I remember very vividly being told that I “wouldn’t be able to eat that way” for very long, or later in life.
I wouldn’t be able to wear that kind of dress later in life, or for very long.
The implication being that I would get fat, or be too fat to wear certain clothes.
I ate too much cheese.
Too many cookies.
My black dress was too formfitting.
At the same time of course I was drinking SlimFast and eating a banana for lunch in high school. Starving myself, then eating a bagel and hating myself for it.
Not understanding at the time why I had these feelings; that the messaging I received from a very young age was to deny my hunger, or else.
And when you start to believe that denying your hunger is a good thing, a nice girl thing, the proper thing that will make you liked and accepted, then you begin to deny other things in your life too.
Like ecstatic happiness.
Like your opinions.
You begin to question it all, because if I can’t allow myself to eat what I want maybe I can’t allow myself to be totally spontaneous or courageous either.
Maybe I begin to imagine that I can’t trust that my urges are natural, and that I’m growing, and discovering, and that I must be fearful lest I make a mistake that will put me on the other end of the good girl line.
My sense of adventure, tying my hair up, wearing combat boots or flannels, talking loud, singing, yelling, being alone, in the dark, listening to music, and dreaming.
I was told I had moxie but I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. It had a tone of condescension that I see now as a quiet and insidious message. Don’t think you have the right to continue to push against the grain little girl.
Because I did. Or I tried to. My little Kimmie heart wanted to explore. Her benign offerings of creativity and her sensitive heart crashed often with the demands put upon her.
Reflecting on it now, what exactly did I do? So out of the box? I didn’t and do not want to be seen as DIFFERENT. Because DIFFERENT puts me over here and you over there. Some call it ‘othering’ nowadays. There was no word for it, then.
Too much, not enough, speak up, don’t speak up. Eat more, eat less. Feel this, don’t feel that. Question, but not much. Explore, but don’t get hurt. Be happy, be appreciative, be grateful, not too happy, don’t be selfish, want more, be more, accept more, be wishful but not needy.
Swirling, and swirling, until the you that was you at the beginning, gets lost in the swirling of the you’s you’re supposed to be being.
I think that’s the ocean calling, the place that’s consistently waving, on time and on purpose, never stopping – but she’s wild and unruly, and will take you down with her force.
I think that’s the woods calling.
Why do we try to tame the wild?
“My kids make me young again,” they say, and then the world just pummels it out of them.
A shark doesn’t think twice about its meal.
A hawk swoops down on its prey.
A seal suns on the rock.
The goat rests on the cliff.
We hold these truths.
Keep them in you.
Image: Rin54321 on DeviantArt