I've been pondering, since receiving Hyde's comments yesterday, a particular pattern that I have. You see, I was somewhat stunned by the idea that Hyde had gotten that I was feeling worse about my body since I'd started to see S. This did not fit my experience, nor did I think that that's how I'd been conveying things on this blog.
HippyChick will attest to the fact that I've struggled with body image issues for as long as she's known me. But, of course, they go back so much farther than that, as the previous posting I linked to shows. So why, I wondered, was that only seeming to come across now, when I am having a much better relationship with my body and my internalized image of it?
I then realized that this is what I do. Things that feel really painful to me, and which might open me up to vulnerability, I don't share with others. HC and I had a discussion about this after I talked about my drinking on this blog. I don't know why it is so hard, but it is. It's actually a conundrum in my therapy because there I sit being asked to share painful secrets with a stranger. I feel like shit afterwards, most often. S was suprised to hear that I, a therapist, don't enjoy my own therapy.
This blog has allowed me to practice opening up, but even so has had its painful moments, as well. That post on my history with my body took me at least two hours to write, and the process of posting it felt terrifying.
I'm going to modify what I said above...I do know why it is so hard. I grew up in a household where, unless they were good or happy, one did not express many feelings. If you expressed anger or sadness and it had anything to do with my father, he would devolve into a self-castigating martyr, leaving you with the pain that you were expressing plus a whole gooey pile of guilt. Beyond that, I actually remember times when my feelings of sadness or empathy for the pain of others was ridiculed or told was wrong to have. Not conducive to creating openness of expression. This is why I told Hammer that intimacy is always going to be an issue for me.
S recently asked me how I experienced intimacy between us during sex. I was stumped by the question. And I think I now know why: I often don't realize that I'm experiencing intimacy unless it is accompanied by fear - but there is never fear when I have sex with S. It feels so safe with him (even from our first time) and has come so easily that I don't know to express this as a profound happening. (AHA! moment alert)
I've wandered a bit away from my point, which is this: my sense of why I've been talking more about my body and my self-esteem and what are normally viewed as painful issues is because they no longer feel painful for me. Yes, there are things that make me mad with regard to my size, but it feels like a good anger and it is not self-directed. This would also explain why I feel more comfortable right now with pursuing issues of single women as a practice focus, but when I wasn't in a relationship with someone the idea was so yucky.
Ah, the joys of living my experience!