Kepa from The Fat Lazy Guy’s Log writes about body image from a male perspective. He’s lost over 120kg (260+lbs). I asked if he’d be willing to write about how his weight loss has or hasn’t impacted his body image.
this post made me cry. this post made me think. this post is a must read.
Thank you Kepa. Thank you.
‘Getting There’ ~Kepa
First off, I just really wanted to say thank you to Michelle for asking me to do this. I’m pretty nervous, so yeah. I hope my writing at least in some way lives up to her freaking awesome blog!
I have a hard time remembering what my body image was like when I was heavier. It seems that when I was heavier I didn’t think I had a body, there was just this thing attached to me that I had done to myself — a giant scar, a reminder of every fall and every failure. I didn’t hate my body. I hated myself for doing that to myself, for creating this thing that made me afraid of my own friends and family. I guess to not even consider that you have a body is pretty bad body image, huh?
I think the reason I felt that way is because thoughts about my body were always tied up in the ability to do things. It was just a given that I didn’t look good, so I focussed on inability. I wasn’t able to sit in seats lighter people sat in for fear of breaking them. I couldn’t walk 5 minutes without needing to rest. I couldn’t wear clothes that would make me feel comfortable. I couldn’t just be another normal person. I felt worthless that I had made this physical barrier between myself and the life I wanted to live. And that’s all my body was, a barrier.
As I’ve lost weight, I’ve learned to appreciate my body a lot more. Its duty as barrier has been seriously reduced and I’ve been able to do things I’ve always wanted to. If you haven’t not been able to walk 100 metres (109 yards) without needing to take a rest break because your back was killing you and your lungs and heart were about to explode, you may not be able to appreciate just how freeing it is to walk down the street and realise NO ONE IS STARING AT YOU. My body doesn’t attract stares anymore. I can hang with my friends anywhere and not worry about embarrassing them. So yes, losing weight has made me a lot more comfortable in my body.
That said, I’m not totally comfortable. You see, now that I realise I have a body, I’m more keenly aware of its flaws. It’s no longer about what I’m not able to do, because I can do pretty much everything I want to or work towards it. My body issues have to do with straight appearance, looking good.
I don’t know if it’s media and all the external pressure to look good, or if it’s just some new way to validate my own insecurities, but there’s a body now and I don’t like it all the time. Sometimes I hate it. I hate it because it’s not like *insert your fav male celebrity’s body*. I hate it because I can’t take off my t-shirt. I hate it because I can’t participate in the freaking awesome Exposed movement. I hate it because it makes me feel like I’m still not good enough. I hate it because despite everything I’ve done to push past it, it can still hold me back.
I think the times I’m most comfortable with my body I’m just not thinking about it, and that tends to be a lot of the time. Sometimes I catch myself doing something, remember back to a time when I couldn’t do that, and that’ll give me buzz for a bit. Sometimes I realise I don’t look like how I want to and I’ll pull myself apart. This body image stuff is hard and I don’t know how to get it perfect, but I admire (and, if I’m honest, am jealous) of everyone making strides to be happy with their bodies no matter what. I hope I get there one day.