Tag Archives: self image

Snarling #12wbt: fertility and self image


I’ve been struggling so much to love my body on a fundamental, deeply emotional level in the last six months.

As many folks know, my husband and I are trying to have a baby. And we got pregnant easily last October; ridiculously easily. Within a few weeks of trying. We were both excited/terrified to be parents and spent a solid two months prepping and planning for our little jellybean to arrive (who from the start we named Elliot.)

And then, as easily as they came to us, bub was gone. We lost our little Jelliot bean in early December. It was my second loss, and my husband’s first – I lost my first baby, August, in February 2009.

Since then I’ve been incredibly angry at my body. Deep down, undeniably, bone achingly angry. I feel broken, and terribly incapable.

And now, undergoing fertility testing, my body has just become a site of emotional and physical trauma. It feels like all it gives me is pain, and heartbreak. I have felt, more than once, that I’d replace it with a new one if I could.

So doing the 12 week body transformation is about way more than just eating and moving for me. It’s about starting to get to know my body again, to try and get pleasure and health back. To forgive it, to enjoy it, and to start quarrying these massive stones of anger out, so that something beautiful can flow in.

Wish me luck! 

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That liminal feeling: the grey of a bad day.


 

Metaphor: if I tapped a vein and bled into a cup, it’d be mostly chemicals and strategies and positive self talk. Questions, prescriptions: and so…how does that make you feel?

The blood would clatter down for glass, my labour tumbling and turning about in a petite jolie danse. And all you would hear is the work that pulses in me; continual, the thrash of arms to stay afloat.

Much of me beats unaware of the heaviness of that but sometimes it feels smacking and pinning – a soaked sheet laid down across shoulder blades, the work as buckling of my knees as the sickness itself.

A grey day feels even more like so much gravity, because it is normal-people mundane. Ordinary fuckin’ people, as they say. Stress, hormones, over-tiredness intertwine like oleander in my guts – rankling, and then I’m down for the count a lot harder than a non-crazy.

I think part of that is because I can’t yet distinguish the finite difference between the start of an episode and just a few bad days. Am I running into a field of dying corn, or am I strolling idly through a courtyard of greying irises who need only a little water? The secondary anxiety of managing this liminal pause is heady.

It is times like these that I retreat, I shrink, like an unsure startled hen. My self confidence is knocked clean away and though I continue to bubble, emote and attach healthily, inside is a rash of dark chatter. I think jealously, hatefully, I seethe and punch out at those close to me. I keep it behind the eyes but for a few days of worry and pitched-down esteem for self and others, I am a secret monster. Comfort me/don’t/comfort me/fuck off/comfort me/you disgust me/help. It’s adolescence rebooted.

A struggle for compassion and positivity over bitterness and self-indulgent vanities is at the core of my ambitions for inhabiting my social and emotional space. So many times I hear myself aloud denouncing my own positions, patting down vitriol and cleaning these insides as I go. I wish I could walk into the river and wash it all clean like the most naive of believers – but of course, I can’t.

I just hope each time that the vacancy of my stare, the burnt-down match I feel I am in these days, passes quickly. I like it, my Susy Sunshine mentality. I like her, when she tries her best to care for you and bring kindness and silliness and a share of her arms and kisses and cooking.

I know I can’t reasonably expect to be her all the time, because even ordinary fuckin’ people curl up and kick out some days. I just have to throw a chain to next week, when the curdling goes, and stop trembling at the thought of an episode – pull myself hard across the ravine of speculation.

Today I stand in the breach, though. Let me throw some sun and a good book at it and see out the efficiency of that.

From what I’m told, that works for ordinary fuckin’ people. I shall moonlight in their hopes.

 


Flutterby femme.


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I seem to have become a femme in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. With short hair and body hair and no makeup. Hikers and no heels.

I can still look like the stereotypical femme and sometimes I even enjoy it. Maybe once a month I throw on a dress. Often I do, but resort to jeans before I leave the house in frustration at the impracticality of the thing. The discomfort.

But I traded handbag for backpack about a year ago, and yeah I’m still femme – but I don’t think I’d enjoy going back to catching the bus because I can’t walk to the markets in my heels.

I like mud and sweat and wearing the same dirty t shirt for days. I like feeling very capable in this skin, and I personally feel more able when I’m low fuss. I like being about wrangling mountains and children and baking. I am not saying being a lipstick wearing femme stops you from doing these things, but for me, it isn’t comfortable doing both.

I’m cool with it. My identity lives in my heart, not on my skin. I’m just manifesting it in a different way. I don’t think I will ever be read as femme as easily, nor as butch or a boi. I understand that how we appear influences how we are socially digested.

In a queer culture where the need to be read, to have a physical codification system that marks you out for easier connection, for pride and presence, I am a little amorphous. But for myself, I’m perfectly at peace being this way. I get shit done better in hikers than in heels. There, I said it. Right now my premium is placed on efficiency, and while I’m sure I could learn to change a tyre in platforms and a fifties vintage gown, I’m not up for it right now and don’t see the point. Power to you if you can. That’s cool. 🙂

Maybe next year I’ll take up skirts again full time. Use hairspray. Wear fake lashes. Maybe, maybe, maybe not. I’m ok with flirting with identity markers, and very rarely inhabiting anything. Right now it’s all for effect, an occasional piece of theatre.

Fluttery butterfly femmes don’t land on the same branch forever.


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