November 2017
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dream (screaming and crying over the horror of plastic surgery) / I forget the horror of self-hatred


I was at a house (that I don't recognize) spending time with some [dream-only] friends, when four women walked in. They were very excited about the fact that they had all just been sliced open, had lipids suctioned out, and been sewed shut again. I was horrified but didn't say anything until they added that now their butts needed to be carved to match the front. Then I just EXPLODED, started yelling and crying and telling them how awful it is that they feel the need to chop open their bodies rather than change their minds about them, how they were perfect the way they were. They exploded right back, telling me that I was awful to try and make them feel bad about their choices. Which of course, wasn't my intent, I wasn't even thinking about them at that moment because I was so overwhelmed with the horror of it all. Then I felt bad that I didn't think about their feelings and apologized effusively, wracked with sobs, begging for forgiveness, actually on my knees, and they continued to say nasty things to me. I woke up in a mix of regret and anger that they wouldn't show forgiveness to someone who was genuinely sorry. I suppose if they had to acknowledge the fact that I didn't mean to hurt them, they'd have to consider that I had a motive other than spite for my ranting, and they'd have to wonder what that motive might be. Could it actually be overwhelming terror and sorrow? Would THAT mean that altering one's appearance through surgery (and its cheaper cousins, dieting and restrictive clothing) is a tragedy and travesty rather than a path to self/societal acceptance?

---

I want to update this project with a newer photo set.



(see the comments)


Because I no longer suffer at ALL from being very-different-from-society's-ideal (aka "fat and ugly"), I forget just how much of a problem it is. I forget how I used to spend every second in public wondering what each person thought of how I looked. I forget how I used to think that every smile sent my way was a snicker at my expense, and every whisper I couldn't hear was a negative comment on my appearance. I forget how I used to wear clothes that smashed my belly flat and poked my breasts high and squeezed my bum tight. I forget how I used to be unable to eat in public for fear of being seen as a glutton. I forget how I used to be unable to eat much at all for fear of getting 'fatter.' I forget how I put random chemicals into my body to burn my fat while I slept. I forget how one parent mocked me and told me to forgo dessert and the other helped me buy weight-loss drugs and praised me when I looked slimmer -- even though I was a size 6 and 16 years old at the time. I forget how I felt guilty and ugly if I went to bed without having worked out that day. I forget how I wore baggy shirts most of the time because I didn't want to 'have to' hold in my belly (and under them wore those squeezy circulation-killing jeans just in case). I forget how I couldn't live with any freedom because I thought I was fat. And for all those reasons and more, I want to remember to speak up for all the people who suffer like I did, to tell them, "guess what? you can have fat and still love yourself! and still be loved! and desired! and still be fit! and most of all, be FREE FROM WORRY about judgment!"

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Comments
mermaiden ══╣Me: Ocean - Priestess╠══
I wanted to talk to you, actually...I'm not certain about your email, so I thought I'd say it here, and if you wanted to, you could screen the comment or not. <3

Before you, I never met anyone else who thought that they were beautiful, no matter how they looked. I believed that of myself with every fiber of my being, but in a sea of EVERYONE ELSE thinking about dieting, thinking about how much they weighed, I would sometimes get so, so depressed. Like...was I being ridiculous about it? I worked at a health food store for two years, and I tried to change everyone's mind about dieting (because that was what we sold the most of), and no one would listen, and I gave up, and I just began to live by example. Random people would come in and comment on my weight all the time, because I worked at a health food store, and it was apparently acceptable to do so, and this was during the period where my mother CONSTANTLY criticized me about my weight (I'm 5'8" and at that time was 140 pounds. It boggles my mind). She did this all her life, but that got to be the worst time.

Getting out of that environment was very healthy for me, and I began to not JUST live by example (loving myself) but to mention it to other people that they should love themselves, too.

I forget how I found your journal, but I'd never met ANYONE ELSE (isn't this the saddest thing in the world, to admit?) who looked like me who absolutely and utterly loved herself unconditionally. Bel, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. I work in advertising, and--of course--the major thing we have is diet related ads. I've had co-workers tell me I was fat and that I shouldn't be reviewing (I'm an editor) fat related ads because I don't know about dieting (this was yesterday. It was not a good day.). My mother continually presses me with offers of "I'll buy you diet pills! You'll be beautiful and healthy!" I'm in a world of YOU MUST BE THIN TO BE BEAUTIFUL, and I believe that I AM beautiful...which is, perhaps, the most radical thing I could ever do and be.

And when I become so, so, so tired of upholding the truth when everyone around me spreads the constant lies of you will never be good enough or beautiful enough or thin enough...when I near the end of my rope, I wanted to tell you that you absolutely give me the strength to continue.

I know I've never thanked you for that...but I wanted to, utterly and unconditionally. It means the world to me.

You are absolutely and utterly beautiful, and you rock socks. I thought you should know that. :)

*so much love*~
xochitl ══╣Photography╠══
I think it takes a great deal of confidence and courage to put those photos in a (semi)public space... I don't know if I could do it! It makes me happy when people love themselves. :)
wolfmare ══╣╠══
Only thing I'd consider, is having my stomach fixed, where a rushed c-section and a later laproscopic surgery (gallbladder removed when I didn't need it to be) damaged muscle in such a way that not only does it look horrible to me (which I could deal with!) but actually impairs my ability to stand for more then a short time without being in pain.

For me it's not a matter of disliking what my body is naturally, but what what done to me under duress that has damaged my body in ways it would never have been otherwise. I guess not so much cosmetic, as a horrible reminder of things I never wanted done to me.




As for dieting, I have to watch mine due to insulin resistance issues... And try to maintain a lower bodyfat percentage to keep it under control. But yet, at ideal size and health for *my* body, I would be considered overweight or even obese based on weight! It isn't even possible for me to be 'thin' by standards today, my bone structure alone wouldn't allow for it.

I have my own standard of beauty, and it is this: What is on the outside... Means nothing! That part of a person is at the whim of genetics and environment, and too many other factors to even name. What counts, what makes a person beautiful to me, is who they are and who they have chosen to be and become.

I like my body. Well, when it isn't hurting. Even then, it's familiar, I know how it works, and I know what it can do. It's like an old friend, it's been with me longer then anyone else could.

Sorry if I'm rambling a bit. I seem to do that a lot in response to your posts :)
cunningbunny ══╣flower bunny╠══
I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to fix what was damaged by external forces. I am 100% against cosmetic surgery, but consider reconstructive surgery (which is what you speak of) to be an entirely different issue. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be your natural self, back to who you were before outside actions changed you; the scary thing is diving into those outside actions willingly in order to change your natural self.
brother_bliss ══╣╠══
truth be known
I'm a strange person myself. I stray off the path of what normal people say is pretty.

I enjoy health women that do not look like whittled down tooth picks.

You my dear have strength that can not be measured.

:P
petite_mewsette ══╣╠══
Re: truth be known
I just have to say... There are some healthy women that look like whittled-down toothpicks. :\ Some of us were just born this way and work hard to AVOID our double-digit weights -- typically to no avail.

I know you weren't skinny-bashing, I just wanted to throw that out there. Everyone is absolutely allowed to have their preferences, in my opinion, and I don't see anything wrong with that as long as we're kind to each other. err, not that you were being unkind! ^^;
delicatexflower ══╣annoyed; fiona; "rawr"╠══

oh, you have such a great body! so much love for you ♥

i know what you mean, though!!! it is such a big problem in our society...

i was watching this show called true life (on mtv) & it followed two pretty girls wanting "bigger boobs" - they were both A cups and they said if they were fuller/bigger sizes, they will look more "girly", how their lives will be complete & that theirs "problems " will go away! it was so sad.

it makes me angry the definition of "beauty" in our society is NOT being who you are.
saturnsdaughter ══╣nala_b - Ayumi Hamasaki╠══
I applaud you for being so comfortable with yourself. I'd like to be where you are someday.

I'm strange in the sense that I have what society might call the ideal frame but I don't feel better for it at all. Most of the time I feel too skinny and boney and fret over my barely existent chest. If not for my terribly high metabolism, I might have a shape :|
djibril14 ══╣heruhawk fucking╠══
i like the pictures
oceanid ══╣╠══
be FREE FROM WORRY about judgment!

One of the many many reasons I just get so excited and must read everytime you post! I love that you are so free and confident, I really must take the time to read older posts to read your journey :)
djcliche ══╣╠══
beautiful (:
demoiselle ══╣╠══
petite_mewsette ══╣╠══
This. I agree with your thoughts, demoiselle.
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
ladywind ══╣Raven╠══
This. Yes.
Thank you, demoiselle, for putting this more clearly than I was about to.

Bel, this is part of why I bounce and squee when I see one of your posts come up--in addition to your own considerations, you host an interesting salon in the comments.
~warmth all round~
belenen ══╣amused╠══
please see: http://belenen.livejournal.com/433321.html?thread=6227113#t6227113 ;-)

I do, don't I? I have such an awesome and thought-provoking flist!
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
well, it's like everything else -- it's all about why. If you're doing it as a form of self-expression or identity, that's positive, but if you're doing it out of self-hatred (as most people do) then it's not going to help you (in most cases). Obviously the only person who can know the motive is the person zirself, which is why in waking life I would never EVER start yelling like that (and why in the dream I was so upset when I realized what I had done). I would, however, say "you are perfect the way you are" to someone who was considering plastic surgery in order to escape self-hatred. Being perfect as you are doesn't mean changing would make you imperfect -- it just means that the current you is a perfect thing to be, with no comment on what a different you would be (which is also perfect).

I believe it is a person's right to do what they want with their own body, but that doesn't mean I think everything a person can do to their body is a good idea (I am not against all plastic surgery -- just plastic surgery as an attempt to cure self-hatred, which is what the majority is). Thinking that something is a bad idea is not the same as taking away a person's right to do it. I can be against plastic surgery while believing in a person's right to do with their body what they will.
xenopsi ══╣╠══
Yes, yes, yes. I completely agree with this.
demoiselle ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
I am recognizing that there is a trend where people pay to get their bodies altered as a way of escaping self-hatred. I think this is a harmful trend which does not serve to actually fix the problem. However, that says nothing about the individual participating in the action. An individual may have a different reason and therefore not be part of the trend.

I can judge a trend without judging an individual. For instance, there is a trend where people trust in the Christian faith as a way of justifying their prejudice. I can judge this trend without judging an individual who might trust in the Christian faith because it inspires them to love. This is how such a judgment would look: "some people trust in the Christian faith in a way that I consider negative, and others trust in it in a way that I consider positive." Obviously such a judgment would only have relevance if a person was considering trusting in the Christian faith and wanted my opinion on which ways were good to do that, or if I were exploring my thoughts in my journal.

One of the things that I do with my journal is explore my feelings about things. I'm not neutral on anything, which means I either think something is positive or I think something is negative. I judge actions, not people. I can think that lying is usually bad without thinking that people who lie are bad. A person is more than the sum of their actions. I intend to go on judging actions and trends by what they mean to me, so if that makes you too uncomfortable you might want to consider unfriending me. If you don't mind being made a little uncomfortable then I'd ask that we not have this conversation again because we already had a version of it (about BDSM) and I feel like we're just repeating the same thing. I think one can judge an action without judging a person; if you'd like, we can just agree to disagree.
demoiselle ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
The second comment read to me as if you were saying, "I don't judge people and you do." Which is why I responded by explaining that I don't judge people. I consider it insulting to have it implied that I judge people, because that is one of the actions which I consider harmful. (not saying that you were implying that, but that is how it read to me) But I may have overreacted because I've been coming up against that attitude over and over lately (one time with a person who declared that I was being judgmental for thinking that rape is wrong!).

I'm sorry if I made you feel that I don't want you to share your thoughts and feelings, because I do want you to share them. The reason I said "I'd ask that we not have this conversation again..." was not because I don't want you to share your thoughts and feelings. I don't think it was out of place at all this time -- in fact, I think it was constructive this time -- but since I make a point of judging actions and trends here, I wanted to know that we weren't going to have to debate the merits of judging each time I did so.

Perhaps you feel that to judge actions is to judge the people who do them, but assuming that makes the implication that I am judging people. So if you were to specify, "I believe that to judge actions is to judge those who do them, therefore I cannot be against [action/trend], because I feel that would judge people," such a statement would not assume that by judging actions I am judging people.

(thanks for this conversation, btw, it has helped me to hone my thoughts on the matter. A post may follow ;-))
demoiselle ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
demoiselle ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
aerialmelodies ══╣Love╠══
You're beautiful. Not just the photos... it's the fire behind the person in the photos. You're strong, smart, and know what it's like to truly fly -- I love this post and know you are an inspiration to so many people!
smurfb1ue ══╣& there are things that I am learning╠══
It's quite encouraging to see where you came from to now. You've changed so much in the last several years--especially when it comes to accepting yourself--and seeing that growth is so exciting. You seem as if you're good at looking back and recognizing the changes, which is something I wish I was better at.
frecklestars ══╣magic horse╠══
I have to say that even though the nasty comments are incredibly nasty/out of order/privileged/disgusting/etc, the fact that there are so many positive comments gives me some small amount of hope that perhaps not quite as many women are absolutely bound by the beauty myth as I had feared. (And damn that was a long sentence.)

What made me smile the most was the young teenager who said you had given her hope.

I cannot say FUCK YEAH enough in response to your confidence and how comfortable you are in being you. Seriously. I hope that someday your positivity will rub off on me and I will wake up comfortable in my own skin. *hugshugshugs*
montsealavern ══╣╠══
you look great in all your pics... gorgeous. :)
sidheblessed ══╣╠══
I remember walking in fear everyday because of my body size/shape. I dressed in unflattering clothing, had an unflattering haircut, all because I was "fat and ugly" and "couldn't find nice clothes." It didn't help that the school bullies felt the need to remind me that, according to society, I was "fat and ugly."

I feel "fat" is an ugly word. It implies that even if you are healthy, if you are not what society deems the "right" size, then you are not pretty or attractive.

Personally, I think you are beautiful. You ahve womanly curves and a very open, expressive face. You're also an inspiration for doing projects like this. Kudos to you!
phydeau ══╣╠══
Wow. I had forgotten that I used to worry about all those things, too. It's funny what you can forget.

Stay beautiful, beautiful.

Do you still go to deviantART, anymore?
blimeyzawn1 ══╣╠══
just wow.
I somehow missed this when you first posted it. And I see you've already gotten a ton of positive feedback for the photos, but I just wanted to add mine into the mix.

First of all, your comfort with your own body is amazing, beautiful, and inspiring. Seeing this over and over in your journal has made me feel almost guilty for not being the same way and has definitely given me pause about the way I think about myself. I'm impressed with anyone who can kick the habit of being addicted to societal norms, so I think you're an awesome human being.

Secondly, you're stunning. Just in case you didn't already know.

And thirdly, I had a dream very similar to yours about four or five years ago. not quite, but the sobbing, lack of forgiveness, and plastic surgery were all thre. Very eerie to see that someone else has the same stuff going on in dreamland.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.