The Rip Of The Cocoon
“I wonder if butterflies feel the rip of their cocoon. The way a woman breaks apart to bring her baby to life. I feel the rip. I can tell everyone everything I’ve told myself, true things, about why we have to go, and they believe me because I have sunk all my stocks in the honest line. Every sign points to the road. Is this the continuation of our demise, or is it the grit of metamorphosis? Are we about to emerge transformed by unemployment, fire, insanity, bad luck, and good business decisions? I feel a bit small. Maybe a little lost too.” (What I wrote on February nineteenth, this year, as we were selling our house to move to
One year ago this past week I had just found out that the reason I couldn’t walk after taking an unexciting fall at a friend’s house was because I had fractured my acetabulum* in five places. I had already been bedridden for two weeks, thinking it was just a pulled muscle (I’m obviously not an athlete or I would have known better). There was nothing they could do for a break like mine, so I didn’t walk for three months. I never took stronger pain pills than a steady dose of advil. Instead I chose to drink more beer. Lots and lots of beer. Beer is great for pain management. At least in the short term it is.
For a while I only worried about the lasting complications the broken hip might cause me (almost certain early arthritis in the hip, pain whenever I do high impact exercise, not being able to run), but as the months wore on and I continued to drink the same amount of beer, a new problem began to emerge. I got fat. (Beer is actually not the only culprit; lack of exercise- not my fault!, and plenty of comfort foods- mostly cheese, were also to blame.) I needed a lot of comfort long after I began walking, because by then we had a lot of other problems too. All of them led up to the decision, at last, to sell our house in
I felt that once we moved and settled in to our new life I would be able to ease off the drinking and comfort eating and really transform myself . I really thought I was going to experience a metamorphosis. Now that I have reached the one year anniversary of the day my body broke, I am frustrated to find that change is proving so damn difficult to make. I know what I have to do. I know the formula. I see what I want myself to become, I see in my mind exactly how much better I could be feeling. My self esteem is taking a pretty bad-ass beating being my current size, and being unable to resist the charms of beer every night, and lots of it.
Change is usually work. Often painful. Like giving birth. Like I imagine snakes feel when their old skin gets too tight for their growing body right before they have to inch themselves out and expose fresh skin to the harsh atmosphere. I know this. After all, wasn’t it hell all those months leading up to the move?
I don’t need to be thin. I kind of liked myself rounded out. I think most women need a little more flesh on their bones than they think looks good. When women get below their healthy weight (read: healthy- not fashionable) they start to look predatory, like Victoria Beckham. That woman scares the shit out of me. She has stopped looking like a woman and started looking more like a starved viper (do you think if she ate a mouse we would be able to see it sticking out of her belly?) But I’m sick of being fat. I have crossed the line by a few miles and I hate this road I’m on. Right now, for me to become comfortable with myself again, to feel my body follow my mind without noise, I will have to lose forty seven pounds. That’s a lot. And it takes so long for momentum to build enough to carry you through the tough moments.
It’s very difficult to keep my feet on my elliptical machine for long enough to make it worth while. But I’ve been doing it. I did my time just a short while ago and followed it up with sit ups and push ups (with the help of the fit ball) and forty eight lunges. While I was doing my lunges I experienced that rush of hope that’s counterbalanced by the inner calm that comes to me when I’m asking my body to do something difficult and it performs for me. The rush of hope comes when exercising feels good and I can remember what it felt like to be fit… and I look forward to more lunges. I look forward to a day when my body will show how hard it’s worked. I feel hope as little rushes of body chemicals get to my starved brain. Exercise FEELS GOOD.
As I did those lunges I flashed back to the lunges I did in fencing class, I remember how beautiful bodies can look while fighting. Lunging with a foil is elegant. It makes me feel fleet. Fleet is a word that haunts me. Dictionary description: fleet (2): adj. 1. swift, rapid 4. archaic a. to glide along like a stream
I want my body to glide along like a swift stream. I want to feel fluid and powerful like a rushing stream of clear water. I want so bad to hurl insults at what I am right now because it pales so drastically to what I wish to become, but I won’t. It’s time to stop making things worse by feeding negative thoughts about it to myself and everyone else. I’ve wanted to crawl out of my own skin since I broke my hip. It’s really important that I start to deal with this, because my life is so damn good now. All that holds me back from really moving on from the misfortunes that brought us to this wonderful new life is this erosion of my self esteem that began when I gained all the weight. I’m so tired of this tape playing in my head.
I’m terrified that I will- actually I’m too scared to say in print what I was about to say. I have always been a determined tenacious person. I work hard. I can focus on the task at hand and get it done. (That was mostly pre-parenthood, actually.) I’ve got the strength to accomplish this goal, I just have to figure out how to tap into it again. Fleet is a beautiful word. I will dream it tonight. Boats, sanded and sleek, cutting through dark water.