Thursday, April 10, 2008

Written On The Body



The other day at Target I overheard a woman and her pre-teen daughter talking about clothes. "I can't wear shorts," the mother said. "I'm fat." The mother wasn't fat, not by a longshot, and the daughter had her mother's very normal healthy build. "But I wear them sometimes," the daughter said. "Do I look fat?" And the mother told her yes and went about her business browsing through the clearance racks, full of everything from tiny little swimsuits to maternity wear, all of it thrown together like yesterday's news. I felt sad for the girl, sad that she'd already had a lesson in body shame and misery. I could see her mentally checking shorts off the list of clothes she would not be wearing in this life. Her mother had hissed the word fat the way some people say prison, like it's a moral failing.

Today I stood on my head without the help of another person or a wall. It was a watershed moment; I could see myself and everyone else from another perspective which I try to do all the time as a writer and a teacher. And I felt bad about all the hate that I have heaped on my poor body over the years. I mean, has it been so bad to me? Eventually I came out of my pose and returned to my mat. I remembered all the phases after my rape where I dressed in big, baggy clothes to hide it, the way I starved it at times, all that self-punishment for nothing. And even so it still can do things I never thought it would be able to do, like headstands. And as I write this, I'm wearing a pair of shorts even though it's cold and rainy outside. For the girl in Target and all the girls who worry when they shouldn't.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people." Carl Jung

Cocktail Hour
Drinking upcoming movie suggestion: Smart People
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

10 comments:

jason said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

jason said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

jason said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

jason said...

hey, here is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash, I was making about $900 extra a month...
check it out ..

Tim said...

hmm..well, I don't have a site where you can make an extra $900 a month... sorry... but I did like this post. Words from a parent or close friend can cut deeply sometimes. Often, my wife or I have to point out to the other something we said to one of the kids that came across as hurtful and we didn't realize it.

Jason said...

Uhmm... yeah that's not me. Gawd I hate Blogger's comment system.

Its unbelievable what we heap on growing girls and its heart-breaking to hear this kid's own mother tear her down.

the walking man said...

At times it isn't easy to break the generational chain or trauma link that induces lifelong behaviors. But it can be done and some times by, maybe not always being able to get there alone, but by at least trying to stand on your head to see everything from that new perspective.

Peace

mark

jodi said...

Hi Babe, I spent too indulging in the scourge of being a woman with body issues. Total waste of time. Makes for a very boring girl. May I suggest indulging in wine? Way more productive!!

Charles Gramlich said...

Makes me wonder how many times without thinking I said something to my son growing up that affected him. Parenting is hard work.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post.