Friday, January 8, 2010

You're so vain / Shame on you

So this is a very long and rambly post. But I'm getting it out there and then I'll move on.

I have occassionally in the past 6 months been really angry at the world, and really nasty at work. I'm intelligent and smart and me being nasty when I work currently in retail is not ok, and it is not very pleasant. I have a super nasty voice in my head and seriously some of the things it comes out with, about people around me, and about beloveds and friends as well as foes, is appalling.

This is aside from the usual voice that I have that laughs at people who come to a DIY store and refuse to do it themself, or people who ask ridiculous questions, or who make me do a refund for $0.12 and wait 10 minutes, holding people up behind them, while I hunt down a code for something that they can't remember where they found it.

And no I don't have voices in my head - just a side track of commentary. Doesn't everyone?

Anyway, this nasty voice is getting old and is horrible. And I've been trying to work out what it's about. And in a throw away comment to Kate the other day kind of summed it up. The voice in my head is Shame. Shame is loud and nasty and let's me feel like I could be superior to whomever I'm thinking ill of. Although - am "I" thinking it consciously? No, I'm not sitting there thinking badly. It's like little emails are delivered and opened without me actually thinking that way.

So - Shame is visiting with me and I don't know why. Shame is nasty and everyone around me seems to have something to be shamed over by me thinking it. Or ashamed about because that's how they Are.

And in that distinction I worked it out. I am feeling shamed about something big and it is popping up in me trying to put everyone else in the same boat as me.

I do the same thing with good things, so this is not surprising. If I'm happy I want everyone to be happy and everyone around me gets the light of my joy shone on them. Same with upset moods - as much as I am sensitive to them (oooooooohh boy am I sensitive to them!) in other people, I project a good one as well.

I've had a lot of time to reflect on this recently and the only thing recently that's changed has been being pregnant. I am thrilled to be pregnant. I love being pregnant. I love my situation and my future and my plans. So I'm not shamed for pregnancy.

What has been adding up is that I am shamed by the weight I've put on. Thanks to my WiiFit I know that I've put on 12kg in 6 months (10-15 is normal and I don't weigh or get weighed by my care provider - I do by my WiiFit though!). On one hand I don't care - I am growing an awesome bump that is just perfect in size and is growing on schedule. But on the other hand, I am clearly troubled by it. I comment regularly to beloveds about other people commenting on my size and shape. In a defensive way. I also get very upset about it, which is hard when I work with a bunch of people who can be very thoughtless or else are nasty. Seriously - when the first comment of my day, even before I start working, is "My god you're ginormous" it really sets the tone for the day. And I work 4-6 days a week. Even if my come back is "I'm happy to lie down and let you measure my bump if it means you'd feel better about my size", it still obviously stings deep on my psyche.

I don't have many body hang ups when I'm in touch with my body, and active. I'm comfortable naked etc etc blah blah blah. I barely even notice the size of other people - I do notice how they carry themselves, what they're wearing, and they're shoes (cause they're really interesting!) but I do try to embrace "healthy at every size" in my thinking as well as my acting. So this is not a "I hate fat people and zomg I'm turning into one so I hate myself" moment. Honestly.

But in the past 2.5 years I've lost a lot of my condition because of a motor vehicle accident and then getting pregnant and suffering heinous morning sickness for more than 3 months. And so I am unhappy with my size because it's not the shape but the way you use it and what people see is Increased Size which is reflective of my Less Using it.

Aaaaannnndddd we're back the full circle. I am feeling judged and measured by people close around me because EVERYONE comments on my size, bump, etc etc (but never my breasts - why is that?). I am also surrounded by complete-stranger type people who I feel measure me and judge me because I work in retail, I'm a woman in a male-dominated industry, and because I'm a woman.

This is about how I feel by the way. And it comes back to something that happened when I was in primary school - maybe year 6? So I was 10 or so. About to reach menarche. Growing breasts and hips and upwards as well. That strange new girl (hey I always was - 9 schools in 11 years of schooling does that to you!). I can remember being pulled out in front of my dance class and totally, utterly and completely humiliated because I was getting fat. I remember it going on for a very long time and it being humiliating and revolting and knowing that I couldn't go to my mother about it, so I suffered being judged and measured and weighed in front of a room full of people for whom I didn't care much. And something snapped in me then. I remember feeling that out of body experience when part of your psyche truly changes. I remember being so embarrassed that a small piece of me died. And it was because of someone else's opinion of my body.

And so - now that I have a body that is changing because of something out of my control, I am that young girl again. I am feeling judged by people around me. People think it's ok to comment on my shape and size and I can't respond. And that small piece I thought had died turns out to have rotted and twisted in the past 20 years and is now named Shame. Shame wants everyone else to be ashamed of their bodies, just like she is.

And of course, in working out all of this, my shoulders are straightened, my body is carried proudly again and Shame starts a journey back to the light that is Acceptance. Is it a long journey or a short one? I don't know. It's a hard journey that could go on a twisted path through eating disorders, exercise obsessions and unhealthy approaches to life. But it is something I have to get through.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god. What happened to you in that dance class is APALLING! I am furious for you!

Ness said...

*big hugs* I went through a similar stage in 3rd trimester too, I'd put on about 22kg by the end and was (and still am somewhat) utterly appalled by it despite losing it all plus a bit more within about 6-9months. I hated not being able to move freely and then felt bad because my limits were so much less than others have on a daily basis without pregnancy. It was gymnastics for me. People that do that kind of shame/humiliation shit really should not ever be left in charge of anyone else, no-one deserves to be treated like that!

Not Jenny said...

I am so sorry people are doing that to you.
It happened to me. All the time. In my third tri people would keep asking me "How many do you have in there??" The felt free to comment on how massive I was every day.
It really wears you down.
I stopped being nice to the rude people. When they asked me how much I weighed, I asked them how much they weighed. When they touched my belly without asking, I'd touch theirs.

People are just so horrid sometimes.

Emma Someone said...

puppie - yep, it was awful at the time and I hadn't thought about it for ages. But I can remember it so clearly.

Ness - I hate the not being able to move feeling. Like being wrapped in bubble wrap. And the stretch marks in strange places (inner thighs?) don't help. And while ppl like that should not be left in charge - it was even harder on reflection to admit that I never even told my parents what happened.

Not Jenny - yep, I've stopped being polite and actually reflect back on them. I am tired of ppl knowingly asking how long I've got to go, or how many I'm having.

I also point out that I am 8 MONTHS pregnant. Which really blows their mind as ppl don't want to have it explained that preg goes for 10 months if ppl insist on counting a month as 4 weeks.

Tanya said...

People can be very strange about bodies and pregnancies and space and comments. If your not pregnant and someone thinks 'it's about time you were' they'll tell you (even if you are dying inside each month when you realise you are not pregnant), if you don't want kids someone is bound to tell you 'you'll change your mind, or your selfish', and yes, all that public comment about getting bigger and the touching thing. And then I remember being really hungry when breastfeeding and someone told me to 'watch out' or something equally rude!! I am sorry that you were publically shamed in your dance class. I was in my PE class and I still remember the pain it caused when I stop to think. Thanks for your interesting post, glad your shoulders are being pulled back now!