Rites of passage: gaining weight and losing touch

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.

*(Second best in the sense of *not* somebody’s other half or emotional priority: not necessarily because I couldn’t choose that, decide to compromise in certain ways or with certain people, but because if I could imagine making that kind of compromise simply for the sake of security, I’d be someone else. And realistically or otherwise, I can’t imagine the sense of instinctive kinship and understanding I’d need to fall in love that way happening again. And as it is, fundamental to all my relations with other people is honesty, all my intimacies are built around that, and that’s precious. And I never want to have to be honest about *settling*. Urghh.)
Advertisements

About Goblin

Academic, critic, endlessly fascinated; reads, thinks, listens and talks far more than is good for her. Ex-anorexic, ex-ME, excitable, queer, kinky, nosy, mouthy. Purveyor of uncomfortable truths. Talks filth in public. Likes rabbits, old houses with big windows and John Wilmot Earl of Rochester. Needs more sleep.
This entry was posted in Culture, Hunger, Love, Psychobabble, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Rites of passage: gaining weight and losing touch

  1. Anna says:

    FYI, you don’t have the highest bmi in your family; R’s is around 19.6 or more. Just so you know! Not that it has any bearing on anything 😉

    Like

  2. Siobhan says:

    I found this quite moving, I’m not sure why, perhaps because the first section in paticular showed a lot of progression from the Anas and Mias out there. The fact you don’t speak so brutally of self hate is an incredible thing hunny. You should be very proud of yourself for that. From what I know of who you were, you have come a very long way it seems 🙂 It’s most admirable.

    I’ll avoid the cliche of “you’re lovely, and someday you’ll find someone perfect for you, and you’re day will come” as to an extent they are all true, but as you’ve pointed out here (whether knowing it or not) finding someone who you aren’t second best to, will come when you are no longer second best to yourself (might jot that down as a quote kind of like it). People physically move on but emotionally those who matter will always be there. Some day a time will come when you will do the same, but only when you are ready, something you may not even know until it happens. The phrase second best always taunts me, unless it involves affairs (not sure if you’re pin pointing that or not) then you will probably be the first in the line. After all if someone is ahead of you so to speak, then why is there no determination for the best if they are more important? I think what I’m trying to say is that for security people will sometimes note others as second best.

    And of course, some cliche, a very true one, because sometimes it’s nice to hear (see), you are an incredible woman hun, and no matter how near or far or otherwise occupied your friends will always know that and if you need them, the heros of your socials will be there.

    X

    Like

  3. Robert Jones says:

    Am I worthy of being respected i the same way?

    Is anyone?

    anyone for whom a few kilos make a significant difference isn’t really in love with *me* anyway

    I understand the desire for that sort of pure, unconditional love, but really I think it’s a chimera. There is no essential you separate from your contigent condition.

    I get, and write, so many messages apologising for failing to get/be in touch, and in so many ways I’m just as guilty 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.

    I feel something somewhat similar: that I drift in and out of people’s lives with no real significance. To at least some extent, this isn’t about you (or me): it’s a widely observed difficulty of living in a mobile society. I suppose that for people who pair-bond, that provides some consolation, but it hardly seems like a complete answer.

    I’m afraid that although I have much sympathy, I have little useful to say. You’re very much loved here, though.

    Like

  4. Goblin says:

    Am I worthy of being respected i the same way?/Is anyone?

    Depends if you mean ‘for their physical size’ or ‘for themselves’…?

    I understand the desire for that sort of pure, unconditional love, but really I think it’s a chimera. There is no essential you separate from your contigent condition.

    With respect, ime that simply hasn’t been the case. Obviously, depends what you mean by contingent condition, but on at least two (three?) occasions i’ve been loved and supported by people who regarded changes in my physical self as pretty much irreleant. My first proper boyfriend watched me drop from 5 1/2 stone to 3, get hospitalised, become psychotic, recover as a skeleton with a pot belly – and still found me ‘cute’, desirable and loveable. (To the extent we fucked in hospital and moved in together almost as soon as i was discharged.) If that doesn’t demonstrate that love can stand separate from immediate physical condition, i don’t know what does. Same with x, for whom going from 35 to 45kg seemed to make absolutely no difference to desire or to the mutual understanding on which our relationship was based. (His previous partner was a good few dress sizes bigger than me, so i imagine even if i’d increased substantially more than i have it wouldn’t necessarily have put him off.) Possibly if i’d gone into seriously obese it wd’ve been a problem for those people, but with my frame/habits/metabolism/lifestyle – of which the variable factors like habits and lifestyle are fundamentally dependent on my identity in some sense – that simply doesn’t seem likely. So in realistic terms, that kind of love is the kind I want, even if it has limitations: hopefully my genuine self-expression will keep my physical self within fairly wide boundaries that suit both me and the other person. We hope.

    I feel something somewhat similar: that I drift in and out of people’s lives with no real significance. To at least some extent, this isn’t about you (or me): it’s a widely observed difficulty of living in a mobile society. I suppose that for people who pair-bond, that provides some consolation, but it hardly seems like a complete answer.

    I suppose i’ve experienced it as such in the past, on one occasion at least – not necessarily the process of pair-bonding itself but the feeling of being understood. And i’m aware that all the significance i want to have for others is the kind they have for me, it’s a disparity there which i fear if not necessarily currently perceive. There’s a fundamental existential loneliness to the human condition, i think, but that concerns me – ironically – less than the human loneliness of being unable to share in some sense my life and my experiences of it.

    I love you too, hope you know that!

    Like

  5. MissFit says:

    BMI is a load of heap! just sayin….. Those layers of muscles you mention are FAR more important. 🙂
    Carry On

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s