currently writing from: Los Angleles, CA
Body positivity for me, has been a challenge because culture has intertwined attractiveness and masculinity with broad shoulders and bulging biceps. I felt “lesser than” because I’ve always been on the thin side. We don't take into consideration the pressures that men also face to look a certain way. I think the spirit of performance and comparison is what I battled with the most. Since our culture tells you, “Your manliness is measured by the muscles on your body,” I always felt like I was robbed of my male identity.
I learned later on that my issues were self-inflicted and people truly didn't see what I saw. And if they did, they were just as insecure as I was.
My low point was when I was wearing a long sleeve jacket in the middle of summer. I was drenched in sweat but I was too insecure to show my "skinny" arms. I got home that evening and realized how crippled I was by my perception of myself. The things our insecurities tell us to do!!!!
The turning point in my life was when I shifted emphasis. What I deemed more important was character, chivalry, respect, justice and kindness. All of those things eclipsed the importance (or obsession) with my outer appearance. I know that this may sound strange: but as soon as I let go of those issues of shame and self-hatred, my body changed!!!! It's just as if it responded to my self-acceptance.
Now everywhere I go I’m complimented on my strong "manly" physique, but because of years of battling, I walk in humility and balance.
Moral of the story, LOVE YOURSELF, and YES even as a man.
I am convinced that since we as men never open up about anything (another deception from our culture) we never get better. And that insecurity manifests itself in other areas of our lives. I am also convinced that my insecurity already served its purpose. My mindset is totally different, and I now have a higher respect for kindness than I do an "amazing body.”
I will never live another day imprisoned by my unrealistic ideas of what I should or shouldn't look like.
- Jordan Black