Body Issues

I have so many issues with food, and they’ve changed over decades. When I was young, I agreed with the people who said I was fat at 130 and used my mother’s Phen-Phen. It didn’t really work, but the placebo effect was massive. I was doing something. I was taking a pill to control my weight… but I was not my sister, who became a champion at running around the block instead of my lazy ass.

I was trying to be funny and I even offended myself. I am the furthest emotion from lazy there is. I’m laden. That’s different. There’s too much in my head that bounces around like sub-atomic particles. If I am lucky, one of them will turn into a picture, and I can branch out on WordPress from there.

In addition to having several creative projects I want to develop, as an INFJ I have the tendency to take on everyone else’s emotions as well. This is why I talk about being a hermit and only pubilshing. I can’t focus on both of us. You have to take a back seat to me at some point…. the one problem with binging is that people will watch several years worth of work in one night and demand more. Think about what you’re putting on all those creatives to do. While stars are certainly paid what they’re worth for the work, it’s still an enormous red flag to work under those kinds of demands. “You suck because I watched this on the toilet for four weeks and the next season isn’t coming out for two years.” How long do you think an episode of The Simpsons or whatever takes to finish? How much pressure there is to even do their jobs, much less take on an academic “publish or perish” quality to keep people from splitting apart over not knowing who slept with whom.

Screw money at that point. When do you spend it?

My guess is that a huge part of it goes into looking like a celebrity. I don’t have a problem with this. I love gowns and tuxes, as well as pictures of actors and models in magazines. Looking like a star takes actual work, as important to actresses as it was to Jackie Kennedy. In my opinion, Jackie Kennedy was American royalty and Oprah has taken her place. It’s the same personality, though. Shy and quiet covered up by HUGE bravado as to not really let anyone in. I also agree with this. It’s what would happen to me if I became more popular than I am now. I would not let people except those close to me have an opinion. I would rather project confidence and not let ANYONE rattle me. Getting upset and miserable over something I’m working through by writing about it gives me comfort. I’m not here to impress anyone, obviously. I’ve said it in a hundred different ways.

Therefore, other people (strangers) cannot matter to me. If I take it in, I am finished. My ego will get too big, and the confidence I project will become braggadocio. If it seems like bragging already, it’s generally the most obnoxious when I’m borderline suicidal. It’s a coping mechanism, you see? Suicidal ideation is not a problem. Most depressed people have it. The alarm bells for my hospitalization was not the simple thought of “I don’t want to be here anymore.” I was halfway to SpongeBob HeadStone before I realized that I needed to get help (quickly). If it gets that bad, I also don’t want to die and I won’t do it because I have been given enough coping mechanisms (like giving myself permission to go to the ER, that mental health matters). Moreover, when I feel the worst about myself, it’s because I’ve hurt someone and I can’t recover from it, because I’m so empathic that it destroys me to feel pain I’ve caused, even unintentionally.

When I was 14, killing myself was about protecting my abuser.

When I was 36, it was about learning that I couldn’t separate the wheat from the chaff, and I would always be Just. Like. Her. I can’t get away from my own voice, my own signature, my own stories that include her.

It broke me, and I deserve a medal for getting back up afterwards. I was truly down for the count, because I realized there was literally nothing I could do but learn to live with it. It’s an out of body sensation when something comes out of my mouth in her voice, even worse when it’s her actual words coming out of my mouth because I sound like my mother, only the totally fucked up one.

When I realized at 14 that my life was going to be different from others, that not only was I gay but I was in love with someone 11 years older than me, I panicked. I knew that whatever information my abuser had slipped me had aged me in a way I would not have chosen. My body issues intensified because I wanted her to think I was pretty….. to the point that I freaked my actual mother out. My abuser was coming to our church for a concert after she’d already moved away, and I was beside myself…. the first day with anger, the second day with tears and frustration. But the tears were not over her. They were over me.

The first day was her rehearsal. It was just a lazy afternoon, and it was one week before my 16th birthday. She’d asked me to meet her up at the church so we could hug and exclaim over each other in private (not romantic…. for her). My mom said, “I should let you drive so you can impress Diane.” I think that is the first time I’ve ever blushed so hard I turned purple…. until she said, “don’t you want to change? You usually dress up for her.”

That is when I knew my mother had the potential to murder me by accident.

Just slaughter me with words.

You mean I don’t look good enough?

Editor’s Note: I reread this, and I laughed so hard there were tears and snot rolling down my face. I wondered what in the hell got into my mother that she was so uptight about me being gay and yet vocal that I WASN’T DOING IT RIGHT, LESLIE. Tough room.

The next morning was church. I woke up nervous. I spent like an hour in the shower. I dried my hair, and plugged in my curling iron (that was all Texas girls back then, shut it). I don’t remember exactly what happened because I went into a blind rage, but my hair didn’t turn out right.

That was the moment I had my first panic attack. Blind rage leads to hyperventilating on the floor, and I just put it together that the only times I’ve hyperventilated were getting ready for that concert and after Dana hit me. But the thing with my abuser was supposed to be sweet……………

Why couldn’t I breathe? Why couldn’t I get air in my chest? Why did I feel fat, ugly, and unwanted?

Because I realized that the relationship was not on the up and up, and I loved that shit. Yes, let’s go into this deep, dark hole where we tell each other all our secrets, which at 14 and 25, were totally the same. It checks out. F me running. In retrospect it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, SECONDED by my mother dying. This is because my mother’s death affected her way more than it affected me…. and in any case, I have 45 years of pure, white mother love memories of the woman that birthed me.

There were times in which I didn’t feel abused. What drove me away was inconsistency. I never knew which woman was going to show up. Sometimes, she was the warmest ever. Sometimes, it seemed as if we had no history at all. And all of this was while we lived three minutes from each other. Come on. If you can’t solve a problem with someone who lives three minutes away, who can you? We could have looked at everything from every angle without a commute. But she didn’t want that. She wanted to turn away and go on to fuck up older people. Teenagers were just shooting fish in a barrel. And yes, for people who know her, I do feel that strongly about her pathology. Don’t test me on it. I will never speak to you again. Ever.

There’s a reason why I am so protective of not saying who it was again. I would scream it from the rooftops if I thought it would do more good for the world without killing me. Saying her full name gives it power, not when it’s published. When it’s in my head. It has fucked me up that I don’t want to change the name my mother gave me and I hate it so much. She already has a Google tattoo from years and years ago. There’s no way she will ever get away from this story, and I am appreciative of her always for one thing and one thing only. She let me tell my story.

Exactly the way I wanted to tell it.

It’s nine years later, after the end of a 23 year relationship in which we did very little but talk about growing up gay and what it would look like from here on out. It sounds completely innocent until I tell you that her college journal that was my 14th birthday present was love poems to another woman that didn’t leave ANYTHING out. Had I been even 17, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But I wasn’t ready. Full stop.

Anyone who looks at me with wide-eyed wonder and tells me she didn’t know exactly what she was doing in that moment can fuck all the way off, and yes, I will be that angry, and yes, I do in fact know that there is a very well respected reader of this web site who will stand up and cheer when she reads this. She will look at my incredible strength in body and mind and tell me she is so proud of me and that this entry will help a lot of people to look at their own childhoods. So, whenever you think this web site is all about me, it’s not. It’s for her and all the other little girls that come to me and say they were hurt by something I said because it triggered a bad memory.

For the women who didn’t write me and tell me they were abused and looking at each other, it wasn’t any of you…. that I know of.

I’m not the only one who can see through mud in this situation, and that’s what saved my life when I was 36. You all gathered around me and safety netted me until I could breathe again.

I would do it for any one if you if I knew you were in trouble. It’s just that no one tells me anything. There’s a reason for that, mostly that I’m a writer. But at the same time, you (plural) can’t jump all over my ass for not responding to something I didn’t know . If you needed help and you didn’t tell me, how am I supposed to know I don’t need to be at my house, I need to be at yours?

So, when I know there’s a problem somewhere in the world…. Let’s pick a random country like India, because I have quite a few fans there (thanks, India. You rock.). If an Indian person contacts me and says they’ve been abused, I only have one answer at that point. They’re across the world. I can listen over the Internet.

It’s not the same as sharing space with someone. I can’t touch them, I can’t reassure them with a hand squeeze or an arm around their shoulder while they cry.

After a while, it all just becomes body issues.

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