Size Matters ~ It’s a Matter of Size

 – SIZE MATTERS                                 IS IT A MATTER OF SIZE? – 


A recent dream discussion led me down this path

I have this dream discussion often

The caricatures characters change

Then again, they really don’t

They are always me, myself, and I female

There are always wailing tears


When I met the man I was to marry – I was in my prime at a svelte size 12

(He rocked a 30″ waist with a rock hard shame on you chest and bulging      stop it arms)


When we married – I was an even svelter size 10

(He maintained his inches in all respects)


When we accidentally made the decision to get pregnant – I rocketed to a “Dayum! Do they even make clothes that big?” size Who Gives a Shit, I’m Pregnant

(Again, he maintained his inches and bulged in all the right places 😯 )


Post first born and Pre second born – I regained my pre-marriage svelteness at size 12 with only a slight shift in distribution

(Somewhere around here, he upsized to 32″ despite developing noassatol syndrome)


Post second born – Let’s just say, svelte was forever in the rearview.  I was proud to have achieved a 14 with zero qualms of how I looked cuzzzzzzzz I looked good and behaved like I believed it!

(This is 6 years in and he’s effortlessly sporting that 32″)

[These were the days of meeting him at the door in one of his t-shirts that went ‘just’ down to there, or one of his dress shirts buttoned ‘just’ up to there.  Ya know?]


Now…fast forward 25 years, 7 states, 16 or more, I’m too tired to count addresses, later – I’m coming in at a fluffier size 18 to his 34″ and questioning a severely intimacy challenged marriage of 30 years

A challenge to my desirability and to his commitment

A challenge we both decided we didn’t want to engage in anymore

A challenge we both walked away from; me leaving, him allowing me to

A challenge that was one stroke of the pen away from no longer being a challenge but a divorce


We each fought our demons

We each made the decision to try again

We each found our way back to the love that was always there but had been taken for granted

We each found our way back to loving each other in all ways and knowing we’d made the right decision

And. It. Was. Good.

Even though were I to have met him at the door in one of his t-shirts then, he’d have asked when I’d bought a new sports bra…we’d have laughed because

We. Were. Good.


Fast forward again…three years later, to the here and now the last place I want to or thought I’d be, again

This time in our lives when we’ve made big decisions to show each other that WE are what’s important

Decisions that took us off one road and put our feet on another, for all the right reasons or so I thought

Decisions that I see now, perhaps only delayed the inevitable


It hurts worse now…after the trying and the changes

It hurts worse now because what is there left to do besides try to become something I’m not, thin, but even if I was or could be again, I’d never trust him for loving that me and not this me

It hurts worse now because there is nothing in the way; nothing to blame…

But myself for becoming something he didn’t bargain for


The honest truth is…it’s harder to live with the fact that he says he loves you, shows you he does in lots of little ways, but can’t in the way he would if you were even close to who or what you used to be, or at least, not what you are today, which is a hefty bag size 20 who’s food intake is far less than the average 10 year old

It’s harder to live with knowing you’re loved so much that he can’t imagine living without you, yet can’t show you that he knows and sees you are still the woman he married somewhere in there under all that life the way you can see him as the man you married under the gray hair, age spots, saggy butt, and not too bulging arms because…

the outside only drew you in…it was the inside that knocked you out


I know we are no longer teenagers

I also know, this is the time we were both working toward and looking forward to

We grow in our lives and in our love

We change our minds and change our outlooks

We transcend some things and put up with others

We shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations

But we shouldn’t settle for less than we deserve need either


So…I find myself at a crossroad once again

I’ve found this way of living and loving leaves me feeling at a loss lost


Self Esteem – Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves

Self Worth – Self-worth is recognizing “I am greater than all of those things”


What does this mean to me?

Well…there’s no question that my self esteem has taken a huge hit through all of this.  As the esteem comes from those things that make us feel good about ourselves

Nothing about the last year adds shit to mine

So…that leaves my feelings of self worth

Self worth is a deep knowing of your worth.  An honest belief that you are valuable, worth loving, and necessary

This has very little, if anything, to do with your self esteem

Surprising to me, is that I KNOW my worth.  Through it all, for the first time ever maybe, I KNOW my self worth

I know I’m valuable – I know I’m lovable – I know I’m necessary

Which leaves me with this…I know I’m worthy of complete love, so why am I accepting less?


Is it really such a bad thing that I have all but become a hermit…not leaving the house unless I absolutely have to, because if someone who LOVES me sees me this way, how the hell does the rest of the world see me?

Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things that the best I can hope for is an “I love you” as he rolls over to go to sleep?

Am I over reacting when he reaches to hold my hand and I pull it away because my thoughts immediately go to “I don’t want to give you the impression that I’ll settle for that” so I’ll give you nothing instead?


The worst part is…

I love kissing hello and kissing goodbye

I have always loved walking hand in hand, knowing the hand I’m holding wants to hold mine and let the world know I’m his and he’s mine

But I find I no longer want to be offered those things, as I see them as a consollation prize to the big show

The worst part is…how fucked up is that?

The worst part is…I deny the simple things I truly love because I can’t have it all.

AND it confuses me

Am I crazy?

Am I, at 54, supposed to let all of that go?

Did I go through Menopause for this?

Should I be telling myself that all people our age are giving it up without a fight?

Should I be content with what I have and piss off what I don’t?  There’s nothing wrong with companionship if companionship is what you want.

Even though I take the blame because I’m not a size 10 or 12 anymore?


I don’t know

I. Just. Don’t. Know.


Sorry…this was a shit filled ass post

An exercise in self pity if there ever was one and yes, it’s disgusting

I didn’t have to write this here, but it’s my page so I did

I just want to know…why can’t I let it go?

I want to let it go

I want to

I want

Shit…how selfish is that?

No Comments Needed…I’ll figure it out.

xo

For the Love of a Damned Good Conversation

I was working on a post this morning, having to do with the tons of fun in the sun trying to sell a house in today’s market (yeah, right), when as often happens, a short sidestep away from the center line resulted in being led down another dirt road.  But that’s life, especially my life, as I live for the treks down the less traveled dirt.

This particular step off the line was a conversation with a friend that began with small talk about the Gawd awful heat wave and remedies for sun burns, meandered to the pros and cons of having your home and all its contents spread all over the air waves for any ol’ burglar to scope out, tip-toed into current affairs generally and recent events in the Florida courts specifically, then naturally (!?!) morphed into what it must be like for a child to be raised in a Muslim household that forbids TV, radio, music, internet, and playing with children not of their own religion.

Don’t you just LOVE these conversations that sprout tentacles like a giant squid?  I do…I love the random nature of them almost as much as the feeling of comfort I get knowing we can talk about anything…all at once!  Very stimulating to say the least.

Anyway, post Muslim life discussion, from which we both came away thinking we’d like to try our hand at reading the Koran, the conversation jumped the broom to religion in general.  While one of use believes and the other does not, one thing is certainly true:  Where we find intolerance, bigotry, segregationist thinking, there is usually a religious aspect fueling it.  If we are ever to see the day when our planet’s caretakers can live in true peace and brotherhood…religious fanaticism or extremists, of any kind, must see the end of days.

This of course ‘evolved’ into, well, evolution.  Which as a non-believer in religion of any kind, is in fact, the religion of choice.  Past the talk of apes and chimps, we discussed how humans are shown to have an innate ability to share.  Yup.  Share.  Which of course led to whether being kind and empathetic is genetics or learned, and whether lesser traits, like competing in all respects, is too, learned or innate.  Survival of the fittest after all, with no moral force guiding it?  For the non-believer, the take is that we are just naturally a ‘nice’ animal.  For me, the believer, I tended to agree, but still harbor some doubt.  I do think, that while certain characteristics of humans are innate, most are learned behaviors. Basically, nature vs. nurture.  An old and forever on-going topic of discussion that has its own, very long, dirt path.  We discussed why certain behaviors occur in some animals and not in others.

For instance, the beaten dog.  How can a dog who knows mostly pain from the hand of its human, still find it within itself to lick that very hand the few times it might be extended in what one could only marginally be described as love?  It’s insane.  Yet, it happens all the time.  However, for a child to be reared in the same way, the risk is far, far greater, that the result could just as easily be a non-empathetic psychopath as it could be a loving, thriving, kind, and generous, human being.  Is that a choice? Nature vs. nurture again?  I used myself as an example, and even so, I still have doubts about it…or maybe doubt is too strong a word.

I have questions.

Being a victim of childhood sexual abuse (The year that broke the dam) from the ages of 5 to 14 and a victim of rape at the age of 19, one could imagine that I could have become a bitter, angry, mean-spirited, non-trusting, love-hating person.  But I didn’t (Back on the Road).  I’m like the beaten dog…and I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic here…it’s more a visual aide.  I live a life filled with as much love as there is hate; as much beauty as there is ugliness; as much need for love, both to give and to receive, as distrust of it.  So, it begs the question…was this my choice? Or was I bound by genetics to grow into a woman with a heart and huge capacity for empathy?  I don’t know.

But here’s the rub, and ultimately, the reason for our long stroll down these particular paths…in speaking with this friend, it was pointed out ardently, that I do, in fact, have a wonderful heart, a good and strong personality, a huge capacity for love, and that (this is the key) I’m beautiful on the inside.

Ah yes…the beauty within vs. the beauty without (is that the term? doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean).  I, for one, actually HATE that phrase.  I love that I am, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a double-edged sword for me.  I fell into the trap long, long ago, that it’s more important, at least initially, to be more beautiful on the outside. It has been my experience, and I just may have to take the responsibility for it  (Delusional Illusions), that people who could not see beyond the surface passed me by without a second glance and without having the pleasure of getting to know me.  I’m not alone.  I’m certainly not unique in my thinking this is the way of things. I say honestly, if it was a choice to be the way I am, it was not an easy one, but for me, the only one.  Why? Genetics? Nurture? (shrugging shoulders still)

So while I do still struggle with this question, the conversation, for all its meandering, did help me see that hard or not, choice or not, I am on the right path.  My path. And if Joe Blow from Kokomo chooses to walk by me because I don’t look like a Playboy centerfold…I say one thing (well, I say it behind his back ’cause I’m nice)…

Fuck You!

We are all beautiful…let’s get to the heart of it, shall we?

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Yes…my photo…and yes, I draw hearts in the snow…and the sand…and the dirt…it’s just how I roll.

 

Delusional Illusions

Growing up as I did, I had to become a master of delusion.

And a master I was.

I managed to convince myself I was happy, normal, thriving, even exceptional at times.

But, as with everything in life, it ends.

That day came when the delusion hit me square in the face and I found myself staring at a naked stranger in the mirror.

So what’s to be done?

Face my naked self?

See life as it is for the first time…stare the ugly in the face and see beyond it?

Reach into that mirrored heart and grab that frightened, yearning, amazingly loving, little girl and give her a chance?

That would be a most difficult, utterly terrifying path.  Yet a fine one indeed.  A healing thing, a healthy thing, a loving thing to do.

Or…how about exchanging the delusion; that umbrella of fantasy under which life was so real as to be believed; for one of illusion.

I know it won’t be entirely real; just enough to convince me that I can be happy.  No longer deluded, yet not quite ready to face the ugliness in the mirror.  Not quite strong enough to bring her out into the open to face the fact that life is not fair; life is not pretty; life is not forgiving…it’s just life.

So illusion it was…for a time anyway.

But…as all things in life do, this too did end.

An even more painful death than the delusion.

The delusion took my face and smashed it into my mirror.

The illusion died slowly, with tiny little blows that wounded me a piece at a time.

With it’s whispered ‘I love you but…”

And it’s well intended, but still misguided “You’re too good for me…”

The true shield behind which the illusions spew forth “It’s not you, it’s me…”

And the fatal blows to the heart “I’ll always love you…”

a & f

The delusion?

That my damaged soul and wounded heart could find love and peace, inside or out, anywhere but in my own heart.

It’s not possible without facing the naked truth that no matter how much I love another, it won’t last until I love myself enough to see beyond the mirror.

a & f

The Illusion?

That my damaged soul could tell the difference between what’s whole, what’s honest, what’s without fear, and what’s my illusion.

To realize true happiness and true love I must stand naked and fearless in front of that mirror.

And besides my own, the eyes of the one I love are the truest mirror I’ll ever face.

If I’m willing to see it, the reflection will be one of truth. My truth and his.

Stark naked, no illusion.

I’ll see trust, kindness, inner beauty, desire, love without qualification, and acceptance of who and what we both are…in all that naked glory…or I’ll see nothing.

If I see doubt, fear, unease, tempered or guarded emotions, and conditional love…from either of us….I’ll run.

♥  The delusion is dead.

The illusion is dead.

Life is bare…

it promises nothing and offers only what you are willing to pay for

it is as ugly as it is beautiful…

it is as rich with humiliation and pain as it is with pleasure and joy…

but at least it’s now naked…

Now is the time for truth

 

The year that broke the dam

Today’s post is the anniversary post I had planned for yesterday. As is often the case, life intervened. And in retrospect, I’m glad it did. Terrified, but glad.

You see, I was prepared to reflect on this last year alone. Lord knows it’s been a year like no other for me. But over the course of the last couple of days, I’ve realized that’s not enough. Not even close. It must go beyond that.  It must be shared how a photograph of an eagle…

Morning at the lake 003

To have missed this would have changed it all.
To have been witness to this, did change it all.
Change is life.

a beam of light

2011-12-26 001 013

Light through the dark.
All you need do is look.
And believe…it’s for you.

…a kind word of encouragement from a friend, and a blog can change the world.  My world. And I hope, in some way, someone else’s.

I must talk of how my past blew a hole in my present and almost destroyed my future, yet didn’t. And I hope, somewhere in here, before I’m done, I will show too, just how much I’ve gained this last year; in love, friendship, self-esteem, self-reliance, …hell, let’s just say self.  That’s the biggie.

The mirror I’m looking in today is one that goes beyond my image.  Beyond the face that shows subtle signs of age in the soft wrinkles in the corners of my eyes and mouth, and the 50 shades of gray. This mirror mirror on the wall…tells the secrets, tells them all.

Yes, and it’s been a long time coming. And I’m not alone in my many dimensional mirror. I see image, beyond image, beyond image times a thousand, of half woman/half girl, half man/half boy faces that all have the same haunted eyes, looking back at me, silently screaming.

The screams have been heard.  The faces have been seen and are known.  The old, the young, the gone, the living…mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and strangers; all once children, young adults, adults, of abuse.  They are with me, in front, behind, and beside me.  They are me. They are you. But since I’m the one on this side of the mirror, I’ll speak; for them; for me.

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All things in their time
The time is now
Open the flood gates

Why a dam? It’s built to withstand years of stress and pressure. To give that which is needed when it’s needed, and not before. It’s there to hold back that which is as deadly as it is life-giving. It has a built-in relief system…its flood gates.

We are very like this dam, we human beings.  Our bodies and our minds are built to withstand years of stress and pressure. We can take a life as quickly as we can give it. We cater to those with needs, giving what is needed, when it’s needed, and not before. And we too have built-in relief systems. Plural. For we have many. Not all good, not all healthy, and certainly not all lasting. But we each do what we have to do to survive. It’s in our nature. To survive. Or try to. Some do. Sadly, a great many don’t. Some do their best to just survive. Some go beyond, make a difference, help others with faulty or stuck relief systems.

This last year of blogging; specifically, the meeting of a surprising number of kindred souls in this community, has shown me that whatever forces are at work, led me here for a reason. This is no accident.  Not even a happy one. It is just as it has to be.

Things happen for a reason? All things in their own time? I’m no expert on the human condition, nor am I a philosopher.  But yes, these things I believe. At least, I believe them now. There was a time not so long ago, my belief system was quite different. Why? Because there is no reason in this world or any other I could ever imagine a right reason or right time for abuse. Of any kind. Of any one. Most especially though, child abuse, and God forbid, sexual abuse.

It is of that I speak. Here. Today. Openly and for the first time, terrifyingly public; beyond the false walls I built around myself at a very young age. In this last year, the walls have begun to crumble, and I’ve found that the hands I reached out to others in empathy and compassion, have been taken and touched in kind, and placed safely into a human chain of compassion and support I’d not known until now. Not because it wasn’t there; because I’d never reached before. I was busy keeping my fortress secure. To say blogging helped change my life would be an understatement…it, an eagle, and a beam of light, saved it.

This is the sledgehammer that’s going to take down what’s left. Not just to set myself free, but to reach the one, or the ten, or the hundred, who need to know they are not alone and they are not broken.  Bruised, battered, scarred, hurting beyond hurt, and isolated, yes.  But not broken, and not alone, and not AT FAULT.

I used to think remembering and reminding myself of the details were important. It’s not.  It’s toxic. The devil’s in the details? You’re damn right he is. I kept each detail locked in my fortress, either framed and hanging on the wall like a treasured photograph, hanging on a hook in my closet ready to be taken out and worn like a cloak, or hiding under the bed enmeshed in those evil wind dancing, webs that have been catching and holding years and years worth of dirt; years of details wrapped in a cocoon and saved for later…

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Oh the tangled webs we weave
In our minds
Just to survive

…Enough!  Walls down. Light in. Broom in hand.

Time.

Now.

There’s no more room.

I have always wondered, and I know other survivors do also, who I would have been had things been different. Who I was supposed to be. I shall answer the first here…the second, at the end.

  • Would I still feel the need for approval or validation for everything I do?

This is a hard one. And at this moment, all I can say is definitely/maybe not. I’m not there yet, but the more I learn of myself, the more I know that I am quite capable of deciding if what I’m doing is right, or good, and the only one I need approval from, or validation for my deeds or actions, is me. Same goes for consequences. Mine. As with the devil’s details…blaming the past or hanging onto past hurts only keeps me in the dark and they too need to see the fat end of the broom.

  • Would I still agree to do things I don’t want to do to make someone else’s life easier or happier at the expense of my own?

I’m hoping I would have been able to find a balance here. I don’t want to cause hurt or pain to others, but over the years this trait has been detrimental to my own sense of self-worth.  I do believe this trait will be going out the door with the webs, with a more healthy one in its stead.  Not born of conceit or over indulged self importance…one born of kindness and compassion yet with the awareness that I am worthy of the same consideration.  This is a big one.

  • Would I still be empathetic to the point of physical discomfort?

Yes, unequivocally, yes. This will not change. And I don’t want it to. Or it won’t change because I don’t want it to. Either way, it stays.

  •  Would I still be 100% confrontational within my own family circle, yet 100% against/afraid of confrontation outside of it?

I think I already proven to myself that this is history. (right service manager Denise?)

As for the family confrontational dynamic…well part of that is genetic (yes it is..we French love to argue).

Kidding aside, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel here.  A big part of this trait that can appear akin to someone with a chip on their shoulder; a (disguised) resentment born out of my sense of not being protected. But maybe even more, not being recognized.

For me of course, it was obvious.  I knew the taint was visible, I saw it every day.  But I know that’s not the way of it.  And I will say something about that in a moment…but I do know, without question, it was not from lack of love. Still, I did harbor that resentment and anger for a very long time. Its departure is another recent event, and frankly, one I’m glad to see out the door.

What I wanted…needed…to say about the ‘not being recognized’ is this, and I’m coming at this from both perspectives, my own perspectives; as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, date rape, and as a parent.

Parents work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

One, both, inside the home, outside the home…work. Yes

We have no choice if we are to provide what we need to care for, and make better lives for, our families, if we chose to have children. Yes

Children require work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

Day care, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, primary school, elementary school, middle school, high school…sports, jobs, cars, dating, college.  It’s never-ending. Yes

What do we need more of?  Time? Patience? Energy? Help? Yes to all the above.

What do we do if we are out of/never had any/can’t get any of the all the aboves?

we see a child crying or having a tantrum and tell her to please, please stop or go to her room – we see a shy little boy and make him go outside and play with the kids next door – we see a shy, chubby adolescent and enroll him/her into an activity or put them a diet because no one wants to have their child picked on for being fat – we are at our wits end with the surly teenager who never smiles and can’t wait for him/her to outgrow this phase – we see a young man or young woman making self-destructive life decisions and lecture them about the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock -n- roll (or rap, or heavy metal, or country…makes no difference).

These are all normal, everyday scenarios in the lives of most families.  And will continue as long as we have children.  So what’s the problem.  This…

what if hers is a cry for help without the words to express it – what if his shyness is fear of being away from home or out of your sight because he’s been molested and told he will be punished if he tells – what if the chubby little darling is substituting food for the right kind of attention and hiding their perfect little selves in fat from the wrong kind of attention – what if that surly teenager has a dark secret and thinks no one will understand but knows if you really, really looked, you’d see it without them saying a word, please don’t make me say it – and what if those self-destructive decisions are just that…an attempt at self-destruction for fear of someone knowing, the pain of someone not knowing, and the shame with having said nothing.

We need to stop looking through our children. Stop making assumptions based on our own lack of time, energy, patience, or help.  Things are not always what they seem.  Sometimes they are just what they appear to be…but the time it takes to really look at your children, talk to them, is worth more than any paycheck.

We talk a lot about bullying.  It is rampant these days.  But is it really ‘these days’?  Or have we just been too busy to notice it before.  Bullies are not born.  They are made.  It’s not a stretch to imagine an abused child becoming a bully is it?  Can one who is bullied, beaten, molested by an adult not just as likely to turn his/her anger toward someone weaker or smaller?  We don’t always turn inwards.  Some cope another way.  There is never an excuse for bullying.  But I’d be more inclined to ask my son or daughter the hard questions if I ever saw or heard of them bullying others.

And finally, to answer the second of the questions…Who was I supposed to be?

Well, that one is becoming more clear.  Me. Right here, right now. Me.  And that’s just fine.