Sometime in early June…
Why do I write this blog?
- I don’t make money from it and I never expected to. I don’t know how people make money from blogs other than by endorsing stuff and what am I going to endorse? Venlafaxine? Amitriptyline? The best brand of toothbrush for making yourself sick? Somehow, I don’t think pharma multinationals need my approbation.
- It has a small readership. After the initial flurry, not many people really mention it in real life so it’s not a conversation starter or interesting dinner party topic, not that I ever throw dinner parties or get invited to them. Do people still have dinner parties or did that phenomenon die out with our egos after the Recession hit?
It was never intended …
At this point, I must admit that I’d forgotten I started this post until I found it in the drafts folder. I have no recollection of writing these few sentences or what was to follow. But then again, I was getting ready for this trip. I’m now in the U.S. and, to be honest, why I write my blog is way less of a priority than why I lie out in the sun, in a hammock, reading my book. But, anyhoo…
And now, I return to it again, five days after I wrote the paragraph in bold font above. I still don’t know where I was going with my bullet points on Why I write my blog…
It’s Sunday, June 28th, ten to four in the afternoon. I’m sitting in a blue armchair rocker in the living room of our American home: the house of my American Mom and Dad. It’s hot outside, not too hot for me – I think my cold body soaks and stores up the heat in a pre-emptive attempt to guard itself against the damp, feet-numbing rawness of the Irish winter. It’s a pity bones aren’t like storage heaters: when required you can switch a dial up to release just the right amount of warmth to combat the external chill. If that were possible, this winter would be a very mild one for me and I could ditch the four woolen layers.
We’ve been here in Texas almost two weeks. I guess I’ll come back to Why I write my blog… when it feels relevant again but essentially, I write it because it helps me. It’s entirely selfish bar a hope that someone out there will read it, feel less alone and be encouraged to seek professional help. I’m no life coach and I certainly wouldn’t take my own advice but while working through my own mess, I might reach someone in their own quicksand and throw them a rope.
It’s a simple and obvious thing but the weather has a huge impact on my mood. Yes, it’s hot (and it’s going to get hotter) – low thirties/mid nineties ( I’m hopeless with the Fahrenheit conversion), with a thirty seven real feel on the heat index most days. I’ve been running in it, stupidly, around mid-day and I can’t manage more than about three miles before I am beetroot. It’s not even just red that I turn, it’s a very specific shade of cerise pink/purple dotted with an ever increasing supply of dark freckles. If I could sell my Irish freckles over here, I’d be a rich woman.
I’m already a much creamier shade of white than I was when leaving Dublin Airport. At home, I’d probably look tanned, here I still look slightly vampirical compared to the bronzed goddesses in my family and at the local pool. I also seem to be about a foot shorter than a lot of women. It’s funny here, it seems to be one extreme or the other when it comes to young women (that is, women of my age: I’m still young, aren’t I?): they are either tall, slim, athletic and flawlessly olive-skinned or grossly overweight and in need of a good wash. That is, of course, a sweeping generalization but I must look out at home more observantly to gauge the trends in Irish women because, you know, comparing your own body shape and hygiene status to hoards of passing women is entirely normal and healthy.
Actually, this year, I am much more at ease with my body. Other years, I have been fearful of exposing my cellulite, swimwear and hot weather clothes in general which are inescapable in these temperatures. Summer is a tough season for those with body dysmorphic tendencies. I would spend the day berating myself for being so disgusting and not wearing full female Muslim garb to prevent inflicting the sight of me on the eyes of unsuspecting Americans. This year, I don’t care – as much. I’ve worn a bikini and nobody has bled to death through their eyes from seeing me in it. So far, nobody has been knocked sideways and concussed by my liberated, orange-peeled, gigantic thighs. My arse does have a weird swelling on the left cheek from where I fell down the stairs a few weeks back (and believe me, my arse does not need any extra mass) but that was not the reason for last week’s thunderstorm or the shortage of eggs here.
I’m working on a whole new way of thinking about my body as a thing of health, power and strength and not as something repulsive to be starved or purged and compared to other women’s bodies.
My body has been with me for thirty four and a half years, through all sorts of weather and moods.
It has been sick; bruised; loved; raped; self harmed; smacked (not often but I got the odd crack for being a cheeky madam when I was a kid – hey, it was the Eighties, everyone got a lick of a slipper, a newspaper of the back of a hand every now and again).
My body has been thrown down stairs as an adult (accidentally); flung out of prams and high chairs as a toddler (my mother called me Kamikaze Baby – go figure).
It has survived countless migraines where I’d gladly have put a bullet in its right temple to stop the pain; it’s consumed a vineyard’s worth of wine, a distillery of vodka and gin and god knows how much tequila in my teenage years and somehow lived to tell the drunken tales. It is glad that I never did drugs.
I have broken one of its ribs (and, simultaneously, a window handle); it’s had a driftwood mirror concuss its skull while it was on the toilet (awkward…).
It has given birth to a much bigger baby than I had planned and rejected another early pregnancy because it knew it wasn’t right for me; it’s had its abscessed appendix ripped out: a cyst on its face lanced and drained; its cyst-rupturing ovaries twisted.
It has taken me all over the world; hugged the most wonderful people; kissed very handsome men; fucked some a fair few gobshites with no major return in pleasure.
It has run thousands of miles despite recurring abuse to its right knee; done workouts that left it near immobile; been peed on (by dogs, and it’s picked up many dog poos too) and been puked on by its offspring.
It has taken me to university and stayed awake while I studied and rocked a two month old baby.
It has been groped. It has punched and slapped; been bitten (once, by my teething and curious child). It has thrown pots and bottles in fury; renovated a flat; trashed a bedroom in psychotic rage and as for my left hip, that hip carried my kid hundreds of miles and never once complained.
Why should’t I be proud of my body? Why should I hide it because it’s not up to fashion industry standards of beauty or because some man can’t control his urges around anything not dressed according to his standards of morality? Fuck that for a game of thigh gap measuring and victim blaming.
This summer, and from now on, I will be unapologetically wearing my body in public.
Should anyone have an issue with how I look or what I’m wearing, it’s more their issue than mine.
Now where is that Ultra-Firming, Super Lift, Sexy Glow, Slimming Body Lotion?