Thursday, March 10, 2005

I can feel it in my bones

So, before I got all distracted by the car smashing into the guardrail, sailing through the air and rolling onto the roof, I had it in mind to talk skeleton with you.

I was leaning against a wall in a hotel suite, watching Taco lose his voice while filling in as host when the extremely erratic fiddle player (and though Cape Breton may well be full of such people, this one was an American import, no less) quit in a fit of pique in the middle of the night, when it occurred to me that I could feel my shoulder.

Like, feel the bone, as it leaned against the wall.

Please don’t get me wrong. My bones are not particularly prominent these days. But they are more so than they have been in many years. And I am at last living a bit in my body instead of entirely in my head, enough so that I actually notice things like being able to feel my bones.

With each centimetre of padding I shed, I get a little closer to the surface. In many ways, this scares the holy hell out of me, having arranged my life lo these many years in such a manner as to be protected from things like the surface. So there I was, leaning against the wall, feeling my bones. I remarked on it to Taco, and said, you skinny people, you must just get hurt all the time.

We looked at each other for that kind of split second when you realise you’ve penetrated right to the heart of your particular matter. No, he said, no more than anyone else does. And then he went back to losing his voice on stage, and I stood there, confronting the possible reality that I have made myself fat to avoid injury. Ihave surrounded myself with layers that I thought would keep me safe.

Which is funny, for a couple of reasons. I probably sustain more physical injuries because of my size. Creaky knees, weak ankles, back pain. All brought upon myself by my negligence.

And funny too because, as it turns out, carrying extra weight has in no way kept me safe. My brother died, no matter how fat I got, and while he was dying I was reaching my all-time high weight. I was trying to remember this morning if it was a size 22 or size 24 dress I wore to his funeral. The former, I think, but I can’t be sure. In any event, the flesh I’d accumulated around me, the flesh that required such a large dress in no way protected me from the pain of his death. Nor did it do anything to soften the blow of my father’s passing. Nor has it assuaged any number of hits to the heart I’ve sustained over the years. It hasn’t kept me from feeling stressed out, offended, aggrieved, broken, alone, tired, fed up, annoyed, depressed or exhausted. As a coping mechanism, in fact, it has been a complete and total bust.

Thanks for nothing, fat.

And so I welcome the still-too-rare feeling of bone against wall. More of that, I say. Naturally there’ll be days marked by pain, emotional or physical. Of course there will be. The human condition and all that. But at least it won’t be self-inflicted. At least I’ll feel that pain and know I’m strong and safe on my own merits.


Blogger chaos said...

Hi Steph, this is my first visit to your blog and I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your writing. Congratulations on the positive changes you have made and good luck on the rest of your journey. This is a great post, by the way, the realization of bones is very cool indeed. And the idea of you coming to the surface with is interesting.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Kerri said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Fat masquerades as such a warm, soft, safe cocoon, but really it's just, well, fat.

Congrats on your emerging boniness :)

11:39 PM  

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