introspective periscope : peeking inside since Y2K


the doodles

finally waning - 11 july 2017

"i'm so tired and i wish i was the moon tonight."~neko case

i haven't really been able to find my words for the last few weeks. i have a mountain of things rattling around in this old brain and i was doing a heck of a lot of hand-wringing trying to figure out where to start dismantle the knot in my guts. we walked a lot. morning walks. sunset walks. a walk in the pouring rain. i couldn't catch my breath; i couldn't quite put my finger on it. we've been through a darned lot in the last few months and i think it all caught up with me finally. anxiety only waits for so long before you have to just deal with it.

in the spin of a year, we've moved twice. my one-on-one time with my son flipped from a stressful too-few inconsistent schedule of hours in a day while i worked in retail to full-on immersion into mom life and figuring out how to be together 24/7. our little family changed in a really big way and then changed again. it's a lot for an adult to navigate; it's got to be an impossible lot of feelings for a two-and-a-half year old to figure out but we're doing okay.

this cycle, it seemed like the fatter the moon got, the less i was able to sleep more than a few hours. i didn't want to be around anyone but my little boy. for most of the last few weeks, if we weren't in the woods together or out biking, we were hiding out on the living room floor with all the markers and crayons and colored pencils we had in the said-things lockbox (i'm no dummy...i know drawing on walls is fun; see also: 2000/01.) i had some neat cardboard and i helped him make a little boat since he was missing his grandparents gone off kayak/camping in the adirondacks. we made a 'scene' on a bigger piece of cardboard complete with the waves of the lake, the sun, the moon, some stars, some raindrops. the mountain peaks were in the background. he made up stories about papa and gramma and the boat. sometimes he was a character in the stories, too. he slept with the cardboard boat every night they were gone and by the time they came home last night, it was a floppy abused scrap of nothing left. while he colored and stuck stickers to every damned thing, i doodled a lot. i haven't really taken much time to draw or make much of anything since i left maine and it felt strange at first but also really cleared my head in a way i think i'd forgotten it could. it made me remember that i'd drawn him as a baby when he was sleeping because sometimes, i couldn't stop looking at him so it felt less weird to stare if i was drawing him.

'draw a turtle, momma. draw a truck, please, momma. thank you! draw a guy, momma. momma, draw a bird. draw a sun. draw the deer and the babies? pleaaaaase?' it doesn't stop and it's kind of my top secret super power that he hasn't grown bored with yet. while he colored in the ten second line drawings and subsequently ripped them to shreds as is his fancy, i started poorly doodling lots of fat happy cartoon naked ladies. my kid thinks boobs and butts and bellies are hilarious (they are!) so he was very happy to color those in, too. so we sit quietly together with music always spinning...and as i've been doodling these naked ladies i've been thinking about all the stuff that had been getting me down in the winter and that, in turn, i'd spent all of spring sorting out.

i was grieving the end of a relationship i'd nurtured well past a point that it became undeniably unhealthy. it is only now that i can see the kind of strength it took to leave that relationship. the festering root of the problem destroyed my self-esteem and i internalized issues that had little or nothing to do with me. i tried to talk to him about it. i appealed to others i trusted for advice. despite having the words and patience and love to communicate exactly what was on my mind in the healthiest way i can remember any time before it, i felt more unlovable than i had in a really long time. what do you do when you're more comfortable in your skin than you have ever been in your life but you feel like the person that is supposed to love you the most sees through your body instead of wanting to know every detail by heart? i suppose i didn't know what to do with that.

i have finally learned to love my body and i don't want to pretend it doesn't exist. i want someone to be as intrigued and in love with it as i am, to want to know my body as intimately as i would want to know theirs...and that just was never gonna happen in this coupling. so it took a long time to get my shit together and leave but i did it. finally, i think i have learned the hardest lesson i've ever had to learn, really: i'm done feeding the relationships that do not nurture me back. i think that when you're a fat girl, it's easy to just feel lucky to be offered any kind of romantic relationship. and so began, at least for me, a string of please-just-pick-me relationships that i suppose i wanted to work out just so i wouldn't be alone. with a select few beautiful exceptions, i have serially gotten mixed up with dudes who were, for whatever reason, incapable or unwilling to really love me back. i refuse to do that anymore--if not for my own sake then for my little boy's. i want him to see me in a nurturing relationship filled with shared joy and commitment and communication. we were pretty close this time but when you know, you know. this last time around, were just supposed to be friends. thankfully, we still are. maybe friendship is poisonous when you try to make it something else completely.

some things are changing for fat girls and i love that so much. only a few years ago, i was star-struck in love with tess holliday because i'd never seen anyone like her before--

'wait, fat girls can do that? oh. okay. i guess we're doing that now!' i thought.

--fast forward 3 years and i'm not only not worried about wearing a bikini in public, i'm celebrating the shit out of that if only for the girl who, at 17, started wearing pants-no-matter-what in summer because fat legs, duh. fat everything, duh. listen, i don't really want you to notice me. i still prefer to keep my head down and not bother anybody and also not be bothered but hey, these days i'm wearing clothes that make me feel like a human instead of a potato sack. it was tess holliday and then maybe jes baker and caitlin moran and then all the bodypos instagrams and the next thing you know, i'm not reading the comments because trolls but hey, you know, dang, those other fat girls are hot and oh, wait, SO AM I when i'm feeling it! so i've got to feel it. i've got to live it. i've got a pair of little eyes on me and i want that kid to see that we loves bodies. my body. your body. every body. because i really do. nothing reminds me more of that than drawing bodies and it just so happens that i have one of those! so i started kind of drawing it again like i did all those years ago when self portraits were the assignment but i would never draw my naked body no never that. so dumb. so so dumb. but i had to live through that to get to here and here we are. it's not bad here. it's better than it was, right? right.

my body has changed so much in the last few months that my reflection throws me off. it wasn't so much about losing weight as it was about getting healthier to keep up with this ball of energy at my side. still, i have lost dress sizes. i have lost a shoe size and i didn't even know that was a thing that happened. my legs look like my legs looked in college but nobody could corroborate that because those legs were always hidden in pants. on the rare occasion these days that i get to shower alone, it is ritual. a few moments to just feel the difference. the muscles in my arms and legs. the feel of the curve of my back giving way to the curve of my favorite part of fat bottom. the soft sway of my belly with all the fat girl stretch marks which look different than the making-a-baby stretch marks. i've lost a lot of weight but dang, there are still a lot of curves and i'm so into drawing them. this body tells a beautiful story when i let it.

so doodles and bodies and brains. i haven't had the words lately but i'm getting there again. i have managed to steal back my heart for myself and while i'm clutching it so tightly, it is lighter than it has been in awhile. i do not intend to give it away again for a long time or maybe it will be tomorrow.

'you never know,' my aunt always assures me as though finding my life partner should be my life's goal. 'could be tomorrow. i was 43 when i met your uncle.'

i haven't had the words but they're coming back again. i'm coming out of this fog a layer at a time.

i am, as ever, thankful.



.what came before. - .what happened next.

a series of walls - 29th january 2o21
ear-worms live on memories you preserve in your brain - 14 july 2019
606 days - 18 june 2019
a diamond at the bottom of the drain - 20 october 2017
baseball season to football season, abbreviated - 25 september 2017

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