I focus on my body and the changes I feel.
I focus on my body and the changes I can see in the parts. I still cannot see changes when I look at the whole.
Looking in the mirror, I visually carve my body into bits and pieces -- clavicles, ulnar processes, patellas, scapulae, zygomatic bones, hairline, double chin.
This segmenting of my body is disconcerting. The idea that I am cutting myself into sections, if only visually, leaves me wondering about possible connections to my history of self-mutilation.
My therapist says I'm focusing on the changes in my body and may be losing sight of what hasn't changed -- who I am. I know that she is right in this regard: When I feel fear or panic or discomfort, I'm connecting my identity, my sense of self, to how I understand my body to appear/work rather than to who I know myself to be as a person.
Still, there are questions, concerns, fears, and anxiety about my body.
Who I am has not changed. Yet, I still want my body to be the best possible body. Not my best possible body, taking into account where I started and what I've been through. I want the best possible body of all human bodies.
A friend of mine recently forwarded me a blog post about the recent resurgence of the modesty debate. This debate has not waned with the closing of summer as he had hoped, and so he threw in his two cents.
Now, I love my friend. I appreciate him. I have a great deal of respect for him. He is simply amazing.
And I really appreciate his stance, particularly as a Christian leader, that we as a culture, particularly in the church, need to stop policing women's bodies.
What I had not anticipated in editing his post was feeling inadequate, unlovely, unworthy, worth less and deeply hurting because of the shape of my body, and in particular, the shape of specific parts of my body.
I'm not blaming my friend or his honesty. In fact, that he would write so bluntly and that he consistently demonstrates himself to be a man of integrity is one of the reasons I count him among my closest friends.
That his truth was hurtful to me did serve as a signpost of work I still need to do.
I do not know if I will ever have the body I want. I do plan to continue striving to reach a healthy weight and have a body that does all the things I want it to do, with ease. I hope when I have transformed my current body into my new body, I will want the body I have.
What frustrates and frightens me in this, however, is the focus I find myself putting on making certain aspects of my body more "acceptable" and appealing. Parts of my body that are not likely to be seen by anyone other than me.
I find myself considering what it might be like not just to cut up, segment, reduce my body to parts and pieces as I gaze at my reflection in the mirror, but rather wondering if it might be possible to cut up, segment, and reduce my body, in parts and pieces, under a surgeon's knife, in an effort to make there be less of me physically, in the hopes that it makes me more.