I have been struggling with my weight.
Not just to lose it, but as if in physical altercation, locked and straining to wrestle it into what I want it to be. I have been struggling WITH my weight, as if it were another person I must contend with. A very contrary person who exists just to torment me and hold me back.
I have used spiritual means to exact the desired end. I have meditated, chanted, done spirit journeys and tarot readings. I have delved into my painful childhood and held the bereaved child me. I have acknowledged the weight as my assistant, my protector, my body’s way of speaking to me, as pain held in my body unhealed. I have done it all, in aid of losing this creature who makes me not as I feel myself to be but as a grotesque caricature of myself. I have done it all because I want that creature gone.
Yesterday I was on the train. The subway car window across from me was darkened by the tunnels we traveled through and alas the creature that is my weight was very visible. I was horrified. My arms were the worst of it. My hips the next glaring thing.
And I couldn’t help but feel the disorientation.
In my dreams, my mind, my astral wanderings I am not that girl. Am myself and I am … Normal. Not overly thin, or too thick for my aesthetic preference, but normal. I stared at her, this imposter of me, and just felt defeat. And then a man skinnier than me took up that spot and I felt even worse, seeing the reflection of me out shadowing even him.
Once, a while ago, a girl took me into the bathroom and told me to stare into the mirror. This was before my spiritual journey and she was intense and alarmingly so. It didn’t turn out well between us, I wasn’t ready I don’t think, but she and that incident still affects me today.
She said I was to stare in the mirror and tell myself I loved me.
Tell my reflection I love her.
Tell that … Thing in the mirror I love you.
Then, I couldn’t do it. I tried but there were too many distractions, too much going on. And I wasn’t near ready. I do recall the trembling. It made me tremble to imagine doing, before I even tried, this trembling feeling deep inside in the core of me. And when I tried it was with half hearted effort, and less understanding than I hold now. And when I looked into my reflection’s face, her eyes turned sad and she looked more child-like than ever. And I felt such .. Disgust. As if in her vulnerability she was akin to dirty and should be rejected.
That girl who forced me to do that, I ran as far away from her as I could get.
Ironically her name was Angel.
But that in incident in my head stands out so strongly. I feel as if sometimes a part of me lives in that bathroom, a public one with women rushing in and out and staring, and my ex/girlfriend huffing jealous over the girl in question. And the girl, Angel too close to my arm, insistent in word and will, that I see something. Something in the mirror. Something in me.
Since then I have tried in on my own, in private, by myself. It took a long time to work up the courage, its been 18 months since that day. I have stared at myself in the mirror and tried to see what she saw, 3 times. Every time I feel the same. As I look at her, the girl in the mirror who is my reflection, there is this pulling in her eyes. She wants so desperately to be loved, it is a literal drag on my energy to feed her. I feel drained looking into her eyes. She is so .. Bruised by life. And her pain begins to become mine. And I feel such anger at her for being so weak I just hate her. And invariably I give up and leave trying to forget why.
She is not me. She isn’t. Myself from this vantage point looking out is so beautiful. And I do love her. And I know myself so much better than I did then. And I feel so whole inside. The dichotomy is this shell I wear, this body, this weight, this reflection in the mirror. She feels so alien. So separate. So apart from me. Looking into the mirror feels as far away from understanding her as looking at a picture and trying to know that person from it. I feel disconnected when I look in the mirror.
But I must acknowledge a few things. The first being a truth I believe in. That what I believe is reflected in my reality. And the second being I feel the First Noble Truth of Buddhism applies here, somehow.
There is suffering. Suffering should be understood.
I really feel the second insight is key but I have tried to understand it. I have tried. I simply don’t. Understanding it, in this way as done by Buddhists, is to embrace it. Welcome it. Become it.
My pain is so great I feel it would overwhelm me were I to become it. I fear I would be lost.
It helps to imagine another as the source of attention. I would say another person, whose size is equal to mine, is starving. They are so hungry all they can do is eat. And the food piles up on their body but does not feed what is really hungry inside. I think it is their spirit which is the hungry one.
I remember being younger and always feeling hungry. This was long after I had rejected feeling hungry physically and made sure I wouldn’t feel my stomach sour and growling ever. Then the feeling of hunger moved, and became an internal thing. It became not a physical sensation this hunger but a felt thing like emotion. Indeed it feels like a pulling sensation. I have felt it often throughout my life I now see: For things. For people. For love. For sex. For change.
My mind expands with this insight. Feeding is not just about food, although I admit this idea is what sparked my turning vegetarian years ago as well as my spiritual path. We eat to become more than we are. Food fuels us, but so does poetry. Stories. Love. Laughter. Happiness. Joy. Fear even, just go see a scary movie and you’ll see yourself react in one way or the other. We are fueled by so many things. We hunger for so much.
Right now my main hunger is aesthetics. I am putting a lot of time in my physical appearance, mainly my hair. I hunger to make myself look beautiful. I am beautiful I acknowledge but these days I want to look a certain way. A way that feels more like myself. It is almost similar to this struggle with weight. I want my insides and outsides to match. I want them to match and be beautiful, beautiful to me that is. I hunger so much to look a certain way.
It makes me wonder if that is how a transgender person feels? So hungry for their shell to match their soul.
I buy things which feel like me. Make me feel even more like myself. I read things that do this as well. I am attracted to people who make me feel more like me. I feed myself all these things in aid of … What? Is it expansion? Connection. Do I feel too small and separate a drop in the universe that I must reach for reintegration? What exactly is it I am so god damn hungry for?
Is it god?
And if it is, well I believe I am god, we all are. That god and universe and people are one. If it is god I am hungry for, how can I really feed myself me?
If it is god I am hungry for, must I wait until this corporal existence ends to be free and whole again?