Ask any musician to describe music and you will, likely, hear them bumble about for a few minutes for a loss of words, eventually leading up to them saying “I can’t really describe it.” For each person, they have something that qualifies under this category. For me, it’s my body.
Great … Let’s Talk About Your Body (Cue Awkwardness)
Actually, it starts (naturally) with a story. When I was about seven years old, I was pretty much a twig (blond too). But somewhere in grade school, that awkward dorkiness stage – that I am still trying to shake off – took hold. Even to me, my weight was a problem but, as a kid, what does that matter. This mantra of “whatever” quickly ended towards the end of fifth grade when I was called fat by numerous guys in the class. This abrasive technique continued until, in seventh grade, it evolved into heavy verbal harassment. I played center guard for our seventh grade football team and was constantly abused about my oversize physique.
Additionally, my seventh grade year was the year I started to stand out a bit more to my peers, not just physically, but also emotionally as well. I’m not sure what gave it away to me – perhaps the affection for costumes, acting, or a slight obsession with a few people – but I realized that I was unlike most of my classmate … I liked guys. Growing up in a Catholic family, I knew that survival meant suppression (I’ll get to coming out later). Unfortunately, words gave me away. I recall, unfortunately, using the word perky on the football field and, naturally, commenced the term gay, fag, fagget, and the like.
After a brief spell of extreme verbal harassment, I finally turned the bullies in but they won in the end. They changed me.
Words = Change
Fat became synonymous with gay. I knew, deep down, I couldn’t stop being gay, even if I tried, but the fatness could change. At the start of my eighth grade year, I stopped altogether eating the main lunch at school. I remember eating a salad every day at the table nearest to the door (and teachers) with a kid with a glass eye (pretty cool). This obsession continued through high school – I’d skip meals because I “wasn’t” hungry. I thinned out but not enough. I would see guys that I was interested in and would see how they looked and, in all honesty, I wanted to look like them. To have the skin tone. To have the muscle structure. To have the popularity that they demanded. All this and more I could not achieve.
Then college happened. That whole freshman 15 is no joke, and I left college fairly heavy in my book (178lbs). I promised I would never hit that number again unless I had the body of Zac Efron, so I began exercising for probably the first time in my life. Coupled with the nonexistent meal plan and a stressful new career, the pounds fell off and quick. Now weighing about 145lbs today (yeah), I’m being told that I look too skinny or that I look really good. The problem is I can’t see it.
These bullies in seventh grade caused me to acquire dysmorphia – or the condition where you cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws, specifically with appearance. Not only do I criticize every physical flaw, but I cannot accept praise from someone else.
I came out to my parents when I was 22 because I was afraid (perceived that) they would not welcoming into the home. Sure, it’s still not much of a dinner conversation, but their love and support certainly hasn’t stopped. I doubt I will never forget the feeling of absolute peace after telling them that I was gay. I’ve kept it to myself since I was 10-11 years old, and it felt great to finally rid that off my chest. But this weight issue and positive self-confidence issue is difficult to work with (I will likely write about this in better detail in the future).
It is getting better, however. Since January, I am finally taking steps in the right direction by exercising more, eating more (three meals a day isn’t as bad as I thought), and trying to give myself some compliments throughout the day. Old habits are not easily broken … nail biting still is a big one … but they can be remedied in time.
Thanks for listening to me rant about this issue – there is so much to say, yet I probably will never be able to write it all down. Besides, who wants to hear me ramble about my self-confidence issues anyway – this blog is supposed to be humorous, right? (I actually don’t know the answer to that question).