I hate my body.

This is something that I almost never talk about to people. I know that this doesn’t make me special, but rather, it makes me just like everyone else in the world. And that is why I don’t talk about it. I hear countless times every day people, especially women, going on and on about getting fat, not liking the way they look, feeling ugly, feeling unattractive, undesirable. And it annoys me. We all feel this way. We all have insecurities about our bodies. There’s not much use talking about them in everyday conversations with simple acquaintances, all you’re really doing is looking for some sort of validation, fishing for compliments to prove to yourself that you’re wrong, that you are attractive.

I don’t talk about hating my body because it makes me feel pathetic. It makes me feel like I am powerless over making some sort of an effort to change my lifestyle and become more healthy. And I am powerless. I have been uncomfortable with my weight ever since the third grade. I used to tell my self on an almost weekly basis that soon I would get my life together, start dieting, exercising, lose weight, and that everything would work out. I have viewed losing weight as a panacea, curing all of my problems and opening my life up for everything to just fall into place. It has always seemed like the unattainable, something that I told myself would happen eventually but in reality would never come. So I just sit, hating my body, every single day.

Now this might sound, like I said, how everyone else feels. But I’m beginning to realize that, in my mind, it goes beyond that. I don’t feel bad about my body when things don’t go my way, or when I eat unhealthily for a few days, or when I don’t go to the gym. I feel bad about my body every single day, all day. I look at myself in the mirror and I feel disgust. People compliment me and I get resentful, because who would ever find the way I look attractive? I feel uncomfortable everywhere I go, and I always tell myself that I am not good enough, and I never will be until I am thin. The extra weight on my chest and my stomach always feels like the elephant in the room, only it’s in every room that I go in. My mind always tells me, “They’re looking at you. They’re judging you. No one finds you attractive. You’re not normal.”

A good friend of mine keeps telling me that I’m only going to achieve serenity and be content once I realize that I am good enough exactly as I am, that I don’t need to change anything. I know that this is true. But it feels impossible to be content with the way things are when I am so discontent with my body.

Even writing this now makes me feel pathetic. I am perfectly fine writing about my homosexuality, my alcoholism, my character defects. Because those are things that I have accepted about myself and am unashamed of. But my body and the way I feel about it is not something I am willing to accept, much less talk about. I have so much shame surrounding my body. I look in the mirror and think that this is not how I am supposed to look.

But my biggest character defect is my laziness. I would literally sleep my life away if I could. But to be honest, that isn’t true anymore. I don’t want to sleep my life away. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I want to act without fear. Being afraid of how I look has held me back from so many of the things that I want to do. I don’t want to let it anymore. That’s why I’m writing about this now, because if I can’t write about it, I can’t do anything about it. I started dieting and exercising about a year ago, and lost over 40 pounds. But I still wasn’t satisfied with how I looked. I graduated college, moved across the country, and stopped everything. I was lucky in that I stayed at the same weight, but I still felt the same way I did before.

Now, I’ve started exercising again, but I have so much fear still. I have fear that I won’t keep at this. I have fear that I won’t do enough. I have fear that I’ll plateau in my weight loss. I have fear that I’ll never like the way I look. I have fear that talking about this makes me just like everyone else. I have fear that I’ll get what I want and it still won’t be enough. I have fear that I will never be content with the way that things are.

But I’m choosing to act without fear. The more that I do that, the more I know I’m on the right path. I know this article isn’t funny. But it’s the truth, and it’s something I needed to write.

-Theodore Dandy

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