I remember one of my first journals that I had ... in it, in an amazingly small hand, neatly printed with black ballpoint ink ... I recounted my "adventures" of the years immediately prior. A lot of these had to do with body image and my "freak" status amongst my "peers," because I have long been "concerned" with appearance and had long been ostracized. At that time, both feelings were particularly strong, and each reinforced the desperation of the other.
I remember being really, really upset when I weighed in over 100 pounds for the first time, back in seventh grade. I was a twig of a kid prior to that and did a lot of dancing, so it seemed as though I would never break that three-digit "limit." After I quit dance, I kept on hoping that it wouldn't happen, though I knew it couldn't be so. My muscles got weaker, jiggle like my grandmother's appeared, and my stomach stuck out further and further by the day, it seemed. I wrote (no larger than size 10 Times New Roman) that I had to suck it in, because I was afraid of what would happen if they found out that I "wasn't really as skinny as I looked." I didn't want to break into those huge numbers, dreaded it. It would only reveal how much fatter and out of shape I was getting, how flawed my body truly was. I would have to face this over and over again in the arrow flickering towards numbers that my parents weighed in at, and in my mind.
I was deeply upset with myself when my mother revealed that she had clocked in at around eighty pounds when she graduated from high school (she's very small). It had been so long since I had weighed only eighty! Was this the beginning of my gradual descent into obesity?
But I kept these feelings a secret. For when you are "slender," people laugh at you when you are concerned about the way your body looks, and laughter never helps to ease such doubts.
Now, years later, I no longer weigh myself unless its absolutely required for something (say, doctor's appointment prior to surgery). I do not own a scale, do not seek out the one at home, do not guesstimate and try not to read magazines that emphasize a weight that I can no longer obtain (added height since those years would probably make it unhealthy). I lambast many of this type of publication in my art and writing.
I suppose it is both a new confidence and the manifestation of a frightened little girl, all at the same time. I am what I am (and I am aware of what I am, I need no arrow to tell me). Now I highlight my flaws, because they are such an intrinsic part of me. You must come to know me with my flaws and see them for what they are, not avoid their existence. When I am able to disguise my angers and insecurities and reveal only that which I am skilled at, people laud me as an exemplary individual, and I have never felt truly comfortable with such a situation. It makes me laugh, now, when I think about the goals I had when I first joined AGV ... I wished to learn about and control the darker aspects of my personality, amongst other things. But in reality, by hiding them and by trying to be the most perfect, best member I could be, I probably only increased the potency of my anger, fear, and cruelty, all waiting deep beneath the pleasantly veneered surface. Certainly it didn't help that all the while I was the shining happy one, I was sinking further into exhaustion and depression. But hiding matters so close to the core does not often help ease them.
I do not know if anyone understands or sees the strictness by which I still control my existence and standards. I am frequently convinced that others think I am a weak or uncontrolled individual, but that can be no further from the truth. Sometimes my own demands of myself are too much, and my emotions slip backwards (I suck, what was I thinking, I'm so stupid, such a dork). But the more controlled I am, the less vulnerable I am to the idiocy of those who do not know any better. Certainly it hurts all the same, but I like think I present a smaller target.
The option that college gave me to isolate myself in location, and at the same time be even more selective with who I wish to associate with, in addition to my hidden mind and soul, has been very helpful in avoiding the type of those who caused such pain in the past. It was never really possible in high school or prior, because I was with the same limited number of people from dawn until dusk, from kindergarten to graduation. They were always there, and I could not escape them. Small wonder I left all yearbooks behind when I came to school!