Losing the Body Fantasy: Guest Post

By Marsha Hudnall
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We’re delighted to have Mara of Medicinal Marzipan here this week, participating in our special week on Mastering Binge Eating, Compulsive Eating & Emotional Eating with Dr. Carolyn Coker Ross.  Medicinal Marzipan is about body image and authentic living, both big issues for many of us who struggle with eating and weight.  Following is a post she wrote as a result of yesterday’s programming.  She has graciously agreed to let us re-post it here.

 Feeling good in your body | Giving up body fantasy and feeling freeI am going to assume that I was not the only little kid, teenager, or, adult to fantasize about what it would be like to live in a body that wasn’t the one that I was living in.

The body that I imagined myself in was effortlessly thin. She was so gorgeous, and her skin was always clear. She wore clothing like they were gracing her with their presence, as though they had just fallen onto her body looking that perfect and pulled together. It wasn’t just her body either, she was seriously cool. She had tattoos that delicately dressed up her perfectly pigmented skin, and hair that people would just die for. She was smart. She was eloquent. She was unbelievably charismatic.  She was effortlessly successful in every endeavor that she dipped her little toe in, because her smile was enough to make you pull out your wallet.

Sometimes, still, as an adult, I will catch myself fantasizing idly about how she would be dressed or what she would be doing, or, more importantly, how much better my life would be once she just hurried up and replaced me.

Equally important is how my vision of myself was understood in direct contrast to her obvious perfection. Next to her, I was basically nothing at all. Next to her, my skin was blotchy and my hair was lackluster. Next to her,  I was awkward and painful in my abrasiveness. Next to her, I was enormous, bumbling with the grace of an elephant in a very small room.

Just about enough to make you hate yourself, right?

Yep.

If you’ve been kicking around her a while, you will know that I often say that I was about twenty-two when I took my first breath. Up until that point, my life was locked up in an airtight room with life size photos of her on every wall – my every day existence taken up almost entirely with thinking about how my life would begin once she arrived to take my place.

One of the most painful things that I have ever gone through has been the slow and arduous process of realizing that she wasn’t going to ride up and save me from my life.

We talk about grief in regards to losing those that we love or having to give up possessions or places by necessity of circumstance. Less often, you will hear people talking openly about the grief that they experience at having to give up a notion of themselves that they clung to for dear life.

I hope that you will understand when I tell you – I clung to her for dear life because she was going to save me from all of my hatred and loathing and self-imprisionment. She was going to bring me a lover. She was going to find me a job. She was going to help me get dressed in the morning.

And I could chalk up every single disappointment or hurt to the fact that she hadn’t come yet – but she was on her way.

And so, during that time, I was saved the hurt and horror of feeling rejection and disaster and turmoil, because this wasn’t my real life, not yet, not until she got here.

I don’t think that I have to tell you that I’m 26 and she hasn’t come yet.

No one is going to ride in on a horse to save me from myself.

No one is going to magically make me ___________.

No one is going to protect me from my self-destructive tendencies.

I remember the slow process of grieving her loss, and I missed her like a best friend. I missed her like watching the that best friend tell me I wasn’t worth the effort and spin on her heel to walk away.

But, in her absence, I have to tell you – I found that am beautiful.

No, I am not saved, but without her to compare myself to – I’m not always failing.

Without her, I was able to step out of the shadow I had created for myself.

Sometimes, I feel like I notice her quickly in a mirror or window, or I feel the hole that she’s left in my consciousness, but on the whole, I’m so fucking glad that she’s gone.

Because, without her? I am good enough, exactly as I am.

7 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Rachel Peterson says:

    I wept when I read this… it is BEAUTIFUL. And it speaks to women everywhere – of all ages. thank you.

  • Cindy says:

    Quite a revelation at only 26. For some of us it took much longer. Thank you for sharing that with all of us.

  • kate says:

    thank you thank you! could it be true?? i suspect it is…i am 37 and only just beginning to realise this !

  • Lara says:

    Wow I can totally relate. I think it’s impossible in our culture for us not to assume that we will somehow be magically saved if we could just find a new body. Usually one like the picture in the latest magazine or diet book. I mean, as women, we’re taught to look outside of ourselves for ideas of beauty and lovability. So it only computes then that we’d come to believe replacing the body we don’t like would be the answer to our problems. And so the journey continues to love the one we got… :-)

  • Marsha says:

    Thanks for your comments, Rachel, Cindy, Kate & Lara. Mara definitely hit the nail on the head with this post.

  • Beverly Dame says:

    My goal is to be so involved with my life that I don’t worry about my weight… Have finally (at age 67) come totally at peace with my hair.

    Life doesn’t get transformed when you lose weight. Just heard a woman in a writers group say that for the past five years she has weighed herself every morning. She keeps a record in a special notebook.

    I’m giving away my scale at this year’s rummage sale. My life cannot be measured by one number.

  • Marsha says:

    Amen, Beverly. But tell me, what’s the secret for coming to peace with your hair? LOL

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