How I’m learning to love my body

This is a rather spontaneous splatter of thought so bare with me!

First of all, allow me to explain my mentality, which I am trying to crawl my way out of.

When I’m about to have a meal, I create a mental image of how its contents are going to become a percentage of my body fat. Whilst I’m eating, I’m constantly ‘measuring’ my waist with my hands to observe how bloated the meal makes me. If my stomach goes past a certain size, I stop eating. I used to call this ‘mindfulness’. I’m not satisfied, but hey, still lean after eating, so I guess that’s how it works! Before having another meal, I look at the mirror constantly to see if my body deserves another meal by being thin enough. If it is, hurray! Dinner! If not, oh well, a biscuit and tea will do.

I am not going to get into detail about how I got to this point, that won’t help anyone. All I know is that this is not healthy and I project this utterly abusive behaviour onto loved ones by counting their calories as well as mine. However, I’d like to share how I’m learning to get out of this mindset, and that is by practicing this kind of…detachment.

My body is the way it is because I lost a lot of weight since I’ve been a teenager. In the culture I’m from, you’re almost applauded for this kind of an ‘achievement’. Therefore, I obtained a strange sense of pride. I made a conscious decision to not ascribe pride to my weight. Pride is already a ridiculous notion on its own, let alone when it is gained through something demeaning. Instead of thinking ‘I’m proud…’ I now think ‘I’m happy…’ and I am happy for a healthy body. I have been blessed with a sturdy physique that, in my eyes, makes my body look strong. Perhaps it’s my Taurus ascendant…that would explain the stereotypical ‘plump’ Venusian features, but this is not an astrology post – I’ll note it down for another one though.

Another form of this detachment is not looking at food relatively to your body, i.e. I no longer try to wrap my hand around my upper arm after eating pizza. That’s not how food works, it’s not like a bagel will be directly transported onto your thighs.

I look at my arms as tools to carry my belongings and I no longer spend my time obsessively looking at them in the mirror three times a day in order to see if I can still see my bones. I look at my legs as a form of transportation! They get me from A to B. I no longer try to measure by how much my thigh gap becomes narrower if I decide to spend the day indoors and not do any squats. I look at my abdomen as…an abdomen? It keeps my two halves in tact, I suppose. I hope you get the gist.

Beware though, that by ‘detachment’ I do not mean ‘ignorance’. I learned how to listen to my body. If my stomach starts growling, I’m hungry. If I have a headache, I’m probably dehydrated. If I feel somewhat feeble, it means it’s time for a nice walk or some other pleasant form of movement. I am slowly discovering what my body likes and dislikes. I no longer try to have a complete control over it. Instead, I established a healthy form of communication between my physical and mental well-being. And it is incredibly rewarding! It gave me a sense of freedom from judgement – especially my own judgement, which I deemed as someone else’s way of looking at me.

In not a very conclusive conclusion, I’m off to make dinner. I will have more intelligent things to say about this as I will keep on learning.

Please love yourselves, because it’s only your own love that is truly fulfilling.~

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on reading

I have started reading when I was 5. I remember my mum taking me to the library for the very first time and for me it was an ultimate wonderland. The first book I remember laying my hands on was ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and it was in English. Now, at that time the only language I knew was Lithuanian, so the librarian kindly pointed that out to me.

I’ve been a regular visitor of the library. It was my favourite place in town. We’ve moved a lot and in every place, I found a nearby library no matter where we went. I wanted to be a librarian at one point. There was something about being surrounded by books all day long that fascinated me.

Reading is one of those things I stuck to throughout my entire life. I loved reading then, I love reading now. There is something about waking up in your bedroom, picking up a book and suddenly being somewhere far away with the travellers or adventurers and then picking up another book and having a conversation with a philosopher or a scientist about what the future holds. You go to numerous places, you meet numerous people who may even become your close friends and most importantly you learn.

I remember how me and my best friend used to make a trip to a local library every now and then; we would pick our books, go back to her place, make ourselves some tea, sit on a sofa and read for hours. Two of us were in different places with different characters despite being right next to each other. Then we would compete who could read more pages…

Reading is crucial to our intellectual well-being. Whether we read novels, or encyclopaedias, we learn how to speak eloquently and how to think creatively. Reading was crucial for my mental well-being; it kept me sane at the moments when I thought I’d lose it. Reading is not something to be taken for granted; words are the most valuable things we as humans can share.

on writing

What good does it do?

A line that popped into my head and I felt an urge to write it down as if it will start a story of its own. And it sort of did, because I just started writing all of this down without intention, but now I do have an intention to write about writing.

Writing is like a can opener but for the brain. You have this infant of an idea, this little seed that wants to grow and it is suppressed until you release it through words. It’s like, at first there’s annoyance, the same kind of annoyance you get with the can that you need to use can opener for. Too much effort, isn’t it? But you’re hungry. There’s nothing else to eat. So, you find the goddamned opener and cut into the can. The action of writing compares to this in a way that the idea almost gives you a headache – a headache you’re willing to ignore until it goes away because you can’t be bothered to grab your notebook and a pen, or a laptop, or a typewriter or whatever bloody machine does the thing. Then you start the work and it goes from there. From that single cut of the lid of the can, the knife glides along its edge and the juice of the contents spills through the edges, which you don’t have the control over. You intend to open the can only half-way but you catch yourself going until the lid is suddenly in your hands. The thing with writing is, once you trigger the idea, your brain just opens the hell up and words spill all over the surface of the paper and your fingers can barely keep up with the sentences that move through your head at the speed of light. You intend to only release the idea and let it grow and develop a little but suddenly you have a page full of, well, stuff, that you just can’t control and it’s hard to stop and you must catch the idea until you run out of paper and stuff it into the Pandora box that your head is.

That’s the problem with writers. We’re literal walking Pandora boxes and the only way to stop something from opening them is to keep them closed. Others prefer the term ‘writer’s block’. That ain’t true. We keep ideas inside our heads until we get migraines and it feels like our heads are about to explode and it drives us insane, but so does the infinite flow of words and releasing them does not relieve the pressure inside our skulls.

It’s a lifelong condition, sorry.

ežeras

Bėgioju maždaug kas antrą rytą. Atsikėlus anksti keikiu save dėl tokio savęs ‚kankinimo‘, bet išėjusi į gryną orą jaučiuosi dėkinga. Prieš šešias vasaras, kai gyvenau Tauro Rago miestelyje (Tauragėje), bandžiau pabėgioti kelis kartus kai Lietuvą užplūdo karščio banga. Netoli tetos namų, kuriuose tada svečiavausi, buvo nedidelis ežeras, visų ‚zumpe‘ pramintas. Ten nusigauti reikėjo kopti į smėlio kalną, ant kurio buvo traukinių bėgiai, už kurių reikėjo labai atsargiai nubėgti žemyn gan pavojingu skardžiu. Smagiausia ten būdavo eiti su visa šeimyna dėl papildomo saugos jausmo. Mano didžiausia baimė buvo bėgiai ir pražūtingi traukiniai, kurių, žinoma vengdavome. Tą karštą vasarą, nusprendžiau bėgti iki pat vadinamosios ‚zumpės‘. Buvo rytas, gal dešimta valanda, ir temperatūra jau siekė 25C+. Nuo karščio oras virš traukinio bėgių akyse raibuliavo. Perėjus bėgių ir skardžio kliūtį, pradėjau nuodugniai bėgti su muzika ausyse (tikriausiai klausiausi kokio Deadmau5). Nuo karščio širdis piestu stojosi. Vienintelė mintis, kuri palaikė mano greitį bent kas dvi minutes buvo – ‚tik pasiek ežerą.‘ Lyg ten būtų buvęs koks amžino gyvenimo eleksyras. Nu ir pasiekiau ežerą, kuris dienos metu buvo labai drumzlinas nuo suniokoto dugno smėlio, bet ryte, be jokių plaukikų, vanduo buvo skaidrus it koks nušveistas permatomas deimantas. Dienos metu jis jau buvo nemaloniai įšilęs, o ryte toks gaivus ir šaltas – absoliuti dievo dovana karštą vasaros dieną po mirtingo pabėgiojimo. Dabar tas ežeras yra 2,400 kilometrų toliau nuo manęs. Nepaisant to, bėgiojant rytais miestelyje be ežero, kad iškęsčiau bent penkias minutes be sustojimo kartoju sau – ‚tik pasiek ežerą‘.

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Homesickness

I know why it’s called sickness; it’s an actual disease. I feel it in my bones; it eats away my strength and leaves my limbs feeling limp. I feel it in my heart; it makes it miss every other beat and makes my chest feel empty. It deteriorates my state of mind, making it a negative place I try to escape by working too hard and driving myself to exhaustion.

I didn’t think I had home until I left it. I have never treasured the spaces I slept in, the pathways I took on a daily basis, the language I’ve heard and spoke even in my dreams.

I’m glad, however, that leaving home forced me to discover myself; once something tries to pull you away from your true identity, even if you don’t quite know it yourself, you almost subconsciously hold onto it and it always tries to bring you back where you belong. I dream of places where I belong, I dream of people I belong with and all of this is anywhere but here and God knows it hurts.

Room

An old rusted window rested on top of a brick. Wooden frames of the window were cracked in so many places it seemed like they had vessels that could start bleeding at any moment. The glass inserted into the frames danced in its place every time someone was walking up the stairs, which made loud croaking noises after every step taken, as if someone was walking on frogs. I was making my way up the stairs into a room, which was not occupied but someone inside refused to let me in.

The Walk

She was walking down the wavy path, not knowing what is going to wait for her around each corner. ‘That’s why the curves of landscape are so beautiful’ she thought, ‘you never know what comes next’. The bright sun rays shone onto her, making the bronze of her hair shimmer. The warmth gave her cheeks a rosy shade of pink. Her breath became heavier as she started making her way up a hill. As the road started curving to the right, she saw something on the left side of it. There was an old inn – ‘The Greyhound’ it was called. Even though it was old, it was taken care of rather well. The golden patterns of the big letters and sides of the lamps that probably emphasised the letters at night looked almost as if they were polished. There were large baskets hanging down from the hooks fixed at random parts of the façade, filled with various flowers; yellow, white and purple violets, lantanas with colourful clusters of pink and yellow and red, the blue lobelia plants as well as bright orange begonias. She stood there for a moment, observing the inn quietly. It was like a small shelter, blooming in the middle of dense greenery of trees and bushes. It was a place where one would come to look for safety. She raised eyebrow at such thought; this whole land seemed to be the safest place her eyes have ever witnessed. She started making her way forward and walked to the left of the inn where the road started going further up. The road was almost enclosed by the trees that arched over it from both sides. The sunlight that made its way through the branches and the leaves created patterns on the dark surface of the road, which almost made it look like a shadow play. There were sounds of birds singing with their high voices, flies buzzing as they were dancing in circles in spots of sunlight and somewhere in the distance, she could hear faint music. She kept walking upwards, with her breath deepening as she made each careful step, until she reached the top of the hill, where the road stretched forward. She stopped there for a moment, to catch her breath and made her way further and deeper into the woods.