Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Body Image

"When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things,
you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thinkish inside you, - is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." A.A. Milne

Today a co-worker told me I looked great and she loved the blouse I had on. I'm don't know why, but her words triggered shame in me. I cringed. I wanted to run. Get away. Everything inside me screamed hide....cover up....can't be seen. A voice in my head wanted to shout at her - don't look at me!

I hate that I'm still struggling with not wanting to be seen....not wanting anyone to look at me. It's still there....the shame. Body shame. I still believe - My body is bad - wrong....I still feel the danger.

My body has been my enemy for a long time. I've hated it. It betrayed me. Somewhere deep inside I still believe being female is not safe. I don't consciously think about it, but every now and then, like today at work....It shows me it's still there.

I still see vivid images of being trapped, held down, punched, raped...fighting, desperate to get away - powerless. Days turning into weeks. Weeks into months. No way out...Alone. No one knew. Couldn't tell. For a long time. Telling would make it real. Don't talk. Don't tell.

Sometimes the memories make me crazy. Sometimes I want to lash out at my body blaming it for everything that happened. I know in my head - my body wasn't to blame, but somewhere inside me that doesn't feel like the truth.

I watch my daughters moving freely in their bodies. They're connected to them. They're at home in them. It's strange to me. I want to be free in my body.

I don't like it when it rains too much. I can't run. I can't bike. Can't be outside. Running, alone, in the woods - pushing my body to its maximum...Getting on my bike - riding fast - straining the muscles in my legs until they hurt ....I feel connected. Out in nature - I feel free.

With God's help, I will make peace with my body. One day - like my daughters, I will come home to live without fear in my body.


Just Be Real said...

Sarah, this post touched me. I am so very sorry that you continue to struggle so much with the shame, I hear you!!

Interesting sentence you used here, well for at least me: "Somewhere deep inside I still believe being female is not safe." We feel this because of our past abuses.

Thank you dear one for taking the time to share.

Blessings and ((((Sarah))))

Andrea said...

I agree with JBR! Your honest also touched me and moved me. I am praying for you now.
Blessings, andrea

VICKI IN AZ said...

You are so very brave and honest.

I am so glad you know the truth when the lies are just so very strong.

I am happy for your daughters to have a Mom such as you.

Rhonda said...

Sarah, I feel your pain sweety. I am the same way it seems. I don't want compliments because it makes me feel like more is expected of me somehow, someway. I'm praying that you will be able to feel safer within yourself. Hugs to you!!

speck of dust said...

I remember when I first started yoga and the teacher would say 'how do you feel in your body?' and I would cringe because I didn't want to think I had a body at all. All the talk and focus on body parts was stressing me out!! That along with a man talking to me once meant I ran home from yoga to have a beer :) I am getting more used to the yoga and the fact that I have a body with parts. I have felt so angry for being a woman. Thanks doe this post. Love to you

Denise said...

You are such a brave warrior in this journey you are on, bless you. I am praying for you.

Finally Free said...

Hi Sarah,

As I am reading your post it strikes me as to how the actual abuse situation is so excruciatingly horrible, but the effects on us are so long lasting.

The actual abuse is devastating and then to add insult to injury, it steals our worth and dignity and creates such shame about who we are and our bodies.

I pray that God would help you reclaim the beautiful body that he gave you.

Praying for you,


Anonymous Drifter said...

All healing takes time. You will heal. Be kind to yourself, your feelings and reactions are perfectly normal.

Valerie Lynn said...

My sweet and dear Sarah, oh how I wish I could take your pain away! Oh how I wish I could just take you in my arms and hold you and not let go. What happened to you is not your fault. You are beautiful. God created you beautiful. He can turn your ashes into beauty. Let Him change your heart. Let Him change how you feel about yourself. Look in the mirror each day and say, "I am beautiful because God made me beautiful." I had to do this myself. I hated the way I looked. I thought I was ugly and nobody loved me. I had so much pain inside. I can relate to you because I was raped when I first went to college over 20 years ago. I lived with the pain, guilt, shame and ugliness for many years, never telling a soul. It was when I wanted to stop living that God reached down and saved me. I know there is hope Sarah. God saved and changed me. I know He will do the same for you.

I love you and I thank God for you. You are such a blessing in my life, more than you know.

God bless and keep you my sweet Sarah.

Dean Corso said...

Hello. I'm glad to have the chance of reading such honest & brave words. I'm looking at the ceiling, wondering how to say what I want to say and then I find myself lost. Your heart, is the place where God dwells constantly, without thoughts interrupting the "Truth" and you "know" better than anyone in this universe that your body was and is innocent. But when you start to think about it, "somewhere inside..." tells you otherwise. You're a lady who gave birth to wonderful girls I'm sure, how on earth is it possible that "you"(body+soul+mind) were guilty in any way? How can you not be worthy in the eyes of the lord and nature and then have the permission to give birth to the creators favorite creation? It's only you that knows how with god's help you'll make peace with your body, not any of us.
May the peace of the lord be with you.

girlinaglasshouse said...

Oh Sarah
I am grateful that you left a comment on my blog so that I could find you here. You write beautifully about terrible things. I cringed along with you!

Although we have different sources for body shame, I have it too. As a survivor of anoerexia (God delivered me) my body is an ugly hated thing. My husband tells me I look beautiful and in my head I say "Either love is blind or he just says that so I will be with him" Terrible thing to live with isn't it?

I can see that God has brought you safely along to this point and He will safely lead you on!

Terri Tiffany said...

You are on your way:))

Jackles111 said...

The mind and the body never seem to agree; we know what is right, yet we so strongly feel what is wrong. The struggle, the arguments we have with ourselves can be maddening.

I will pray that you might find rest in your body and peace of mind.

Patricia Singleton said...

I don't know which was harder for me to do---reconnecting with my body or with my feelings. Both were such a struggle for such a long time. Today, I am mostly comfortable with both. Shame is hard to let go of but you can do it. You deserve to be comfortable with your body. Hugs and blessings to you.