Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Body love

I feel sympathetic to some of the reticence and aversion to body love projects. I know it sounds like I'm having a dose of being contrary for its own sake, but how I feel when I hear this is like someone who has eaten something until they are so sick of it that they feel queasy whenever they look at it.

We have an emotional underpinning of positive feeling for our bodies which perfectly reasonably be called "love". I suppose this is a case of feeling the imprecision of language. That base is there and remains there, no matter how people brag about their body loathing or their complex and interesting ambivalence toward it.

If that feeling was not there, its unimaginable that it could ever really come close to going, they would be pretty messed up physically and mentally, in fact, I'm not sure how they'd be able to move or think. It is the start of all those things and is about the functioning of our pleasure systems centered in the nervous system. That's probably why a little body loathing takes such a toll on the mind-whether that is obvious or not-it shows up this overall background of positive feeling we have for ourselves. And yes, it probably is a little for the reasons I've stated, it just feels like a lot.

The impact of negativity is due to that contrast, not because your often surface loathing is the whole story, which is what we tend to think.

Yet again what is most conscious and obvious to us we blithely assume to be the be all of how we feel and the command centre of everything, when often it is just a little part of an overall process, and sometimes hardly the most important.

Rather like we think our eating is all conscious control because we happen to be aware of part of it. At times we are achingly dim.

There is an absence of hate-I was going to say we tend to learn this, but that's not the whole story. When we feel bad- either because we are made to about ourselves, or we endure physical pain, not just assault, but pain from injury, illness etc., our minds have a tendency to link this to us being bad people.

Sometimes its a way of surving mentally especially, if inexplicably bad and terrible things are happening to us that we cannot explain, it is the gap between that and our sense of innocence and why me? In contrast with what is happening to us which threatens to tear our minds apart. Such is the level of that risk that our minds may feel its the lesser of two evils for us to feel like we are bad people, so that the badness can be tolerated and survived.

Although its clearly supposed to be a temporary conceit until we can sort through the events and our reactions, it often gets a powerful grip of our psyche and can cause more pain that the actual events.

I wonder if that link between hurt and badness is the root of why morality and moralising can become so primitively deranged with such ease.

We may try to save ourselves using the dualistic mind/body construct, channelling and storing unprocessessed bad feeling/ self hate more to one or the other. Keeping it penned in until we can deal with it, trying to keep it from taking the whole of us down in the meantime.

My feeling is that you don't have to love your body, although it may be just what you need to achieve balance. Sometimes you have to veer in a complete other direction altogether until that momentum shifts you from where you don't want to be to where you do.

As long as you don't or cease hating your body, you can check how you feel then, hopefully that underlying base will come through, which is what I'm looking for. You don't have to go all out to love your body if it doesn't feel right.

Equally, you don't have to hate your body either even if it does.

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