DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT LOOKING FOR ANY EMOTIONAL VALIDATION WITH THIS BLOG POST. I’M SIMPLY CONVEYING A STRUGGLE I’VE DEALT WITH FOR YEARS IN HOPES IT WILL HELP OTHERS!
Hello strange world! It’s been a while since I graced you with a blog. The last time I wrote, I elaborated on some of the demons I dealt with in my head. Today I will go more in depth with one of those demons. In the last blog, I mentioned that I had been having some body image issues. Body image has been an issue in my life since the age of 12. For awhile, I was a pretty slim child due to the fact that I was a really picky eater. I never care much about how I looked until I started putting on some weight at the age of twelve. Around 11 and a half when I started to like food, I gravitated towards junk food with lack of moderation skills. Any hostess snack along with chips, and soda were some of my mainstays. Eventually my metabolism, or lack thereof slowed, causing me to put on weight. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for people to notice I wasn’t skinny. I had formed a gut, along with a pair of A-Cups as guys during gym class would call them. For a time, we would change in the bathroom which allowed me to retreat to the safety of the stall. One day, that would be forever ruined as there were too many instances of play fighting in the bathroom. The boys would have to change in the classroom while the girls were still afforded the luxury of the bathroom. Having to change in front of a bunch of guys would really make me conscious of my body. Kids being kids with the child like banter would point out my “A-Cups” which would make me really conscious about being shirtless.
It didn’t help that family members would constantly point out my gut, with my Dad, his sisters, and a second cousin being the worse offenders. My dad would constantly point it out in hopes that maybe if I heard about how fat I was enough, I’d do something about it. My aunts who were health nuts were hyper paranoid, and didn’t make things any better. A second cousin of mine constantly pointed out my weight for a time, it would eventually stop, but the damage would be done. During eight grade, I hated the way I looked. I was a chubby fifteen year old while many of my male classmates were getting taller, and leaner. Some of them were even gaining muscle, and I was just this really chubby fifteen year old who just really loved food. In tenth grade I realized enough was enough, and it was time to do something about it. Around that time frame, I got into DDR (Dance Dance Revolution). I got so hooked to the game that for my 17th birthday, I had my mother buy me a bundle that came with a plastic mat. Within months, and eventually a year, I was playing at expert level while the weight just practically fell off. Senior year was what I’d like to call the first “prime” of my health. It was a time frame where I felt physically fit enough to participate in many athletic activities. My metabolism was also pretty stellar, so I never put on much weight. Those times felt like golden years, and it was hard to see my habits change in the slightest bit. I was so fucking wrong.
Fast forward to freshman year of college. Though I was good at DDR, I never really had much discipline with food. As a matter of fact, my discipline was non existent. The idea of being away from home, and having access to large quantities of food at any given time was really foreign to me. The idea of having trays and being able to stack them with food was a dream come true for a guy like me whose eyes are always bigger than his stomach. I eventually got lazy with DDR, and I started putting on weight as fast as I put it off between my sophomore, and junior years of high school. Back in high school I didn’t have many friends, so my life consisted of homework, video games, and DDR. On weekends, I practically lived at arcades which meant there was no escaping DDR. DDR was the bottom portion of my food pyramid. In college, I had trouble managing the new found social life I had gained which meant less time to actually play DDR. It also didn’t help that we took trips to Cold Stone Creamery weekly.
Fast forward to junior year, I had hit the highest weight I had been in a while (185), and I knew I needed to do something. I started playing DDR every single day that summer, and eventually developed a nightly regiment when I got back to school. I wanted to be skinnier, I wanted to go back to the prime from senior year of high school. I managed to take off 20 pounds, but I plateaued at 165 (my goal was 150). It wouldn’t be until 2013 that I learned there were still a lot of really bad eating/drinking habits left over. The summer between Junior and Senior years of high school would be the start of a major depression that almost resulted in a suicide attempt. During that time frame, I couldn’t give a fuck less about myself and eventually put back on all the weight I lost. I would eventually make it close to 190, and stay around there for a few years. After I graduated from college, I was unemployed and had trouble finding work outside of a summer painting gig I did yearly. Not being able to find work, coupled with many of the self esteem issues I was dealing with would spiral me into another depression that also almost ended with a suicide attempt. I would get a bit better emotionally, but I still didn’t care about my weight, that is until the health issues started creeping up on me.
In the summer of 2012 towards the end of June, my lack of water intake, and love for high sodium foods would come back to bite me in the ass. I had packed quite a few activities into the day that had me walking around, all while carrying a heavy backpack in 90 degree weather. Though I was heavy, I still enjoyed walking. Walking while listening to music was extremely therapeutic. The entire day was bad food decisions galore with that day ending with an energy drink to get me through the latter hours. I had taken on an engineering gig to pickup some extra cash. That gig would land me at an old internship location at 8 at night. Around 10 I began to feel pain on my lower left side. At first I thought it was back issues as a result of lugging a heavy backpack around all day. The pain would get worse as the night went on. Eventually I would have to get taken to the hospital where it was discovered I had kidney stones. I was given a couple meds along with a strainer to catch the ones I peed out (I know, it’s so fucking gross). After checking in with a few doctors, they realized that my health issues were linked to my diet, and sent me to a nutritionist. The nutritionist would set me on a new diet that would only last a few months. Being stuck at two internships that were draining me mentally, discouragement with the job search, and relationship issues would spiral me into another depression. I took a hiatus from both internships, completely stopped job searching, and just chilled for a month doing nothing in order take care of my mental health. This decision would eventually cost me my first relationship. I once again stopped caring about myself, and couldn’t give a shit that I was hovering between 185, and 190. It wouldn’t be until the end of January of 2013 that I needed to take back control of my life.
Early in the morning, I was greeted a very familiar pain. I thought it was a coincidence, but the kidney stones came back with a vengeance like a movie staring Bruce Willis. My mother brought me to the hospital where I managed to pee out another stone, a larger one. They did some blood work, and this time I would be forced to send my urine via UPS to get analyzed (it was in a bio container which was then packed in a box). The sheer awkwardness of bringing a parcel with a container of my piss will never escape me. It was determined there was nothing they needed to worry about as far as kidney issues went. It was pretty fucking obvious that the culprit of my issues was my lack of care for myself, and if I didn’t do something about it, I would die a very early death. For the first time in years in the midst of many depressions where I often contemplated suicide, I truly did not want to die. I stopped drinking soda and juice, started really controlling what I was eating, and started working out more. It was a painful six months that would result in me knocking off 35-40 pounds all while escaping the danger of pre-diabetes.
Life was great. I slimmed down, my family was pleased, I was back at an athletic prime that I hadn’t hit in years. Things were peachy, or so I thought. The problem was that in all the phases of my weight, I never truly learned to love myself. At the age of 15, I never knew how to love my body for what it was. At the age of 19 when I was the slimmest I had been in that time frame, I also never knew how to love myself. At the age of 22 hovering close to 185, I fucking hated everything I was. At the age of 24 around a similar weight, I never really loved myself either. Even at 150, I wasn’t truly satisfied, and wanted to get slimmer. The gut didn’t truly go away, and I wanted it gone. At the age of 30, the body image issues I spent years burying have reared their ugly head. Some mornings in the mirror, I see a gross fat fuck. Other times I see a sexy dude. It really depends on where my head is at the moment. Mirrors can either cooperate with me, or fuck me over. Having to drop a lot of weight caused me to obsess over the number on the scale, a number that not only fluctuates rapidly, but one that is not really indicative of overall health. I would end up putting back on some of the weight both in muscle, and some fat. I’ve become afraid of looking on the scale because I tend to freak the fuck out every time I do. I’m also hard on myself about some of my food decisions; I’ll choose something from the menu, and then get mad at myself for not choosing something healthier. While moderation and control is good, it some times gets to the point where I ruin meals for myself by freaking out over the fat content, instead of enjoying eating out which doesn’t happen very often. I sometimes look at other people with slimmer frames and admittedly get jealous that they can put down a burger, and it doesn’t affect them much.
I get so fixated on my weight, and body frame that I sometimes lose sight of the great strides I’ve made. I’ve gotten physically stronger and can lift a lot more than my scrawny eight grade self could’ve dreamed of lifting. I used to be a terrible runner, and can now run 4-5 miles. I drink a lot more water than I used to, and I feel physically better than I did when I didn’t take care of myself. I was originally planning on trying to slim down and do a before and after picture, but after some soul searching, I realized that before I decided to change my body once more, I needed to learn to love the body I had now. I need to just learn to love all of me, the chubby curves, the A-Cups, the big butt, the weird voice, my quirkiness.
I took this photo of myself a few days ago just so I’d be able to appreciate my body, and get comfortable with it. People always taught me that I had to change my body because it looked better, or because it was healthier. At no point was I ever taught to love my body. I was super anxious to write this post. Of all the shit I’ve ever covered on this blog, this is probably the most sensitive subject I’ve touched upon. I write this not for attention or validation, but to raise awareness of an issue that runs rampant in our society. I also wanted to point out that though we tend to focus more on women when it comes to this issue, men deal with this quite a bit, they’re just better at keeping it to themselves. I don’t want the “If you’re so unhappy, then do something about it lecture”. I already know I can do something about it, I already know all the steps I would need to take to re-sculpt this body from workouts, to eating habits. It’s easy to sculpt yourself, it’s harder to love yourself. I was never satisfied with myself even when I dropped back down to 150. I sure as fuck won’t be satisfied even with my ideal body until I can address years worth of self esteem issues. My girlfriend reminds me constantly of how amazing the human body is, and all that it is capable of doing. While there’s nothing wrong with sculpting your body to an ideal shape, it is important to always love yourself no matter where you’re at. Self love will make a huge difference in the long run. We won’t have our bodies for long, and they’ll eventually shrivel up like raisins. Balls and tits will drop lower than the stocks during the depression, your arms will flab up, your hair will grey, and maybe even fall out. We won’t stay the same for long, but self love is consistent, a choice, and a lot of fucking work.
Y’all are still here aren’t you? Y’all gotta stop letting Marvel movies controlling your expectations. Alright fine, the title of this blog post comes from my last name, Beaubrun. The last name litterally translates into “Beautiful Brown”. I simply named it “Beautiful” in order to keep it simple, that and it is a title to one of my favorite Eminem songs.