I had an idea and couldn’t stop writing – this monologue is fictional but based on real thoughts and emotions that I am sure most women experience at some points in their lives.
Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like… like you don’t feel quite comfortable in your own skin? Where you have this constant little itching sensation pretty much all over, like, most of the day?… Or where you’re suddenly very aware of your boobs – not because they’re particularly tender or swollen or anything, but just that they’re… there. I don’t – … Whether or not you get me, I’ve just been waking up with that feeling a lot lately, like, I don’t know, three or four times a week. And it’s not like I can just rinse the feeling off in the shower or anything, I have tried so many different types of exfoliates: Clinique, Boots own brand, Superdrug, Liz Earle, I even went into Selfridges and the woman was like “um yeah I er have no clue what you’re on, but I know for sure that I don’t want any!”
It’s really frustrating when there’s something going on with your body but you have no idea what it is or what it’s even reacting to or anything. It’s like I’ve lost a bit of the control I have of my body, you know? When I was younger, still even a bit now, I craved control; like it was lemonade and ice cream on a warm day, or chocolates and ice cream after a brutal breakup, or… or brownie batter and ice cream for a gossip session at a 3am sleepover. In case you didn’t gather, I have a slight weakness for ice cream. Especially the Hagendaas cookies and cream one. Fuck that’s good. I haven’t had any in years. Wow, it really has been years. Huh. Didn’t know I could exercise so much control over myself that I forgot that I was controlling myself! …
I was chatting with a girlfriend in Pret the other day and she was relaying to me about this guy she’s been seeing – they’ve been hot and cold since college, I think, so this is not new to me. And so far every time they’ve broken up, I’ve been there for her, I’ve supported her like any good friend should. But that day, listening to her spout on and on about how he never appreciates her or how jealous he gets or how he always acts different in front his mates. But what she never sees and never dumps him for is the real reason: that he is just so damn manipulative. He is sooo controlling, like when we went on a double date with his friend from work – total bore by the way – he told her exactly what she couldn’t eat, which was basically the whole of the menu, because they were dieting together like some Californian celebrity couple. One time when we were getting ready for a girls night out, he came into the bathroom and was like “ooo babe thAt dress? Do you really think you can pull that off with all your cellulite? Nah babe, wear the dress you wore to Liv and Karen’s dinner party, you looked a bit better in that, bit more appropriate, don’t you think.” Fucking dickhead. And sexist as hell: he can be so awful about her career, I mean really pulling it apart, telling her she’ll never get the promotion so she shouldn’t even bother applying. Ya know, it’s shit like that that you just shouldn’t take from anyone, let alone your boyfriend.
I mean, you only really say that sort of stuff to yourself, as soon as you hear someone else say those awful things, it’s horrible. I mean, it shouldn’t really be any different who says it to you but still it hurts more. Because the person who’s saying it is supposed to be the one who likes you despite those things, or even, if you’re lucky enough, because of those things. As soon as someone says to you all the insecurities you have about yourself to your face, the same way you say them to yourself in the mirror, … I don’t know why it’s worse in my mind, but it is… But it shouldn’t be. My god, I say awful stuff to myself all the time, but don’t you? Doesn’t everybody? That’s normal right? We all say horrible stuff to ourselves, right? We all do it, right?…
But what if she says those things to herself too? I don’t want her feeling that way. Not even from her boyfriend but from herself, too. She’s to precious for that, she means too much… Oh my god, that’s awful. Why would I say that – even if everyone does say awful shit to ourselves, it doesn’t make it ok. Just because everyone does something doesn’t at all make it right or good…
I can’t believe people talk about toxic relationships with our boyfriends and our girlfriends and whatever but people never talk about this toxic relationship we can have with ourselves. Sure, I’ve had my share of toxic fuckups but none of them can really compare with my own ones. For me, though, it’s not a constant thing. Because I can be dancing in front of a mirror, shaking my arse, really feeling myself. And then next week I’ll be avoiding mirrors left right and centre, so I don’t have to have see the ugly, selfish, unsuccessful, weak woman I’ll see in the mirror.
A zip, I need a zip. Just like Ray. My Mad Fat Diary. The bit where Ray gets so sick and tired of trying to loose weight or to not put it on that she envisions unzipping this fake fat suit and dragging it through her house in the slim, perfect body she wants to be like. And then she burns the fat suit in the garden. She burns the part of herself that she hated, that she didn’t want people to hate her for. I wish I could do that, it would be so fucking cathartic. Just to shed my skin, this layer of me that has been bashed and battered and bruised by so many people, myself included – fuck that, especially me.
Oh my god, that’s what it is. That’s that feeling. That uncomfortable-in-my-own-skin feeling I was talking about, that’s it! I just need to get this thing off of me, I need to rub it off, scrape it off, carve it off, I don’t care just get it off me! Get it OFF, GET IT OFF!…
I don’t want this.
I DON’T WANT THIS.
I want to burn it. I want to burn all of the nasty things everyone has said to me. I want to burn all the gossip and shit people have stirred about me. I want to burn all the cruel things I think when I look in that mirror on my mean, red days. All the “you’d look so much better just with this bit of fat gone”, all the “you’re eyes are too close together”, “your nose is too big”, all the pointing, all the jabbing, all the pulling, all the “you’ll never get that job”, all the “your boss hates you”, “your colleagues hate you”, “your friends hate you”, all the “you’re so weak”, all the “you should’ve just said no”, all the “why would anyone want you?”, all the bullshit about not deserving anything. Fuck, I want to burn all the cat calls, all the arse grabs, all the jeering, all the leering, all the phone numbers, all the stares, all the eyes, the persistent, invasive eyes, all the “just one more drink”s, all the “you’re not in a fit state to go home, honey”, the “I’ll take her home for you”s, “we can share a taxi home”, all the “you know you want to”, the “come on, we’re having a good time”, all the “you’re such a prude”, all the “lighten up”s, all the leg touches, all the wrist brushes, all the breathing – on the face, on the hair, on the neck – all the “there is something you could do for me”, then the “I don’t think you’re the right kind of girl for this job”, all the “don’t you think that’s a little too much?”, all the “don’t you think you were asking for it?” ALL OF IT. I WANT IT GONE. I WANT IT BURNED. I WANT IT DESCAMATED. I WANT THEM ALL TO JUST GO. FOR EVERYBODY.
I want them buried. So that something else can be born from the ashes. Something good.