“Fat?! And you thought you were fat? You wanna see fat?! I’ll show you some fat!”
This was the adult me talking to the me in the pictures of when I was younger. I really wasn’t fat at all, maybe a little pudgy in some of the pictures; and by no means was my body the abhorrent image I remember holding in the mind’s eye of my youth.
It wasn’t always like this. Prior to the H-Bomb being dropped upon my psyche that fateful day in the boys department of Muirhead’s Department Store (see part 1), my earliest memories are of being surrounded by girls and woman at church as they are gawking and pulling at me, pinching my cheeks and going on and on about how cute I was and how beautiful my long white/blonde eyelashes were.
There was so much adulation heaped upon me that when I was 5 years old I cut off my eyelashes thinking it would make them all stop pawing at me. I was wrong; it only fueled them more. You would think that a young boy growing up with all of that positive attention toward his cuteness would build a strong self image and a strong sense of self worth.
What happens to a child when a great portion of his self worth is built upon being cute? And what happens when he then grows out of his cuteness, and instead is labeled something horrible, such as HUSKY? I’ll tell you; I began to judge my body as imperfect, not cute and not lovable. I began to feel unworthy of physical love.
Luckily for me, at a young age I knew I possessed the ability to make people laugh, and that gave me enough confidence to carry me through. But as far as my body was concerned, I felt less than; I felt unworthy.
This sense of physical unworthiness drove me to work hard on my body, trying to make it worthy. Through my teens and into young adulthood I would work out sometimes 6-7 days a week…. and I remained unworthy.
Worthy, in my mind’s eye, was an image of physical perfection; an airbrushed image of the perfect body. I remember staring in the mirror, with disgust, thinking, “How could someone love this body?” The sick part to this is, at one point, I was staring at a body in the mirror that looked like a slightly softer (not as cut) version of Mark Wahlberg’s famous Calvin Klein ad.
Because I could not love my body, I was incapable of allowing someone else to love me or my body. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this physical unworthiness that I held onto for so long was the impetus for the destruction of many of my relationships.
The odder piece of this puzzle is that it took me getting completely out of shape, 50+ lbs fatter than my most fit body, in order to begin loving myself and my body.
It was during the darkest period of my entire life, My Dark Period, as my friends would call it (2008-2011), that I purposefully began the journey to loving myself. The events that lead to this dark period created the space into which I began to heal my life. Though this was THE most painful period of my life, and I hope to never experience anything like it again, I am thankful now that it all occurred as it did.
Because I began to love myself and I did not give up on life… my life is now the most peaceful it has ever been. Because I began to love my body… I am healthier than I have been in decades. And because I began to love my body and I did not give up on love… I met the absolute love of my life.
To be continued. (Part 3)
In Part 3 I will go into the events that began My Dark Period and I will explain what I did to turn things around for myself.
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