So, as anyone who knows me/is on my fbk will no doubt have realised, i weighed myself recently for the first time in ages. 49kg, at 5’2 (or possibly 5’3, depending on time of day). So I’m just about in the normal bmi range (18.8, i think). And naturally, for someone with my history, this sent me tumbling into a bleak pit of alarm and despondency. Naturally, now all that made me unique and/or attractive (had those things ever coincided…) was now buried beneath a layer of blubber. (Forgive the language here: I’m attempting to convey accurately my emotional response, not objective truth.) The fragile, vulnerable, intense girl who stumbled back to London after Oxford, fell breathlessly in love and suffered the consequences and took everything to heart and gave herself away to everybody, everyday was now physically as well as symbolically buried under the layers of defences, and irony, and muscle, and sheer perspective that comes from losing everything and finding out that the world carries on regardless; that the world goes on without my faith in anything, in fact.
Perhaps oddly, I don’t hate myself (…my body..?) any more now than I did before, really; i still do, lots, but ironically enough similiar bits for similar reasons, which at the very least goes to show the irrationality of it all. It bothers me for a number of reasons, mostly identity-based: I possibly now have the highest bmi in my family (by .1%, but still!) – so who am I now in relation to them? If I’m not physically the most vulnerable – or emotionally, or at least not in the same way – what am i there? If, like everyone else, I visibly crave – and indulge in – food, not self-denial, will i be respected in the same way? Am I worthy of being respected in the same way? i don’t – honestly – know anymore. And possibly the apex of this: now, my body, as well as my emotional self, has fundamentally changed since the last time i was loved. It’d taken me 26 years to figure out that self was lovable – and now, not only am I emotionally someone else, whose increased defences to me, at least, seem less obviously loving and open, but physically someone else too, who’s no longer the kind of thin prescribed by ever single airbrushed and paintshopped visual image we see every day, not because she doesn’t want to be, but because she wants to be able to live her life about things other than hunger more of the time.
As I’ve said elsewhere, if I was fulfilled in certain emotional ways I’d probably lose weight, just cos I’d think less about it. As it is, I don’t want to think about it all the time any more. I no longer feel I need to deny myself to be good enough for potential adoration, because I’ve had that, and I found out it wasn’t really about my body, it was about my self, and anyone for whom a few kilos make a significant difference isn’t really in love with *me* anyway. But that leaves me in the fairly awkward position of not knowing if this self/body is loveable, but being unwilling to change it for the sake of cultural reinforcement that such is the case. And thus a bit nowhere.
Which brings me on to another increased defences thing. Over the last few years, I’ve very much got to the stage where my friends couple up and withdraw into smug-married isolation, often on the other side of the city/country/world. And so I see, and know, less of them. No longer feel we’re in the same space, together, largely because we’re not. It doesn’t mean I love them less, far from it, but it does mean that I spend progressively less time with probably the closest people. There are a few exceptions to this – m’boys, I love you – and obviously I have other friends who haven’t yet done the happy-couples thing, but ‘yet’ feels like the operative word. I get, and write, so many msgs apologising for failing to get/be in touch, and in so many ways I’m just as guilty – if there’s one thing that characterises these defences of mine, it’s an almost neurotic acceptance of things and people and changes and emotional patterns the way they are, a refusal to need, an insistence on only engaging to the extent that *others* want or dictate – so I don’t mind -and on another level, it just reinforces the part of my brain that knows i’m always, ultimately, going to be second best.* For everybody. Even if this is a) understandable and b) untrue – not incompatible – and I know it makes no difference to whether or not people actually love me, my friends are my world, and in a way, I see that shrinking, just as my desire to focus on it, on human interaction rather than my body, increases. Some – depressed – days,I feel a bit rent-an-emotional-attachment, really good for when people are between partners or otherwise unengaged, useless otherwise. Again, I know on many levels this is nonsense, and on others just a life-stage thing; most of my friends *aren’t* students any more, or even early 20s and still finding their feet – but it does make isolated cat-infested old age seem that much closer, and the cultural approval that comes with excessive thinness that much more desirable, just as focusing on food and fitness rather than friends and relationships becomes progressively less appealing.
Ironic, really. Perhaps.