Thursday, 19 March 2009

Do you like the way you look?

My mother woke me up this morning to tell me that I'm getting kind of fat - not that I see any difference myself. I have a rather large bulge around my stomach, which is at odds with the rest of my frame; according to my natural shape I'm tall and thin. I just eat too much so I have a flabby stomach. This I know.

But the fact that my mother actually told me that I looked overweight made me feel both humiliated and physically repulsive. I'm the nicest guy you'll ever meet (a little weird at points, but I'm lovely really), but for years recently I didn't have a girlfriend and was therefore convinced that the main reason was the fact that I have a large stomach. A particularly embarrassing moment came at a camp once where everyone took their tops off, and even the other geeks had flat stomachs. I just looked hideous.

At least, society dictates that I looked hideous. I'm not a fat person - I feel fat, but I know that most of me isn't. Just check out my guitar-playing, violin-holding, button-bashing, songwriting, lady-fondling hands. And the muscular arms that are attached to them. But I still feel like I've done the wrong thing because since the age of 11 I've had this stomach bulge. It's not like I've gone up and down, it's just stayed the same.

So why, I ask, do we live in a society that says thin is attractive? It's almost like you have to conform to an exact size; too thin is too thin / too fat is too fat. Look at me from the side and I'm too fat; from the front I'm OK. Where do you place me? And where do you place me when I wear my work uniform, which accentuates my curves?
The health risks aside (and you are only at risk if you are very large; obese people often live with no health problems at all), being slightly larger-than-average merely shows that you enjoy good food and living life. I'm not generally a happy person, but because of job and girlfriend and music and people I've started to occasionally think that it's not so bad after all.

So I put on a bit of weight. I didn't notice it myself (because I don't weigh myself), but evidently my mother did.

I don't weigh myself, because that's fighting a losing battle. Rebecca, neurotic and deluded, used to weigh herself daily and cry if she was over eight stone, even if she didn't physically look any different. What I go by for myself is size - and I know my waist is too big by society's standards. I don't even know what my standards are any more. I just feel very unattractive now that it's been pointed out.

I don't even eat that fatty a diet. For a start, vegetarian food doesn't have any animal fats in it. I eat a hot meal at work, because I need that fuel boost when I'm working, and usually have a snack when I get home. On days off, I'll have a cheese toastie and glass of fruit juice, and maybe some baked crisps (very low fat). I rarely ever eat breakfast. And sometimes I'll go on a date with TD and we'll have something in a restaurant. When I cook, it's usually something with pasta and salad and they're both good for you. And yet, short of starving myself, there's not much else I can do in order to get any smaller. I'm not sacrifising food, and besides, diets don't work, because they fuck up your body's metabolism.

"You're quite active, aren't you?" said my mother after making me feel ugly.

I don't know how much she knows. I have a demanding job with lots of walking, I practice guitar a lot, I dance (although not so much as I used to - have to get into that again), I act, I swim, I go on long walks by myself and I have very energetic sex. I'm not sure she knows about that last one, although my birthday sex was rated "amazing++", so I don't care even if she does. But evidently that doesn't work either, because short of going to a gym every morning, like Clive Owen does if he has to take his top off in a movie, I'm not actually going to spend a hell of a lot of time and money (because I don't have any) exercising. Unlike Hollywood actors, I don't have a lot of leisure time, and when I get a bit, I'll spend it in actual leisure, such as spending time with friends, or girlfriend, or playing video games, writing songs, making up stories, watching Doctor Who or writing incredibly long posts in my sex blog.

You see, I'm living an OK life for the first time in years, and because that has made me slightly podgy if you happen to be looking at my midriff if my T-shirt is off - although for what reason that might happen I don't know, unless you're about to sleep with me - society's claims now tell me that I am physically repulsive. If I had a six-pack, maybe I'd be okay to look at again. Never mind my blue eyes, my soft hair or my strong arms.

But then again, if I had a six-pack I probably wouldn't have much of a brain either.

Thanks, Mum.


Anna said...

I'm sorry to hear that your mother upset you. It's strange, no matter how well they know us, our parents seem to know how to say exactly the Wrong Thing, don't they!

I think you're overreacting a bit. I know I tend to get stroppy if my parents are critical of me, because I feel like they should be as unrelentingly flattering of me as they were when I was 5!

The fact is, if you're healthy, you'll be attractive. It may not be the same as being magazine-cover material - they seem to like anorexic girls and guys on steroids - but I assure you that if you're healthy, you look good.

Myself, I'm at the unhealthy end of curvy. Not fat, exactly, but I could stand to take up jogging. I get my occasional low day where I feel like a beached whale, but you shouldn't let those low days permanently impact your view of yourself. You're not 13 any more, you can be confident in your own body.

x x

Chloe said...

When I read blogs like yours, where the topic is not in any manner classifiable as boring, and the speech is honest and open, I imagine the most beautiful people writing them. Physically impeccable.

And you know, reading this post doesn't really change that. I don't think, "Oh goodness, this is repulsive now...what I imagined was untrue."

It makes me like the blog more, because now I know there's a real person writing it, and I know the world is full of real people.

It makes me feel good about being me.

Innocent Loverboy said...

Anna: True. But I'm not exactly healthy either. Fortunately, I'm not unhealthy - I know what unhealthy people are like and I'm not one of them. I suppose I should appreciate the fact that my body works for me... it's just the bits of it that I have the doubts about that antagonise me, s'all.

Chloe: That's a good response to have. I promise you, I am a real person. As, I'm sure, are you. Cheers.

Thanks, both of you.

The Drinker said...

I do not think that you are fat. I do not think that you are repulsive. In fact, I think quite the opposite. You need to be comfortable in your own skin, and packing a little isn't the end of the world.

Your mum can be tactless; you can overreact.

If you want to change it, change it for yourself, not for anyone else.

But know this: when your clothes are off, I don't mind what you look like - I mind what you do.


Anonymous said...

Awww, poor lad, I can sympathise. If we're going by BMI I'm technically obese, been on a diet for over 6 weeks and not a pound has shifted.

Don't worry though. Nobody's perfect. Heck, Fractal has a bit of a stomach on him too.

Thing is, no-one who really matters will care. Besides which, sexy is not located in a flat tummy. It mostly resides in the brain, and we all know you're fine on that front :)

TiffanyLillian said...

When I read your blogs, I imagine a "innocent loverboy". I picture the guy who writes about his sex, and his features.
Your not fat, i bet you are really attractive :)