It's been more than a year since I've blogged and more than a year since I've given much time to this project. And now I'm about to get naked again which as an artist I find quite interesting and as me, an aging 46-year-old woman, I find quite stressful. The week before naked time is always weird.
One thing that is really going on for me is that my husband will see me naked and for him, of all people, I'd rather look different. This is a) my own shit and b) idiotic because, besides my kids, he is the only person who regularly sees me naked anyway. But I am furtively naked with Dave. I weigh 15 pounds more than before Sophia. My breastfeeding boobs are gone and my boobs are small and somewhat saggy. The boob to hip/thigh ratio is not what I would choose. A friend recently asked me if I was ten years older than my husband (I'm two years younger) and a lady, seeing me with Sophia, asked if I was her grandmother or great-grandmother. I seem to be bearing out the commonly held attitude that nature is not kind to women. And I suffer this.
I hate that I expend energy on this. My husband and kids love me. My husband desires me. This body created two beautiful beings. For me, this project is about learning to love myself. Fuck, it's hard work. I'm so not trained that way.
Another thing that is going on for me is that I feel like shit. I've written in the past about my illness. One thing I thought might happen with this project is that it would be a healing exercise for me. I still think that's true but what a fucking process. No instant healing catharses for this gal. My latest ailments include severe back ache, dizzy/fuzzy brain, fatigue and certain difficulties of the nether regions that I can't yet bring myself to write about.
Those of you lucky enough to have faith in the medical paradigm will be glad to know that I have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. No surprises there. Not much they can do (antidepressants are often prescribed; I have little faith in the worth of those drugs and many studies bear out my misgivings). I have been arriving at a not yet fully articulated, updated interpretation of my illness. First of all, I still understand it to be a whole-person/mind-body-spirit disorder. I also have some curiosity about the idea that there are some of us who are the "filters" of dysfunction, in other words either we feel it more or our bodies actually clear energy for the larger group. Anyway, I am coming to believe that my illness and struggles mirror the dysfunction of our times.
To try to explain... another thing that goes on for me, something that is very painful for me, is my invisibility and how little who I am is valued. This is difficult to write about because I presume I come across as some kind of egomaniac. But that is not my point. I believe I have awareness and wisdom that is completely underutilized. I am a mother who fully understands the beauty and sacredness of children and the mother-child bond. I live in a culture that has no interest in mothering the mothers. I am a contract teacher at the college (and sometimes at the U)--the absolute lowest on the ladder. I have no job security, no membership in the "club", no credibility without the right letters after my name, etc. Yet I am the kind of teacher who makes a difference in people's lives. I see so many simple ways that the education system could be improved--but they require changes in attitude.
As an artist, I chose to basically ignore the established route to be an artist because I believe first and foremost in nurturing creativity. I don't understand the bulldog grip the established art world has on focusing on the intellect (well, fundamentally, I'd say it's about being safe and avoiding too much emotion). As a woman, I'm expected to be hot, a good mother, a good wife and a successful something-or-other. My body with its menstrual cycles and post-childbirth, aging sagginess should not be discussed. As a person, I feel deep feelings about the atrocities of this world and the future for my children--again, not for polite company.
I am not alone in living with what I call this non-alignment. I don't think I'm even that unique as a person who is sick because of it. Maybe my take on it can make a difference for others. And as I work through it here, I hope I can arrive at more self-acceptance. I do feel like I am moving forward, slow as it seems.