Friday, December 16, 2011

Birthday reflections

Today marks my first full day with 28 years.  I don't honestly think I should have survived past 25 and earlier in the year I was quite intent on dying at 27.  Well, 28, here we are...together at last.  It's odd to think about.  I know it's not old but it's 'old' if you know what I mean.  I am solidly into my adult life, my parents are both nearly senior citizens.  It seems like yesterday that my sister was upset about turning 30..time flies even when you're not having fun.

The best gift was having my family here.  We had a really great day together.  They put aside their jetlag and really pushed themselves for me.  We went to Sagres, the most western point of Europe and took in spectacular views followed by a quiet dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant in Luz.  We enjoyed wine, appies, main dishes, and shared dessert (and yes, that included a few mouthfuls of a delightful orange/dark chocolate cheesecake for me!).  There was constant and animated conversation and we were comfortable just spending over 2 hours in eachother's company.  It really is special to be fully present in the interactions with my family and to really be working on out relationships.  Family is what I will have for the rest of my life and we are all ever evolving.  I am so so appreciative to have such a wonderful family.

That said, we have our first therapy session together tomorrow.  They are actually quite keen on it it seems which is nice.  Not many clients are as lucky as me to have such a family so eager to learn. 

Maybe today's topic will be about body image.  This is something I am struggling with quite significantly lately.  My weight has increased more than I anticiapted and was prepared for although I do not know the exact number that shows on the scale each day.  I know, logically, that I need to be the weight I am but that does not change how difficult it is to tolerate the body I am residing in.  Logic is probably what will get me through this, largely (although emotion is helping a lot too!).  I KNOW that I am not obese or ever overweight.  I know I look normal and healthy now...why is this a problem?  I am told that it is because I am not ready for all the associations that come with an adult body.  That my emotional mind stopped growing at a very young age and through anorexia and maintaining an unreasonably low weight I was physically manifesting the youth of my mind.  I'm not so sold on that idea but it does make sense and it is one explaination.  The thing for me is to keep focussed on what my body can do for me.  It is my vehicle for life, that's all. 

I am rising above the judgements that may be imposed on me by others as they view me, I cannot change them but I can change how I respond to them.  What matters is what people see in my eyes.  Honestly, I wear all my emotion in my eyes.  With a glance I think an intuitive person would see my soul quite easily and that is nothing I fear either.  I WANT people to know me, to see me.  I'm tired of hiding and keeping my eyes down so that no one sees what's going on inside.  Feel my happiness, feel my pain, experience my excitement and sparkle...I want to share it with the world!  And anyone who stops looking at me because of what my body says to them or won't look in my eyes because of the body I possess is missing out on so much of me that I barely feel any judgement at all.  It's freeing.  I don't need to embody my fears anymore.

This comes largely from my rational mind.  I do believe everything I say but I do not own it 100%...yet.  My emotional mind still sees my stomach expand in the mirror after a fruit snack and sees double and triple chins on the ugly girl reflected.  The curve of my hips freaks me out and not being able to reach for the smallest size on the rack and knowing it will fit or be too big is still really difficult.  But I am actually living most days and that means a full aray of emotions and experiences, many interactions, physical activity and rest, enjoying my food, laughing, and thinking.  These things I value over and above what my body looks like.

I struggle to see my bones sink beneath my skin rather than becoming shaper and more pronounced.  I feel a little lost when running my hand down my back is a smooth stroke and not one textured with moguls of ribs and spine.  My veins to not bulge under thin pale skin.  I feel guilty when I sleep on my side and do not have pain when my knees lie together or where my pelvis sits on any mattress regardless of how soft.  I can only remember the shape of my entire pelvis, front to back, that held my stretched skin tight, like it was begging to burst through.  Why emaciation?  That seems a severe response to not wanting an adult's not a drive to be thin, it was a drive to be disgusting and shocking.  I never wanted to look like a model, I knew I never would, that's not in my genes...I wanted to disappear but since I couldn't I wanted the smallest body possible. 

I still have days where I desire this.  Many days.  But it is a want, not a need.  Not a deadly drive.  And honestly, not even an option anymore.  The times I miss all that are the times when I can stop and ask myself what else is going on or grab my phone and make a call to someone who can remind me of what is important.  I remember what I had what I was stick thin...nothing.  And how fullfilled and happy I was...not at all.  I might not have much now, but I have more than then and I believe in the potential to have more (meaning relationships, interests, etc) and BE more.  I finally am able to say:  I CAN.  And I WILL.  One day at a time, one box of kleenex that mops up my tears at a time, one bite, one step, one assignment at a time I will get 'there'.

So here's to bites of cheese cake and getting tipsy off of 2 glasses of red wine and waking up with a headache!  :)  Here's to life as it is after 28 years.

Carrying on...

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