The Absence of Shame

Earlier today I found this article via a friend (Jen Desmarais of Jeneric designs) and it got me thinking.  I imagine it had the effect on most people who read it, going by the comments.  It talks about body image and self-acceptance.

This is a particularly evil demon for me on several counts.

The first is weight.  In the last several years I’ve gained a lot of weight.  I am most certainly *overweight*. And while I’d like to go on about how it doesn’t matter because I’m fit and healthy, the fact of the matter is, that’s very likely not true.  Not if my body fat percentage or my ability to run without losing my breath is any indication.

It matters to me because it makes me feel unattractive.  It affects my self-image.  And it doesn’t matter that for the most part the weight gain is a side-effect of antidepressants.  It’s technically “not my fault”, and yet I’d give anything to be thin like I used to be.

I won’t lie; I resent my tiny, thin, fit friends sometimes, which isn’t good of course.  We are all cursed in the same way, we all have our own body image issues.  But damn I miss having a flat stomach and small thighs.  I miss being able to shop in regular stores instead of plus sized stores.  I miss feeling put together instead of lumpy and frumpy.

But I’m trying to do something about it, so at least there’s that.  But I worry that I could fall into a pattern of just not eating to get the weight off.  It’s a demon that lurks in the background despite all knowledge and logic telling me that is NOT the way to go.

So instead I joined Weight Watchers.  Again.  I downloaded the Pact app – which charges you $5/day for each day you miss at the gym. I wear my fitbit religiously.  I imagine myself as Starbuck, needing to be fit and in shape to be a badass.

I’m doing my best, like a lot of us are.  And it’s still hard.

My other body image issue is my disability.  I have Cerebral Palsy.  Yes, I talk about it a lot.  It’s had a huge impact on my life in a multitude of ways.

For the longest time it never bothered me.  I never gave it a second thought.  When I was a kid others would ask why I “walked funny” but I had no concept of that because I had never seen myself walk.  Until I did.

I think it was grade 7 or 8, I have no idea what it was for but we were being videotaped for something and the video was played back for us.  And when I saw myself walking for the first time I almost cried. I felt I lacked all grace.  I walked like Igor, and looked like a monster (and no, please don’t chime in here with how you “never even noticed” because while that’s great and all, not what the post is for).

I still can’t stand to watch myself on tape.  I simply refuse to if I can. I know I look like I’m drunk when I walk (as any number of bars).  It bothers me that much.  I don’t want to cry over it anymore, but it’s not something I celebrate.

My therapist once asked me if I go to Pride, and if so, why do I go?  And I responded that because as a queer woman I was proud of who I am and what I had fought through to get where I am today.  And then he asked me one simple question: Why don’t I feel that way about my disability?

I couldn’t answer him.  And it occurred to me in that moment that I was ashamed to have a disability.

I have vowed to work on that.

And if I cannot have pride in what I have overcome, at least I can have the absence of shame.


Me & Adam Duritz

I’m going to see the Counting Crows this Sunday with my best friend Matt, and I am incredibly, incredibly excited.

You see, there’s something about the Counting Crows that means more to me than most bands, their songs have meant so much to me at various points in my life.  So allow me now to give you, dear reader, a tour.

Mr Jones

Mr. Jones is where everyone starts, and rightfully so. It’s the first song by the Counting Crows that I heard. I remember first hearing it in high school, probably introduced to me by one of my friends, Amanda, Kate or Darla. It’s surprisingly upbeat musically for a song with such melancholy lyrics.

We all want something beautiful
I wish I was beautiful

A Long December

This song was my obsession during december of my first year of university.  You see, I had finally come out to my best friend, who was also gay, and confessed my feelings of love for her.  We got together, but december — christmas break specifically — terrified me because I was convinced her feelings for me would change and she’d break up with me.  Sadly, I was correct, but december was a very, very long month.

A long December and there’s reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

Anna Begins

And after the breakup, this became my obsession, mostly because of this particular lyrics:

It does not bother me to say this isn’t love
Because if you don’t want to talk about it then it isn’t love
and I guess I’m going to have to live that
but, I’m sure there’s something in a shade of gray
or something in between

One of my favourite songs to this day.

Goodnight Elisabeth

See above, re: first girlfriend, who’s first name, technically, was Elizabeth.

I was wasted in the afternoon
Waiting on a train
I woke up in pieces and Elisabeth had disappeared again

Have You Seen Me Lately

From a time when I was falling into a depression and trying to find my way back out, this song said it all for me.  Only like the slow, accoustic version though.

You got a piece of me
But it’s just a little piece of me
And I don’t need anyone
And these days I feel like I’m fading away


Oh the troubles of adulthood and What Life Means.

I first heard this in Verona, Italy, sitting under a tree in the sunshine.

Oh can you see me?
I am one in a million
Yeah, I’m Icarus falling
Out of the sun


There are many other counting crows song I like.  Tons.  But these are the ones that stay with me more than the rest.  And I hope I hear them Sunday.