I’m sick today so have spent the day sleeping, and when awake, listening to songs that inspire me to choreograph or watching videos of dance. I have always loved aerial ribbon dancing, and would love to do it myself. In order to do this, I need to strengthen my core and seriously lose the rest of the weight. Not a big deal. Right?
Wrong. After my assault I was told that it was normal to lose the desire to be found attractive. That it was a defense mechanism. I swore I would not let that happen to me and worked out like a maniac for about a year afterwards. I was not going to be fat. A year later, I decided to actually begin to feel some of the feelings I had been suppressing and they were overwhelming. I discovered I hated myself. I did not want to be seen as attractive as I did not see myself as attractive. I wanted to make me look the way I felt. I gained weight. A lot of it. The military forced me to toe the line and I was stuck in this yo-yo of hell, constantly losing weight and then gaining it back. I felt terrible about myself, and was throwing myself into row after row of destructive habits. This was only one of many.
It got worse after I got out of the military, as I no longer had to worry about regulations concerning my fitness. I gained even more weight, it was disgusting even to me. I had no willpower though, and the more I resented myself, the more I ate. When I started dancing again, I felt even more self-conscious than ever before. Those pink tights you wear in ballet are not merciful or forgiving on anyone, so if you have fat in your thighs, you’re just screwed. There’s nowhere to hide it. And the black leotards? Oh yeah, black is a slimming color, but when you wear it in a skin-tight ensemble, it can’t help you. I was forced to deal with my body image, and I hated it. I forced myself to stay there though, because the second I walked into that dance studio, I fell in love all over again. I have literally cried, sweated, and bled in that dance space, and it has become my sanctuary. I started losing weight thanks to the hours spent in that studio, and regained self-confidence, but discovered I still had a large dose of self-loathing. All of my self-blame over the assault has manifested itself in this unhealthy fascination I have in keeping myself overweight. I will not let myself get too big, because my self-disgust kicks in and I work my ass off to lose some of that extra weight, but I will not let myself lose all of the weight. It’s as though I’ve decided this is my penance for being assaulted. What the hell is wrong with me? In this respect, I’m a complete masochist, and I’m fucking brilliant. There is no one in this world who can torment me greater than I can. I want so badly to lose the rest of this weight and regain my former technical proficiency in dance, yet I seem so determined to destroy myself, inch by inch. No more.
I am publicly denouncing my self-loathing. It is not okay. I have nothing to be ashamed of, and no reason to continue to punish myself for something I had no control over. I did not ask to be assaulted. I did not ask to be made to hate myself. I’ve always said I wanted to take back everything he stole from me, and this is just one of the many things I need to reclaim in the name of me. I’m hoping that by being this brutally honest via this medium (holy shit, a bunch of strangers could be reading this!), I’ll realize on a daily basis the truth I’m telling myself now: It is not my fault I was raped. It is not my fault I feel this way. However, I can do something about it- I can reclaim myself, and I do not need a self-defense mechanism of being overweight in order to prevent a second attack. I am allowed to be beautiful. Being beautiful is not an invitation to others to harm me.
Fuck you IK. You took enough from me that night, you can not have any more of me. I am not waiting until New Year’s to make a resolution, as I’ve always thought those were silly anyhow. I am allowing myself to be free. I resolve to allow myself to be as healthy as I can be, and in that health, find an inner freedom to be beautiful. I invite any of you reading to do the same, or just encourage me when you think of it. I’m not a fool, I know this is going to be hard. It’s always hard when we tear away the destructive habits we build up around us as a defense. I have to do this. More importantly, I finally want to do this.
Lots of love to all of you in this holiday season, and may you all find happiness and peace, even if but for a moment, during this season.