I carry a lot of shame about my body.
I think ALL American women -thanks to culture and society -feel body shame. Maybe not all, but it feels like all.
I had that shame before I married Danny, but marrying someone with an irresistible appetite for pornography upped that shame considerably.
This past week, I realized that I've gained weight. I don't keep a scale around, but I noticed my clothes just not fitting right. I felt bloated and heavy. I can see a change in my face.
In the last year -through the separation -I've gained weight.
While my marriage and family and self went through it, I didn't pay attention to what I was eating. I used food as a comfort, an escape... a God in it's own right.
I ate chocolate before facing a scary confrontation, making a big phone call.
And then I ate chocolate afterward.
I ate to the point of sickness a few times -my body is exceptionally prone to sickness these days, having no gall bladder and an acute hunger for things like bacon.
Realizing I'd gained weight was more than a little upsetting. It was SHAMEY. I felt SO MUCH SHAME.
I felt worthless, ugly. I wanted to stay home and hide.
This is crazy talk, my friends. It is CRAZY.
I know it's crazy and THAT brings on more shame. Like, "Hey, Alicia is totally aware that she's being crazy and SHE IS NOT STOPPING. What an idiot."
My body shame morphed quickly into bad friend shame (I'm horrible at being a good friend) and bad neighbor shame (The kids flooded my neighbor's shed last autumn and they locked their faucet and won't have us feed their animals anymore. Fair enough).
Bad Housekeeper Shame.
Bad At Finances Shame.
Broken Car Shame.
Small House Shame.
The shame ball rolled bigger, bigger, bigger and pretty soon it turned into PRIDE. I began comparing myself, my bad neighborness, my messy house ness, my ugly car ness.
I'm thinner than _______ and bigger than _________.
The more pride I feel, the more YUCK I feel. I begin blaming, rationalizing. I see people less. I judge people more. When I talk with others, it's usually ABOUT others.
THIS BRINGS ON MORE SHAME.
And the web forms and grows and grows and forms.
In this state, I am ripe pickings for triggers.
This weekend, I was hit, hit, hit.
Granted, I went to a wedding reception and the bride sang, "Love Me Tender." I BOOKED it outta there.
I spent an evening listening to a congregation discuss "saving others."
May day. Seriously.
There were a few situations with Danny that left me feeling unseen and crazy as a daisy.
By the time Sunday rolled around, I was SPENT.
I ate cold cereal for lunch and slept for 4 hours.
Today I feel better.
The shame ball is gone. I weigh the same as I did last week. My house is dirty. My car is broken. My house is still a small trailer rental. My dog barks outside pretty much nonstop.
I forgot a birthday.
But I'm okay.
What disintegrates the shame ball?
God does, yes. That is true. Sometimes, though, it just takes a few hard days -some TIME - using my tools. Reaching out to God, praying honestly, calling a sponsor. An extra dose of the right kind of self-care.
It's like proactive waiting.
I'm grateful it's gone for now. I'm tired and grateful.