There is something that has been wiggling around in the back of my mind for a while now. It’s relevant to the spirit of this blog, if not the usual content, so I’m putting it here. Please indulge me as I wax philosophical.
You may have picked up from reading my work that I am a taaaaad bit narcissistic, but not in the traditional sense. I do not think I am beautiful to behold. Hell, I don’t think I’m even remotely close to attractive. I find myself to be decidedly bland, probably because I likely have a very skewed definition of what it means to be a handsome man. No matter how many people tell me I am handsome or athletic or insert compliment here, all I see are flaws. Ask anyone who’s seen me–I’m nowhere close to what Men’s Health would have you believe a man is supposed to look like, no matter how much I wish I were. Maybe that’s why I sympathize so deeply with the body positivity movement.
But those flaws drive me to constantly strive to better myself. They are the reason I spend hours powerlifting, wailing on the heavy bag, flipping those tires. I am never satisfied, so I work harder. I don’t care what trainers and doctors tell me–I am not where I need to be. There is a handsome man in there somewhere. I just have to chisel away the body fat to find him.
Man. That’s a hard thing to admit.
I describe myself differently here than in my prose, because I acknowledge that my perception is deeply flawed. It’s not a healthy outlook, but there it is. I know I am strong, and fit, and active. But I hold myself to an unrealistic ideal that I don’t hold for any other human being, anywhere in the world. I want more from myself. I want that beach body, damn it.
That said, I really, really hate body shaming.
Look, I know that no normal person is going to say, “Body shaming? Why, that’s just keen!” I would like to believe that the majority of us are going to hear that phrase and respond with appropriate levels of disgust and sympathy. No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable in their own skin by another person. Ever. That shit isn’t cool. And hopefully, on some level, most of us believe that.
None of the women in my life–that is to say, Tina and Ashley–are slender. But they are *fit*. Tina is a runner and outdoor enthusiast. Ashley is an all-around athlete and yogini. They have curvature, and softness to them, but they are hard where their hobbies require them to be. They do not go out of their way in pursuit of the elusive beach body, but still they are beautiful women. I’m not sure they would be considered “plus-size”, but even if they would, that would not be a bad thing, because they are both fucking *hot*, just in very different ways.
Point is, it doesn’t much matter to me what a person weighs. It shouldn’t really matter to anyone except ourselves. I feel bad for people who see themselves the way I do, because it’s a pretty unhappy way to live sometimes. I wish more people would find comfort in themselves rather than the ridiculous expectations set by Western media and marketing. But at the same time, I suspect that even those who are active in the body positivity movement still have moments of discomfort, when they look in the mirror and think, “If I could just shed another five pounds…” We are driven to outperform other people. It’s what all animals do. We compete, we mate, we produce offspring that will compete with our competitors’ offspring. Civilization may permit us to overcome some of that nature, but I doubt it will ever be fully removed from the human condition.
Hmm. I didn’t so much share my thoughts as I did ejaculate words into a formless puddle on my keyboard. But this was never intended to go anywhere. It’s just something I’ve been chewing on lately. So many women I’ve talked to have told me how unhappy they are with their appearance, how self-conscious they are about their image, when, damn it, there is *no reason* for them to feel that way. Tina and Ashley included. Then they tell me, “I wish I looked like you,” and I am dumbstruck, because I legitimately don’t see it.
Anyhow, enough of this meandering little monologue. To all the ladies and gentlemen that read this blog–you are beautiful/handsome exactly as you are. Should we ever meet in person, I’ll be happy to prove it.
Working on another memory now. It’s one I’ve been holding onto for a while, so I’m not sure if or when I’ll be putting it up. Maybe soon. Until then, friends.