can’t shake this feeling. It’s an uneasy feeling.

I did not nurse, at all. I did not want to nurse, at all. I do not regret this at all. Because I knew that I so strongly opposed leaching my child to my breast that it would not be beneficial. Even so, I researched before making this decision, just to be sure, and felt that ultimately, I would not be doing my daughter a major disservice by not breastfeeding. When I gave her a bottle, I would hold her to my chest, let her cheek rest on my skin. I never propped her bottle and walked away. She also stopped taking a bottle around 10 months. I felt like this skin contact in the early months was the most important part of the feeding process (besides actually eating, you know?).

I almost always consider emotional health first in any situation, but particularly with parenting. So I felt comfortable with this. I didn’t feel that I was depriving her physical or mental health benefits in the long run either, truthfully. I feel like I nurtured these things by not baby talking her, challenging her, and not keeping her in a sterile environment, and feeding her a variety of solids. Natalie went with me everywhere, I didn’t make people slather up with antibacterial gel before they touched her, I paid attention, I let her cry it out, I did things I felt were best to acclimate her to the world, to life, to self soothing, to me.

For what I can remember, all of my friends that have had kids so far are breastfeeding. I’m super fine with this. I was breastfed. I don’t care if they nurse in front of me. I’m all for it. It’s free. It’s natural. It’s you feeding your kid. Have at it. Your life, your kid, you choices.

It is so extremely unappealing to me though. And I KNOW that breastfeeding is the natural course of things. But no matter how many pictures I look at, I can’t shake this really disturbed feeling. First of all, it does seem related to sexuality. That is honestly one reason I did not want to breastfeed. I can’t really be okay with my breasts have multiple purposes. I KNOW. Also, it’s just too much for me, too needy, too intimate, to demanding. I hate the idea of this little person literally sucking something from my body whenever they need to eat. That makes me cringe. I do not want to be needed like that. I do not want things sucked from my body by little people. Even if they are my little people. Even if it’s food. I KNOW. I mean, if I had to do it, I would do it. But I didn’t have to. So I didn’t. Gladly.

So then, I began wondering if women who nurse are actually more sexually open or more intimate with their lovers than those who don’t. Is there any kind of connection between the two?

I’ve always considered myself open sexually and a person desiring and capable of intimacy…but am I?

It almost seems to me that I am sexually willing, open to sexuality and I am willing and open to intimacy, but I have a gap between connecting the two. I know my experiences, my train of thought, my defense mechanisms have me in that place. And perhaps, I’ve known I’ve been in that place for a while…I just wonder, how does it relate to my mothering? (Obviously subtracting the sexuality from it). Am I as intimately connected to my daughter as I “should” be? Is there really a level to which this can be measured and compared? Do I have a distance within me that I will not even allow my daughter to cross? Will this hurt her in the long run?

I’m not domestic. I can’t really find it within me to give a shit about “homey” things on a regular basis. Yea, yea, I want my house to be clean, comfortable, safe. I want it to be full of things that reflect my life and make me feel “at home”. I want to eat decently ( most of the time) and don’t mind cooking when I feel like it and can take my time and enjoy it. But life is so big, so much other stuff comes first, stays forefront in my mind. I find it much more important to hang out with friends or family or talk or write or think or experience something than to play house.

And I’m finding, now that many of my friends are having kids and our lives are carving themselves out a little more, I’m afraid I’m being reminded again at how different I am. I don’t diminish how hard it is to be at home with your kids, to run your home while being with those kids, and never getting to have an excuse of being too busy with work, or getting a break from being mom while at work  (like I do). And on some days I think, damn, “If I could just stay home, maybe I could finally get my shit together around here!” But I know I would feel like I was wasting myself on motherhood alone. Is that horrible? Isn’t raising a child like the most important job, ever? But if that were *all* I was doing, I would be so disappointed and dissatisfied with myself. This is in no way to say that’s how other moms should feel, seriously. My mom stayed home. I would never say she should be disappointed with this, she was a major player in what was a kick ass childhood for me. But I would say she needed more. She needed to be more than “mom” for 20 years.I believe she would be happier now, if she had pursued something for herself beyond motherhood then. And honestly, I think that would have only done great things for us as well. The better you feel personally, the more you can offer. And maybe that’s where I am when I make whatever decisions I make that don’t seem very “mom”. I know I have to do what’s best for me if I’m going to be worth a fuck as a mom.

Maybe part of it is that feminist in me. I don’t want to depend on someone else to bring in money. I can do that. I will do that. I also don’t need anyone else to run my home. I can do that. I will do that. As I see fit. Maybe it’s just my pretty fierce sense of independence. Maybe it’s the overachiever in me. Maybe it’s ADHD. I know it’s not just that I want to be making a change in the community because if I were an at home mom I could be volunteering like crazy and involved in so many things around me…so… maybe I’m just me.

I love my daughter. I loved her before I met her, before she was formed in my womb. I want to teach her to be loving, kind, compassionate, full of belief, and joy and peace. I want her to be strong, to be able to pick herself up when she falls down, to be able to reach out to someone else who has fallen down. I want her to be able to ask for help, to be connected to a large community. I want her to seek out her dreams, to be active in creating the life she wants. I want her to make her own decisions, with intelligence and passion. I want her to seek guidance and wisdom. I want her to know I love her, deeply and fiercely and to the very best of my ability , all the time, every second of her life, screw ups and successes all the same. I want her to have fun, to breathe and live and enjoy life, no matter what comes her way. I want her to be able to make the best out of situations, to know obstacles are opportunities. I want her to have intimate relationships. I want her to never settle for other’s standards, but to seek her own.  I want her to accept love, to claim hope, to possess peace, to ride joy. I want her to look at my life and admire it more than she criticizes it.

This is why I needed to write tonight. To get here.  Who cares if I formula fed and am made uneasy by breastfeeding. Who really gives a damn? This previous paragraph is where my heart is, where my intention as a mother is. And I am almost positive the 10 months of bottle delivered Enfamil won’t make a goddamn difference.

Feminism is…?

Rebecca West: I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.

[Feminism is] a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.  ~Pat Robertson (Oh, Dear God!)

Michele Le Doeuff: A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes.  There’s just too much fraternizing with the enemy.  ~Henry Kissinger

The thing is, this isn’t a battle we’re fighting against each other, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Gloria Steinem: This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.

Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.  ~Betty Friedan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If the Mead quote is true, and I do believe it is, perhaps through me, my father liberated himself a bit, because my Daddy- southern boy, son of a farmer, corporate company executive and business owner- is a Feminist.

I keep trying to pinpoint the first feminist statement my father made to me, just for a starting point, but it’s hard to do so, because it was constant…Perhaps one of the first was when, at his encouragement, my sister and I were playing on a soccer team as 2 of 3 females on the team. I was in second grade. I complained about playing with the boys, I said they were too rough. Daddy told me to get out there and be rough too! Show them what  girl can do! For the record, I was just really bad at soccer, and the subsequent sport I tried on a co-ed team- basketball, so I’m not sure how much I “showed them”. But I didn’t quit and I didn’t cry when I was smacked into or kicked in the shins. I got dirty and I got up. That’s what the boys did and that’s what my Daddy said I could do to. So I did. And I’m so glad I did.

When, in 6th grade, I said I wanted to be the first female president of the United States, my Dad said “You go girl!” (it was the early 90’s, you can’t really blame him for using that phrase 🙂

When I finally found a sport I could play (believe me, he wasn’t letting up till I tried them all), he co-coached my softball teams and in doing so opened up a world to me of competitive, hard working, don’t care if we get bruised up, loud, powerful girls.

Daddy said God may be a woman.

Daddy said I could kiss all the boys I want.

Daddy said I could do whatever I want.

Of course, he rallied against things like short shorts (he usually lost) and driving late at night (lost again). I mean, feminist or not, he is my Dad, there are some things he has to oppose 😉

My advice to the women’s clubs of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.  ~James McNeill Whistler

Sometimes, (or often) I’d get hyped up and on a role about some injustice and Daddy would shout from his corner “Alright Feminazi!” Usually followed by “You go girl!” Feminazi was a nickname he made up for me, jokingly, when I was out of my head raging against whatever I was raging against and stomping my feet around.  I would say, part of effective feminism (or effective anything), is being able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously all the time.

He also would strut his 6’3 farm boy frame around the house and tell us to “Flaunt it if we got it” (he claims he was channeling his grandma Pearl) He wanted me to know how to be a woman, a full out woman. And he wanted me to know I could be pretty, smart, and strong all at the same time.

“Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object.  The difference is that is not all she wants to be.”  ~Betty Rollin

The other day my daughter,  Natalie, saw a policeman and claimed that that’s what she wanted to be. She then said, “but I have to be a man”. I laughed and said, nope baby, you can be a policewoman, and then introduced her to a policewoman. She probably won’t remember that, but for me, it’s just the beginning.

We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  ~Gloria Steinem

To quote my Daddy, the feminist “The only thing stopping you is your mind, don’t let your mind defeat you.” I will feed Natalie feminism, because feminism is simply the idea that woman are equals to men, deserving no special treatment nor discrimination. In this way, all children should be told this, this message is for everyone.

“We’ve got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don’t know how it was before, so they think, this isn’t too bad. We’re working. We have our attache’ cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don’t realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.” Erma Bombeck

This quote reminds me that we owe our best efforts at equality not only for our present and future, but also to honor those who’ve gone before us. When I was engaged and planning my wedding, the older ladies in my church kept coming up to me, holding my hands, asking if I was still going to college- their eyes imploring me to say yes. I had never considered not going to college, but the mix of fear and hope in their eyes reminded me how big a deal it was, to not have homemaking and factory work as my only option. I think, sometimes, because we were born into this “semiequality” that we take for granted how recent the victories occurred, and how hard they were fought for. And I think, sometimes we forget that we’re not there yet. We’re further along, but we’re not there yet.

Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.  ~Marya Mannes

Marlo Thomas: One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.

As always, equality is not just about one gender, one race, one religion. It’s about all of us, we’re all in this together. And if we do it right, the advancing of others can advance us all, not take anything away from any of us, but instead, give something to humanity as a whole. Liberate us all.

I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government.  ~Cissy Farenthold

And it’s not just this, but also that anyone making an effort to play a productive role in society, in any way, is respected in their role, with equal respect given to each role, as each role plays a crucial part in the functioning of our communities as a whole.

So, thanks Dad. Thanks for all the ways you allowed me no special treatment or discrimination. To do anything else would have been a disservice to me and anyone I have, or will, encounter along my life.

I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want.  If that makes me a bitch, okay.  ~Madonna Ciccone

I was working with someone one time and she was saying that she thinks she sabotages any weight loss efforts she make (or any success she has) because deep down there was this fear related to years of sexual abuse she experienced in her past, when she was skinny. Like if she’s skinny again, she will be raped again. We talked about how different things are now, that she’s not living with those people anymore, that she is a grown up, that most likely, her weight had nothing to do with the abuse she endured.  And she really wanted to lose weight, to be the person she knew she was underneath it all, but she held on to it, like she could hide behind it and she couldn’t decide what she wanted most, to hide or to shine.

It makes me think about why I’m hanging on to this weight. I have all the excuses any married, working, mom has.  Any busy, stressed woman in the world can claim lack of time, energy, money, etc  as the reason they aren’t losing the weight. And all those things contribute, but the fact of the matter is, I know what to do and I know I can do it. So is the only reason I’m not doing it because I don’t, in some respect, want to??

What am I afraid of happening when the weight is gone? I’ll lose 5 lbs and everything fits better and I feel more comfortable and I get more comments on my looks and I feel good about it, and I don’t take it any farther, and I eventually slide back.

As it gets warmer, I think about tank tops and sundresses and shorts (that I haven’t worn in years) and bathing suits and I think about all the parts of my body I don’t want anyone to see. And I feel safe?? And uncomfortable.

I don’t like looking at the weight on my body. I don’t like the way it feels when I’m getting dressed. I don’t like the way certain things look on me. I don’t like not running around after Natalie in my bathing suit when we’re swimming, or not getting a tan on my legs.

I like to be thought of as attractive (doesn’t everyone, really?), but I don’ t like the attention I get (or got) when I am not wearing the weight.  I’m not a conservative dresser, so the less I weigh, the more the shape and skin of my body shows, because those styles work and I like them, feel good in them.   The thing is, it’s really been so long. I wouldn’t dress the same now as I did then just for the fact that I’m older. What am I really afraid of?

Do I not trust myself thinner? It’s pretty easy to power trip when you have people wanting to hang out with you for no reason other than the way you look, though this isn’t middle school anymore, so do grown ups still do that? Do I not trust my ability to assert myself or avoid uncomfortable situations? When you think people only like you or want to spend time with you because of how you look, you start to become dependent on them liking the way you look and you develop dysfunctional relationships (and underestimate yourself). Do I not want to be liked initially for my looks?  Of course it’s nice to be liked by people and it’s obviously to your advantage in some ways if people like you from the get-go, but I don’t want to be liked because of how I look (just as I do not want to be not liked because of how I look). I want you to like me and want to spend time with me or get to know me, or respect me because you think I’m nice or fun or interesting, etc.

It’s only the positive reactions to my appearance that ultimately bother me. If you think I’m shallow or innocent or naive or small town or helpless or dumb or whatever other incorrect thing you think based on how I look, it doesn’t bother me because I know I am not those things and the more you get to know me, the more you will see that. And I kind of prefer being underestimated at first, it gives me the upper hand in a way. So I think it’s the feeling of wanting to live up to other’s positive reactions or expectations that I’m afraid of.

And the fear that my worth is related to my weight. That if people react more positively to me when I weigh less, that my worth and my weight are related. I know that when you are at a comfortable and happy weight, you project more confidence, so you effectually increase the positive reactions you may get from people…positivity is attractive on it’s own. And maybe with wearing the weight I wanted to validate that I am worth attention and affection even with the weight, that my weight does not deem me more or less worthy of these things.

But I know that ultimately my worth is my worth and I have to identify it and claim it on my own and let go of everyone’s else’s input. I have to let go of the fear that I will not be able to assert myself and give into trying to living up to other’s expectations or desires of me and of developing superficial relationships because of positive reactions to my looks or weight. I have to let go of the fear that I will become dependent on positive reactions to my looks. I have to let go of the idea that everyone is looking at me a certain way if I look a certain way (and like how I look that way).

I have to get past how people (particularly people consistently in my life, such as, and especially, my husband) react to my weight. It’s my weight. It’s my body. It’s my self. I know I am worth taking care of and getting to a comfortable place with my body just as much as I am worth taking an interest in and giving affection and attention to with the weight on. I know that just because I look a certain way it does not make me a certain way or mean I have to act a certain way or do certain things. I have to let go of the weight as a mask to hide the rest of my full presence, as a blanket to wrap myself in to avoid asserting myself, as a hurdle I want to see if people will jump.

I rise to the challenge when others underestimate me. I have to rise to the challenge when I underestimate myself. And that’s what the weight’s about.  I’m pretty sure I’m running out of excuses. And that’s the best thing you can do for yourself in the end, talk yourself out of excuses, work your way through the fear.

Taking off the weight is taking off the fears (founded or unfounded) and rising beyond the place I was when I put the weight on. I can’t stand there forever, I have to move forward or a part of me will always be 16, will always wonder if her weight, her body, her looks, are her crutch or her vice or her worth or her weakness or her power. And I’ll still be wondering what to do with it all instead of claiming all of it doing with it exactly what I deem best for me, not waiting for others to validate me, to identify me, to define me for myself, or to lay the expectations to which I rise or level out at.