Youth, age, and beauty

A picture of me at age 16. Of course, I was beautiful. No one told me at the time. No one told me ever. Found the picture, wondered who that pretty girl was.

Now I weep that I never had the joy of being  beautiful. Of being comfortable in my body. Of being connected and enjoying it. In certain rare moments, I felt the enjoyment, but was never buoyed by the confidence in myself. My being, my body, my existence.

I had always been picked on for being “fat.” I wasn’t that fat. I wasn’t obese, but people picked on me anyway. I don’t understand it. Maybe someone else can explain this harsh and unnecessarily cruelty. This peer pressure, this chicken picking, where the one lowest on the pecking order gets pecked to death or social oblivion. For me it was only social oblivion. I’m far too vigorous, aggressive, and strong to be pecked to death. I’ll kill you first, for sure.

Recently, I read about scientific studies on people who get physically attacked. It has to do with the aggressors reading movement, specifically uncoordinated movement. The victims look weak and helpless in some way. I don’t look like that. I may be fat, but I’ll definitely use that weight against you if you attack me. I studied tai chi and Alexander Technique. I move like a tiger. I will get you. I have never been attacked. I see people hobbling in my neighbourhood with so many old and crippled people, a cheap working class neighbourhood. I don’t move like them. Even my ex, last year when he was a total stone-cold jerk and did not treat me with any respect managed to blurt out he is still attracted to how I move. I ain’t pretty but a cat, even if fat, moves like a cat.

But when I was young, I was disconnected from my body’s movement in the moment. No wonder I liked getting drunk, to release the body from restriction. But that’s not real connection.

I weep. And now I dance, every day. And almost worship the beautiful moves of people who weren’t crippled as I was. I’m connected to my body most of the time, and it is a source of knowledge. But it still sits in a pool of past sorrows.




It’s been a tough couple of days for me, attending a conference. Hours of back to back presentations, while sitting on hard, low chairs. Oh, if only they had optional extra seat cushions for those of us with non-short legs. And loud networking sessions with so many voices clamouring like madly mating frogs.

I’m not used to being around a whole lot of people, period, never mind all day. There was a quiet half-hour where I was able to stretch my legs out on a couch and sort out where my mind and emotions were. I felt lonely in a crowd.

And now, at home, trying to sleep, my sorrow grows. I’ve never before felt the urge to press my hand against my neck and windpipe, but now I do. Maybe it’s an amplification of that old habit of breathing slowly and just letting my body rest without breathing in for a while. Something I discovered I found soothing.

My sorrow grieves the loss of life for me, loss of any value in life for me. Life was always more trouble than it was worth. I lost the chance to be treasured as a baby. I lost the chance to have a good relationship with my close sibling. I lost the chance to ever be really part of any group while growing up. I lost the chance to have my interests encouraged and nurtured so that my life grew up around me. I lost the chance to be aware of my own beauty as a young woman.

One day I found a picture of some cute girl about age 15-16 holding my cat. What? And she was wearing my dress or nightgown that I got for Christmas that year. And … she was me. I never knew at the time that I was “beautiful.” No one ever told me that. No, actually people called me “sir,” quite often!

And now I love to see the artistic beauty of belly dancers, and I love to do a bit of dancing myself. But how great it would have been to be able to do it back then. However, with no conscious connection to my own body, I could not do that. Back then, I was shy to look at myself in the mirror, except in private. Like, you wouldn’t catch me looking at my reflection in a store window or anywhere else public.

I lost the chance to study my interests or create a meaningful career. Or have friends or community connections.¬† I worked, but it wasn’t meaningful to me.

Time to lie down and try not breathing in, again.