Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On Being Real

I have read and seen a lot lately about shaming and being slave to or conforming to society. Many of these have in some form been inspired by Amanda Palmer.

The way I live my life is so that I can be my real self where ever and when ever I am. For me some of those things are:

Wearing my grey. So many people don't get to have any grey so I feel honoured to have mine. I am lucky to be here so why not wear it with pride. I just made the connection that the brain cancer ribbon is grey. I don't really think it has anything to do with my 'greyness' but it sounded good for a second. Not quite so long ago, my son who is well over my height, said to me that I should probably think about dying my hair to cover up the greys. We both had a giggle over that because it has been a bit of a joke with us since I had that hole drilled in my head.

There are many women who do dye their hair to cover grey or express themselves and that is fantastic for them. It is just not what I choose for myself.

Not wearing make up. I don't think I ever really did wear make up as a regular thing. I don't like the way it feels on my skin. I do on a very rare occasion wear make up. It is usually eyeliner a bit of lippy (usually just chapstick) and some mascara. If I choose to wear it that is ok. If I choose not to wear it, that too is okay. I do feel sad for the young girls who I overhear on buses (I catch a lot of buses) bemoaning their spots or forgetting to put on powder etc... If you want to wear it, wear it. If you don't don't.

Shaving. I will go for extended periods without shaving anything. Winter is a good time to not shave, keeps the leggies warm. I choose if, what, when and how I denude myself of hair. If that means I am wooly who cares? If they do care, why? I like in a house of hirsute men, perhaps I feel part of the tribe?

Dresses/Frocks. I own some. I do not often wear them. When I do it is because I want to. Mostly I don't. I find pants and shirts or some form of top and pant to fit my particular comfort. I can wear an elegant frock or wear those super comfortable pair of shorts I have had for 20+ years.

Nudity. I'm okay with that, mine or anyone else. It is a body. Bodies have different shapes sizes and textures, they are however just bodies. You have one, I have one. I am okay with it being unclothed

Shoes. Ultimately I prefer not to wear shoes. I like feeling the ground under my feet. I am tactile, I like to feel. When I do wear shoes I prefer comfortable practical shoes. I do own some heels. I have been known to wear them. I do not prefer them but when I feel the need/want they are there.

Weight. This one has been a challenge for me for the majority of my life and at some times has made me beyond unhappy, beyond depressed. I have always (in my head at least) been 'fat'. Looking through old photos, it seems my thinking was inaccurate. Girls more often that not compare themselves to their mothers and the other girls and women in their lives. My Mum was beautiful. Fact. My friends and the girls I went to school with, aside from a handful, were (in my eyes) much thinner and more attractive than I could ever hope to be. My best friend from Primary school was so very very thin and elegant. This self image of 'fatness' continued through high school, where I was again surrounded by gorgeous thin, beautifully figured girls. Post highschool I became a Mum. a very very overweight Mum. Looking back at those photos I was indeed large. I lost some as my life changed and my body changed. At the tender age of 30(ish) I was singing with a band. We had a great time and all was well with the world. My self confidence was a bit shakey but being front and center stage doesn't really give you more choice than to suck it up. After one of our first gigs, I was walking back to our room in the dark when I overheard a conversation. It went something like this.

"Did you see that woman singing?"
"She was huge. I mean she could sing but erg"
"If I was that fat I would be ashamed to get up there. She should lose weight"

That brief snippet of conversation had an amazing impact on me. My already shattered self esteem was ground to dust. I became consumed by the need to lose weight. I tried every diet I could get my hands on. I became so obsessed that I was weighing and recording my weight up to 5 times a day. I would find myself thinking things like
"If I don't eat for the next two or three days and then eat on the fourth, that would be okay. Sure fire way to lose weight and quickly"
Jam on the breaks right there. A friend recognised what was going on and called me on it. I went off to see my GP and we worked on things from there.
This all started after I was diagnosed with my brain tumour. At one point I had lost a whopping 50Kgs. It was not at all intentional, in fact I really probably should have been putting on weight. I was down to about 70kg and it was uncomfortable. I had made it down to a size 10. I had never been a size 10 in my life. Later I put on weight. I lost some more before surgery. Put on some more that first year of healing. Lost some when doing 5km fun runs. Put some on when Dad died. Put on more after a year of being on steriods and not really able to exercise. My clothes are bigger, I'm not very comfortable and it is starting to impact on my health. I am going to make a gentle but concerted effort to lose weight. It isn't for society, it isn't for some twisted image of myself. It is for me. Meanwhile, it is what it is.

Scars. I have them. we all do in some shape or form. I am happy to be open and honest about mine. You can do or not do what you choose.

Me. I am who I am. I am my real authentic self, love it or leave it.

Where does it go from here?
I am who I am, I will continue to be who I am and I will not accept judgement. I will not cast out judgement either.

Alternately, be nice to each other at the very least.

I see you. You are real. \|/