Tree Limb

Dendrochronology is the method by which you date a tree by analysing its patterns and age rings. It is derived from the Greek word dendron which translates as ‘tree limb’. On Friday I noticed @lovelustlondon tweet that this weekend he adds another age ring to his chronology. As I’d so far only published one shot from our April walk in the park I thought a birthday Sinful Sunday was in order. Happy Birthday!

Sinful Sunday

Small World

The locations have been the stars of my last two Sinful Sundays. Today we’re stripping it back down and letting the body do the talking. And when I say we’re letting the body do the talking, you should know that this man completed a 100 mile run just 48 hours before I took this photo. I’m not sure if it’s the aesthetic or the accomplishment that makes this photo so hot to me…

But there’s a back story here. The man lives in America. The five hours we spent together last Tuesday may be the only time we ever spend together. If that’s how it is, so be it – it was awesome! But I kind of hope there’ll be more, one day…

We met on OKC where there’s no reference to E40 or my exhibitionist tendencies. In the chat leading up to him arriving in the UK for his race he asked me about partners. I talked a little about how relationships work for me and referenced my Always Coming Second post. “I’d like to read that,” he said. I told him the name of the blog but warned of the nudes and said I could email a document instead.

His reply?

“I chuckled and appreciated the lengths you went to to ensure that I would not be offended. ‘If only she knew?’ I thought. It was funny to see that you participate in Molly’s Sinful Sundays. A girlfriend from a few years back followed the posts and we would always comment on them together.”

Is that not BRILLIANT?! A completely random connection on a vanilla dating site where our primary common ground is distance running and small business ownership. What a small world! I’m so delighted to move him out of looking at Sinful Sunday and into participating in it. Although I must confess that came more from my desire to show off the photo and tell the story in this little online diary than a burning desire from him to be here! But I’m very happy he said I could use it…

Sinful Sunday

New

“How beautiful maleness is, if it finds its right expression.” D.H. Lawrence

Getting to know a new body is exciting; getting to know it with your camera as well as your own body is an honour.

Sean by me.


Febraury Photofest
Sinful Sunday

Lightweight, part two

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.

Anders, by Wolfgang Tillmans

Anders, by Wolfgang Tillmans

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.

 

The Naked Rambler

It’s been a while since I have been behind the camera for an Exposing 40 collaboration, but what a pleasure to bring you Chiaroscuro. I got the tip off that he was approaching the Big Four O and up for a photography adventure a couple of months back, so a plan was hatched. Anyone who follows Chiaroscuro on Twitter will know he’s pretty handy with a camera himself, so I knew my photos would need to be pretty different to stand out. As a counter to his distinctive and often quite dramatic black and white shots I wanted mine to be green, fresh, carefree and fun – so off we went on a ramble on the North Downs.

The day was as fun the photos suggest, but the stand out moment for me was how surprised and happy he was as we later flicked through the photos over a pint. ‘Look at your back! Look at your leg muscles!’ There really is nothing like having someone else turn their lens on you to tell their story for making you see yourself – and appreciate yourself – differently. I am so happy that getting involved with Exposing 40 achieves this for those who trust this little project. So with no further ado, I bring you The Naked Rambler…

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Sinful Sunday