This is quite a difficult post to write about, but I want to attempt to document my experiences of how messed up body image can be – even though it’s not that new a topic. This will probably be the first in a series of posts.
I really dislike my body. Despite everything I try to make me feel better, from hollow reassurances to just ignorance, I find it incredibly difficult to feel comfortable in my own skin.
This had led me to be obsessive and behave in a way that can be detrimental to my health and day to day life. I’m always poking at myself, tugging at my clothes if they are too tight, highlighting my insecurities in front of friends and family on a daily basis. It even gets to the point where I hurt my back by sucking in my stomach to see how close I am to getting a flatter shape, and it has contributed to my depression at the worst of times.
In a weirdly conflicting way this has developed over the period that I identified with the Bear community – a gay/bisexual subculture that promotes body positivity of all shapes and sizes. This group has been one of the few things that has helped me to be less hard on myself and be more comfortable in accepting that I can like my body, as well as others. Below is what I would call a generalised version of a bear – a larger, hairy, stockier guy, but I’ll be delving into bears specifically in another post. For anyone interested, this picture was created in the Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator game, which is wonderful by the way!
Yet for myself there is still the paradox that this subculture, one based heavily on a specific visual aestheitc, has spawned more insecurities, especially when seeing other types of bears and wanting to be like them because they look better than me – those that might be muscular, or having a broader frame that compliments the extra weight etc. It gets to the point where you just give up and don’t even bother to love yourself anymore.
Despite this in the back of my mind, from a social point of view hanging out with bears has been lovely, as you do feel more comfortable and no one is as judgemental – you can relax!!
Some days are better than others, and yes doing things like exercise etc helps, but the scary part is no matter how well I seem to be doing, or however close I will get to my ideal body type, there will always be a part of me that will never be satisfied.
I do live in hope that one day I will be able to overcome these insecurities, but as a point of discussion it’s something I’ve wanted to be more open about – not just to help with my own struggles, but to highlight that body image affects anyone, and that there should perhaps be a wider discussion on the implications.
Please comment if you have any thoughts on body image, and how you think it can be tackled!