I’ve always been big. Even as a kid I was always on the chubby side. I began to grow tall as well. By the time I was in middle school I was topping near six feet. I’m now 6’2. Kids picked on me for being fat all my life, and for a while it bothered me, then I reached a place when it didn’t for a while. Until High School rolled around, and I became interested in dating.
High School was four of the worst years of my life. I felt terribly out of place and awkward. This is not shocking or foreign to anyone else’s experience, I’m sure. However, the added struggle of being a fat kid just amped up the feelings of anxiety and insecurity. I began dealing with depression when I was 16, and I’m sure feelings about my body had a lot to do with that starting. I never bothered asking anyone out on a date, because I was so convinced that no one would ever want to be seen out with me.
That’s something I still struggle with in my adult life. During most of my twenties, I was just haunted by this feeling that it was impossible to make dating work. I was very confident in my early twenties, but being rejected by one too many persons took that confidence away fast. I have even started to have panic attacks while asking people out, and that’s just the worst kind of hell. To lack such confidence in yourself, that asking someone out to a movie is an exercise in terror.
There was a time when I just hated everything about myself. I hated my body, how I looked, how I spoke, I even hated the things I loved. I felt just worthless and useless as a person. That began to change, gradually. I soon started to realize I had some pretty shitty friends who didn’t value me as a person, and I ditched them.
I began to lose weight, mostly for health reasons, and I’ve lost about 40 pounds. That helped me start to like the body that houses all the things that make me who I am. I tend to be really hard on myself, and I soon realized that I was treating myself in ways I would never allow a friend to treat themselves.
Confidence is still something I struggle with. I still have days where I hate my body and I think I’m just a terribly unappealing person. It’s not as bad as it used to be. I think a lot of men struggle with this, but we’re not supposed to admit to having emotions, feelings, thoughts, anxiety, and panic attacks asking someone to grab a drink at Starbucks.
People tell me that I’m handsome, and I will believe that. I’d like to think, or dare be arrogant enough to say I know, that I dress well. In my mind I think I’ve got a Cary Grant/Fred Astaire vibe in my sense of style. Even if the body is more John Belushi. This is all to say that, generally speaking, I really like myself. I don’t think I’ll ever fully be without my struggles about how my body looks, but I am learning to be kinder to myself more and more each day.
Andy has a blog you should check out, a weekly column for the Loafer, and you can follow him on Twitter too! Dude is an expert on classic movies and garage band records too, just to let you know.