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
Drinking upcoming movie suggestion: Smart People
Benedictions and Maledictions