Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I am feeling a little sad today.

I had a therapy session today and one of the major focuses was body image and my ability to complete disconnect myself from being a woman as means of protecting myself from pain. I don't know where or when it all began but I have what I logically know is a very "off" image of self. This is a very hard post for me to write because there is no wry humor or off color remarks when it comes to this topic for me. This is very real, very raw and very much a part of my daily life. No matter what size I have been through out my 27 years I have never felt attractive, or sexy. I struggled with anorexia thoroughout the end of high school and the beginning of college and then moved to alcohol and pills and then I suppose when I gave up these addictions I just sort of started hiding and letting the anxiety take over my life. The more I hid the more weight I gained and the more I felt the internal weight of the hatred for my body. Now, I know that I am not an enormous woman. And I know that I am probably very much in the "average" but that is not how I feel. The scary part of it for me is that I can look back at pictures of myself 15 lbs lighter or 30 lbs lighter and even 60 lbs lighter and completely emmaciated and underweight and I know that deep down in all those years and all those sizes I felt exactly like I do today.
I am working very hard to heal all aspects of my life but this one here is a very tough and very painful corner for me and I don't really know which direction to turn.. it feels very lonely here. I do not want to hear how beautiful other people think I am because that only accentuates the fact that my image of self does not match up....
One of the things that came up in therapy today was how all this connected with my issues with intimacy and womanhood... on a physical level this ties in with my medical problems and my upcoming surgery. When asked the question "What does being a woman mean for you?" I was filled with sadness and I guess that this is the place from which I am looking to connect. So I ask to you my women readers. What does being a woman mean to you? I appreciate your feedback and your honesty.

In love and light,


Jana B said...

Interesting question...

What does being a woman mean to me? It's kinda muddled...

My heart tells me that to be a woman is to be powerless. To be vulerable, to be victimized. To be sneered at & looked at as just a sexual object. To be judged on my outward beauty, and always found lacking. To be compared to an image that what's in the mirror will never match. To be expected to fit into a life (wife, mother, etc.) that may never happen to me.

But my mind says that being a woman means that I am oh so powerful! Able to seduce men so easily, able to influence the world each time I help nurture a child into a better adult, able to multi-task and accomplish a million things at once, able to do so much good or evil for the world. It means the power to be authentically feminine... to love roses and flowery things, to wear dresses and cute hats, and all such things. It means a deeper level of sensitivity or perhaps just the freedom to express it more... it means not only to feel our own pain but to be able to feel the pain of others, and because of that, to help others to heal.

Like you, I know that I have a LONG way to go in this area... finding a way to keep the good things while thowing out the self-doubt and fears.

*getting a box of tissues*

I think, this could be a major milestone on my (and your) "road to whole." Glad you posted it. *hug*

Wendi said...

Thanks for sharing this post, Jocelyn. I feel the same in so many ways. So often I don't even think of myself as a woman per se -- I'm not anybody's mother or wife, or even sister. I don't possess a lot of "feminine" qualities, and my interests always seem to be so different from the other women I encounter daily. I'm not, and never have been pretty and I can't say I've ever felt sexy, either. I live alone now, and sex is no longer a part of my life, so that pressure has at least been alleviated, but I honestly can't say that I hate my body, or that I don't like being a woman. I think a big difference for me is that I don't identify myself as "my body" and I never really have, perhaps that's why weight isn't a big issue. I don't hide in my body. I hide in my mind.

I wish you well in examining these issues, and I hope you will treat yourself kindly as you poke around in that particular corner. You're not alone there, though, dear; don't ever think that. Many of us are right there with you, wondering how to heal, afraid to come out of the darkness. Good luck, and much love to you. :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

Being a woman in this society means feeling judged by your appearance, like you always have to be on show for someone else. Being able to turn this feeling off is a long and difficult process. To truly become in touch with yourself to the point where you no longer care what others think is very hard. Especially hard is to turn off all the negative feelings you hold about your own body.

For me, being a woman is about freeing myself from societies expectations and, my own. The more I find myself doing this, the happier I am. The easiest way I've found to do this is to connect with nature as much as possible, with pets, who don't care how I look, with art, to work through the various things I'm feeling, and to connect with myself - to know when I'm truly hungry, truly tired, truly taking care of myself and not just trying to meet someone else's expectation.

You're doing good, kid. You're asking the hard questions, and the answers do come. Just be patient with yourself.

eliza said...

to me, being a woman means having an edge when it comes to intuition, flow, and wisdom. which is cool. that body stuff is hard, i know. it's even harder coupled with a sensitive nature and an evident vulnerability. wanting to hide makes sense on that level. but you can also go deep! you can also dive into the inner sea, and resurface stronger and more radiant. and you will. blessings.

Leah said...

i can relate to much of this post. although my body image isn't quite as distorted as it has been in the past, where i was also emaciated and still felt "fat." it's so bizarre, but it's there and it's painful. have you read geneen roth's books. i found them helpful and then i went to one of her retreats which wasn't focused on body image or food, but getting in touch with your innermost self and your body. we did a lot of meditation and movement and inquiry work that was really helpful. ideally, i try to treat my body with kindness. and it's also helpful to have supportive people in your life to let you know when you're way off the mark about yourself.

as for what being a woman means to me: it means intuition, curves, maternal, the ability to carry life, soft, sensitive, beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joce. I am sure every woman can relate to you on this topic in some way....and that is what being a woman means to me. The ability to connect with other women in a way that men cannot. This is a very real struggle for a lot of people and it's not an easy fix. But being a woman means having the power to heal and to move forward with the other strong women in your life.

I know what kind of strength you have Joce...and somewhere in there, you know it too. I believe you are ready to live it, just by asking these questions and looking for guidance within yourself and others.

Be good to yourself lady. Be in touch soon.