Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mapping Body Images

I mentioned sometimes feeling dishonest on my blog because I usually only present stuff after I have worked through the uglier messes of getting everything to a somewhat presentable state. Some of you reassured me that I was probably doing what was right for me. I don’t know how many of you also keep a written journal, but I do, and that is where the nasty stuff gets recorded and unkinked before I ever post on the blog. It works for me.

I did not have a clear picture of what I wanted to do when I started blogging, which is probably quite normal, and I have been influenced in several different directions while never really settling on a single defined method or style of blogging. I know some people divide things out and have several blogs on different subjects, maybe having one blog for photos and one for art and yet another for writing. Some people do that with their written journals as well. In my real life, I am a master at living a divided life (which is not necessarily a good trait), but in my journals, and on my blog, everything gets mushed together and what it is, it is. I love my journal, I love my blog, but it would just be too much work to separate and categorize things out. That would take all the fun out of it.

The collage above is from my journal, put together on a good day. I am experimenting with painted backgrounds. I like smearing the paint around on the page. My friends had book suggestions, and they wrote them down for me. The background is the Google map I used to get from the condo to the hotel and then home, complete with the little red line showing me which path on the yellow brick road to follow! (Don’t we wish it was that easy all the time?!)

The collage below is one taken from a darker day, where I have allowed myself to ramble and explore a theme that is currently emerging in my life. I tend not to see some things (my own self, for instance) until I am smacked in the face with them, and when you have not seen certain friends in five or ten years, you start seeing your body in a different way, simply because you know the changes will be stark to someone who has not seen you in such a long time. I am pudgy, folks, too pudgy. I am ready to admit that, but not certain I am ready to do anything about it at the moment. I know the weight, which is concentrated around my middle, which is the worst place for it to concentrate, medically speaking, is a side effect of dealing with my stresses. The subject of someone’s weight is a sensitive issue, I know. I just find it paradoxical that people reassure me of how well I am handling things and yet, I look like I am nine months pregnant. Sometimes I wonder if I really have them fooled. Sometimes I wonder if they have made the connection between my rotund appearance and my secret coping skills, and they are just too uncomfortable to mention it. At any rate, I have made the connection, and I am the one who will have to take the action needed to make the correction.

Take the handwritten part with a grain of salt. I do, at times, allow myself to get overly dramatic when writing. It is part of the fun of writing for me. And I never tire of writing about myself as though I am talking about someone else!

And here, enjoy one more collage, a less “artsy” one, simply because the image of this big guy striking a delicate ballet pose makes me smile, as does the exuberant little girl in her bathing suit! The girl has no self-image problems, yet, and the guy seems comfortable enough with his own self-image to let it all hang out! My truth is that I am way behind these two when it comes to my own self-image. Two things I do not do well: I do not do “jubilant” well, and I certainly do not not "let it all hang out" well. It is one of those things I am learning to accept about my self. I will always be somewhat reserved, and that's probably okay, but the weight around the middle needs to go.


  1. "stillborn grief and anger" - how much of what I see around my middle is a similar carriage?

    Amazing too that you make that connection. I have watched myself and my friends' life circumstances grow and their weight proportionally and thought Oh man, but we usually don't see it for some time.
    What complex individuals we are.
    I like that you mix it all up.
    You have a very groovy blog.

  2. me too, annie, I journal to beat the band........have a couple going at's where I am comfortable....not on the computer. I just don't enjoy the typing process and for some reason, (mentally) I think things get lost in translation on this thing I like to refer to as "the box". I suppose I just feel awkward. Weighty issues......hmm..I am what some would call refugee thin.......:) and am on the receiving end of the "skinny" comments. I wasn't really aware of them, until my friend, who happens to be grossly overweight, pointed it I have a distorted body image....yes, very likely.....we all sublimate something......and food is something we can control, when much of our life is so out of control.....I just hear you loud and clear....I love your honesty.....

  3. I really like this. I admire the way you recognized the problem, but don't seem to be over-reacting to it. It seem healthy, I guess.

  4. Boy, Annie- you are so open and honest- thanks for sharing. I can identify with many of the things you said today, but one thing I can say is that I am working on being more exuberant... maybe grateful is a better word for me. Who am I kidding- I'm not exuberant! But grateful- I can be that...

  5. (((annie))) my transparent friend!

    i never thought about journaling the darker stuff - i type because i type faster than i can write. i do have journals but no scanner so i would never be able to upload, so everyone gets a glimpse of me how i pretty much am: warts & all.

    i love your art, your honesty, your connectedness to yourself. oh, to be the man in the ballet pose or the exuberant little girl!! i'd love to say "here i am - this is me - 30 pounds overweight and i love me just the way i am, glory to God!"

    but i am not there yet.

    glad to have such cool friends for the journey, however...

  6. elles sont trop belle les images!!!!!!!!!!! do you speak french????

  7. Annie -- I love the collages and the writing. Even the handwritten bit -- it wasn't overdramatic at all! (Isn't that what you called it?) I am starting to get that middle aged weight gain, except it is from finally being a bit more de-stressed (rather than dis-stressed!), as I tend to loose down to concentration camp size when things get really bad. Still, it is a body / mind issue just the same.


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