I jotted these words down yesterday:
“My sore right knee makes me want to cry because it keeps me from exercise and yoga as I’d like to do it. My legs and belly feel flappy.”
I would have erased it after I wrote it, except it was written in ink. I thought about crossing it out, feeling like I betrayed some unwritten rule of society where the “skinny folk” aren’t allowed to say they feel flappy. I am still, a day later, a little surprised by this inner-editor that is always vying to make her debut. She tells me, “You can’t be this, feel this, act in this way because there is an undercurrent of expectations you have been asked to uphold.”
Other women have made it known that we are on a team, and that team requires devotion and loyalty. The “skinny folk” better pipe down with their “I’m fat” routine. Also, any level of body displeasure might as well be a grandiose confession of an eating disorder or low self-esteem, or self-hatred.
Whatever happened to a simple, "I'm just not comfortable in my skin today." Is there a safe place to say that anymore? Has there ever been?
Whether any of us are "fat" or not is not an issue I care to spend any time on. But I am lingering over this scribbled note of mine from yesterday because I can’t help wondering how often I don’t let myself feel what I do in fact feel because, “thou shalt not.”
Yesterday I laid down in my bed with a handful of Cadbury mini eggs and set my alarm for a 15 minute cat-nap. As I gave my body permission to let go I felt a strong internal and familiar Mad voice rising up within me. “I am going to write about this. I am going to write about this, and you can’t stop me. And I don’t mean that in a "nasty, I have power over you" way. I mean it in a "I’m going to show you that this is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about" way. This is nothing to hide your head about. There is no reason to reach for a pen to scribble out the evidence. The only way I get to be fully Mad me is if you, Mandy, stop thinking there is one more thing to hide in order to protect me. I’m outing you, because I know that’s what you really want. To be known, loved, witnessed in all your wonder, albeit sometimes painful. You are a delight, and I don’t care who knows it.”
I am terrified when the Mad voice speaks up because she doesn’t care about reputation or protocol or my role on “team women.” She also doesn't care about blending in. She only cares about me, and me fully exposed because she sees me all as beautiful. I love that about her. I love that about me.
I am shy, and she makes me blush.
I am naked, and she calls attention to it.
I feel flappy, and she swoons and says, "What else? Tell me how else you feel!"
I am scared, and she says that’s enough to go on.
She is my downfall and my healing.
“There is so much pain, and I don’t know how to not notice it.”
- Perks of Being a Wallflower