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Friday, August 6, 2010

Pinafore does not rhyme with metaphor, it just shares the same phonetic word ending.

Jason once told me I am one of the most self-aware people he knows.

Self-awareness indicates an awareness of oneself as an individual or of one's own being and actions and thoughts, and at the time I thought it funny he should remark upon that because I certainly did not feel self-aware in the least. I was trying to figure out just how I had been affected by dissociation and what the results would be of integration. My memories were cognitive rather than emotional, and at times seemed like stories of another person which touched me not at all. I was experiencing feelings I had not acknowledged before, learning how to cry, and wondering how people fit into my life. I had no idea who I really was.

Today I am whole, I suppose. It has been more than two years since I began the integration process, more than one year since it was finished. There are still moments when I ache for the simplicity of being able to release myself from the person who has endured my past, to become someone new, to define myself in terms of my present only. Last week I told Tolkien Boy I still don't want to be the little girl who was raped; the one who grew up being told by her mother she was worthless, offensive, unwanted; the one who learned to disregard physical pain because she had become accustomed to daily beatings and sometimes nightly ones, as well; the young woman who battled anorexia; the grown woman who has learned to love that same mother, to forgive past offenses, but must still acknowledge the long-term damage she lives with daily. There are still many days when being Samantha overwhelms me.

During my stay with Tolkien Boy last week, he commented that people are always telling me I'm beautiful, but in his opinion, I have weird feet--they are not beautiful. My toes, apparently, are too short for beauty. It made me giggle for a number of reasons:

1. People are not always telling me I'm beautiful. This is completely a figment of Tolkien Boy's imagination. The closest thing we have encountered to TB's delusion happened a few days ago at a Seattle bus stop, when a drunk, homeless man asked TB how I became so pretty. It's a bit difficult to use this incident as credible evidence supporting TB's claim.
2. My feet are ridiculously small, even for someone of my short stature. I've known this all my life.
3. I had a feeling this conversation was coming, as TB had commented a few day previously that the nails on my small toes were very tiny. I pointed out that they covered the available surface area admirably. It's difficult to be a large toenail if the toe part is not very big.
4. I think feet, in and of themselves, are unattractive and have never been inordinately fond of how they look.
5. Beneath TB's words there seemed to lie a concern that I might, somehow, become caught up in all those comments people send my way which tell me I'm beautiful. Fortunately, my feet (not beautiful) would somehow temper my tendency to become conceited.

Given the fact that the first part of point five DOES NOT HAPPEN, I'm unlikely to become conceited in the first place, which just makes remarking on my not beautiful feet seem a bit unnecessary. Coming from anyone but Tolkien Boy, I might take exception to it, but because we pretty much say whatever is on our minds in a given moment, I suppose I have to allow the comment without feeling rancor.

However, as we talked and laughed about my feet, I realized that TB's mistaken impression of my physical persona is very much an accurate metaphor for my real self. As much as I try to bring beauty into my life, as I recognize it, crave it, talk of it, at the bottom of what makes ME are the misshapen stubs upon which I stand--the parts of me I cannot change or grow or make beautiful in any way. They are fixed in their size and forever unattractive. No matter how pink or sparkly I paint the nails, I am simply decorating the dross.

That being said, those small feet of mine have run countless miles, allowing me to expel pent up emotion and anxiety. They rarely ache or cause me pain, and they wear cute shoes exceedingly well. They're well-muscled and support my body as I walk and run. They've never been injured or broken. And one time, one rare but treasured time, someone very special to me who has long slipped into my past, touched those feet of mine, stroked and caressed them, declared them lovely--and I allowed it. In spite of touch phobias, and fear of people and commitment, and all the other nasty remnants carried by those who experience rape and abuse...I let someone I loved touch the skin of my feet, and it was okay.

It gives me a small sense of hope that one day someone will see that ugly, misshapen part of me--the things that have happened which I cannot change--and that person will still wish to touch that part of me and perhaps find among the nastiness and horror, one tiny part which can be declared lovely.


  1. I thought it was TB who only thought metaphorically about random things said to him.