Friday, June 05, 2009

Mirror, mirror....

Lately I feel as if a number of situations are coming together...conspiring with the make me take notice.
Have you ever stumbled across a comment from a stranger, or a phrase in a book, or something that just seems more than coincidence?
Like all these things, these blips, are part of a puzzle, or pieces in the game of life that God intends for you to see, to feel, to learn?

I've been very introspective lately.
Not so unusual for me maybe, but I've been even more introspective than usual.
I have been an emotional dishrag.
And because I've said many times that blogs are journals that should reflect our real selves, that should delve below the surface...well, it would be pretty hypocritical of me if I didn't occasionally stop here to ponder.
It is still scary, however, to give my feelings a voice.

There are certain things I believe--things that I know to be true--either from a common sense standpoint or my own experience.
Yet in reality, in my own life practice, sometimes I fail to follow these beliefs. Sometimes I hold back subconsciously.
I always say that the body will let you know when something in your life is off.
The body will identify stress and make a part weak, or sick.
It will say, "Kaboom!" if you have a issue that you need to address.

The problem, in my opinion, with today's medical philosophies is that we are inclined to pop painkillers when our bodies ache, anti-depressants when our hearts ache, and schedule surgeries when body parts aren't shiny and new.
We have forgotten how to listen to our signals.
Pains and aches aren't meant to be silenced, but meant to engender response.
To feel. To care for our own needs.

In November of 2003, my father died. Even now I rarely talk about his passing.
Even now I have not ironed out my grief.
Even now the wound still bleeds.
In 2003 I was a size 6. I still felt fat.
In October of 2004, my boyfriend of four years pulled a surprise exit.
My grief expanded. So did my body size.

Fast forward to 2009, and I wear a size 14. At least.
I do not envision myself as fat.
I am always shocked when I see myself in the mirror.
I do not recognize myself. I do not like what I see.
Why do I not feel heavy when I am, and feel fat when I am not?

I have not been in the state of mind to motivate myself to change back to my "normal" self. Why?
I have theorized that subconsciously I gained weight on purpose, in both an attempt to find a man who wasn't concerned with "trivial" stuff like appearance, but also because weight acted as a shield against creepy men or creepy comments, or the possibility of being rejected again.
As much as I preach that I do not want my life to be crippled by fear, fear molds me.

Tonight I watched a documentary of the making of the Broadway musical "In the Heights".
The play was the making of a dream for the cast, the writer, and the director.
At one point an actor said, "Fear is the thing that controls everything in this world. Not God, not love...fear."

Sometimes I feel like I'm 20 years old again, faced with a multitude of choices.
I am still standing at that crossroads, but the intersection is in the middle of the freeway, and all around me life is zooming past.
Zoom, zoom...I am stuck not knowing where to step.
So I have not stepped at all.
Fear of change, of success or of failure. Who knows. Fear.

I have started listening to audio books when I drive, or while I sit for long periods of time sewing.
The last book I heard was "Speak", about a 13 year old girl who is raped, and reacts by becoming mute. By retreating into herself.

If my reactions are silent, my body is not.
About two years ago, I started experiencing problems with fatigue and pain in my right hip.
Last year I finally sought relief by a chiropractor.
He helped, but at too great a cost (literally. I couldn't afford him).
So I recently started going to physical therapy. The therapists also address women's health issues.
These therapists use methods that are rarely (sadly) practiced anymore: manual manipulation.
They use their hands, and they feel.
This is what being an Osteopath used to be. This is a lost art.
The body has a language, but we have forgotten the verbs.

Today the therapist felt my right hip restricting, the organs within tight and unmoving.
Then she said something to me that gathered all these separate blips into one concrete whole.
She had me undress, and when she walked back in the room, she commented about my body language.
Ah, the body talks in so many ways.
Feet crossed, arms crossed...
so many ways we can hollow ourselves out--to become invisible.
It is a language of protection.

I didn't realize I was doing that.
I didn't realize I was afraid. That fear holds me back.
My body is telling me...has been telling me for a long time.
In many ways, I am numb. I am deadened. I am hazy.
But my body is yelling at me to change.

Yes, I have experienced abuse, but it was many years ago.
Yes, I am the epitome of lost dreams and confusion.
I'm not going to whine and tell you that I've had a bad life, because I haven't.
Ironically, when my head hits the pillow I am mostly content.
Why and what do I fear?

I think, perhaps, I am a very sensitive person, and every mean comment, every friend who turned and walked away, every man who lied to all piled up like bits of newspaper coated in paste and covered me in paper mache.
Now I have to find whatever it is I need to break open the allow the treasures within to shine again.
If I find that something...I'll let you know.
But I seem to see light filtering through up ahead.

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Blogger Jennifer said...

I want to write something, but I can not find the words. I do not know you well enough. Then in the same breath I say "You ARE me! You just wrote about ME!!"
You have inched a brick lose in my gigantic wall by sharing your personal story with a stranger.
Thank you. Maybe that's all I should have written in the first place....THANK YOU.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't we amazing and complex human beings? Aren't our bodies amazing? Isn't life an incredible journey of self discovery, re-adjusting, shifting, changing...
This is my first time visiting your blog and will be back soon, until then I leave you with positive thoughts.
Greetings from Mexico ~

9:47 AM  
Blogger woof nanny said...

@locuasia: Welcome
@Jennifer: I'm glad. I guess that's my hope--to make a difference for someone, while the writing is therapeutic for me as well.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I assume you've tried therapy? I've found it very helpful in dealing with my fear, past hurts and abuse. Thinking of you and praying you find some answers and peace.

8:25 PM  
Blogger woof nanny said...

Hi Heidi,

It's always nice to see your name in my comments.

No, not really (about the therapy). I basically posted this as sort-of a first step toward losing weight thing. Sort-of a big deal for me to admit actually, so it's a beginning. And because I really do believe that blogs are a way to work out the day-to-day details, and share with others.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I was going to write something similar to what Jennifer wrote. Instead, I'll let you know you are not alone. This seriously could have been a page from my journal. This took a lot of courage to post this. And I think putting it in writing is a step towards healing. Thank you for sharing!!

7:26 PM  
Blogger Kimberly Carolan said...

That is an amazing story, and it is crazy how our bodies talk to us when we least expect it. We try to "stuff" away our feelings, our losses, but even our physical body says, "Hey, I'm not going to let you get away with it!" I totally can relate after my father died (only it was sleeping too long instead)! Thanks for writing :)

Kim Carolan
President, Carolan Creative Enterprises, LLC

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hia Barbara, catching up with you finally. The fact that you are now aware is a big step in your life. You know what direction you need to go in to be healthy again. Little steps hun are still steps in the right direction. You can take them one at a time.

3:34 AM  
Blogger svelteSTUFF said...

Ah yes... Fear - our best friend and our worst enemy at the same time. Be strong.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Gina E. said...

Barb, I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time, and that you have suffered in your earlier years as well. You have really bared your soul to all in this post. I do agree with you, that your body tells you when something in your life is amiss and needs fixing. I had a motorcycle accident 35 years ago, which has come back to haunt me in the form of my neck bones pressing on the spinal chord. Other than that, my life is pretty good, so I don't know what else I can do, other than visit my chiropractor!

7:24 AM  
Blogger Janet Josselyn said...

I've been out of the loop lately and am catching up on your blog. This entry made me want to give you a Big Hug -- Sending "Virtual Hug" now! -- Please take care of yourself. I promise to catch up with you and purse challenge soon.
~ JanetJ, ADG

5:08 PM  

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