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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer of Skin

Today I spent the majority of the day disassembling someone else's room and rearranging it to be my own. Part of me felt then, and still feels now, that this is some strange form of trespassing. Part of me believes that this is is going to karmatically bite me in the tail at some point in the future.

But this was a necessary move and, for the first time in years, I'm sleeping on a bed tonight that isn't a twin. It's a full and, my goodness, did I forget how big beds are. Or maybe the bed seems so big because I haven't slept in one this size since I was 273 pounds. I used to sleep in a queen then and it seemed small.

The full I'm laying on now? Like a freakin' wide swath of land. I have no idea what to do with most of it, but like many things, I imagine I'll get used to it. In the midst of all my moving and hustling up and down the stairs, I realized I had misplaced something.

My swimsuit.

I only possess one to my name at this point. I'll probably never have a large collection, not because I don't like to swim (I do, a lot), but because they seem to last a long time. Then again I used to always have to upgrade to a new swimsuit every other year due my increasing girth, but that's not an issue anymore.

Well, it sorta is. Leading up to the beginning of this summer I was attempting to lose weight again, to get back down to 145 but in truth to aim for 130. That seems to be the magic number for saying goodbye to the loose skin that still bunches up around my stomach. It's unsightly. It's ugly. And it absolutely shouldn't be seen by anyone in my view.

My best friend recommended to me a few months back to get a surfshirt. Something to throw over myself and to hide my loose skin until I can deal with it. But I don't like the idea, simply because it seems wrong. This is summer and it's the absolute worst time of the year for any insecurities about one's body.

We all have them. I do. You do. Everyone I know does. No matter how flawless or amazing someone's body seems to be, they hate theirs like you hate yours some days. It's a fact of life and one that we all too readily deny. I deny it because that's the way it works.

It's summer and it's time to put ourselves on display. The surfshirt thing feels like a cop out, not because it's an illegitimate solution, but because it's just not fair. Everyone else -- especially women -- are pressured to show off their bodies during this time of year. Bikinis are worn up and down the beach, at the pool, at the lake, wherever and we guys can get away with just tossing on a pair of swimshorts and a surfshirt and be fine.

It's wrong. If we expected all men to wear speedoes during the summer and thought it was all right for women to wear whatever we wanted, would us guys be all right with it? Hell no. It wouldn't happen. You'd never see commercials with men in speedoes for big retail stores, you wouldn't see men in speedoes posted on billboards driving into towns, you wouldn't see them on magazines or parading about in public ... no.

We make it okay to objectify women because ... why? Profit? A cultural understanding? It's so ingrained in our culture at this point that women objectify each other now (and perhaps they always have to a certain degree but I feel it's just ridiculous now with the ads everywhere).

And all this brings me back to ... well, me. And my weight. Because it's at 152 and has been for weeks now. Just doesn't want to budge it seems though I'm trying. I've upped my sleep, cut back on my fluids, slightly upped my carbs, I'm exercising more, and generally playing as smart as I can. And I'm still stuck.

I want to be back at 145 at least before this month is over with, but the month has roughly two weeks left now. Last night, as I was restlessly tossing and turning, the dreaded thought came over me that maybe this won't happen by the end of the summer. That I'll still be here. That I'll still be staring at the horror of a past life in the mirror every day.

And it dawned on me as I was looking for my swimsuit today, nearly freaking out because I couldn't find it, that this must be -- in some ways -- what women feel like during this time of year as they try to achieve personal goals to make themselves look better. For whom, I wonder?

For myself, I'm doing it to kill the loose skin. Even though I know it very likely won't and I'll very likely be crushed when I fail, I'm doing it primarily for that. Secondarily, I'm doing it so I can look good in a swimsuit, so I don't have to feel like a reject as I do stuff in it.

It was told to me, this past month, that after a certain age women become irrelevant. That they have to work on themselves and their bodies in order to maintain any relevance. I had no counter argument, for the woman who was telling me this was right. Personally, will she lose her relevance to me ever? No. Never. She'll be at least as amazing (and likely more) as we our friendship continues years down the road.

But will she be irrelevant to society? Yes. The world will move onto something younger. Something "hotter" or "sexier" or "thinner". You don't have a long lifespan if you're a woman in this world in that way.

But I'm a guy. I get to matter forever. You can sit there and rattle off multiple names of men in their 50s, 60s, 70s that are still considered "hot" or "sexy". There's a significant gap in terms of relevant lifespan and there shouldn't be.

I'm in the prime of my life. I'm absolutely in the best shape of my life (despite my higher weight, I still fit into all my clothes and do it well) and only getting better in my view.

But I will never be hot or sexy. I don't think I have the face for that or the build or really even the potentiality. I am distinctly lacking in that area and part of me is very disappointed by that. As a guy, you want to be seen as attractive to the opposite sex.

I can honestly say I'm probably not (really want to say I'm absolutely not but I'll bet there's an outlier somewhere).

But I fear what others think of my body. I hate what I have to see. I actively try and change it.

I will not hide it under a surfshirt. I will not hide it anymore at all. (Don't scroll down if you don't want to see).

There's me. Apologies, but a visual representation was needed. As you can see, it's not pretty. That's what I'm trying to kill and that's what I refuse to hide. If it's acceptable to judge people during the summer, women especially, on their bodies then I can't try to skirt around the rules.

My stretch marks are clear. My belly-button is deep, my skin has a roll and hangs sadly there. It's ugly. But it shouldn't and won't be hidden. That same right isn't afforded anyone else, so it should not be afforded to me.

Thanks for reading. Hope the rambling made some sense. God Bless.