I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Always in hiding

Some of us had these people in our lives who felt compelled to remind us that we were sexual beings, even when we were children, they were on this mission to keep us aware of our sexuality. That we were developing and because we had breasts now, we should hide them and while one of the biggest observers of my development was my mother’s boyfriend, yep that one, well there were others, and like many other women today that have had similar scripts, what they said and did caused me to have this retarded view of me and it makes me wonder why they do it, why the very people we love and are supposed to protect us, do these things.

For me, it was two of my three older sisters. They were older than me by over a decade, and as it happened, when I started puberty, they were married with children and always seemed to have children on the way. Okay, that’s okay but two of my older sisters well they lived next door to us, one on either side, and they were over our house day and night, which means that their husbands were there too and their babies. Since my sisters were still young women, in their early twenties, I realize now, they were jealous of me for a lot of reasons, but the main one, I wasn’t spitting out babies every nine months nor was I tied down with those babies; they were also jealous of how their husbands responded to me. They weren’t perverted or anything like that, but they joked with me and flirted a little, it was innocent, or I think it was innocent.

Even when my sisters weren’t pregnant, they were shaped differently than I, not that I had huge breasts, but they had none, nope, never more than an A cup, and they had no waist and a flat butt and when the babies started coming, they developed little tummies. I, on the other hand, was normal breasted, had curves, and had that butt that was perfect, no, it really was, it complemented my sway back just enough and not too much. Plus, I played ball and had a musculature body, hell, I had to have muscles, I was the only girl in a neighborhood of twenty boys. There was never doll playing for me, it was softball and kick ball and bike racing and all of that, even up until my mother died and I had to move away from my life long friends.

So, I didn’t know it at the time, it was always jealousy, but unfortunately for me, I thought they just hated me. How did all of that influence me? As soon as I began to develop breasts and a waist and hips, well, my pregnant, always pregnant, sisters were right there telling me my shirt was too small or my pants too tight or why don’t I put some clothes on or even yelling to my mother that I was boy crazy and would she make me put some clothes on. I remember my sisters and how mad they got when their husbands looked at me. I was thirteen and they were afraid their husbands saw me in a sexual way and instead of taking it up with their husbands, they took issue with me, it was my fault, I was the little slut who was walking around trying to seduce these over sexed men. Yes, little ole me and now all these years later and I still feel the need to hide behind shirts that are way too big and pants that don’t show nothing of my real body. One day, a few years back, my one sister said, “You know, you always stayed in your room and read. I remember you locking the door and not letting anyone in and when you finally did open the door, there were always open books on the bed.” I said, “I was hiding.”


Blogger jo(e) said...

The more subtle forms of abuse can be the hardest to see.

How difficult to recover from all of that shaming. How unfair to you.

I think it's amazing you are able to look back and analyze this all.

Hugs ....

6:44 AM  
Blogger zelda1 said...

jo(e) to be honest, I have only analyzed it though the help of my therapist and only after I have talked to so many women who have had similar situations in their lives. Most from older brothers or their own fathers, and some from their sisters and even their mothers. It seems as though it was an acceptable approach to rearing young girls that did, in fact, develop into curvy young women. That shame of being a woman or having breasts or having curves, well, it was just too much on the patriarch and I suppose that bled to the women as well. Shame on you for having breasts that we can see and hide them for pete's sake, this is your family and we don't want to see your womanliness. Damn.

7:17 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

Zelda1: I saw some of that attitude with my father, who didn't know how to deal with it as his four daughters turned into young women with breasts and hips and the desire to date. I think he was scared of his daughters' sexuality -- had the idea that somehow he was supposed to protect us, control us, keep us away from boys. Luckily my Mom had a pretty healthy attitude towards the body, and she was the prime influence in the household.

12:24 PM  
Blogger OTRgirl said...

As jo(e) said, those subtle forms of abuse can be so insidious.

I was also the neighborhood tomboy. In a way, I had the opposite experience because I stayed stick thin until college, and even then only gained enough weight to be 'normal' (vs. anorexic looking). I ate fine, just had a super fast metabolism.

I suspect the only reason I became comfortable with my body was having three close friends in high school who were large-breasted. As I heard them complain about their bodies and men's reaction to them, I became grateful that I didn't have 'assets'. I could relax in knowing that if a guy liked me, it was for my personality--because no one was looking toward chest height when they were talking to me (if you know what I mean).

I wish it were easier for women to be happy with their bodies.

12:54 PM  

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