I'm including my response to a post in the IOWL message board.
I feel much the same way as she does. I have fear associated with being sexually attractive.
I was just 9 years old when my sister brought home her first baby. She was 20 when she gave birth to Nicky. The marine that knocked her up would not marry her because only trash would have sex out of wedlock. I decided at that time that I would not be her. She had walked away from a promising career in the TV industry and did not even finish college. Now, she is divorced from another Marine who beat her up (put her in the hospital) and left her for another woman that he knocked up while he and my sister were still married. He is certified crazy by over 8 psychiatric doctors. She is a wonderful sweet and intelligent person. Can you figure that out? Cause I can't.
My father is a lovely person. But, a little bit old fashioned. There is clearly a hierarchy in my parents home and he was always at the top and never truly acknowledge's my mother's superior intellect because obviously if she had been that smart she would not have picked him. (his words.) I foolishly bought it as a child and believed him when he made it clear that women were less than men. my mother was less than he was, and that being a girl was less than being a boy. That being smart was more important than anything. Its not true btw. Character and being able to function is much more important than any intellectual capacity.
I decided at a very young age after having the delightful experience of babysitting my nephew (7 years old at the time) for 14 days without having any babysitting experience or supervision at all. I barely knew him. He was a good kid but I was out of my depth.
Not only did I not want to be treated like the women I saw growing up, but I could not be the kind of woman who (like I saw on Oprah) asks her husband to open the pickle jar. I'm not going to sublimate my abilities and strengths to build a man's ego.
As a teenager I developed earlier than other girls. I was menstruating at 11. I was also on the receiving end of vicious sexual harassment from 7th grade through 8th grade. I cut class. My grades plumited. I never told anyone because I knew that girls were less than boys. Remember?
My weight did creep up. I believe it was due to the stress. I was 168 at the age of 13 and I was very active. I took dance, had pe, and hiked one mile everyday from the bus stop up a very steep hill to our home.
By the time I was 16 I was 230. I was in college and liked boys! But was too young not to mention chubby. I had male friends though. At the age of 19, I was happy. I was doing much better. I was taking step aerobics, speed walking, and circuit weight training. I was on my way into a size 12. I was just 170 pounds. Then a mentally ill stalker came into my life and I began to once again receive unwanted sexual interest.
I perceived it as a grave threat. As it turned out he was harmless. But, due to my fear level, associated with that I turned my behavior around. I remember the day I looked myself in the eye in the mirror and told myself that this has got to stop. I began eating double portions with the intent that I would gain weight. And guess what, it worked. It also opened the door for PCOS which is very dangerous and once it has started very hard to stop. I still have those fears sometimes but I am learning to turn down the volume on that. For one, I am stronger and more capable now. But now that I think back on it, I did have a backbone then. I did report him and the police put a stop to it. I was still afraid, just the same. Now what I have left is residual fear. Not new mind blinding cotton mouthed fear. Just old memories that may wake me at 3 am.
Now, I'm back down to a size 14 or 16. And I'm encountering boughts of fear and stagnant weight loss. I think it is that fear popping up. Even though I'm doing everything by the text book. I believe the body knows when we do and do not want to lose weight and we tell it so through the stress hormones that we produce when we are afraid. We tell it yes or no. We tell it if we are safe or not. Safe? That means we are not embarking on a famine. Not? We might encounter long term hunger and we will need those calories.
When we comfort a child as it goes to sleep we rock it and sing softly. In a way, when we practice our yoga and tell ourselves our daily affirmations, we are soothing ourselves and taking care of ourselves. For if we don't who ill? The promise of an uncertain future often takes on that sense of urgency because we no longer have our mother to soothe us. We know deep down that, at least in the past, we have not always soothed ourselves with gentleness but rather have confused nourishment of soul with calories because we associated food with our mother's because they were the one's who fed us. But they fed us not only with food but with touch, sound and humanized us. I believe that all of us are on this quest for comfort and made this particular detour into weight gain and struggle because performing that function for ourselves is a technique that is learned and we are not born knowing it.