Are you ugly? Are you like me?
by Colette Coughlin posting for Theresa Sullivan
My friend Theresa has struggled with anorexia and body image for as long as she can remember, and has just started blogging about it in hopes of helping her teenage daughter get through some really difficult times. I am posting one of her recent blog entries that really touched me. You can follow her blog and give her some encouragement to keep sharing so honestly at: http://lookingwithmorethanyoureyes.blogspot.com/
Are You Ugly? Are you like Me?
It is funny how my daughter always seems to pick up on the underlying current beneath the obvious daily routines. Yesterday she showed me a song....Are you ugly? The "Exies" do this song. The words that echo in my head....... Are you ugly.... a liar like me........ a sickness so pure .....money's no cure... we are dirt.... we are alone......we are afraid...... you know it's far from over.......I'm sure the words are not complete or in the correct order, but to me the message is clear..... Are you ugly? Are you like me?
We think if we look different than the accepted model of beauty, we are ugly.....over 40 we are old...., we are fat...... we are too thin..... we are so judgmental.......we are not logical enough or strong enough.....As women, we will never be enough because we are in a society where the masculine is prized....logic....the mind, linear thinking....domination ....strong versus weak, rich versus poor...mind versus body....victim and perpetrator..... We are raping the very earth we live on, without compassion we steal and take.....no regard for others or the future.
On a more personal note ....I can certainly testify to the mind induced victimization of the body. Forcing myself to analyze, examine and judge every feeling......and try to control everything... to fit in, to compensate for being so sensitive, so different than what is valued in our society....and still I am trying to fit in.... the stressful job that sucks up most of my time and life..that nagging feeling I don't belong there.... I have something else to bring.....something that doesn't come with a pay check and health insurance...a new car which ties me into the job.....Need the car to get to the job...an hour away....need the job to pay for the car......neat isn't it?
The anorexia probably is the only thing that keeps me honest.....Even if I don't purposely stop eating anymore, count calories or lie about what I eat....Stress will make me begin to disappear ....and thankfully I will have to pay attention.....I will have to heal. I can't hide from that. God gives us many gifts......we just have to have the eyes to see them...
I have been reading an interesting book "Eating in the light of the Moon" by Anita Johnston. She wrote about women with food disorders. She says most of these women are very intuitive, bright, creative and sensitive. They see between the lines. They see too much and are taught early on to fit in and hide this vision which challenges the adults around them. I remember thinking I was too big, too much for my parents. I was unacceptable, unlovable and ugly. It is amazing, the women that are bright enough to challenge things , doubt themselves so profoundly, they become no risk to the acceptable norms of daily life. It reminds me of the Jews in the concentration camps forced to guard their own, we intrinsically control ourselves....no need to be burned at the stake in this lifetime....we'll just obsess about food or how insecure we are...no time left to question anything..no confidence in our perceptions to challenge the status quo... We are enmeshed in the perpetration of the values that condemn us.....That is perfection of this system of conforming.... My aunt's book was right fat is a feminist issue.
I love this passage from Anita Johnston's book, "an assertive woman is one who honors the most feminine aspects of her being. She is able to create a vessel strong enough to contain the power of her feminine spirit, her deepest truths and her strongest emotions and can use her masculine energy to take it out in the world. she is able to address and communicate that which is invisible, those matters of the heart that we are so often moved by but find so hard to describe and validate. She is a at home in this invisible world, no longer haunted by a deep seated belief that there is something wrong with her. .....an assertive woman can have an impact on our patriarchial society's concept of power and control. "
Back to ugly.....we feel ugly when we repress our feelings and hide our true selves, When others call us ugly.... because we are different than their idea of beautiful. We are ugly when we believe we have the limits that we as well as others impose on us. If I choose to be different, am I ugly? Are you ugly, like me? How much time could we save by letting go of these harsh judgments of ourselves and others?