Body dysphoria / Body dysmorphia
"My body's my body, no one's but mine. You've got your own body, let me run mine." (Sesame Street children's song)
I was born with a remarkably healthy body. As of age 73+1/2 years, I had never really been seriously ill. I had severely injured a knee as a child, dislocating it when chasing another kid around a classroom and banging it into student desk chair leg, but that more or less healed over three decades all by itself, to the point where I had been able to exercise by running, even up the fairly steep hills of Nyack, New York, for maybe a year before it started acting up again and then, when I stopped the running, it quieted down again.
I broke the fibula (a word not to be confused with the horrific dehumanizing ethno-crime against women in some societies of infubulation!) bone in one of my legs just by running one day, without tripping, twisting my ankle, stepping into a hole or anything else; it just broke. But it did not require a cast to heal → I just limped for several weeks. I had 3 surgeries on a finger due to a self-injury accident attendant to hating my childrearing, but that was "only" a finger. I had my 4 wisdom(what?) teeth extracted, one of which was apparently a difficult extraction, but the oral surgeon was a class act who did it in his expensive business suit. I had my tonsils out at about age 26 years due to chronic throat infections. I have had, as stated elsewhere here, years of debilitating OCD fear of melanoma pursuant to a mole I that, as a teenager, bled and a piece fell out of it, but since I am still here and without issues after that wretched thing was removed in my freshman year in college, obviously it did not colonize my body.
At age 74 years, my teeth still have only two fillings from when I was a teenager. Four oral surgeries to remove various lumps and a blocked salivary gland in my mouth were all outpatient procedures, even though, like the moles, they took a prolonged psychological toll on me. I survived a childhood diet of it's a wonder they can call it bread and Coca-Cola and other alimentary threats. Every 2 or 3 years I get polyps removed in a colonoscopy since age 50, so without the colonoscopies I would likely be dead, like my maternal grandfather, from colon cancer; but, again, so far so good. Although my eyes are otherwise healthy, I apparently have developed cataracts (from years of CRT computer work?) which eye doctors keep telling me I can't see as well as I think I can and them lusting to subject me to [elective] cataract surgery. I never had erectile dysfunction, although my foreskin was ripped off at birth and I was childreared in an anti-sexual social surround. Those child abuses were not my [Heavenly] Maker's fault, but rather my [terrestrial] makers' fault.
My first census visit from The Grim Reaper came at age 73+1/2 years, summer of 2020, when -- the aetiology not even speculated about -- but apparently somehow I got emphysema which was collecting fluid around my heart which was causing edema in my ankles. My primary care physician put the fear of the Lord into me that I had to keep my legs raised above my heart or else my flesh would rot, and I did more or less as advised and, along with some medications, this situation has ameliorated (but my doctor would not give me a diuretic because she did not want to encourage bad patient behavior). Not back to status quo ante, but no longer debilitated or apparently life-threatening. When I first went to the doctor about it, I had to wear my daughter's back-less flip flops because my feet did not fit into my shoes, and I could hardly walk from the parking lot into the doctor's office....
I aged maybe 10 or 20 years in a couple months. But now I can walk in my shoes again, 3/4 of a mile with a moderate incline in places, sometimes without even stopping to catch my breath (contrast with, at age 40, running up steep hills in mid-august mid-day summer heat). I am still having trouble getting dressed, etc., but a renewed, or perhaps just new desire to live after having been made redundant from a job that was making me so depressed I hoped I would never again wake up when I went to bed each nite → the prospect of writing about what all has been done to me over 74 years, and studying appealing books, etc., motivates me now to press thru the effort of getting up each morning. Despite everything, I still have a 32 inch waist, not a manly false third trimester pregnancy hanging over my belt, or a nose like W.C. Fields.
All and all, from a physiological point of view, a pretty good body, wouldn't you agree, my reader?
But I never was a REAL MAN
One reason I got out of possibly being body bagged in Vietnam was that I was underweight: at age 18 years, I was129 pounds at 6 feet 1 inch tall. Not enough meat on the bones for slaughter. As a child, at least since I can remember, I was never hospitalized (except to get my tonsils removed, and for one my my hand surgeries). But my parents threatened to put me in a hospital because I weighed too little. I was not anorexic; I even ate Wonder Bread and drank Coca-Cola. What the hell did they want? A REAL HE-MAN chlld who could qualify for the Prig School head-butting (aka: football or lacrosse) team? I think my father was ashamed to have a weakling son. But they coped because I was an "A" student, and while brains are not entitled to sex, they are vaguely recognized by "people" to not be expired losing lottery tickets. I can only have waking nightmares about what would have been done with me if I had been a "C" student. When I once did get a "C for a grading period in one subject, I was directed that it would not happen again. If I was not a prodigy, might I literally have been kicked? But, no, being "precocious" did help them feel good that they had produced a very intelligent child even though they cred for their little capital asset about like maintaining a Porsche with Yugo parts. Any real Yugo mechanic would recoginze the disjuncture, and ask his boss what was up.
My father's brother, Charles, who had one arm, owned just such a Porsche automobile, and he did all the maintenance on it himself. It had a 4 speed manual transmission and he drove it in road rallies with his hook (prosthesis). When I saw that car I was awed by it. It was a little jewel on the driveway of my parents split-level house. It was one of the few things in my childhood that looked to me that it deserved to exist. And [sorry, I forget the exact details in the following sentence clause:] when Charles told me that they got the seam between the door edges and the body right by soldering the door to the body and then using a tool to melt the solder along the edge to a precise fit, I was even more impressed. I was never treated the way that little car was built. What a sweet little car! Alas, rust never sleeps, and despite Charles's loving care, it rusted out in Baltimore Maryland's winter road salt. Damn that road salt, and all other people, places and things that impinge on anything of value!
Back to me (BMcC[18-11-46-503]). Just like my parents only threatened to abandon me (at age 4 years) but never followed through with it, they never put me in hospital to fatten me up either. They did "give" me enemas, but I got no pleasure from them (neither the enemas themselves nor the givers of the enemas). So I was this puny wimp of a misfortunate birth that was tolerated because I performed like a well beaten trained seal for the Teachers and Parents Circus. Oink! Oink!
Now at age 74 years....
Now (2021) at age 74 years it's too late to have had the bodily joy I might have had. Imagination will have to do for consolation prize. Whan I was at about age 40 years complimented by a jewish man in "Su Casa" as looking like I hadcome out of a concentration camp, even at the time, I was basically flattered. If it happened today, I would be even more pleased. I was also pleased when, again around age 40, I aerobically worked out each day so vigorously that I sweated "like a pig", as then say, thoroughly soaking my t-shirt, etc., I was not building muscle mass, but still had arms probably as thin as many women who are not athletes.I never wanted to be Lenny Moore. I admired Johnny Unitas, but because he could throw a football with uncanny precision, not because he could be sacked if the defensive line did not hold. My real football heroes are the field goal kickers, for whom the whole defensive team's mission is to keep them from getting touched by anybody.
Seriously, I wish I was Monica Vitti, because I think firm female flesh is so much more gentle, gracious, nuanced and other good esthetic things than a testosterone bog, and that women -- unless abused and maimed by their social surround -- have much better and nuanced capacity for sexual pleasure than pricks. On the other hand, I think transgender stuff is just a big lie, so I'd be into cross dressing but not even more mutilation than infantile circumcision already was. Over the years I have acquired an imagination, which, again, my social surround of origin did nothing to provide me with. I think it's curious: When a child is crippled such people try to make the child less crippled. When they have a healthy child it's kick the cat. For one example: What, besides being a universally negotiable financial instrument in all partriarchical society, is female chastity, other than being a massive WASTE of otherwise potentially sensual flesh and spirit? The girl will soon enough not be able to have orgasms: six feet under; so why can't the cannibals wait to cook their meal? If somebody gave the prigs a new car, would they say: "Nope, can't use it 'til it's rusted out and won't run any more"?
Back to my body. I think now that the adults of my social surround of origin should have been in awe to having a child who was, despite having the misfortune to be male, delicate not coarse. They didn't wear sackcloth, did they? My father could have been in wonderment at having a son who was not like him, for what was the merit of being 180 pounds at 6 feet tall and dragging that weight around? He had risen to the place in life where he read restaurant manus with "sole" on them. I cannot unambiguously blame my parents for what they did to me, because they did it because of what had been done to them. They were on the superhighway to hall that is paved with good intentions. My prep school teachers, to whom my parents were paying good tuition money and who at least mostly had college degrees and even a few graduate degrees, and even one a Harvard graduate and two Yale graduates (but no Princeton men!), could not plead that they were hillbillies.
As for St. Paul's Day Carcel for Boys, there were, I think, two instances where things might have gone better for me. (1) I will never know it their Director of Athletics was just another cinderblock, or if, had I gone to him and told him how fragile and frightened, was but that I deeply wanted to have a corpore sano in which to have a mens sana, and would he help me? → Just maybe -- maybe -- he would have been such a strong and manly fellow as to have taken pity on me and worked up an exercise program that suited me, and even have been proud of himself for redeeming a lost body. I will never know. (2) If I had any musical talent, and we will never know if I did, if I had had music teachers who inspired me with Scarlatti instead of discouraging me with Thompson's method and Anchors Away My Boys shit → if I had musical talent and had learned to play the piano, I would have become the pianist for the hymns in Chapel each morning at 09:00, and I do think that would have won me some respect from the institution's faculty, not so much because they had any religion or appreciation of music, but because they needsd a human resource to play that piano as a personnel function, and being piano player, while not faculty, was also not just being a line on the daily attendance sheet.
But neither of those things happened. If I was a dog, I think I would have been a pure breed not a stray, but while I probably could have competed at Westminster, no way would have I been best in breed or, a fortiori, best in show. I know I was not that superior, unlike maybe Theodore Kasczynski. If my father's brother's little entry level 1961 Porsche 356 was not a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, with desmodromic valves and direct fuel injection, neither was it a Ford Deluxe sedan. It was a sweet little thing.
Why didn't any of these prigs clue me in that my thighs could feel sensual to me: pace the porcine, pearls before swine. They could not appreciate my body. OK, but they could have just fessed up that they only got off on budding Minotaurs and got on with their varsity contact sports, but have bowed to me in apologetic respect on their way to their locker room same gender instinctual aim-inhibited public self-exposures: invisible
penises elephants in their boy's locker room.
Again, back to me. St. Paul's Day Carcel for Boys could have been coeducational and taught any child of either gender whom they could interested the nuances of connoisseurship of all things including their individually nuanced esthetic sensibilities and sexualities. They didn't. They could have seen that they were intimidating me and been gentle to me, approaching me with trepidation. They didn't. As the title of Akira Kurosawa's film goes: "The bad sleep well." I expect they did sleep well. I do think they were sleepwalking at least much of the time if not always, during the day. Ashurbanipal. Not only is a mind a terrible thing to waste, but so too is a body. (Yes, I know: they assiduously groomed the voluntary muscles of their head-butters, as if that was anything of value.)
Waste not want not; My America has always been running on empty, running around.