Sunday, April 9, 2017

Surviving Year Two: Week 35

Body Shame

This is Week 35 of my Surviving Year Two Grief Project. Details about all my Grief Projects, as well as Grief Resources can be found here.

I actually had a completely different post all ready to go yesterday and I couldn't press "Publish" on it. It felt dishonest. Not that my writing wasn't true and authentic (I always strive for that), but more that there was something much bigger that was present in my grief process and I wasn't acknowledging it, because I was too scared to. So I deleted my original post and took some photos related to how I'm currently feeling this week.

I don't weigh myself at home, because I learned a really long time ago that the numbers on a scale don't have a lot of meaning and yet carry tremendous power over my happiness. However, when I go to the doctor, I do get weighed and that happened this week. The last time I was weighed, it was about a year ago and I was fresh in my grief. I had stopped eating and therefore had lost 20 lbs. I actually have a post all about that day and how traumatic it was for me to be "congratulated" on my grief weight loss.

Body Shame II

So it's been a year since that day and guess what? I have gained the weight I lost in grief back, plus a bit more. So I of course get the alarmed "we need to talk about your weight" talk with my doctor. I calmly explained that a year ago, I was in deep grief and not eating. I am eating again and lifting a bit more weight at the gym. My body is trying to regulate itself. My clothes still fit, so I think my body may be redistributing itself. I might be building up muscle again. As usual, my calm explanation of how I know my body works was met with willfully deaf ears. I was threatened with being forced to take the well-known to be totally useless "wellness classes" if I didn't lose the weight by my next visit. These kinds of threats only make me never want to never return to the doctor, sacrificing my actual health maintenance to avoid the painful experience of a medical professional harassing me about something that I cannot permanently change.

While I am proud that I fought for myself in the doctor's office, I have felt the energetic repercussions of that experience all week. When normally, I often admire my body in photos or in the mirror, I have noticed that I have been falling back into some very old patterns of self-hatred. When I look at my naked body, I start to see it through the lens of our demented American culture, that sees a body like mine as something to make fun of and be disgusted by. Instead of seeing my strong, healthy, capable body, I see "too much" and the desire to shrink down into nothing overwhelms me.

Add to that, my current heartbreak and confusion around dating as a 44-year-old widow and the body shame goes through the roof. Who would want to be with a body like mine? These are old, hard, sad feelings that overwhelm me. Is this a part of grief, as well? My husband LOVED my body. He celebrated it every day. When we walked down the street, it was women with bodies like mine that turned his head. He relished my strength and my curves and my vastness. I miss seeing the look in his eyes, as he would gaze at me — a big lopsided grin on his face — like he couldn't believe how lucky he was to be with a woman like me. I miss him. I miss feeling strong and loving and appreciating my body. I'm scared I will never feel that way again. I'm scared no one will ever look at me the way my husband did.

Thanks for witnessing me. See you next week.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your honesty. I wish I could say something helpful, but know that you are being heard, even if we don't have anything helpful to say. You deserve someone to look at you like you are desirable because you are. Please be gentle with yourself. <3