Shed your skin.
This is one of those posts that I didn’t know I was going to write until I am feverishly pecking away at the keyboard almost daring myself to actually do it.
Skin n. A usually thin, closely adhering outer layer.
Closely adhering. If there is any proof left on my body that my frame once held 600+lbs it’s my arms. I keep them guarded almost all of the time, feeling like the shield must be up for fear drives me to protect the ugly tender parts and not expose the damaged goods. I have worked very hard to gain muscle in my arms, the swimming makes me stronger, but it simply can not undo the damage done. My favorite short sleeve shirts are ones where the sleeves come down to the elbows, where there is no chance of anyone seeing the most shameful part of my body. When I swim I wear a t-shirt over my swimsuit, and when I get out of the pool I wear the water logged shirt to the sauna and only then, and only if it’s just Charmaine present do I dare peel it off. Even then I have a towel close by should anyone walk in. I don’t know if Charmaine knows that she is the chosen one that I have dared to bare my arms to or not, but I am grateful there is the unspoken understanding that with her, in the small cedar planked box, with the hazy heat drifting all around us, I am safe. It is a slow process in accepting the reality, and loving myself beyond the shame.
Shame that comes from what I have done to my body. I have destroyed a gift I was given, treated it with such little regard and such disrespect that all I am left with now is the scar of the wound, the limp that never goes away, and the skin that will never closely adhere. I can have surgery, they can fix it, cut it off of me and make me look normal. Sadly I know this is the only way to repair my arms but it will not repair my guilt and shame, only I hold the power to unlock that gate. They say that exposing the demon is half the battle, that the power comes from the secrecy, from hiding, from allowing it to hold you captive, they say it’s the hardest part. They are right.
“the flesh is strong
my spirit’s stronger
so shed your skin
baby let it through”