i don’t know how to make depression funny anymore.
i’m not sure i ever did, but i really don’t now.
i don’t have it in me to pull forth the effort to blather on about my hair with funny turns of phrase.
though it does look wonderful, don’t get me wrong. i went the perm route. i look fabulous. i’ll tell you all about it later, when i’m done being all melodramatic. (gotta fit that in, too.)
thing is, it’s not an overwhelming sadness or intense social fear. jsure, those pop up with the regularity of the wonky j in my words, but they’re not it. “it” is more of an ugh, mixed with a quivery chin, sprinkled heavily with some meh and topped with dissatisfaction. it’s a poor little rich girl complex and the guilt that brings, plus the actual bad shit that’s actually real and the actual health shit that’s actually shitty.
but here’s the big difference: i think i’m legitimately ready to do something about it, starting with the empirical, the tangible, the right-here-before-me-i-can-fucking-do-this part: my body.
and so we come to real reason i finally got myself to write again: my Namaste Manifesto.
Once upon a time there was a little girl with freckles who lived life in ALL CAPS, badgered her big sister and dressed her little brother in flowery frocks and lipstick.
Once upon a time there was a little girl with pigtails who knew that her big, handmade Lincoln logs were better than your stupid ones from the store.Once upon a time there was a little girl with green eyes who agreed with her mother that pie crusts were just too hard and, besides, the ones from Kroger were just as good and took far less time and cursing to make.
Once upon a time there was a little girl who wore a tutu around her head and called herself the Queen Mum sitting down for tea with Elizabeth, BearBear and Mrs. Symie.
Once upon a time there was a little girl whose body did what she asked of it, mostly, and the worst consequences were ant bites, skinned knees and stitches in her side from running too soon after lunch.
* * *
I remember her. But the thing is, I don’t remember her as ME. I remember a lot of things I DID and a lot of things I WATCHED and a lot of things I touched, tasted, felt, smelled. But I don’t really remember being in that little body and throwing it around and watching/feeling it doing what I asked it to do.
What I remember is being fat.
Now, I wasn’t. I was never a gangly skinny thing or toned and ripped, but I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t even big until a few years ago.But I thought I was. I cannot remember a time since I began to judge my body when I did not find it lacking. Worse yet, I cannot remember a time when I did not measure my own worth without my weight or dress size or squishiness as a (negative) part of the equation.
Frankly, that’s bullshit.
I’m hysterical. I’m pretty. I’m fun. I’m damn smart. I’m good at a lot of things. I drink a lot of water. I grow vegetables, care for animals and volunteer on at least one project a year, if not long campaigns of do-good-ery. I bake a mean homemade twinkie, give good back-scratches and love with all of my heart, an organ I’m convinced takes up most of my internal body cavity.
The shitty thing is, I can’t take my body out of it. But I realized: I don’t have to. Sure, I have to stop body-shaming and beating myself up about it – that’s not a new realization or decision, and it gets easier to do with every step of every moment of every day – but a corollary there is that I often find that in attempting to lower the focus and negativity I place on myself about my body, I minimize the importance of my body overall.And that’s the real bullshit.
Whatever my (your) beliefs may be at any given time, this is the vessel in which my spirit / soul / mind / consciousness from parasitic alien life forms travels around this earth. Maybe it’s just a vehicle, but it’s the one I’ve got and I’m not going to get another one, no matter my preference for the bionic.
* * *
Over the last year and change, I have struggled with myself – with my self-esteem, my hairdos, my communications skills, my family’s crazy, my crazy, my boyfriend’s crazy, moving in with said wonderful boyfriend, not killing the selfsame boyfriend, not killing the selfsame boyfriend’s family, my health, my lack of health, my skin’s propensity to manifest every emotion I’ve got in one dermatitial form or another, my body’s comfort with inflammation and open wounds, my unemployment, my underemployment, my wonderful employment, my schedule, my volunteer work, my religion, my nail polish color, my pants size, my stretch marks, my eyebrows, my clothing, my lack of clothing, my music, my writing, my loving – and in so doing, I feel pretty confident stating that each time I take an inventory, I like what I see more and more.
So, with just the obstacles of my life as my guides, I am becoming a person who is more patient, thoughtful, kind, honest and loving. With the fights and kisses and eye-rolls that are part and parcel to my relationship with this amazing man, I am becoming a better partner, lover, friend and mate. With the rollercoaster of a connection I have with my mother, I am becoming a better daughter, helper and gardener. With the lifeline I hold to my pregnant sister, I am becoming a better sister, aunt, friend and confidante.
While all of those trials have also taught me I’m probably a bit borderline, definitely living up to my dysthymia, major depressive and generalized anxiety diagnoses, usually prone to panicking but always good in a physical crisis, they’ve also brought me this moment, wherein I know with a certainty I find confusing that I am the one who has to be in charge.
It seems so simple. Fuck, I can even admit that it IS simple. That just doesn’t make it easy.
So I’ve decided the way to remove body-shaming from my equation is to remove the shame.
To be continued.