Body Shaming Does Not Happen in a Bubble

Abuse and body shaming negatively impacts so many of us girls and women, though boys and men as well are going through increasing body pressures and standards and bullying around their bodies, and we have to spend precious energy and healing work on healing from emotional and verbal abuse on body shaming and weight issues.

I had to work years and years in order to accept and love my body, as is. I had been taught and shamed by my sexual abuser mother to hate and loathe my body. The abuse also taught me this. I had weight issues that I struggled with for a long time, partly due to having undiagnosed and untreated low level thyroid functioning. I had gained extra weight, gained over two decades, contributed by health disabilities, a back disability, and being given a series of anti-depressants that caused more weight gain. I had body dysmorphic disorder for decades. It was exhausting to hate and loathe myself and my body.

Just think of all the other healing work I could have done on healing from my child sexual abuse and the mother daughter sexual abuse if instead I could focus on them and not have to work on them and body issues and self hatred and body hatred caused by my abusers, others, my society, and bullies.

In addition, abuse and body shaming do not happen in a bubble, they are supported by cultural norms and standards that are unrealistic and violations of autonomy and personal pursuits of integrity, body love, freedom, happiness, and respect, and they negatively impact males and females around the world.

I want to lose more weight, have lost thirty pounds and kept those off for more than four years, and it is quite an up-and-down challenge with my disability and mobility issues. I want to lose weight because it helps my back disability and my whole body; I even have less pain throughout my body when I have weighed less and that is not insignificant. But my weight issues are not based on societal or gender standards as far as I am concerned. I don’t care. But that doesn’t mean that I am not a target of those standards.

I won’t hate myself because I was taught to hate myself and I won’t hate myself because someone else believes those lies and feels good about being cruel and hateful to someone else. This type of stuff does impact women and girls and even guys, and it surely had a huge part in my mother’s body hatred and her transferring that onto my sister and I.

I want to help myself to be happier and healthier and weight and activity level are important components of that. However other people and my culture do not dictate how I do that, how I love myself, nor how I live my life.

My love for myself isn’t based on approval from my culture, other women, men, or anybody about my body, it is based on my assessment of my characteristics, my skills, my personality, my inner system’s worth, and our beliefs and actions as we move through the world. We have worked hard and long to love our disabled body and that is a hard won victory. The two men who participated in body shaming me recently had and have no impact on that. I’m sure they have done this kind of hatred towards other women. They were very comfortable doing it and seemed to enjoy it a great deal.

It hasn’t been the only incident, it even happened once last week from a seriously deranged older woman who didn’t think that I was moving fast enough to her liking when she was trying/demanding that I move out of her way at the entrance to the post office, as I was trying to lock my bike, and she insulted me and jabbed her long fingernails into my mid-back three or four times and bullied me about my body, saying insulting things about my body, in an attempt to body shame me.

There were three ways to get into the door and she had to rush up behind me and harass me. I was not blocking the front door. She was nuts, to put it in psychological terms. I seriously told her exactly what I thought of her and told her to stay away from me, and that if she touched me again I was going to call the police on her. Being disabled I move and walk slower than some, some of the time, but I was not in her way. She chose to walk up behind me and harass me.

None of that has any effect on how I live my life. But I know that it effects others and their lives and how they limit themselves and how they stay home and don’t participate in their lives as much as they would if these kind of hateful people were not out there in the world.

A friend of mine in college told me about a time that she went to a workout center, and got made fun of by two jock guys, calling her fat. She had trouble going back again. This is not rare.

It is awful that a person gets body shamed when they are being physically active. I’ve read about this happening repeatedly by fat/body acceptance bloggers. If someone really cared about people or a specific person, they would not shame them when they are being physically active, they would do it when they weren’t being active. This would just be the rational thing to do. They don’t want to helpfully motivate others, they want to engage in hate speech and bullying for their own gratification.

I was recently on my bike when two men in a car made fun of me; one yelling out the window, Lose some weight! A rational person would think and say to themselves, hey this person is being active, they are taking care of their body, but really and seriously what they do is none of my business, so I will shut up.

A rational observer would thus conclude that encouraging or even bossing around another person to be active and/or lose weight is not the goal, the goal is to attempt to body shame, judge, and be hateful, judgmental and bullying towards another person. The goal is to make someone else feel bad because the bully is feeling small and diminished and don’t want to feel their own pain.

When I was regularly going to the gym, several years ago, no one came up to me or encouraged me or even tried to smile, wave, say hi, nod, introduce themselves; not one single athletic person, male or female, out of the numerous times I went there, out of the numerous athletes there. One woman who was overweight and working out there came up to me once and introduced herself and really treated me well, giving me feedback and encouragement. What a bright shining light she was.:) I try to be that kind of light for other people.

My Mothers

I know that I’ve written about some of the healing work I have been doing for some time on the blog about My Fathers, a special group of characters from literature, film, and television. I wrote and posted about some in particular last year and still have some more that I was to post about this year.

What really shocked me last year was to discover that unconsciously there were several mothers that I had sort of adopted over many years.

Suffice it to say that I do have terror about my attachments to women and might still have them for the rest  of my life. It really got going two and a half years ago when I met my advocate person at the shelter, who I firmly and stubbornly attached to from our first meeting as my mother. Terror is the most accurate word to describe how that feels. My love and attachment for her comes from a very small self inside us. It feels very much like being a baby, and yet at the same time I try very hard to be a reasoning rational adult at the same time when interacting with her. It is hard.

I know that I have written about that before on the blog, and probably will some more as I work on this issue; attaching to real women as a mother figure after surviving mother-daughter sexual abuse.

Actually the first one was a mother that I formed an attachment to when I was still an infant, under the age of one, though at the moment of attachment I formed it with a real live human mother, but replaced that with an idealized goddess mother. I’ll write more about that on the blog in the near future. I guess I think it is a wonderful thing to have a mother goddess and really I have had one almost all of my life, so it seems absolutely normal to me It was quite a shock to discover her firmly entrenched in my heart and in the hearts of many inners, when I re-discovered her during my healing process.

I discovered this attachment some time ago, but didn’t really think that there were any other “mothers” that I could form an attachment to. But the truth was something else entirely.

These attachments, to both mothers and fathers, have helped me to heal, to attach in some way to someone that was necessary for my life to go on in the right direction when I was still very tiny, and to believe in basic human goodness when I had no outside proof, except in my own self and own heart. As much as my attachments leave me with shaking legs and a faint heart; I have to admit I am so glad that we were brave enough to form them and to have them.

I/we had formed secret attachments to secret mothers for some time, and I think it was much easier that way because I didn’t have to admit it, or feel about it, or feel any of the terror that those conscious thoughts and choices would have done. 🙂 I’ll be writing about that process more on the blog this year, it is one of my 2016 goals.

Goals:

Do more healing work and posts on characters that I have formed a father attachment with.

Do more healing work and posts on characters that I have formed a mother attachment with.

I Am Happy to Report

That I am feeling better. This is so much better than a week ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, and even five weeks ago. I finished 10 days of the two antibiotics. Yah!

Since I was done with that I thought I might start taking the thyroid medication that I have been holding off for more than a month. It is for low performing thyroid issues. One day and I feel better in a lot of ways. I tried to get the old rotten doctor to listen to me four and five years ago. He denied that I had an issue, even though my test numbers were low, though still slightly above what was considered for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.

I even tried a year ago with the replacement doctor at the new clinic, who refused to do anything but “watch it” and who also refused to order the test for h pylori without my knowledge until I had walked all the way back in the clinic building to the lab. She just wanted to fob me off onto the gastro specialist and kept suggesting that I start seeing another doctor in the clinic, since I guess she thought that my issues were not important enough to request an internist. Ha! Not going to happen. I need an internist.

The doctor from last year, after I left her a complaint message about not getting the test ordered by her, wrote me a letter saying that since I did not show damage from the test I had done more than 18 months ago, she did not see any need for the h pylori test, though I could come back and have it done, though of course with my health it is hard to travel back to the clinic, so I didn’t. I really regret that. But perhaps she would have still decided that I didn’t have a big enough problem for meds. She sucks, almost as much as the previous one.

Now I think that I have a great doctor, she is really helping me to heal, and really and seriously, that is all that I have wanted and asked for from a doctor, a correct diagnosis, treatment, and healing. And here is another great thing; since she is so great to me and such a great doctor, I am not triggered by the facts that she is female, older than me, and has some extra weight on her, all triggers from my mother and her sexually abusing and physically abusing me.

Still plenty of issues to contend with, but I feel better and hope that I will keep feeling better and better. Good and healing thoughts to you all.

Drunk is a Trigger

Drunk is a trigger for me. Has been probably all my life. It is almost all due to my father, the alcoholic and all his drunk alcoholic work buddies. I recently had a memory of one of them trying to sexually offend against me once when I was in elementary school, so that might be a big issue in that as well. Perhaps there is more there than I have been able to remember so far.

To me my father always seemed to be at work, asleep, or drunk all weekend, so there was few incidents of parenting and even less of kindness or expressions of love when I was a child.

He was often emotionally wounding and cruel to me. I never could figure that out as a child and I often wondered why he couldn’t manage to be kind and loving to me, except rarely. Perhaps more surprising was the fact that I knew how to be loving and kind and that I was always seeking it from others. I guess that says something about my heart and nothing about my parents’ hearts.

So my weekends were often one big drunk fest. My father would come home late on Friday, drunk, falling down, and screaming at people, sometimes just screaming at no one. It used to terrorize me. Saturday and Saturday night were often repeats of the same, except often with drunk friends over at the house, with Sunday being sport watching while drinking constantly.

I blame my father for a lot of the responsibility of protecting me. He married a sexual offender and and then he stayed drunk most of my childhood. My mother, being a child sexual offender, hardly cared about keeping me safe from other predators. If he hadn’t been an alcoholic, he might have been a better human being, though perhaps not. Perhaps he would have been even crueler and cared even less for me or about me. Perhaps his obliviousness and self-pity would have been even worse. Nothing guarantees that he would have chosen to be a better person and a better parent.

So I suppose you can all see why drunks would be a trigger for me. In my childhood the triggers often accompanied terror and feelings of abandonment, followed by bursting into tears that were uncontrollable, often I tried to do my crying alone. This would happen even when I was a teenager.

I’ve been very upset to find that living downtown the last couple of years means that a lot of drunks hang around, all times of the day or night, apparently, because I have been running into them a lot lately at all hours of the day or night. There are a lot of bars downtown and that seems to be a draw for drunks, but also a large number of drunk men seem to hang out downtown, some are obviously homeless and others homeless and alcoholics. Despite my avoiding them as much as possible, giving them dirty looks when they get too close or avoiding eye contact, they still seem to think it is okay to street harass me. They come up to me and start talking to me, asking for money, staring at me like they are eye humping me, or trying to insult me.

A few weeks ago I was downtown near the Target store at seven am Sunday morning. A white guy came up to me and tried to start talking to me, couldn’t walk straight or talk without slurring his words. This after my avoiding him and avoiding eye contact with him. He said, hello my dearie, hello my miss, hello my ma’am. I told him, fuck off. I had to say it four times and threaten to call the cops before he finally walked away.

So instead of walking away or avoiding me completely since I had more than adequately communicated my dislike and distain for him and his condition he stood there and wanted to know what it was about me and my ” past experiences” that would lead me to conduct myself in this manner. Rather than blaming himself and his drunk condition, and his conduct at 7 am on a Sunday and going up to a woman and talking to her like she is a vulnerable female who wants to be around a drunk he chooses to believe that her vulgar phrases are due to her and have nothing to do with him.

I told him, I’m not your dearie, I’m not your miss, I’m not your ma’am, fuck off! And then I still had to say fuck off two more times and threaten to call the cops until he walked away, pretending to be really concerned with what it was about my life that leads me to act this way.

My response to drunks who insist on inserting themselves into my life is anger, to be triggered, and a fuck off attitude. I hate men who have no boundaries and refuse to read body language. If a woman is refusing to engage with you from ten feet away and then from five feet away, she wants you to go away. If you smell and are dirty and drunk on the street, and can’t walk or talk straight, she does not want you in her life.

I realize that drunk and invasive men have a long tradition of getting away with a lot of shit downtown, but I am not that woman. It happened tonight a few hours ago. I was sitting downtown, having a snack, and minding my own business. A drunk guy was coming towards me, I looked in another direction while tracking him in my peripheral vision, he slowed and stared at me at ten feet away, he continued going slower at five feet, he got closer to me and started to talk, I ignored him and looked away, while listening to my headphones. He tried to get me to talk to him. I told him, I don’t want to talk to you, he stared at me and continued talking, I ignored him, and he moved away.

About twenty feet away he decided to come back to me to lecture me. I got out my pepper spray so that I had it handy in case I needed it. He continued to talk to me, gesturing that I pay attention, repeating over and over can you hear me, you need to listen to me. I refused to take off my headphones and told him to fuck off. I had to tell him several times.

I know that it wasn’t hugely about me, because I heard him a half block down yelling at another woman, probably demanding money, while she was sitting at an outdoor seating area of a restaurant/bar. She was screaming back at him loudly and repeatedly until he left her. When I finally left the area he was half way between me and the bar, staking out the sidewalk area and waiting to approach women.

I think that this is happening so much because women are not calling the police and these men are not facing any consequences. I don’t understand why more is not being done about this problem. I see them doing this to women day or night. I see women being nice and polite, I’ve done that as a self-defense technique myself for a long time in my life, but it is not something that I choose to do any longer. If I don’t feel safe I just get on my bike and ride away.

Of course there are police cars downtown all the time and usually more than a few other people around, no matter what day or night time it is. I still can’t figure out why someone wouldn’t leave when it is obvious the other person doesn’t want them to be around them, even if they are invasive, rude, and without boundaries. I know I would leave if someone told me to fuck off. I certainly wouldn’t wait around for someone to say it four times.

My Fathers 1

Being sexually abused by my mother really shattered my ability to trust, but I found that despite that I was able to slowly piece together a system of connectedness that allowed me to find love, acceptance, bonding, and healing elsewhere. I read about the shattering of attachment for mother-daughter sexual abuse survivors each time that I read about the subject of MDSA. I think that it must be very similar for other survivors of child sexual abuse.

I know that I have written here on the blog about my issues with bonding and attachment and especially in the ways that I have tried to find connectedness in my life and in my life and to establish more; to the world, to others, and to symbols that I find a great deal of meaning and healing from.

Some of the symbols that I find a great deal of meaning and healing from are fictional  characters that I feel connected to.

I’ve been working in the last few years to try to identify past connections that bring me meaning and healing and establishing more connections. Some connections just seemed to pass beyond my conscious awareness, even though at one time they had a lot of meaning and brought a lot of connection and healing into my life at some time.

Trying to re-discover those past connections has helped me to see myself as someone who desperately wanted and needed  connection and as someone who was incredibly brave to do so, despite how horrific my childhood existence was and how difficult it was to trust my emotions, especially love, when I was hated, scapegoated, and abused by my family of origin, who I tried to love.

I re-discovered my father Herb Hubbard when I started to re-watch the show The Mothers-in-Law. I loved him when I was a child. Herb was a husband, a father of a college daughter, and a businessman. The thing that I liked the most about him and still do, is his ability to manage his emotions, which neither of my parents did. Since my father was an active alcoholic, there was never a strong man in my life, never a good man in my life, never a calm man in my life, never a loving and good and safe man in my life. But Herb was that man in my life.

Herb was a good role model and human being to me despite the drama going on in the household, with his wife, with his neighbors who lacked boundaries and common respect, and with his college age son who decides to marry the neighbor’s daughter, Herb manages his life and positively impacts his family with love, determination, resilience, and gentleness. I like that last one the best; gentleness.

Here he is, my dad:

Herb Hubbard from the show The Mothers-in-Law

I love my dad.

Tomorrow is an Annual Trigger Day

I will be gentle with myself for the next few days.

Ghosts of Roommates Past Part 2

I moved to live with an online friend, in another state, which unsurprisingly went bad, because she proved to be a pathological liar and manipulator, lying about absolutely everything, and apparently thought she was going to get some money out of me. A concept which is hilarious to me, because she knew that I was on disability.

Bizarrely I came to believe based on evidence, that she thought I had thousands of dollars from my disability settlement squirreled away and that I was the sort of victim who would be easy to victimize, though I never implied that and I don’t think that I acted in a way that showed that I was an easy victim. They were all shocked and amazed to find that I was not an easy victim.My money was my money and none of her business. I was mind blown at the things her and her roommate, ex-girlfriend believed about me.

We had been online and phone friends over five years, though I soon came to realize only close for about a year, and that that is something I should have taken into account before making any kind of decision about her. I thought that I knew her, but I did not know that everything she ever told me was a lie.

The decrepit house that we lived in should have been condemned. They did not want to heat the house in the winter, and I had moved there in late September, something that they had not thought was an important thing to tell me, even though they knew that I was disabled and had fibromyalgia. So I had to hunker down in the bedroom or go downstairs where the computer access was to sit in the cold, being bitten by fleas.

Her ex-girlfriend accused me of being in love with my online friend and that was hilarious and outrageous. She was much younger than me, being in her early twenties, and very naive and mistaken about the world. She was unattractive to me physically, a victim, and what I thought of as a friend, no this was not someone that I would cross boundaries to take advantage of. Her ex, not surprisingly was a boundary jumper, being almost ten years older, starting out, posing, I believe, as a friend and ally.

I didn’t and still don’t believe that I would become sexual with someone that I was survivor friends with, so for me, that was an outrageous and horrific accusation. I’ve had others try to step over that line and found it horrific and immensely damaging to myself. I told her I love her, as a friend, nothing more. When I said it I realized that it was probably not true any longer, as I was assimilating all the lies that she had told me and realized that I was not a friend to her, but a potential victim to be exploited.

Another online friend told me that she would have been lucky to have me as a girlfriend, if I had wanted to do that, if I had loved her and that I had nothing to be ashamed of in the accusation. Yeah, she was right, my “friend” would have been bizarrely lucky to find me as a friend or potential date or potential girlfriend. But I was not interested in her like that. I don’t boundary jump with friends, I don’t groom future partners with friendship, unlike her previous girlfriend.

The ex told me that she was also a victim of mother-daughter sexual abuse. What she had not told me was that she was exploiting and abusing her lover, having actually physically abused her in the past, emotionally and verbally abusing her on demand, and physically assaulting other, including an assault that resulted in her having to go through anger management. It did not work.

But if either of them had told me any of the things that any normal person would have had issues with, I never would have moved there and I never would have had anything to do with them. But how many abusers tell you, hey I’m abuser, stay out of my life?

They had two dogs and three cats and the whole house was infested with fleas. I was being bitten horribly and I get a really bad reaction to bites. I really think that after seven weeks I was suffering from blood loss, I was attacked so much.

They would refuse to buy flea bombs. Finally I had to spend over $100 of my own money in trying to cope and deal with the infestation. I had to clean the filthy house, front porch, and constantly try to address issues over and over in order to get anything that I needed done. As a disabled woman I believed that a healthy bodied person should take out the trash,sweep the floor, wash and clean, etc. Yeah right.

The other roommate, the ex-girlfriend was lazy, worthless, rageful, argumentative, evil, vicious, unlearned, violent. I wasn’t even told that there relationship was on the rocks, that the one was developing a new relationship online and via phone and had done this two other times, lying, cheating, etc, and that she had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive to “my friend.” I did not know and trusted them. Boy was that a wrong thing to do.

Having to trust someone else, put up with all their shit and all their noise soon proved to me that I had to get away from having a roommate and to get my own precious living space. Unfortunately I could not afford my own place and trusted all the wrong people for several more years. I was there about seven weeks and went to live with a brother, the only person who offered to help me. None of my other siblings that I was in contact with at that time would assist me, not even with an offer to stay for a few weeks or even days.

I believe now that I should have just gotten a bus ticket to go back to my hometown and stay in a shelter. After living there for three days I knew that it was wrong of me to trust my brother. However I did not want to put myself in a position where I moved back to a town on a Friday afternoon with nowhere to stay and no one to help me, not one little bit.

I would not put myself into a position to be exploited and abused by someone like this ever again. Living alone is pleasure all the live long day by comparison. I’m glad that I have my own space now and would not give it up willingly for anything right now, except if I became very rich and could afford a bigger place of my own. I’m happy to live alone now.