I’m your monster, I’m just like you

The lineup for Sydney Writer’s Festival was announced at around 6:30 tonight. I was so excited when I saw it I forgot I was cooking and burned dinner.

We’re all a bit on edge here tonight because of the storms. The air is still and feels thick with humidity and it’s given me a bit of a headache. The dogs, and Hannah in particular, feel like the world is ending.

It must be strange being a dog and not understanding why there is an animal growling in the sky.

I used the word hate last night to describe my relationship to health and exercise right now. Some comments on the post have made me think about that word today, and whether it was the right one to use.

I think my relationship with exercise runs parallel to the relationship I have with my body. And the relationship I have with my body right now is complicated.

I genuinely feel gratitude for the fact that it has carried me through a fuckton of pretty big challenges over the last few years. I’m not blind to the fact that others have faced just as scary health situations and their body hasn’t been able to carry them through to the other side of it. It’s sobering and I think about that a lot.

But the body I have right now feels broken. I feel some days like I am separate to it almost – there’s the corporeal version of me – the meat and bones – and the actual me. The actual me keeps pelting stuff at the meat-and-bones me like exercise and health and AIP Protocol diets and supplements and thyroid meds and sleep and it all just keeps bouncing off like my body is made of taunt, wound-up rubber. Completely impervious.

I’ve also had the questionable privilege of experiencing body dysphoria both ways. I’ve never felt like my fat body belongs in the world. Those of us who are past a certain size always feel that way. On buses and footpaths and couches and cinema chairs we’re always folding up in on ourselves, trying to will ourselves smaller. Then when I lost weight, I didn’t recognise myself in reflective surfaces and I was still apologising constantly for taking up space. Now that the weight is back, I feel a bit like I’ve had to re-learn what it’s like to take up this space. Learn again how it feels to walk into a room, into the gym, into a gathering of people.

The biggest issue, though? And one I’ve only been thinking about recently…

I don’t trust my body right now.

I don’t trust it to get me up off the ground when I squat. I don’t trust it to keep me balanced when I have a foot off the ground (or even with both bloody feet on the ground). I don’t trust it to not break a chair when I sit on it. I don’t trust that it will respond the way it should when I exercise in a certain way or eat a particular thing.

So yeah. Hate probably isn’t the right word. But I think the health and exercise stuff pushes up against parts of myself that I’m struggling with right now. It feels hard, because it’s forcing me to place trust and hope in my body.

But that’s the point, right?

Tonight I am grateful for the annual ritual of Sydney Writer’s Festival and the fact that every year in the middle of winter it gives me something to look forward to.

Something I like about myself today: I took a call from a client that I had kind of been dreading, even though I could have put it off. I did the adult thing and took the call and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Which is always the way these things go. I feel like as a person I am good at facing up to things generally. I’m usually the one in a group of people that’s hemming and hawing that says ‘God, let’s just get it over and done with.’

Less thunder tomorrow please.

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