I’ve been trying to put words to this for a long time, at least a year, and honestly I’ve started and stopped more than any other writing I’ve ever done. I’ve been treading a line between trying to get my point across and not sounding whiney or judgemental, and because this topic is something you don’t hear about a lot, it’s been difficult, so I ask you to read on with an open mind.
There are a lot of things I was never taught about being a man as I grew up and matured. As a child I was raised by parents who were older than most, both chronologically, and mentally. My parents are Legit straight out of a 1950’s sitcom, innocent, judgemental and very strict. They use passive aggressive language and are constantly worried about “what others will think of us”. I was never close with my father. Even now as I am nearing my 40’s he still has no idea how to talk to me, and I am constantly compared to other men my age he associates with.
Which leads me to a recurring issue in my life – Body positivity.
Ever since I hit puberty I’ve been a big guy, I stopped growing at 5’9 and in high school I was a chubby 200lbs, where I stayed well into my mid 20’s. I didn’t do many sports other than martial arts, which was solely because I needed to stop getting beaten up. I was constantly compared to athletes and rich/popular kids, with the question: “don’t you want to be more like ‘so-and-so’?”. I grew up with undeveloped social skills and Poor nutrition, not from lack of money, but from food being used as “love”.
As I got older I started going to the gym after a health scare and managed to drop from 270 lbs to about 180, and then I contracted Bell’s Palsy and fell back into depression, and comfort food.
About this time, my girl and I made the choice to open our relationship up, So I did what I always do when something new happens in my life, I asked the advice of people I trusted who had knowledge of Poly and open relationships.
I talked to about 6 couples, people I trusted, and people I considered friends, and except for 1 pair, basically the advice I was given was “Well, the first thing and most important thing you need to do is lose some weight or no one will want you, if that’s not something you want to do, just be happy you have one person in your life that wants to touch your penis.”
Now, I have always struggled with Body image and self confidence because of my weight since the first time I asked out a girl and she laughed in my face and slapped me in front of half my graduating class. To say I was Crushed would be an understatement.
I’ve always Looked at my naked body with scorn and distaste, I fell into the trap of needing to look like a hollywood beefcake in order to attract partners, However I will say that I do understand some partners find my body type attractive, I love my girl, and she finds me sexy, and all of the other adjectives associated with it. At the time of our first date, I had no idea this would be the case though.
Over the years I have been “trained” to expect rejection based on a multitude of things, from my body hair, to my weight, to my hobbies and interests. Because of this I always thought if I could just find that one insatiable slut (slut being used as a positive) that would just be forward enough with me I would end up becoming a completely different person. Self assured, confident, All of the things I perceive as problems would just change.
Let me tell you I was wrong.
When we opened our relationship, on top of the previously mentioned “advice”, I also read voraciously, and I think most would agree, in poly/open/swinging relationships a man definitely has a much harder time finding perspective partners, much more so in my case, as I had never successfully asked anyone out. Let me tell you, I got scared, Really scared, I thought I would lose my girl, who I love as much as I love breathing. My body image issues were what I pinned all my insecurities on, I again thought – if I could just get a 6 pack, or bigger biceps it would some how mask my lack of self confidence, or make up for (what I perceived as) sexual shortcomings.
I got Mad.
Anyone that tells you rage and spite aren’t great motivators hasn’t met me. I made a choice to get back in the gym, I caved and grew out my beard, and started working towards my “Perfect Physique”.
The rage and spite came from my own brain, and imagined perceptions, I thought my girl would find someone younger, more physically fit, bigger cock, better dressed, and I needed to worry about a female presenting partner providing things I had no chance of. On top of that I knew my social anxiety and body image issues would prevent me from approaching Attractive humans from a potential partner standpoint, so if I caught someones eye physically I hoped they would approach me, and I could not have to worry about initiating contact.
DO NOT DO THIS.
There are two Quotes that hold some value here before I continue that I would like to share:
“Always be happy, never be satisfied” – A vanilla friend
“Discipline always trumps motivation. Motivation is about emotion and too many times, we rely on emotion to raise our performance. Unfortunately, this can quickly wear you down and if you aren’t motivated, lead to lackluster or missed training sessions. Discipline doesn’t care how you feel, what the weather is or if you’ve had a bad day. Discipline will carry the strong. Discipline will drive success. Discipline doesn’t need a “hype” video or loud music.” – Jim Wendler.
Both of these Quotes are in the context of powerlifting/training, however I find a lot of that advice is relevant to much more.
If I wanted real, lasting change, I needed to be happy with my body – but not satisfied, because of that I needed long term discipline to effect real change. My motivation was exactly what I have detailed in the monolith that is this writing, but in order to be disciplined I needed a real tangible goal, (and honestly a less destructive and shallow one).
So that is where I am currently, I am learning to be happy with my body, and work on my long term aesthetic goals – I have managed to narrow it down. A six pack for me isn’t a realistic goal, I like burgers and scotch too much, I am not a nice person when I buckle down to eat/live like I would have to to achieve that. Instead My goal is to get a “Muscle Bear” look, and be physically strong enough to manhandle anyone I want. I’ve also started to try and stop placing my self worth on my physical and sexual appeal.
Now that you have read this, I offer some insight and advice. Men/male identifying humans are just as subject to body image issues as anyone else, but no one talks about it, it’s a form of weakness. We fall into the “social media” traps of perfection, and for some of us, it shakes us to the very core with no one to talk to or articulate our feelings to. There are many groups, websites and places to see this in action. We hurt, we have broken confidence because of it, and sometimes we need help building ourselves up.
Male Humans: Be who you are, be happy with how you look, and if you’re not – don’t change for the wrong reasons like I started, change because you WANT TO, if you try to change for others, you’re doomed to failure, and being trapped in an unhealthy spiral of pleasing people who do not know what a fucking rockstar you are. Do things that make you feel confident, don’t mistake others validation for confidence, it’s not, and not healthy.
Somewhere along the way I realized the things my girl said to me were my truth, not the lies my brain created trying to chase approval. All it takes is one person to see the things you don’t, and more often than not, you should listen to them, the positives they see are generally the truth.