TRIGGER WARNING: Body image. With a twist.
I feel like I’ve been inflated. If I get any larger, I may collapse in on myself and form a neutron star — possibly even a black hole.
My pain psychologist isn’t worried. She thinks there’s nothing wrong with “a little comfort weight”, especially as I’ve been making such progress in her area. Of course, she has a slender elfin figure herself.
This isn’t the usual rant about weight and health, or the girly American whining about fat. This is about living from the inside out, and what happens when my physical vehicle takes up a whole lane.
Nursing has a diagnosis called, “Body Image Disturbance.” Take a look at that phrase for a minute. It’s very telling.
Our physical interface with the world; the medium we use to communicate with others; the first sensory impression we get of our surroundings; the complex organism that gets us from one place to another; the thing that gives others their first sense of who or what we are.
Our mental framework, or paradigm; the belief or understanding we have about our presence or effect in the world; the way others tend to think of us; the way we think they think of us.
Something awry — probably disturbingly so. Not good.
Do we need to address the usual social issues? Yes, skinny people get treated better, all across the board; fat people are far more likely to get abused and overlooked, and not just for sex — for everything. Lots of people have made lots of money writing lots of books about that, so read them if you’re confused.
Let’s move on.
I’m in a different sensory and physical world from what I’m used to, and it’s a really strange one. The experience of physical life from this different shape is, yes, disturbing.
My feet are pressing so hard against the ground that my shoes fit differently. When I carry something, it pushes my weight over the tolerable limit and threatens to bring the CRPS in my feet back to life — and I had just about gotten rid of the pain symptoms there. The circulatory symptoms are another matter — zombie-foot is a regular event.
My cat floats above me by quite a few inches, when he should be lying more or less on my abdominal muscles plus a blanket of padding. It’s weird to have to reach so far up from my spine to pet him — my shoulder rotates much further in my cuff than I’d expect. I’m getting better at feeling my joints, and this is not exactly a positive feedback loop.
My upper arms keep catching against my sides. This is rather disorienting, since I’m improving my sense of my body in space and usually, when my arm catches on something, it means I need to increase the space between me and foreign object. There’s no foreign object. It’s just more of me. Weird.
I had a sway in my lower back which I managed to straighten out awhile ago. Better spinal posture means less pain overall. So now I have a substantial, unstable weight hanging in front of my spine, which means I have to work my abdominal muscles really hard to pull it closer to my center of gravity so I can just stay in balance.
My abs are killing me. If I don’t use them, my lower back hurts me worse, so those abs are constantly on duty.
I give them a break and relax them when I sit down — and it’s like being on top of a balloon that inflates, as my stomach takes over the lower horizon.
I poke it curiously, wondering how far down I have to go to find the original outline. I give up at the second knuckle. Too discouraging.
When I sit in my car, my right hip brushes against the driver’s armrest. First thought: I’m over too far to the right; my hip shouldn’t be near that. Wrong. I’m dead center. It’s my hip that has travelled far.
But there is an up-side. When I fold my hands together, I have a perfect armrest. Soooo comfortable. It’s like it was made for me!
And the stares I used to get — or rather, that my endocrine-disrupted DDD cups used to get? Gone. No wolf-whistles or dribble on the sidewalk from creepy slimebuckets who seem to think I should be delighted at their lack of self-command. Nobody’s goosed me or grabbed a feel in ages!
It’s very peaceful. Makes it a lot easier to feel at home in my own skin, not to be bracing for the next random invasion of privacy.
I’m no longer constantly holding a sharp elbow at the ready, to fend off some suddenly-clumsy dude who goggles briefly, with a word-balloon appearing above his head that says “are those real?”, then says “oops” and bumps into my pneumatic (and sensitive) form as if by mistake. I got so freakin’ tired of that!
Perhaps a leather vest with spikes all around…
This, incidentally, is why so many women feel comforted wearing a burka. It makes the wearer more sexually invisible and insulates her from much of this random predatory crap.
My fleshly burka. Take that, right-wing-nuts — of any religion. You don’t even WANT to control this.
And, in a huge relief to my CRPS-riddled body, nobody wants to slam into it now, either. Yesssss!
I’ve got to get that vest. I can’t, and don’t want to, keep the fleshly burka, but I have to find a way to manage the body-slams. Never again.
As for food… Here’s what I’ve learned for the current incarnation of CRPS endocrine/digestive ballyhoo:
– No grains of any kind. No lentils or beans.
– No dairy, except small amounts of hard cheese — the protein sufficiently altered that I can handle it in small doses.
– No sugar at all, but more unrefined stevia.
– I’ll have to get kefir “grains” and make my own water-kefir. I have some ideas for that.
I still have most of the world of nontoxic produce, nuts, and meat from healthy animals to sit down to. There are worse things… It isn’t cheap, but I’m learning where to shop. And it sure tastes good.
P.S. You want what?? Measurements, weight, photographs? They miss the point. I’m not looking at me, I’m looking from me.
I’m not comparing myself to anyone or anything. This is simply the view from inside. Hope it’s worth a laugh or two 🙂