TW: Child Sexual Abuse
Shared by DA
“My body and my mind have gone through a roller coaster ride through these last 35 years. At times my body and mind hated each other, at times my mind shut down communication with my body and at times they worked together.
When I was 9, I got my period. It was the most confusing moment of my life. I came home from school and there was blood where there had never been. I was given a speaking to. I was told all about uteri and fallopian tubes and eggs and shedding walls. I only comprehended that my body had started to betray me and went into a black depression. I stopped revealing my personal thoughts to anyone, especially an adult. I started becoming independent, but I was just 9! I couldn’t take the burden of my own responsibility.
As I was coming to terms with my “precocious” puberty, my breasts started developing. I was a C cup in the 4th standard! I don’t think I’ve hated my body more than at that time. My mother bribed me with Enid Blyton books so that I would agree to wear a bra.
Being a naive child with breasts left me vulnerable and where there is prey, there is a predator. I was abused from the age of 9 till 13 by two men, who were ostensibly our “family friends”. My mind just shut down. There was no way to process this. I alternately loathed myself and alternately felt pleasure. These pleasurable thoughts were too much for my mind to bear. I dissociated my mind from my body. So I never had to process my pain or my pleasure.
I was outwardly a good child. I smiled and played and created and studied. I was held up as an example. This mind body disconnection could not however be sustained. I ate. And I ate. And I ate some more. I was obese before I knew it. In fact I was obese and didn’t know it. Since my mind was so divorced still from my body, I did not ever inhabit my body, and therefore never understood its expanse. The only truth came through photographs. Which shocked me into reality.
The only thing that saved me was having the love and friendship of a bunch of outstanding people. They guided me through some of my pain. They gave me such genuine affection and care, that I opened up and let the black ooze seep out through me slowly. They gave me the confidence to own my body and to change it.
I lost some weight. I fell in love. His mother told me I was too fat for her son. I confronted him with pain in my eyes. He looked straight into them and pretended it was okay. But it wasn’t. And I left him before I could feel his pretence again. I encountered this again and again. Men who were obviously attracted to me, but were so ashamed of it. I became their dirty secret.
I finally got tired of thinking so less of myself that I gave in to such mechanical lovemaking. Once I looked beyond what people thought of me, I found that I actually didn’t think anything of myself. I had worked so hard to ignore my body, that I had nothing left to feel for it. I had good friends, and I was good at my job, but I was failing my body miserably. I finally went into therapy and confronted my demons. I finally forced my mind and body to work together.
It took time, three years of addressing every frightened part of my mind, before I started loving my body. Bit by bit. Freckle by freckle. Even the stretch marks. This was the scariest and happiest time of my life. I risked smiling when my stomach jiggled and found that it was okay to laugh. I wore skimpy lingerie and started admiring the way my waist curved. I did this for myself, not for a lover.
My story doesn’t end there. I had an accident. Broke my knee. Had an accident again, broke my bones. I’ve had 6 surgeries in 3 years, and I have felt pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I am overtly handicapped with a cane and a limp. But I have never loved my body more. Confronting it’s deformity, I started appreciating it for all that it could do. For the strength I still had, for my ability to get beyond the pain.
I now love each scar and each bump. I am working to lose weight, but because I want to be healthy. And I feel sexy for the first time in years. I have found someone. Someone who doesn’t look beyond my infirmity but embraces it. Loves my mind and yes, loves my body. We giggle about its jiggliness, we talk about its strength and we are amazed at its capacity to give and receive pleasure. He has never hesitated to love all of me. And though earlier this would make me feel grateful, now this just acknowledges my own love and allows me to love him without reserve.
As I said, it’s been a roller coaster and it will continue to be so. But I’m glad of the ride.”