Today I’m going to unwrap the body. My body. Maybe your body. At the risk of offending some, alienating others, disappointing a few, and uplifting at least one person, I’m gonna go there.
I’ve been pretty intensely engaged in body theory for the past several months. The kinds of questions asked in this realm of theory include, how do we think of our bodies? How do we experience our bodies? What is the significance of the lived body? The question I am most concerned with, however, involves the notion of the mind-body split: that is, does the body exist separately from the mind, and which is the “real” self? I can—and do—take these questions in long circles, usually ending up right where I started. But that’s the
beauty annoyance of theory…
And I know you’re wondering why the hell anyone would spend time on this. What’s the point, what will I do with it, and how can it be applied? And don’t worry, I ask myself these questions all the time. Actually, I look forward to joining the work force and engaging in theory as a hobby. Maybe one day I’ll go back to thinking full-time.
So then. Where do I start here? I’ll start with a question for you to consider: Do you ever feel a disconnect between the “real” you and the way you are perceived? Come on, EVER? Alright, I’ll go first: somehow I have come to be seen as some kind of ideal fit body. I have abs. I am often read as “pretty.” And this annoys the ever-living hell out of me. That is not who I am! See there? A disconnect between how I am seen on the outside, and the bookish, nerdy self I love on the inside. Mind-body split in action, baby.
But let’s focus only on the body for a moment. Any discrepancies there? Don’t most of us dress in a way that at least attempts to flatter our perceived good qualities and hide the things we don’t like about ourselves? The guy sitting beside me here in the coffee shop has no idea how many times in the past ten minutes I’ve had to adjust my jeans to avoid muffin top. (Just between you and me, I’m paranoid about this. Don’t lie, you have your own quirks! ) The woman across the room eyeing me for imperfections (the longer she looks, the better I’m doing, no?) has no idea I’m hiding a huge abdominal scar from childbirth. Bet she’d leave me alone if she knew! And let’s be honest ladies, how much time have many of us spent in our lives trying to alter the appearance of our breasts with push-up bras, binders, and strategic necklines? Because our bodies as they are simply will not do—our public images are very different than our bathtime images. Or at least, mine is. You don’t have to admit to yours. 😉
I’ve been reading an interesting book on body shame, and I’ve been considering how I feel about my own body and whether or not I suffer with shame. And of course I do. I’ve been thinking about how far I go to hide the things I don’t like. How aware I am of the way I’m perceived, and how guilty I feel for “tricking” everyone. (I mean really, push-up bras clearly have a job to do…) And how much of a hypocrite I feel for being all, “ra ra ra feelgoodaboutyourbody” on my blog while I still cry over scars and stretch marks in the privacy of my bathroom.
….And sometimes my car, but I digress…
And why on earth would I make this available to an unlimited number of strangers on the internet? Good question. I’ll probably regret this later. BUT I’m an idealist and I believe in the general good of the universe and our obligation to uplift each other. But I’m writing this because I am more than aware of the difference between the way I appear to others and the way I look in the unforgiving fluorescent overhead light of my bathroom. Or, unforgettably, in the light of the dressing room at Dick’s Sporting Goods (don’t try on clothes there. Just trust me).
I’m sharing this because I can do a lot more good by unwrapping my body for the encouragement of others than I can by hiding it and feeling silently sorry for myself and wondering if any “perfect” people out there feel the same way I do. How many other moms, fitness aside, have cried, “oh no I’ll never wear a bikini again…”? And while most of us recover, the loneliness of feeling like the only one with flaws is much more difficult to recover from. So…honk if you have a feature you go out of your way to hide or flatter, or if you feel the pressure of a body secret that you’d rather not everyone knew.
Today’s recipe is for my homemade energy balls:
2 cups whole oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup almond slivers
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup chopped dates
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl and set aside. Melt peanut butter and honey in a sauce pan, stirring constantly until it becomes a runny liquid. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and stir until all dry ingredients are well-coated. Form into one-inch balls and set onto cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until balls harden (I refrigerate mine over night).