I will glorify the shit out of my body.
I dont know if I ever got used to men discovering my body before I had. I remember it always made me.feel uncomfortable to be stared at. Kinda like when prey gets a bit jumpy around a predator that took that second glance it’s way.
I remember being told I shouldn’t wear dresses if I didn’t want to be stared at or toouched. It was unsafe for me to wear anything that could be ‘misconstrued’ as the begging of boys bodies to invade mine, a skirt, anything showing any kind of cleavage or curves, a dress…
So, I began to cover up. I felt unsafe in dresses and skirts. Kindergarten a boy shoved his hand up my skirt and was working his way into my underwear as I stood in the stool at the water fountain, bent over, drinking water. I kicked him in his crotch and was reprimanded. The school threatened to suspend me as violence was not tolerated.
In middle school a boy lay on the floor of a teen club looking under my dress while I danced with my girlfriends. I had learned by then to laugh it off and act as normal as possible so as not to make a scene, so as not to make anyone else uncomfortable, my face turning blood red as shame and embarrassment coated my organs, petrifying my stomach, turning it into a heavy heavy boulder on it’s way down hill.
In high school boys broke my heart time and time again, because I refused to give my virginity, but Angel would fuck them on the washer. They stared when I wore dresses, and walked three stairs below me to grab at my rear end, betting loudly amongst themselves which one of them would be bold enough pull my dress all of the way up.
By the time I was 16, I had stopped wearing anything I deemed accessible at all. I wore tshirts and jeans, spring, summer, fall, and winter. The relationships I had with men would prove to be difficult in regard to my fashion choices due to the fact that I refused to dress in a feminine way.
My partners claimed to like super feminine women. Women that wore sun dresses, heels, tight fitting this, and low cut that. Sadly. I could not articulate, even to myself, why dresses and skirts made me so uncomfortable, until it dawned on me in my early 30s.
I had taken into myself the shame guilt, and embarrassment, of having been violated by person, after person, after person…
I felt unsafe and it made fear, and shame, and guilt, and all of those deep muddy feelings easier to keep swallowed if I just told everyone that I wasn’t feminine.
I had lied so long that I actually believed myself, when I said aloud, I’m not built for dresses and skirts. Look at me, I look ridiculous, and I feel ridiculous, as I looked in the mirror, on the rare occasion a partner guilted me into trying on a dress for them in the store.
Truth is, I felt unsafe.
Truth is, I felt fear.
Truth is, I felt exposed; and the truth is, exposed was vulnerability, and vulnerability gets you assaulted.
So, I covered it all up and hid it away, did my best to not make eye contact with people, hugged myself and made myself small in crowds, ate my feelings, got fat, became depressed, got fatter, and pretty soon the extra weight becomes an added layer of protection.
It becomes security because no one likes a fat woman.
No one wants to fuck or rape a fat woman.
I began to hate myself, so I ate more. I’d get a divorce and drop a husband and fifty pounds, feel on top of the world for a while, super motivated and then realize my metabolism is shit and the likelyhood of me tricking myself into dropping fifty pounds is low.
It took me well into my thirties to honestly embrace my body. In my twenties, fat or not, I stripped my clothes off for many men and women without a care in the world.
I was reckless and bold and that appealed to many. I didnt realize how powerful that was and why that was so attractive until I unearthed the bones of my traumas, dusted them off, assessed them, and pieced together my fragmented history with a much wider, loving perspective.
If you had asked me in my twenties did I glorify the shit out of my body, I would have said yes. But, that would have been a ready-made a lie that even I wouldnt have realized I was telling.
I objectified my body in my twenties.
Now, I am approaching 40, and honestly peel my clothes off for a more exclusive ppanel. I know the lies I have lived and consciously made the choice to step into the ick that was my delusion.
I step out with forgiveness, tenderness, self love rather than self loathing, and an authenticity that expands and blows my mind consistently, year after year.
Susan M. Conway
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