30 DAYS OF FEELING – DAY 18
I have many insecurities but most of them are linked to the awareness of my own body, created by a kind of disconnection. For me, my body has always felt too big, it just doesn’t fit me I don’t see it at mine. Probably because the body of the little girl I once was grew while she shrunk…
When I look at myself in a mirror I am rarely able to see me. I see body parts I recognize but they don’t feel like mine, I never ever see the person I am, I never see myself as a whole. Sometimes I force myself to look beyond the parts that I am made of but instead of recognizing myself I vaguely see a glimpse of the little girl I used to be in a grown up body that doesn’t fit her, doesn’t fit me. I dissociated my body from myself. I believe it is not strange that something like this happened to me.
The years in which my body grew to the size and shape it has today, were the years in which my life was covered in an extreme darkness, years filled with pain and feelings of worthlessness. My father’s abuse took place on a daily basis these years, as well as my mother’s criticism. Besides, I was unfortunate to reach puberty long before the other kids in school did and being the first one with hairy legs, boobs and armpit sweat made me the target point for bullies. The change of my body into the shape it has today wasn’t approved by anyone and so I have never been able to approve my own female body.
I guess that what I hate about my body today is basically a sum up of all the things other people “hated” it for when I grew up. I feel big because I always used to be the tallest kid in school, even though today I am closer to short or average. I feel manly because my mother couldn’t stop telling me how ungirly my knees, toes, hands, elbows and ears were. I feel damaged because of all the bruises my father gave me, like my own body reminds me constantly of the pain I have felt because of him. This body is created by pain and refusing it as my own is just another trick of my mind to protect me.
During a normal day I am able to live with my body. I might not take care of it as much as I should but as long as my body is no more then the flesh I use to move around in in this world, everything seems fine. Seems, because as soon as I notice that my body is judged, or even when I myself notice my body as a part of me, I get extremely insecure. As a result, I won’t dance, I won’t try to be sexy, I won’t wear make-up or dress nicely. I will do everything I can to avoid my body being noticed and when it is noticed, I punish myself by eating too much, as if I want my body to become even more big and unfamiliar.
I am afraid of my own body, afraid of the story it tells me about the bruises and rejections it is created by. Unfortunately, there is no way to run from it, I can ignore and refuse it as much as I want but it will literally follow me every where. Worse, it is even the thing that makes me able to go. I can not heal without my body, I can not recover from my mental problems if I don’t accept the body I have today. Body and mind together make a person and if I want to find myself I need to reconnect with my physique as much as I need to connect with my emotions.
I have always been very jealous of dancers, the way they are able to express themselves through their movements as well as the control they have over their whole body truly fascinates me. I have always wanted to have just a bit of what seems so natural to them, but even the most simple step-touch seems impossible for me. I lack the connection that I need to make my body move in a way I want it to, even in normal everyday life.
This is why I recently decided to start dancing, to push through my extreme failure and discomfort and just try. Within the safety of my own house I started to follow tutorials of the most simple moves in front of a mirror, I failed time after time but refused to let myself give up. It was extremely confronting to so myself struggle so much with even the most simple moves, every step takes me about 100 attempts before I get close to at least moving the right body part in the right direction on the right time while still looking extremely stupid. But I am getting better at it!
After hours or sometimes days of practicing a 4-count movement, I do actually gain confidence. I can now turn on the music and move with it, and although my moves look far from good I truly enjoy the feeling, I enjoy the connection I have always been missing. I truly feel like dancing changes something inside me, like I am becoming more of a complete person, free to move, no longer trapped inside my big heavy apparel, I slowly start to fit in my body.
Yesterday I even had the confidence to perform one of my 4-count steps on the pavement in front of my friend’s house. I had fun doing it, I laughed, I stopped thinking, let go of the painful awareness of my body and just moved. I felt free until I heard someone saying hi, a colleague had been watching me while I expected to be alone in my little dancing moment of connection with myself… But my shame for myself is no longer bigger than the joy I had felt in moving, I said hi back and performed my dance one more time. One day we will be one.