Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm Not in Kansas Right Now

Dear Ones --

I don't expect everyone to approve at what's going on at my other blog.  That's why I started a separate blog that is age-restricted.  The question has arisen concerning whether the actions of yesterday's post are self-empowering and I think it's certainly a question that deserves thought and discussion.

All journeys begin somewhere.

I'm fifty-three years-old and never-married.  I've had a few boyfriends and many heartbreaks.  My heart is still leaking, in fact, from something in my recent past that did not come to fruition, and it has had a thud after my encounters over the last week: in many important ways, the thuddee actually gets me.  That's a powerful turn-on.

Alas.

Consider, now, that I have been fat for something like forty-six years.  I was the butt of a lot of teasing up until I went to university.  Then I became the Best Friend, the Fag Hag, the voyeur of what my thin, pretty/handsome friends were experiencing.  I listened and sympathized.  I listened and wished.  I listened and grew fatter.

I passed through the chapters of my thinnitude under the stress of either gaining a new body and new horizons, or saying goodbye thereto.  I spent much of the time in my romantic relationships wondering if I could really be loved, if my battle scars were at least forgivable, or if I could compensate for them in some way.  I spent so much time in my head that I couldn't feel my body except when I was out and about, mostly in the gym or on my own, walking the city in black cashmere trousers or a short black skirt.  Then I felt tall and in possession of a secret: you don't know what I really am...

I was Beauty and Beast when I was thin.  As I gained weight I felt more and more that I was the Beast alone.

In these last seven years, it has been a surprise to me that men found me either attractive or fuckable.  That perhaps one man fell in love with me for a bit and that a couple of other men fell in like is astonishing.

It shouldn't be.  I'm not ugly.  I'm funny, smart, giving.  They even found me sexy, although that has never been something I felt.

Until the last few weeks.

What has changed?  I'm really abstinent for the first time in more than six months.  I've been through a great deal of grief and estrangement.  I'm not working as hard as I should be in my twelve-step program but I have done some deep digging in my stepwork and in throwuppy.  My old feelings of being the butt of jokes and excuses, of needing to be invisible, are shriveling a little bit as I take them out of the closet and place them in the light of the room for two pairs of eyes.  I'm slow to pick up on having boundaries crossed or argued about, but at least I remember, now, when my therapist points instances out.  I'm becoming more sensitive to them and more protective.

I don't know if I've lost weight or not, although a friend noticed that I was looking "healthier" and my food plan is so predictable that it would be difficult not to lose weight.  Not knowing has thrown me back on my day count and my body.  Because I'm also pretty disenfranchised from my size, I can't tell much from the way my clothes fit.  This pretty much leaves me only how and what my body is feeling.  It has a knot of anxiety in its stomach.  Its neck is sore.  There is a twinge in its left shoulder.  And it's randy.

There is also a brain in this body -- a mind.  And a heart and a pleasure center.  I may not be ready for a boyfriend or a boyfriend may not be ready for me, but for a change I'm relying on those other bits to tell me when a situation, a man, a sexual liaison, is not right for me.  And I'm walking out, shrugging my shoulders, taking pleasure in a cold drink and the searing acridity of a cigarette, relishing my messy Cave and my dog.   She is always glad to see me and manipulate me in our seven-year dance of often opposing desires.

So yeah, it feels good to say, "You're not the right one."  And it feels good to seek a Right One, despite, right now,  the sexual emphasis on seeking.  I missed out on so much in the years when boyz wanted girlz to be fresh and skinny, and in the years when I didn't trust myself.

It is empowering to trust my instincts.  It's bloody empowering to have instincts after the cloister of grief.  It's empowering to read or hear that a man I could like thinks I have a lovely body.

And it's most empowering of all to write, to write the journey.  It's only a journey; the destination is a place everyone recognizes.  Love.  Home.  Friendship.  Maybe health insurance.

But it's my journey, for better or worse.  I'm being careful.  And I'm shrugging my shoulders when that's what I feel like doing.  And I'm glad I know these things.  Somebody in my future will appreciate the self-acceptance I'm being tutored in, the joy, the frontiers of my self that I'm defining and learning to defend.

All journeys end somewhere, and the somewhere is always [re]new.

12 comments:

Elisa said...

*applauds*

Anonymous said...

Frances, Maybe you're at the point of feeling that You're Enough! and you are pal and standards are great. Being fat doesn't mean we have to accept less in any area of our life. Love you pal, Les

Debra said...

I'm enjoying the writing you've done the last couple of days and appreciate the hard work behind the shift.

Marian said...

It sounds like what you are doing is so much healthier than what I've been through, which is fat = "unfuckable" and thin = "get all the validation from men that I can, while I can."

It scared me when I realized that my hottest sexual fantasy would be having some man (really, any man) hold me and tell me I was beautiful. So I checked out SLAA, played with the idea that I'm a sexual anorexic, or maybe bulimic. (Obviously, people much bigger than I have *ever* been have sex, sometimes lots of it.)

Now I'm just not dating until I figure out what I *really* want from it that I can't get from my vibrator and my dog. (Mostly from the dog because my SSRIs pretty much make the vibe useless.)

jen said...

What made me close my browser window was not that you had a casual sexual encounter (who cares) but that you seemed to think that it was the only kind of connection that was available to you. And maybe it is, if you are feeling disconnected from yourself. I thought that to read about 100 encounters like that would be incredibly sad and also a little dull. The thing about one-night stands (and I had a few of my own, so I am speaking from experience here) is that they are in some ways all exactly alike. There is the spark of excitement, the rush that someone desires you, and then the letdown that it's over and you still don't feel any better. It's the romantic equivalent of trying to live on nothing but marshmallows.

It's not that I disapprove, as much as I hope that you decide you deserve better than that.

Jane said...

Frances,

You are so right to seek someone to share your life with. You're talented, smart, pretty, with so much to share. I hope that there is a guy out there who is the right one for you. I am always surprised at how many men and women use the internet to find a "significant other," but online dating is very mainstream in this day and age. I trust that you are perceptive enough and smart enough to keep yourself safe while going through this process. If what you are doing gets a bit scary, and your safety and self-respect become compromised, just change the process and the expectations and keep on searching. Best of luck...

Anne D said...

I love love LOVE this post, Frances. It feels triumphant and soaring and alive. I read your Assholes blog post and enjoyed (not in a voyeuristic way!) glimpsing the part of your life that intersects with love and sex and all that jazz.

When I contrast this post (here on COTH) with things you were blogging last fall, I see tremendous progress and self-knowledge. Thank you for sharing with us.

Vickie said...

Ditto what Jen said.

It is as if you are making it impossible TO find someone worthy of you this way. . .

and maybe that is your point.

Maybe you don't want to look anymore.

It just feels like self sabotage.

topazlilycat said...

Frances, I'm also 53. I thought about doing what you're doing and writing a book about it a few years ago, started the "research" but never got around to writing the book. Maybe because I'm not a writer. ;-) I'm very interested in this whole dating while fat and older thing, so I will stay tuned.

altopower said...

I met you in a very different place in your life than where you are now. It's your life, your body, and you are taking the steps you feel are appropriate. I don't think this part of your journey is something I will follow, since I'm heading in a different direction. I wish you well.

altopower said...

I met you in a very different place in your life and journey. While I respect your right to take this current path, it's not one that I want to follow since I'm in a very different place. I'm with Jen and Vickie that I think you deserve more - but this is YOUR choice, YOUR life, YOUR body, and you need to do what is best for you. I wish you well.

JS said...

I don't see self-acceptance, though. Maybe it's not making it through the keyboard and onto the screen? I'm seeing self-loathing, body shame, body hatred, and sexual acting out in search of self-validation.

If that's not what's actually going on for you, I want to encourage you to look closely at whether your writing is expressing what IS going on for you.

I would also encourage you to check in with your twelve-step sponsor(s), because the sexual encounter you describe doesn't seem consistent with the kind of mindful decision-making that is many/most people's goal in working the twelve steps.

Brush me off if you like, but I hope some of this gets through because your trajectory does not look healthy from where I sit.