My man’s love language is physical touch. And often times, as he’s nuzzling my neck in the kitchen or stealing a quick grope of my butt cheek when I pass him in the hallway, I wonder to myself “how can he love me when my body looks like this?”
As if my body is all there is of me to love. As if my worth is based on my attractiveness alone. As if my “fuckability” is all that matters.
He’s not saying or even implying any of these things…he never ever has. EVERY SINGLE DAY he tells me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. EVERY SINGLE DAY he says “I love YOU.”
Still, I never quite believe him and he sometimes feels hurt by my quiet dismissals. I would too if I were him.
It’s me, the bad feminist, saying those things to me. It’s my lying thoughts trained by decades of buying into our culture’s messages about a woman’s worth and a woman’s place.
It’s all me.
And damn it, I’m sick to death of it. This energy-sucking vortex of shame and lies.
I am constantly working on myself, my body, my diet, my sense of self-worth. I am researching and reading and planning nonstop, with very little time left for simple action. I look in the mirror and see my aging skin, the soft Mom belly, the unruly gray hairs I’m brazenly giving free reign. My body is 20lbs heavier than when I met Tony and at least 40lbs heavier than I ought to be for better health.
And I judge it. Oh, how harshly I judge it and me! I toe the patriarchy’s line with precision. And my life is miserable for it.
When does all this nonsense go away? When do I get over this vanity and these lies? When do I start believing the people closest to me who say, “I wish you could see what I see”?
When I’m 50? 60? 85?
I’m ready to not care. I want to have zero fucks left to give. But I’m not there yet, and it pisses me off.
I shudder to think what I’m teaching my daughter, though I’m VERY careful to never say out loud anything I’m thinking. In fact, I probably over compensate to outwardly teach her exactly what I should have learned so many decades ago. But kids are smart and so much more aware than we give them credit for; she’ll catch on and will likely absorb my negativity eventually.
What can I do about all of this?
How can I change?
I’m well aware that I’m lacking in the Take Action department. That would push my comfort zone and I haven’t done much in the way of comfort zone pushing these last few years.
I recently started reading Jocko Willink’s latest book “Discipine Equals Freedom.” He’s a retired Navy Seal commander, and while I’m not usually one for stories of war, the title alone is what sold me. I have very little discipline and as a result, my life constantly feels in a shambles. I’m not instilling discipline in my children nor inspiring it in my partner.
This book is powerful to the point that I couldn’t sit down while reading it. I literally had to get out of my overstuffed blue chair and go walk on the treadmill and bounce on the rebounder.
I found myself reading aloud, a little breathless with the movement, but loving every inspiring sound byte. I read slowly, enunciating as a drill sergeant might.
“Discipline starts with waking up early,” he wrote. “It really does.”
“Discipline is about facing your fears so you can conquer them”
“Discipline means taking the hard road – the uphill road.”
“Discipline can seem like your worst enemy. But in reality it is your best friend.”
“It will put you on the path to strength and health and intelligence and happiness.”
The book calls itself a Field Manual, and it starts with a collection of short essays about taking action, not stopping, and fighting the battles I’ve been avoiding. I devoured them. And then I slowly savored them.
I made it through the book and started it right over. And then today, when my alarm went off at 4:48AM, I got right out of bed, got dressed and did a workout. And now my kids are fed and going about their days, my kitchen is clean and I’m enjoying my morning coffee as I write this.
Maybe discipline will help me be a better feminist too.