(NOTE: Edited for clarity. Thanks for the feedback, commenters.)
Years ago, I was a squeamish gym locker room user. I absolutely adore my gym specifically because it is a marvelous melting pot of ages, fitness levels, cultures, and body shapes and I’ve been going there for so long I feel like part of a big, happy, sweaty family. But my locker room hosts a surprisingly large number of folks who walk around really, really naked a whole lot of the time. They blow-dry naked and sit on the benches talking with their gal-pals naked and walk from the shower to the locker area proudly, unabashedly naked. As my friend Miller puts it, most gym-goers are “striders or hiders.” I’m a hider. Surrounded by striders.
Originally posted 2014-09-10 06:42:34.
When I was in high school, my dear friend Emily would address me by saying, “Hey, beautiful!” It always unnerved me back then, though I would never have been able to articulate why. With my 20-20 hindsight, however, I can quite easily tell you why: I didn’t believe I was beautiful.
I never mentioned this to Emily, of course, because sheesh, how rude would THAT be. And so she kept doing it. And so I kept cringing. But eventually the cringing lessened, and then subsided completely. And on a day to day basis, I may still struggle to believe that I’m beautiful. But what I DO believe is that Emily thinks I’m beautiful. I believe that every day, and it is meaningful and helpful and a generous gift for her to have given me.
Originally posted 2014-04-28 06:36:21.
A girlfriend of mine has been unhappy with her body for … well, for as long as I’ve known her. She is one of the most naturally beautiful women I’ve ever known, and her generous, open, loving personality just serves to amplify the startling physical beauty that shines out from her silky hair, and ladylike hands, and creamy skin, and perfect-pout lips, and dive-into-me eyes. But she battles her body, and loses.
She adjusts her food intake, and then adjusts it some more. She tries meal schedules and diets and avoidance of certain foods. She counts calories. She exercises twice as much as me and twice as hard. She varies her workout routine, and monitors her heart rate to optimize her efforts, and pushes herself to her physical limits. And she stays the same shape and size, and she stays unhappy.
Originally posted 2014-04-17 06:19:36.