Saturday, October 07, 2006

The aunties: Chapter one

It was Anne Lammott who named her thighs "the aunties" when she grew weary of trying to change them. This more affectionate, gracious approach struck a chord with me, since I confess I have openly and secretly hated my thighs for way too long.

It doesn't take a whole lot of expensive therapy to figure out how we get ourselves into these culturally condoned relationships of hatred. The economy must remain viable. The magazines must sell. Every month, we want new ideas on how to pummel our bodies to better suit our impossible standards.

I'd like to change.

The truth is, its not easy. My mother hated her body. Her sisters hated theirs. I grew up learning about the value of loving your neighbor, loving your enemies, loving God. But, somehow, it was okay to hate yourself?

My fragmented, and often diametrically opposed trains of thought often collide or hold shouting matches inside my aching head. I believe that our bodies hold wisdom. That if we never read stupid articles about what to feed them, or how much, and just listened, recognized, and acknowledged our sensations, we would know how to take care of ourselves-- ALL BY OURSELVES!

But: I live in fear of becoming potluck lady.

I want to think of my body as more of a vessel, and less of a symbol.

I must tread gently. The aunties, and the colliding trains of thought upstairs, are all sending me signals that perhaps I have exposed enough of them for now. I must care for this complex vessel, learn to listen to its subtlties more closely, learn to treat my aunties with the respect that they deserve.


Roo said...

growing up i never liked myself. i never accepted myself. not my name, my personality - NOTHIN'. it seemed the more i slide into this darkness the more weight i would gain and the more isolated i would become. circumstances in life fed this insecurity as well.


it's a long drawn out, though somewhat interesting story but to shorten it a tad....i had a revelation and i began to like me. not in a prideful, stuck up way, "i'm the bomb" kinda way. but in a freeing, i don't care anymore and i'm gonna be me kinda way. it was so fun. and healthy too.

i can't say i always remember to stay there but i am that i've "tasted the tea" - i want more.


Linda said...

"I grew up learning about the value of loving your neighbor, loving your enemies, loving God. But, somehow, it was okay to hate yourself?"
That is so true. I grew up with a mother who hated (and still hates)her body and that was okay. It was reading the chapter of the aunties in Travelling Mercies that began to change my thinking about my body.

Linda said...

Where did you find that picture? Unbelievable!

joyce said...

would you believe that's me?
Actually, I just found it on google...

andrea said...

That's not a real photo is it? I was scrolling slowly and reading so I saw the top half of the woman's body, wondering if it was an actual aunty or some such relative, then scrolled down a little and this unbidden "Holy Jeeez!" just popped out of my mouth. Maybe I have Tourette's.

You kill me.

Cherrypie said...

LOL - your Aunties were nothing like I expected them to be.

But how did you come across that picture of me? Thank goodness you didn't find the ones before I dieted!

Unknown said...

That picture made me sad for the woman with the rather large 'aunties'. How awful to have to lug those around every day.

I've tried lately to 'see' people, beyond their physicality. Does that sound odd? To see them as spiritual beings, sons and daughtrs of God and therefore more than the sum of their parts.

I''m new to your blog and I'd like to express my condolences on the loss of your brother. You are an amazing woman.

lettuce said...

The aunties - hahaha. Yes, the previous posts misled me too.

I'm not at all sure what to say really! Caught between "poor woman" and "good for her, she looks happy".

what a complicated thing our relationship with our body is - I don't think I know anyone for whom thats not true.

Roo said...

nice to meet your pumpkins in person. their even cuter in real life. :)
i could only see your shadow in the window..because of the sunshine. were you sewing?

joyce said...

Ruth-- I look forward to hearing more about that part of your journey. I can't believe that someone as beautiful and sweet as yourself would struggle with these nasty thoughts!

Linda- You have entertained and inspired more than just me- I have shared your post with others.

Andrea-- I was quite shocked to find her as well.

Cherry- I was just so pleased at how happy and contented you look!

Pamela-- well said. thank you. (though I must confess that if I ever actually met a real woman in thighs like that, I would find it EXTREMELY distracting!

Lettuce- that's it, isn't it? We've all been brain-washed, it limits our power to impact society way too much, and although we are aware of it, its a toss-up of whether we are really ready to accept potluck lady. I just think-- HOW could you be happy in thighs like that?! But, then I wish I were....

Romeo Morningwood said...

C' that photoshopped????
You would not believe how conflicted I am at this moment
don't do it..
Joyce I don't know how or where you got the photo of that lady but she ALWAYS sits right next to me when I go out to the movies...
thank goodness she has room on her lap for all of her nachos and doesn't hog the armrests..oh and she is polite enough to whisper while she is talking on her cell phone during those two hours that we 'share'.

Now if you will excuse me...