I’ve been having an assault of bad body thoughts of late. “Bad body thoughts” is a phrase from When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies and what that book has to say about them has really changed my relationship with those thoughts and with my body, in general. Hirschmann and Munter assert that “bad body thoughts are never about your body.” That’s a pretty strong statement. Never about your body. I was a bit skeptical at first. I mean, really, I know these feelings ar about my body. This feeling fat, like I don’t fit in, like I should be better than I am, that’s about my body and only my body…right? Right?
It didn’t take many times of taking a deeper look at my bad body thoughts to convince me that there really is something to this theory of theirs. Let’s take the examples I just listed above, which are some of the thoughts I’ve been having lately. Feeling like I don’t fit in physically, right now, for me is a reflection of how I’ve been feeling in general. I noticed that after a couple of conversations with new people yesterday at a work function, this feeling was stronger than ever. Well, those conversations danced around the edge of my divorce. In one, I avoided the topic and said that I had moved back to this state to be close to family. Which is such a small part of the truth that it felt like a lie. I moved back because I split up with my husband. Sure, I moved here because of family, but really, I was trying to find a way to not say, “I’m in the process of getting a divorce.”
The other conversation also stemmed from the topic of “where I used to live.” I was asked why I moved there. Well, I was married then, I said, and my husband’s job took us there.
Married then. Not now.
Something I never, ever expected for myself. Divorce is something that I have a lot of feelings about. Not just my divorce, but divorce in general. I don’t know that I could have known this or admitted it before, but I seem to have a lot of negative associations with the idea of being divorced. Basically, it feels like failure.
And I know, I know that divorce for me is the best, healthiest, most successful path…but these old ideas grew up with me and they run deep. So deep I didn’t even know they were there.
But they’re there.
This feeling that I fucked up somehow, that I don’t know where I fit in anymore, that I am somehow less than…these feelings are definitely there.
It’s just a lot easier to feel fat and obsess about my body than to look these feelings in the face and feel them.
I am working on new ideas of success, of acceptableness…it’s hard to discover that you are suddenly on the wrong side of some line in the sand you drew a long time ago. Some line that says, “Those on this side are acceptable, those on that side are not.”
But it is—hopefully—just drawn in the sand and not in stone. I can learn to re-draw these lines.
And if it is drawn in stone—I’m getting a fucking jackhammer.