Archive for the Body Image Category

And Then I Survived My Vacation And Lived To Whinge About Things

Posted in Body Image on August 13, 2012 by sanguinesnow

It’s over!  It started well, and ended well and those bookends were examples of How To Have A Vacation That Does Not Kill You.  If I focus my next one on ONLY including heartfelt conversations over drinks, sex, and working (working vacations, or “Worliday” as the BBC’s Lucy Kellaway would have it, are a great idea as far as I’m concerned.  YMMV, depending on what counts as “work”.)  and leave out all the laying about, excessive sleep, and poor scheduling I’ll be much better off.  I know those last three things are pretty well what define vacation for some people.  I also know that some people watch the Twilight movies on purpose and under no coercion whatsoever.  There’s room for endless variety in this world, you know.

Now on to the whingeing!  I have a few small things that add up to one great big ongoing THING, which I need to get out.  A couple of things were said to me which I didn’t respond to as well as I’d have liked.  L’esprit de l’escalier, you know – if it ever ends up in the DSM, I have a chronic case.

Back when I was married last, I was pretty unhappy.  I sat around and ate a lot of junk.  I put on about 40 pounds.  Once I was out, I started exercising and eating well and it all came right back off.  During this recent trip, I was staying over with some friends who hadn’t seen me in a while.  The male half looked at me and asked if I’d lost weight, then when I said I had he said, “Oh, you were just starting to look healthy.”  What I should have said was that I am much healthier now by pretty much any measure (strength, flexibility, endurance) and besides that, feel much better.  But I didn’t.

Next up is Joe, who I don’t see much at all and when I do we tend to “reconnect” in ways that involve not wearing clothing.  At one point, fully intending it as a compliment, he told me that if I ever got breast implants he’d be angry with me for ruining my currently-perfect set.  I said something diplomatic, along the lines of, I’d never even consider it since I very much love my body as it is.  I know it was meant as a compliment, and I also know that (along with possibly every heterosexual man ever) Joe is generally not very good at being eloquent when there is a naked woman right in front of him who is about to do filthy things with him.  But it did match up to a common theme.  I’ll call an intermission here and let you figure it out . . . .

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Did you get it?  If you guessed “Sanguine’s body is none of your damn business, nor is any other woman’s and also if you feel the need to add commentary you are revealing massive cultural conditioning”, you guessed right!

What is this about conditioning?  Two things: In the first case, looks are being put above actual health.  I might “look healthier” to some people if I were bigger, but that seems to come straight out of the backlash against thin women.  I know women even thinner than me who are very healthy.  I also know women much larger than me who are very healthy.  We’re all built differently, but very few of those builds are culturally acceptable.  Mine is to an extent, but the body policing and open hostility is part of the territory.  It’s a mixed bag, and it doesn’t even matter since commenting on someone being “too thin” is really just as bad as commenting on someone being “too fat”.  But guess which one is more acceptable.

Second case is a little different.  As I noted, this was meant as a compliment, which is why I didn’t lay out this whole argument I’m about to type.  The culture bullshit is in the idea that I would ever get implants.  It ties into another issue I have with whoever the hell designs bras.  I am very small-breasted.  That tends to go along with having very little body fat, and possibly a few other things I suspect about my hormone levels.  Point is, I really, really love my breasts but they are not “standard-issue sexy”.  Assuming that I am so blindly indoctrinated into “how you as a woman should look” that I would have invasive surgery that carries several risks and is also expensive and then has to be redone every decade or so just to “fix” a body I adore is kind of insulting.  I have had a couple of boyfriends ask if I’d consider it.  They are all ex-boyfriends.  And the thing with bras?  This is my issue: I would like a pretty, feminine bra that flatters my figure.  I do not want to strap a couple of sofa cushions to my chest.  Finding bras in my size that are not padded all to hell is difficult to say the least, probably because most people who design them assume anyone as small as me is deeply unhappy about it and will strap on those damn cushions until they can afford surgery.  Better bra selection, please!  When I do find a good one I also like to find excuses to prance about in it publicly, which is really great free advertising!  (Lingerie designers can contact me in the comments for measurements and the address merchandise should be sent to.  I have a couple of parties and photoshoots coming up.)

The obvious question is, why am I on another whinge-fest when I could be working on fiction or polishing up one of my Serious And Informative essays I’ve got in the works?  Well, I did throw in a bit of observation on Our Nasty Culture And Why I Do Not Like Parts Of It (only a bit, but still . . . ).  Thing is, it’s not just about these small examples – this sort of offhand thing comes up all the time for me – it’s about the fact that that long, aimless vacation was also meant to give me time to sort out all the weird uncomfortable things Sir and I have run into lately so I could have a productive discussion with Him once I was home.  Part of that discussion is about physical issues that are going on.

Part of me is saying “NOOOOOO!  Never write about things before they’re sorted out among the parties involved!  You already learned that!” But the bigger part is saying, “I’m sick of scribbling away in my personal journal and also I’m very frustrated that the entire reason I have to put discussions on hold indefinitely is scheduling problems – or is it?  Maybe these discussions are just never going to happen?  Never mind, then, carry on.”

I’ve touched on this before here, but finally got to the point where I am both comfortable enough and annoyed enough that I can write a full account.  Yes, that’s a contradiction, but not really.  The comfort part is being able to step back and look at things and realising that whatever the actual problem is I do not have to feel bad about my body.  Having no contact for that long made me say “What if none of this ever gets better?  Would you still love yourself?” And I said, “Hell Yeah!”  The annoyance is mainly in the waiting.  I’ve held off on a lot of things I want to talk about because He has things that MUST be written and sent to me before we get down to it.  I can respect that, since I often need time to collect my thoughts (hence the sporadic posting here).  But I can respect it and still be annoyed.

There’s a lot going on here.  I have a gut feeling that a lot of it comes from not being His preferred physical type.  Maybe all of it.  I’m able to accept that, because it’s not as if I can ONLY enjoy my one, perfect physical type – it’s more to do with the actual person, and I think we’re matched in that regard.  So I can shrug that off and move on.  A lot of the individual issues probably do relate to it, though.  They add up to something that looks a lot like lack of respect.  That is what’s not cool.  I hate it when little things add up like that, because it means writing about it gets into rambling, but it’s always a bunch of little things.

All of these are small: For one, I described the Other Girlfriend (remember those posts?  I wish I didn’t!) in a way that He thought was wrong – I didn’t mean it as an insult, but my word choice (to be clear, I referred to her as being more “fleshy” than me) was taken as being super-offensive and I did indeed get called on it right away.  I honestly meant it in nothing but a literal sense (more flesh?  Made sense to me at the time.) but intentions don’t matter here.  Meanwhile, OG actually straight-up insulted my body and never got called on it.  See how this ties in?  It’s okay to insult thin women, but NEVER, EVER suggest that someone is not thin, even if it’s just stating the facts.  Thanks, misogynist culture that creeps into “progressive” viewpoints!

And then there’s the ongoing problem of my just plain not being physically able to do a lot of things (not really a lot – just a handful of things that come up OVER and OVER).  I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before here, but my “reassurance” was that that is one of the great things about polyamory – someone else can, so I need not worry!  Basically, that is awesome.  No, I mean it – there are needs that one partner can’t fulfill, so another one can step in and everyone’s happy.  It’s a great idea in theory, but in practice if the same things are still brought up I think it’s totally reasonable to snap and yell, “Leave me the hell alone and go fuck someone else (please)!”  Which I have yet to do in real life, but may one day.

And as a final note to anyone in any sort of sexual relationship, I have a Public Service Announcement.  If you really like ladies with a bit more meat on them and then find yourself with a thin one, please remember that our bodies are different.  Bones are closer to the surface, and nerves tend to be more densely packed.  I’ve been going back and forth on this one, because in a strictly BDSM context I’m aware that most of these other ladies Sir likes also describe themselves as masochists or pain sluts.  I am not either, but I do tend to enjoy lots of things that most people would consider painful.  Let’s say a true masochist is a 6 and someone who does not care for any “painful” activities is a 1.  I’m about a 3.  So for a long time I’ve just chalked it up to different tastes.  But then there’s a lot of “Watch out for my ribs/spine/abdominal organs!” so I’m starting to suspect it’s partly to do with His being unfamiliar with my body type and forgetting that that bone has no padding over it.  Maybe it’s half and half.

So this is all about physical things.  Things I deal with when I’m balancing my hard-won love of my own body with other people’s (and society’s) opinion of it.  There’s a lot of other things going on with Sir that I absolutely am not ready to write about here, but the physical part is important.  It’s important because I have to live in my body no matter what, and having guests over is very often going to involve them saying “nice place, but it could do with a little remodeling”.  Hearing it from someone who is supposedly sensitive to all the issues women face is a bit of a joke, really.  Just not that funny.