Self-Image

September 1st, 2016

I look at myself, and what do I see? Scar tissue, stretch marks, and scratches. A bent arm. A swollen wrist. Hair that just won’t act “professional.” Thighs that won’t fit into my old slacks and jeans. A small, but still annoying, wheat belly. Pasty, pale skin. Dark circles under my eyes. A wonky jaw. Callused feet.

I look at myself through another’s eyes, and what do I see? A sly smirk, and smiling eyes. Wavy, soft hair. A strong body, and soul. Arms that can carry a load. Legs that can stand all day, and still run around at night. Soft skin, and smooth curves.

Show me what you see? Tell me I am beautiful? Make me believe?

It isn’t everyday that I have trouble with my self-image, but it is many days. In high school and much of college, I wore baggy t-shirts, and sweatshirts. My body was a thing to hide. As I got older, and married, then into dating again, I wore tighter shirts, and skimpier clothes at clubs and parties. Learning to be more confident in my body.

Now, I’ve reached the point that many of my clothes are growing tighter, or not fitting at all. My last doctor visit showed my weight higher than I ever remember it being. I don’t feel bigger, but I don’t feel confident, either.

And my independent spirit rebels – I don’t need someone else to tell me I’m attractive. But some days, I do. I’m not asexual, I want to be attractive to others, not myself. And I know I am, there is evidence, even sober evidence. It’s just that, like many of us, it is sometimes hard to believe.

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Tell Your Children They Are Beautiful

February 28th, 2013

Because you were frustrated with your diet
and I was 15 pounds heavier than you wanted to be
while you were another 50 beyond that
And it was a bad day
You told me I was fat
and I believed you.

Because no one had ever told me anything different
I believed you so hard
that years later
I would scoff at men who called me beautiful
I would roll my eyes and stick out my tongue
because I thought they were mocking me
I was not beautiful.

How could I be
You told me I was fat.

I cried the day I remembered this
Asked by one of those wonderful men
Who had told me I was ugly?

It was you, Mom
How could you
I am thirty-two years old
and you’ve still never told me
I am beautiful.

Because we don’t do that
in our family
it is vain to talk of beauty
I’m smart, isn’t that enough?

But I AM beautiful
And not just because those men have told me so
And shown me so

I am Beautiful
because I don’t believe you anymore
I know I am beautiful
Inside and out
because beauty isn’t about what other people think
It’s about how I feel about myself

I Am Beautiful
and I hope you know that
You are, Too.

 

(Reposted from FetLife)

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Emotional Blackmail

December 10th, 2011

Finally move to my new webhosting company so I can post this week’s post. 🙂

I read Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward this week, and while there is a lot to it, and a lot that does not apply to my own situation. I found myself realizing that while I don’t let others blackmail me, I may be doing it for them. I have hot buttons from my past, that I use against myself to control my current behavior. I scare myself into behaving certain ways, even though I don’t want to. So here they are, and my attempts to disarm them.

Fear of anger or raised voices. There was hardly ever any yelling in my house as a child. Occasionally, my brother or I got yelled at, but mostly when we were too young to remember or doing something dangerous. But there was a single instance where my father yelled at my mother, called her a bad name, and she left the house. I heard the yelling, I still don’t know what it was about, and I saw her drive away. She came back, I don’t remember how long it took, but that set a hot button in my developing mind. Yelling and anger equals a loved one leaving. I struggle with that one, I fear raising anger, I fear conflict. I have become a peacemaker, which is not bad, unless it is at the expense of my own needs or wants. I blackmail myself – don’t do that, it’ll make them angry. You don’t want to see them angry. What if you make them so angry they just leave? Which is unfair to the other person, I’m not giving them a chance – to react to what I want, or to show that it doesn’t make them angry. And unfair to myself – I am not being true to who I am.

Emotional responsibility. I know I’ve talked about this before. Especially in the Ethical Slut posts. But I find it hard to not feel responsible when my partners are sad/upset/depressed. Or at least responsible for making them feel better, or to avoid causing those feelings. Obviously, none of us wants to upset our partners, but I can also take this too far, into blackmail. Don’t say that, you’ll only upset him. It’s not really that important, you don’t want to make him feel bad. Look at how miserable he is, how could you do that? But I am not the gauge of what will make a person sad. I am not responsible for how they react and deal with things. I should not avoid things because they’re uncomfortable to talk about. It only leads to deception and bottling, which is way worse than a few tears before things get worked out. I can offer to help, and keep talking through things. But I should not try to stop someone else feeling their own emotions and reactions.

Self worth. I’ve often struggled with replacement fears since becoming poly. I’ve always struggled with my self image and self esteem. Those things have been growing by leaps and bounds since I found a community here that loves and supports me for who I am. But there’s a hot button left over from college and my second boyfriend. I tried to date him a second time(or was it a third, I had an odd dating record), late in my sophomore year. He told me, he didn’t need the ego boost that dating me gave him anymore. He was popular now. What a strange thing to say, and even odder still to internalize. What it wrote in my head was, I’m only needed by guys who aren’t confident or popular, I’m just an ego boost until someone better comes along. This has played a major role in my replacement fears – worrying the new girl is better than me, so I won’t be needed anymore. It took a much stronger sense of self, this last time, to not go there. I am finally fully confident in my worth, and did not feel that I even Could be replaced.

 

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