CW: sexual assault
Here’s an eye-opener: A while ago I mentioned to a guy friend that I was working on feeling comfortable in my body. He replied, “What? YOU??” The implication here being that the only way I could possibly not feel comfortable in my body is if I feel my body is unattractive, and I couldn’t possibly feel my body is unattractive.
Even if I feel my body is attractive, that doesn’t mean I feel comfortable in it. The sensations I feel in my body do not correlate to its appearance. Part of the reason my body is attractive is because I dissociated myself from it in order to view it critically/objectively and render it attractive. The sensations my body has endured over time have NOTHING to do with its appearance – unless you wanna argue that its appearance actually INVITED assault, and the more accurate thing would be to say that its appearance gained me entrée to circles where there were a lot of pushy/entitled men, but who’s counting.
The point is, WOW, men really think that just because THEY like my body I must like my body too, and that liking it relates entirely to how it looks, not how it feels. Which leads to me ask, hey men, do you even know what it means to have a body? Do you have any idea how much your body keeps track of everything that happens to it? Do you even know what a body is for? Here I am trying to shed my body’s coping mechanisms to years’ worth of trauma and yall guys just think I’m unhappy with my looks? Wow.
Ok the truth is a guy who assaulted me in NY in 2010 just fb invited me to his LA show cuz apparently he doesn’t know what he did was wrong, and I’m having some feelings about that today. Last time I tried to confront him about it, also in 2010, his reply was “Well now I feel like you’ve just gone and made it all awkward.” So I don’t want to deal with saying “You stuck your finger in me without my consent at The Skinny in 2010 pls don’t send me fb invites” because the dude clearly doesn’t know that he has a problem. So that’s coming up for me, which is making me feel uncomfortable in my body.
I would like to separate the idea of body IMAGE problems with body COMFORT problems – although they can certainly overlap, my point is that you can have a serious problem feeling comfortable in your body even if you are perfectly happy with its image. A body can experience the sensations of reliving trauma, and can also, over time, completely desensitize itself from feeling those sensations, which produces an overall numbness that is designed to keep pain at bay but which isn’t exactly pleasant either. So getting comfortable in one’s body can be the process of shedding the coating of numbness in order to be able to feel again WHILE also healing and releasing the relived experiences of the original traumas, in order to make room for the experience of actual comfort. And as a process, it’s grueling.
I want to also point out how meta this post is. I didn’t realize til halfway through writing it that the reason I was feeling so mad all of a sudden and needed to write a rant about why I might not feel comfortable in my body was because I got triggered this morning by the Facebook invitation from my former assailant. That’s what I mean when I say I’m getting comfortable in my body, ok? I am trying to get to where a Fb invite doesn’t make me relive assault and need to interrupt my day to take to social media in order to process it out. That’s what this work means. It means I can wake up, see something, and not know why I feel awful for hours until I literally sit down and process it by writing about it. That’s the point. That’s the process I’m going through. That’s why I feel so awful and it’s so hard.
And all these dudes out here think I’m having trouble feeling comfortable in my body because I’m worried I’m not hot enough for them.