I was getting ready for work this morning, and I had all the way gotten dressed, accessorized, and even did my hair braided, in two french braids tied off at the nape of my neck, when by that point all the looking in the mirror which that entailed started getting to me. I started second-guessing my outfit (even despite my never-before-failed orderly-life strategy of picking out my work clothes every night beforehand). I started second-guessing how I looked. I started thinking about Instagram models and the bodies of the people I work with (typical Bank Ass office bodies, generally) and I started trying to think about female friends I have who are my age and how they looked, and how they looked compared to high school, and so on and so forth. I started to stare at the mirror and ask myself, "What do other people see when they look at me? What must I look like through the eyes of other people? Do I have a big ass? I don't think I do, but my last kind-of-boyfriend keeps vague-posting about me on facebook and one thing he shared was about how he's an ass man and the girl he likes has a huge one...I never thought I have a big ass, really, but do I?"
I go through this whole exercise in pissing away thought and time into mirrors in exchange for racheting higher and higher levels of crippling gross feelings often enough. Pretty often. Maybe a lot. Depends on the week.
So anyway I kept looking in the full body mirror in my room at myself and asking, “Is this how normal people think and feel and think and feel about their bodies?” Then I’d go to the bathroom for some other reason and find myself looking in the mirror there. I’d ask, “How do normal people feel about their bodies? Is the way I feel about my body normal? I don’t think so, I mean, what normal person does this in the morning, especially a morning when they took care and time to look a little more-than-average nice in ways that require a little more-than-average self-care and you’d think self-care meant doing so was good for one, wouldn’t it?”
And then I’d walk through the kitchen to put something in my work bag or whatever and I’d pass the full body mirror on the way and at some point between all my askings about normal people I realized something. Maybe I had a breakthrough. I think it might be one, anyway. It feels like that, in my mind, honestly it feels like a literal break in the pattern and color of the thoughts I'd been weaving just as I'm using to weaving them all the time, and yes it feels like maybe now I can see through them. And there's light coming through over there.
To explain what happened I need to talk about something else for a minute. I’m working on a 5-year plan. Early on, mid-January or earlier, while I was just starting the entire project and fleshing it out, I stopped at some point. I thought, you’re making all these plans for 1, 2, 5 years out, refugee, but why? And I stopped all my tasking and goal-orienting and sometimes-you-can-get-too-caught-up-on-projects-and-progress-and-miss-the-big-green-point-all-around you. I took a trusty notebook and I wrote down, What kind of person do you want to be?
I gave it care and thought and came up with eleven words in the next hour or so. I didn’t let myself just rush to write down popular good virtues or etc; I asked myself, what kind of person is it important, to me, for me to be? and i weighed what i came up with until I decided I agreed with it.
I didn’t tie any major life goals back to those words, not specifically, not concretely, only maybe if you stretch the meaning and squint your eyes a bit. So they didn't actually drive my goals or my 5 year plan in any visceral way. However, taking that inventory did really seem to help ground me as I went through making my goals and breaking them into smaller goals and basically wiring up my 5-year-plan process/binder. Mentally, I think it gave me the ground I needed to stand upon and solidly create my plan of attack for getting what I want out of life. I think doing that gave me the fortitude to see the 5 year plan through, and commit to it, and work at it. And keep working at it, day by day.
So this morning, looking into mirrors and agonizing and asking myself all these questions which hinged on this strange word, normal, this word which usually frankly I disdain -- I thought, hey hang on just one minute. Normal, normal, normal, why do you keep saying that? Why are you fixating there? Put aside the question of “Am I normal or not?” because frankly, that answer doesn’t matter to the true issue at hand. The true issue at hand is that I don't feel very comfortable with my body and haven't since I was 12— what the fuck is any normal person going to know or be able to tell me about how to change that? Scratch everything about this line of tearing-your-hair-out making-yourself-madder-not-saner-by-following-it line of questioning and KILL the underlying train of faux-logic that’s driving it.
Forget everybody else, and what everybody else does.
And I sat down, and I opened my trusty notebook, and I wrote, “What’s the kind of relationship I want with my body?”
You know what I think now? I think me and my body? I think we might be going somewhere. At last. I think, starting from here — what do I want with what I have — and seeing it as a relationship, as a “Let me take care of you and you take care of me,” sort of deal — I don’t know, in my notebook I titled it caps-lock BREAKTHROUGH. and then I gave it an underline.
Before that happened this morning I was going to share with Pubski an old poem I dug up this week, 2011 sort of old, which you know what? Has stood up to time and is, surprisingly, still intellectually decent. A little morsel. It has a tone I think mk will recognize and like. Remember when we talked about a little detachment? I think I feel it here.
Happy hump day guys, on with the self-actualizing, good energy all around.