I spent much of my teens and the early part of my twenties pretty much entirely disconnected from my body. I felt like a floating head. I would only look in mirrors at myself above the shoulders and was so far removed from my love of fashion that I hardly gave it a thought. I wore mostly blue jeans or corduroys and plaid flannel shirts back then, all loose and/or ill fitting. My hair was long and wavy and loose or pulled back into some claw-clip. I didn’t wear make up except for the occasional lip gloss. I didn’t “do” or paint my nails…I just existed.
I existed almost entirely in my head back then, too. Not just in the disembodied way of not being connected to my whole self, but quite literally. Sure, I worked and even sometimes enjoyed my jobs, but I was not living a life of my choosing and it seemed such a thing was utterly impossible for me, then. Every aspect of my daily life was controlled by my abuser from ages 14-19. Everything from what I wore to how I drove to work and what I ate and drank. This was not my choice, he was not my choice and I’d tried several times to leave/escape, but even the authorities wouldn’t help me and I grew more and more fearful for the lives of my family due to my abuser’s threats.
I think I disconnected from my body at first as a defense mechanism. As though somehow the pain of his blows wouldn’t hurt so much if I stayed up inside my head. I guess that worked in some ways. It also explains why I didn’t have as much body shame/hate as many other fats I have met. My abuser tried to shame me for gaining weight, but I just didn’t care anymore by then. I had given up on myself and on life. I fantasized about being saved by some idiotic ex-boyfriend who never truly gave a shit about me either (hindsight and all).
It took so long and so many baby steps along the way to really find and reconnect with my body again. I’m about to turn 35 and I have never felt more inside my entire body than right this moment. The last three years were the hardest and most rewarding of my life both in the broader scheme of things as well as my own body acceptance. While I was living a life of my own choosing, I still wasn’t clear on what sort of life I wanted. I didn’t know that I was so disconnected until I wasn’t. Does that make sense?
I’d given up dancing all together about 12 years ago. I used to go out dancing with friends and even dragged to a goth club in San Francisco with my protest on my part. But I fell in love instantly! I fell for the diversity of the bodies and fashion and music there. I began to go on my own when my friends were busy. I didn’t care. I knew that no one would look at me weird for being fat, awkward and all. I danced and tried to look like I knew what I was doing, though I totally didn’t. I began to mimic others’ style of dance and just sort of got lost in the beat when I couldn’t.
Then I met my husband. I took him and his best friend to the goth club once. His friend danced a bit, but B just stood against the wall. He hated it. I never made him go again and I think I only went once or twice after that night. Years later my friend J & I would go every six months or so to a local one, but it wasn’t the same. I felt like I belonged there even less than my first time back when. The music wasn’t as good or interesting as the old place and the diversity of bodies was missing, too. Oh sure, I’d dance in my kitchen from time to time, but over all I stopped dancing.
Last year a couple of awesome fatties took me out dancing in Oakland at FFE’s Full Figured Friday and I had a great time! I was surrounded by awesome fat bodies, dancing and gyrating and looking soooo very sexy! I felt awkward at first, but soon stopped giving a shit…I was DANCING!!! I started to go to that same club with them more often and pretty much any chance I had. I was there for no other reason than to dance! I loved it!
We eventually started to check out another “BBW” club closer to home and had such amazing times there. We’d bitch about the music and the DJ and the douchebags du jour, but we always laughed our asses off and then danced our asses off! They had themed nights and we did our best to keep up with it all, it was fun! We took pics of our outfits and made acquaintances with the regulars there. We took belly dance classes with Raks Africa and dropped in on the free day of dance with Big Moves Bay Area. I have never felt more inside every cell of my body than I do now. I fill it with love and acceptance. I care for it and am mindful of how I’m feeling. I dance as often as I can, though not nearly as much as I’d like.
Sadly, when a friendship ended, I gave up going to that “BBW” club and lost my clubbin’/dancin’/drinkin’ companion as well. It’s been very difficult for me on many levels, but I do miss dancing the most. I go where and when I can now, but it’s not been as fun or as positive an experience as before. A close friend asked if the possibility of not persuing a friendship with this person, but somehow remaining clubbin’/dancin’/drinkin’ companions could work out. I explained that I didn’t think that that was possible. Adult friendships are difficult and confusing, yo, what can ya do?
I have new friends, but they are so spread out all over the damned world that all I can think of is a virtual fatty dance party via google+ hangout or something. Would you attend such a thing? We could come up with a play list and share it so we’d all hear the same songs. I don’t know, sounds rad, but who knows. As for my local friends? They rarely have the time or interest in going out dancing with me. It seems there is always some obstacle or obligation getting in the way. But I will keep on dancing, because I love it so!