Tai Chi, for example. I am taking this class in an effort to increase bodily awareness, and also because I am horribly awkward and graceless. It isn't that I'm clumsy really..I can be very coordinated at certain physical activities...but my body often moves like an android or robot, jerkily, or not smoothly enough. I know because I have seen videos of myself (aughhh, the pain, the pain!!!). If I were male, this would be OK, but females are supposed to be graceful, and this body is female, so I feel beholden to try to move gracefully, so as not to attract undue negative attention.
Even when I simply stand, my muscles are held very tensely, contained. I don't just stand, I actively withdraw and contract while standing. I know this because we have to stand in front of a mirror while we do Tai Chi. I try really hard not to watch myself, but I occasionally see a glimpse of a very stiff, tension filled body.
Also, it's trying to get fat now that I got a hysterectomy. I have tried to analyze why this bothers me, because there are lots of lovely people I know who do not have socially ideal bodies, and I love them exactly as they are. Their shape doesn't matter an iota to me. The reasons I have come up with are:
- Gaining weight means change. I would have to wear different clothes and discard the ones I like. I might not be able to afford or find clothes that I like.
- Health: my family has an alarming rate of high blood pressure and heart disease. It behooves me to remain lean if I want to live.
- I am a hider. I like to fit in small places, to press myself into corners and nooks and such. Also, I like to fold my body up. The idea of being too big for that....ugh.
- My dad would be even more disgusted with me if I gained weight. Other people would treat me worse, too.
- It would be a lot harder to maintain a sense of bodily privacy when in the company of others. For example, I could not slide easily though a group of people without touching anyone, or walk down an aisle of chairs without contacting each and every person in that aisle.
Maybe these are silly reasons, but along with simple vanity, they are the sort of things I worry about.