A couple of months ago I wrote Lightweight, exploring the issue of weight when there’s less of it. At the time I said I wanted to cover this issue more and I have spoken before about wanting to see more men on Exposing 40. Last night a friend read out a Facebook post from one of her male friends. As soon as she started reading I just knew I wanted to post it here. Happily he said yes, so I am very honoured to repost some very powerful and important words about male body positivity.
I had a busy couple of days this past weekend, (heck, the last couple of weekends), but I’ve had a lot of time to think in between and there have been a few things stuck in my head, bouncing around, that I’ve thought about sharing including one very personal thing about my journey to get in shape. This week I crossed a threshold that I’ve never crossed before in my entire life. Today I weighed in at over 150 lbs for the first time ever (152 to be exact). I don’t like to talk about my weight and almost never mention it because it usually comes with someone making a comment about me being lucky or “I wish I had that problem” but I’ve struggled with my weight all my life; not getting rid of it, putting it on. Growing up, and even in early adulthood, I was constantly inundated with people telling me I need to eat more or saying I look like I was starving and need to put on some weight or any number of beanpole references. I didn’t even break 100 lbs until I was almost in college.
One time when was about 16 I went to a friend’s relative’s house for dinner. She kept insisting I eat more because I was so skinny. She plopped seconds on my plate and pushed dessert in front of me. I tried to politely refuse but ended up giving in, and shortly after dinner threw up in the bathroom from eating so much. I never told my friend or his mom, but it felt horrible. I was so embarrassed and felt unbelievably ashamed. It was like that at a lot of dinners when I was a kid, although thankfully not with my close family. People saw my weight as a problem they needed to fix or at least tell me how to fix.
Being the skinniest boy in Junior and High school also meant I was voted most likely to get my ass kicked for no reason other than most people could. As an adult it got slightly better but still had its issues. For my first real professional job, I had to shop in the boys section at the department store to find dress pants that would fit me.
Needless to say I’ve had a pretty bad body image almost my entire life, but I never talk about it. Partly because I know so many people struggle with losing weight and see being skinny as the perfect way to be, and partly because no one takes it seriously. I’m not trying to say that what I’ve gone through is harder or worse than what anyone else has gone through regarding any body shaming but what I felt was and is real nonetheless.
But today I’m proud. Today I’m happy for me. I smiled at a scale for the first time in my life. And it was a real scale! The kind with the sliding weights and everything. And I didn’t have shoes or heavy clothes on either. This was legit.
I share this because for the first time in my life I’m starting to feel good about my body, and that’s something that guys (and particularly skinny guys) never ever talk about, but I can assure you there are lots of us who feel it. We just can’t and don’t talk about it.
I love my body right now and it makes me happy, and if I can share my happy and cause someone else feel that way too, then sharing is worth it.
Photo courtesy of Modesty Ablaze
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Our laughing entwined
With the chatter of magpies
@19syllables, @JediHamster100 and I went down to the woods this week. So much fun! “What Amazons we are!” said Haiku on seeing the photos. She and I below by Jedi Hamster; Jedi Hamster by me is over here! Haiku above is by @19syllables.
As we see week in and week out on Sinful Sunday, people’s bodies are beautiful works of art. This week I am super excited to have photographed someone whose body has become a canvas for art. Those of you who follow Tamsin Flowers on Twitter may have seen her tweeting last year about having this tattoo inked. She messaged me at the time to ask if I would photograph her arm when it was done and a couple of weeks ago we finally made it happen. And, WOW! What a beautiful celebratory piece of art and what a pain threshold this woman must have!
This huge sensory installation at Kew is modelled on a beehive with the pace of sound and light responding to activity in a real nearby beehive. There were a few too many people around on a hot August day to take any truly sinful photos, but I would love to return first thing in the morning and get some more adventurous shots!
Photo by Tamsin Flowers; my photos of her to follow next week!!