Sunday, January 18, 2015

Work In Progress

A guy I was dating recently admitted to me that he has watched porn. The topic came up because we were talking about things we've given up for Lent in the past. He said he gave up porn for Lent a few years ago after watching the movie "Don Juan". "Good for him," I thought, and then moved on. But that admission of his has come back to haunt me on several occasions.

One of those occasions was last night. I could feel in my body tension and anxiety, but wasn't completely sure why. Instead of ignoring it, I decided to dig in to see what it was. As I started peeling back the layers, I realized that it was anxiety about his porn admission and insecurities about my body.

If he's watched porn in the past, does he still watch it now? 

Did he give it up completely starting in Lent, or did he go back to it after Lent was over?

What does he think of my body? 

I can dress up nice enough and flatter my figure, but what if he were to see me in a bathing suit? 

What would he think of the jiggly thighs, flappy arms, and belly pooch? The tummy that will always have extra skin no matter how many crunches I do?

My body will never be like a model's, super model or otherwise. I've gained and lost weight several times over the years. My skin may never shrink back. I have stretch marks. And on good days I can look in the mirror and say to myself, "I look damn good. I'm proud of how I look now." I feel comfortable in my own skin.

...But what does HE think? I feel afraid that he will compare my body to other women, porn stars, models, or even the girl at the next table. I feel afraid that I will always have this fear. Will I ever be comfortable enough in my own skin that I won't question what my man thinks of my body?

I cried a lot over these questions and fears last night. And today I read this article on Huffington post (read it here) that really resonated with some of the things I'd been thinking and feeling. Here's an excerpt:

After losing half my body weight, I somehow thought that life would get easier. Somehow, I thought that all of this would be easier. But as it turns out, it's harder. It's more frustrating and far more painful living in this body than it ever was living in my 300-pound one.
...Losing the weight doesn't necessarily fix anything. And losing that much weight doesn't necessarily land you in a bikini body, either. I have back fat. I will probably always have back fat. I don't have the money to undergo a full plastic surgery reconstruction and I'm not sure I'm vain enough to undergo such a procedure if I did. So at the moment, this is me. This is my body. This is my back fat. And this is my arm fat, and waist fat and butt fat.

I didn't lose half my body weight, but I lost about 100 pounds- a very significant amount. I thought some things in life would get easier. And I was right, some things did. And some things didn't, which I knew would happen, too. I just didn't realize this would all be so hard and result in so many tears. The blog article's author's story isn't completely like mine, but I "get" a lot of what she was saying.

I know dating is hard. All relationships are hard. The first few months were great. He seemed practically perfect. I knew we would discover each other's faults. I knew at some point I would come down from Cloud Nine and rejoin the real world, no longer looking through rose-colored glasses.  Is that what this is- taking the glasses off and putting my feet back on solid ground?

I know at some point I'll have to talk with him about the porn if we are to have a relationship. I know I'll have to keep addressing my body-image issues. Tears are very close to the surface here. These are hard issues and are scary (and everything seems worse at night, as my mom often says). Praying for peace- John 14:27 (27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.).

This will be a work in progress. This body acceptance. This blog post. This issue about his porn viewing, if I decide to see him again. This life is a work in progress.

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