Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Body and Mind


I have been avoiding this post. I have attempted writing it several times. I am still learning how to open up and be completely honest with myself. I encourage you to read the entire post before reactively commenting on the first half. So here goes.

I hate my body.

Since the fifth grade, my body has never done what I told it to do. I told it to be athletic, but it wasn’t. I told it to like girls, but it didn't. I told it not to react the way it did to cute boys, but it didn't. I told it to trust my faith, beliefs, logic and common sense so we could be happy together, but it didn't and we never were.

Because of the rebellion of my body, I frustratingly determined subconsciously that in order to prevent my body from winning the war with my spirit, I would force it to not have any satisfaction. I would not let my body serve as a distraction or a temptation. From that point on, I hated my body, and it became my reality.

I convinced myself that I was not attractive. I didn't exercise anymore. I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t want to feel anymore.

I convinced myself that if I detested my body, others would too. I convinced myself that I cared what other people thought of me, so I would try to make them not like me physically. I thought that if I didn't like myself physically, no one else would. And I would be safe.

Relationship with girls never worked out because I wasn’t that interested and because I didn't love myself enough to understand how someone else could be attracted to me. Personality aside, I was not comfortable in my own skin and wanted it to remain that way so I would never be comfortable enough to be tempted in any way. In short, I took away my own confidence in order to protect myself.

My body and my self-imposed lack of confidence was serving as an impenetrable wall that my mind could not wander over. I could hardly look myself in the mirror without feeling depressed and angry at my body, then detesting my own existence.

But when living in the dichotomy of two worlds, sometimes walls have to fall.

When I came out to myself, I also made the determination that it was time to change more in my life than just my sexuality. I wanted to be free not only from my imposed moral beliefs but also from the subconscious prison of my own inadequate body.

I started to take care of my body by actually paying attention to what I put in it, by caring more committedly to cleanliness and by exercising. It was like saying hello to and old friend I had lost contact with. My body and I now have an agreeable partnership rather than the open hostilities of war. I have lost a noticeable amount of weight and am going to need a new wardrobe soon.

And most importantly, I am starting to actually like what I see in the mirror.

Together, we are starting to feel more rather than trying not to feel at all. Instead of compartmentalizing the pain and grief, we are trying to address it more openly and productively. Sometimes it hurts, but having lived in an isolated protective stance, the pain only makes happiness feel that much more wonderful.

I know that I am a mental victim of the objectification of the male body. I will never be a model or a dashing actor. I probably will never be hit on or catch someone’s breath away. I will never be eye candy.

But I am trying to convince myself that I am attractive in other ways. I hope that someone can be attracted to my personality, my true friendship, my buoyant spirit, my willingness to dedicate time to others, my sensitivity, my passion and my dedication.

I still have confidence issues and lingering thoughts of bodily shame, but I am relearning to love my body, and love myself for who I am. The mental and bodily walls I have painstakingly constructed are slowly being torn down, and I am finding confidence and happiness hidden behind them.

If I have learned anything, it is that confidence begets beauty. Therefore, I am becoming more beautiful everyday.

6 comments:

  1. Yep, there comes a point in your life when you make a truce with your body and not let it bother you anymore. Mind over matter, is what I say. The best thing to do is channel that energy your body creates and put it into something effective.

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  2. Congratulations on re-discovering, respecting and learning to love your wonderful, one-of-a-kind, God-given, incredibly intricate, complex, holy and beautiful body, mind and spirit.

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  3. Very insightful, and I like Ned's comment.

    Pope John Paul II's take on the creation accounts of Genesis is that the body is the physical representation of the spirit. We are not, as the Manich├Žans thought, spirits trapped in bodies, but spirit/body unities, which is why we must have a resurrection of the body to be ourselves in heaven.

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  4. I think it's a fairly common thing for most people to struggle with body image. Sometimes I feel like no one will ever find me attractive, but in those moments I have to remind myself that some people have, and that I just have to keep on looking for others who will. Hopefully one of them will eventually turn out to be Mr. Right. There are people out there who will find you attractive. They will love you for who you are, even when you can't seem to understand why. Anyways, I'm excited for your progress!

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  5. That's very cool. It sounds like you are making lots of really great foundational and lasting changes. You can tell when that's happening because it starts affecting all aspects of your life. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  6. Hey there.

    So much of what you said really resonates with me. I myself am just coming to terms with my own physical self-hatred and am working to change my physical appearance to something I can be happy with, even if it isn't ideal. It's TOUGH! I've been going to the gym and even started to feel like I don't stick out like a sore thumb anymore.

    We can be so incredibly hard on ourselves sometimes, even our worst critics when we least need someone to criticize us. I was really inspired by what you said and am even more motivated to go and fix what I don't like (inside and out) so that I can eventually regain some of my confidence.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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