I’m ok, thank you. I’m fine. Bit tired, maybe. But ok.
But I’m not. Not ok. And I don’t know how to explain it. It could be my meds, the weather, stress…or brainweasels and shitgoblins!
As I write this, I’m sat in the dark eating my other half’s Toblerone. I’ve got a sugar-induced headache and my eyes are straining because I’m typing on my phone in the dark like a numpty…and I’m not ok.
What I really want is a Fairy Godperson (I don’t mind their gender as long as they have a shit load of magic available) to come and give me my Cinderella moment: the makeover, the one night of fantasy, the chance to step away from everything, however briefly, and be someone else. Anyone else. Preferably someone who’s not regretting a Toblerone overdose!
Failing that, maybe what I need is a good dose of leeches and a lie-down in a quiet, dark room…
Anyway, that’s enough self-pity: time for me to pull my metaphorical socks up and go make the spawns their dinner.
We don’t have a full-length mirror at home…mostly because a) my youngest is a total Narcissus and would be frozen forever, and b) I hate looking at my body because…
(There are several reasons for this, like heredity, illness, medications, a Haribo addiction, but none of them change the fact that I. Am. Fat.)
Anyway, before this gets too negative, back to the mirror.
Hubs and I were staying in a Travelodge overnight (the in-laws had the spawns! Frabjous day!) and it of course has not only a room-wide, harshly-lit mirror in the bathroom, but a full-length mirror in the bedroom. Eeek.
But this morning, instead of avoiding the mirror, and after criticising myself harshly after my shower (“too fat”, “huge arse”, “look at those thighs”) I made a conscious decision to stand before the full-length mirror and praise myself. (Hubs was off running round Ipswich Marina in the rain…)
And you know what? Yes, I am medically obese. Yes, I could do with losing some weight for the good of my health, if no other reason. Yes, in the eyes of society my body isn’t fashionable, attractive or acceptable.
I am valid.
I have worth.
My body is a miracle of nature (yours is too, y’know).
It’s also a miracle of science (thank you, pain relief and brain meds!).
And although my body isn’t perhaps all I’d want it to be, it’s mine, and I’m going to learn to love it. No more hiding, no more shame, no more hating.
Over on Twitter today, I’ve been chatting about ‘Vagina Makeup’.
-Actually (I’m foof-splaining, here, note ‘actually’) it’s a cream for the mons, not the vagina*-
This led my deranged mind on some bizarre pathways, and other people got dragged along with me on the journey. We discussed female and male genitalia makeup and different ways of tarting up one’s nether regions. Plumping gloss for penises, rainbow lighting for the vulva, eyeliner and glitter and superheroes… It was a brilliantly funny conversation and gave us all a laugh.
But… When you think about it, it’s quite serious. Quite sad.
Women are already told that our natural appearance is unacceptable; we have dainty wee razors to get us in trim. We can’t have odour or natural secretions (both of which are entirely natural and serve a function), and now women are having surgery to get perfectly landscaped ladygardens… Yep. Surgery.
I know there’s also pressure on men to have the perfect penis, which is again wickedly irresponsible – penises come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all ok.
It’s human nature to be curious-to-fascinated regarding genitalia; it’s part of the survival of the species (and you only need to try raising eight-year-old boys to realise it’s completely nature and not nurture). But we live in a culture which has gone beyond a natural appreciation of ‘sexy bits’ and now fetishises them to a degree which is unhealthy.
We already face immense pressure to conform. To be part of the herd. To be homogenous. Society tries to mold us via the press, entertainment, peer pressure into ‘perfect’ humans. And now that pressure is extended to having beautifully bald-and-Barbielike genitals…
Remember the Sex Hats in Demolition Man?** We are moving rapidly towards that state; where the act of sex is considered unnatural, unnecessary. Where making children is a sterile procedure and the sex itself is purely visual. Well, enough.
Sex is at the most basic level the act of procreation.
Tab A fits into slot B, nine months later, along comes C: end of.
But there’s so much attached to sex; emotion, sensation, connection. And all sorts of ways to get tab A into slot B…and while you’re at it, you’ll find fur and fuzz and lumps and bumps and scents and odours and outies and innies…and you know what?
It’s bad enough that we are expected to be homogenously perfect. That the world still only really accepts that we are male OR female, and can’t grasp that people fit anywhere and everywhere between. We can’t have zits or dandruff or wrinkles or fat**** OR bones. We shouldn’t have pubic hair, leg hair, armpit hair (unless we’re making a ‘statement’), but our head hair has to be glossy and go ‘swoosh’…
Being human is messy. And messy is good. Messy has worked for millions of years. Messy has put 7+billion people on this planet.
I’m here to tell you that (unless it appeals to you) your mons doesn’t need to sparkle like Edward Cullen.
Honest. It doesn’t. (Unless you want it to.)
Your body can be skinny, fat, smooth or fuzzy, and that’s ok.
Your body is where YOU live. YOU have to feel comfortable in it. If you want to sparkle-up your ladygarden, by all means do it – but only because you want to. Not because it’s what society demands on order for you to be acceptable.
In the words of Christina Aguilera:
You are beautiful/ No matter what they say.
*Autocorrect wants that to be ‘monster’, not ‘mons’…I think it feels threatened!
**If you haven’t seen Demolition Man, try it. It’s hysterical. And very violent.
***Really! Humans are messy. It’s cool.
****I have wrinkles and fat. The other week I described myself as being ‘fat fetish territory’. Nobody should feel like that. Yes, I’m fat. No, that doesn’t mean I’m just an object, sexually. I need to sort that shit out.
I am so sick of Magic Penis Syndrome in modern romance, especially Billionaire Romance.
I’m sick of billionaires, too, come to think of it.
I’m sick of feisty, go-getting women with interesting lives and backstory and inner monologues all becoming hormonal messes with no will after one glance from “his [incomparable/unusual/badly simile-d] eyes”. Women who, at the merest whiff of his super-strong testosterone, drop their knickers along with any previous sex issues they had – magic penises being able to cure all hang-ups and issues with one noticeable prod to her hip/tummy/side, depending on location and size difference.
I’m sick of jealous exes, mad stalkers, throwing caution to the wind, bathrooms ‘bigger than my entire apartment’ with handily-placed showerheads (see older blog piece), million-dollar cars, surprise luxury vacations, and a denouement three chapters from the end.
It’s Mills & Boon, just with bigger penises and a lot more swearing.
You think you’ve moved on, with your bondage and ‘mature themes’, but you’re writing the same stories than have always been told, just with bigger budgets and more gynaecology.
Give me ordinary fellas, with un-magical penises (and, please, some kind of refractory period!), mortgages, boring everyday jobs, who still make my heart flutter.
Give me women who aren’t a plus-sized twelve (horrors!!!) ‘but still sexy anyway’, or a perfectly formed whatever. Give me cellulite and knobbly knees and boobs that disappear when she lies down. Make her real and relatable.
I grew up on Mills & Boon. My expectations of sex were…if not completely realistic, then at least not over-inflated, pardon the pun. I worry that this generation are reading these books and thinking they’ve got to be perfectly formed, all-knowing, duracell-powered sex machines…and the prevalence and accessibility of online porn isn’t going to help dispel that myth one bit.
Get. Rid. Of. Magical. Penises.*
*I have a migraine and PMT. This doesn’t excuse the above post, but might explain some of it.**
**I am, however, enjoying the curmudgeonliness which has blossomed since I turned forty. Whingepower FTW!***
***_IF_ magical penises do, actually, exist (‘thick as my wrist’, ‘big enough to almost hurt’, never goes down, always get the job done, and gives it’s partner morality amnesia) I’m happy to be proved wrong.****
****Debate only. NO PICTURES. Or videos. Written testimony, properly witnessed, is allowable.
I am so bloody tired of all of it. I don’t have answers for any of the questions, not solutions for the problems. And I. Am. Tired.
Yes, I get like this regularly (every three months, according to my mood tracking app), and the lead up to this point is so predictable; I stop eating properly, sleeping well, I have nightmares every night and then I become, if not someone I’m not, then someone I fight hard not to be; crude and suggestive, obsessed with sex and wanting so desperately to feel attractive, to be wanted.
I could blame it on my daddy leaving when I was a kid; on being bullied for being ugly and undateable; on only just realising at the age of forty that I don’t actually identify as female a lot of the time, which answers questions I didn’t even know I had… But that wouldn’t be honest.
Truth is, I haven’t a clue why I’m like this. I’ve always been excessively moody, PMT had always been horrible for me and those around me, but the last year has been worse. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the middle.
Being suicidal is new. Being suicidal and meaning it. Planning how to do it, where and when, so I disrupt or distress as few people as possible. Wondering if I can, because I want to, but feeling such a burden of guilt at the thought of the people I’d leave behind. And then hating on myself because I’m not strong enough to just do it.
There’s a scene in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ where Richard, the protagonist, is facing a trial to win a key. He finds himself on an underground platform confronted with people from his ‘real’ life (and himself) all urging him to just kill himself, despising him for being ‘too weak’ to. And that’s my head right now. I’m pushing and provoking myself constantly, trying literally to shove myself over the edge. (Richard wins the trial by NOT killing himself and proving he’s stronger than the voices, by the way…)
And this time, for the first time, I hurt someone else with my actions. I never meant to, but I did. I wish to goodness I hadn’t done what I did, nor said what I said. I wish it could be erased so I didn’t cause hurt to a really good friend, so he’s not left hurt because of me. I wish an apology was a magic wand, but it isn’t because we are grown ups, not three year olds. So all I can do is apologise one more time, from the bottom of my heart. I am so, so sorry for hurting you. It was never my intention, and if I could make it up to you I would.
So, yeah. I’m fucked up. Fed up. Tired of hurting in my body, my head and my heart.
I don’t know what the answers are, other than Keeping Calm and Carrying On, and hoping that maybe finally, things are going to change. It’s not like I’m not trying.
Anyway. That’s me, brain vomit all over cyberspace. Thank you for reading/listening/being there.
That was the official warning: if you read after this point, it’s your own fault…
Ooh, you’re a glutton for punishment, aren’t you? *nudge*
So. It’s one in the morning, I’m recovering from the most hideous bout of flu I’ve had in recent memory, and I look and feel like something the cat dragged in, hid well, and wasn’t found until someone noticed the smell. Only worse. As a result, my self-confidence, ever a fragile thing, has vanished utterly. Even my eyes (which I’m normally slightly vain about) look, in the words of Terry Pratchett describing Albert’s eyes in Mort, ‘juugly’. I have exactly zero redeeming physical features right now.
No, that’s not the rant, and it’s not a ploy for sympathy or reassurance, I promise. Me and the demons of my looks are old buds. The rant is this:
Western. Standards. Of. Beauty.
I am forty. I am genetically predisposed to short, busty, ampleness, and too lazy to fight the ample part. The lazy also means that right now my legs could double for Chewbacca, my hair is grey (coz I think it looks badass) and growing out from the last time it got a #4 with the clippers (because I am NOT paying £25 to get my hair washed). I hardly ever wear make up any more, and although my nails are currently looking good, that’s because I stopped biting them seven weeks ago and haven’t started again yet. (Yes, ‘yet’. I’m a realist)
I also have, in no particular order:
Sagging boobs, tum, and bum
The start of jowls
Wonky little fingers
A big nose
Invisible brows and lashes
And gollum feet***
Now, half of those are genes, and half are the side-effects of various parts of living. All are…’Fixable’, and by currently acceptable standards of beauty, I should really think about it. And as regards the weight, I should for my health. But, and here’s the thing –
I. Don’t. Want. To.
And I am not in any way, shape or form denigrating those women who do – it’s your body, you need to feel comfortable in it for you.
I just wish that we lived in a society that valued Barbie-like perfection less. (And Ken-doll-perfection, too, these days!)
Human beings are wondrous things. Living, breathing canvasses. Their faces and their bodies tell tales as much as their words do. By implying that we must fit into a preconceived set of ideals to be acceptable, by buying into this notion, we rob ourselves of ourselves.
Having said that – for some people, homogenised Aryan human is how they feel most themselves, and more power to them. For others it’s being the 97-year old lady with unfeasibly-jetblack hair and fingers full of rings. For yet others it’s being that lad who owns every team shirt in home and away colours for the last fifteen seasons.
But for me, I’m coming to realise, it’s about accepting that I’m short, fat and scruffy. Which means that, thirty-five years after I first wished it, I have finally achieved my dream and become What-a-Mess.
(That wasn’t as ranty as I expected, and was in fact more of a late-night brain fart. But ‘brain fart’ wouldn’t sound so snappy as a title. Or would it?)
I forgot to mention
Skin tags on my neck
What my sister calls ‘Trans-Am wheel arch nostrils’
Or for this of you who don’t speak Kiera-ese/Essex-ese: I’m rather clever, no?
This week, I have Done Stuff.
Me and Google/YouTube have stripped and resealed the bath, fixed a broken arm on the dishwasher, and serviced the tumble dryer.
I love fixing stuff. I love figuring out how stuff works. I love making things better. I think it’s an extension of why I prefer drawing or craft to gaming; I have a compulsion to create stuff and to try and leave the world changed to how I found it…I dunno, I’ve had a three-day migraine, so I’m seeing smells in 4D and the universe is all whoa, trippy…
Anyway. My next project will be fixing the downstairs loo to stop it wobbling – and maybe rigging a small invisible electrical field to dissuade Youngest from peeing everywhere but in the pan.