My Dyslexic Body-Image Part III; I Blame Me…

I closed Part II of this column by stating that I would argue that God is to blame for all my body issues – and all of yours.  In truth, I had no intention of making that argument, but the NyQuil had me in its grasp and it seemed like a great hook for Part III.

I want to acknowledge everyone who took time to privately email me over that idiotic statement.  I appreciate the discourse.


 The Sizes Of Me; Lots Of ings In My Life 

I stepped on the scale my first day of high school at 114 pounds – I was 5’7” tall.  Today, I’m still 5’7” tall – apparently I quit growing vertically that very day.  Since that day, I have spent at least one moment at every notch on the scale up to 240 pounds – for most of those moments I would consider myself to have been fit, whatever that really means.  Despite that fitness, I have never liked how I have looked.

And so the story began...

At any given period during my 40s, I might have weighed between 165 pounds and 190 pounds – depending on which look I was after, and which endeavors I was pursuing at the moment; running, cycling, bodybuilding, paddle boarding, heavy lifting – lots of ings in my life.  It all depends on my mood…

Where My Mind Drifts, My Body Follows

Sometimes I might want to be a bit bigger – more bulky, and I like it that way though that aesthetic requires a bit more eating than I care for.  When I’m bulkier, guys tend to feed on it as impressive.  The shirt sleeves are filled out and there is an obvious sense that I spend time in my weight room.  During my bulkier times, I tend to look pretty good in clothes, but you wouldn’t want to see me in a swim suit – not a sight for kids.

220 lbs.  Uhm, wake, eat, lift, eat, lift, eat, sleep. Not worth the price…

Other times I might be leaner, smaller, and have a more athletic look, and I like it that way though that aesthetic requires a bit less eating than I care for.  When I’m leaner women tend to feed on it as impressive.  The shirt sleeves might flap a bit, but the abs and obliques are in, so I don’t feel too bad taking my shirt off – right up until some male friend will ask me why I quit lifting weights.

Of course I’m never really in one of those places, bulky or athletic, for very long.  Usually I’m in transition from one to the other – my fitness dyslexia.  Sometimes running is calling my name, and a race is in my future.  Other times it’s bodybuilding; once you’re bitten by that bug, you’re hooked for life.  Other times still, my bike has been central – I have a 100 mile ride coming up in January.  More recently, I have been pandering to all of these aspects of my mixed up personality and my body is revolting – if not revolting.  I want it all, and I want it all at once.

A post-marathon 165 lbs., and getting ready chow down on some carne asada from King Taco...

I Blame Me

The truth is I’m not satisfied with my body, rarely satisfied with my activities, and never satisfied with how much, or how little exercise should fit into my life.  I suppose my cranial wiring just can’t be satisfied with the concept of being satisfied.  If nothing else, at least I’m consistent.   

I don’t really blame God for my body-image issues.  I don’t blame my mommy and daddy either; because they didn’t give me enough love or attention when I was a kid – they did, lots.  There is no blaming Kevin and Kerry Mets either; the two twins who beat the crap out of me at the bus stop the morning of my first day of the 1st grade.  There is only person to blame for my body-image woes; me, the king of myself, and creator of my own destiny(s).

Flipping The Switch

I am grateful, and sometimes in awe, that I know how to throw the switch from one ing to another; from running to bodybuilding, to some other ing, and back again.  However, these continual transitions and transformations have me pretty messed up psychologically and physiologically.  I think I spend more time in transit from one ing to another, than I spend in any fitness destination.  I need to get good with that. 

Somewhere between running a marathon and wanting to deadlift 400 lbs again. The ultimate conflict of fitness interest...

In the end, I work hard to remember that I am not on this Earth to look good, I am here to do good.  However, I can’t escape my relentless desire to look good while I’m doing good.  But even deciding which look looks best for me has been a life long struggle.  In the words of Steve Earle, “I ain’t ever satisfied…”

One Final Confession

I have to admit that at times I really do want to blame Kevin and Kerry Mets for some of my issues – but I don’t.  You get bullied and beaten up on your very first day of school – in front of all your new neighbors, and it stays with you.  I was bloodied that day, and that would not be the last time it happened.  Due to a course of bullying throughout my elementary school years, I became introverted – until I discovered all of my ings

My current bicycling legs. Here comes another ing...

Every so often I think what it would be like to come face to face with the Mets brothers now – what I would say to them.  Of course I would probably just thank them.  After all, everything I am and everything I have, I might just owe to them. 

Lastly, though I might like not wholly like how I look at a given moment, through writing this series I have come to discover that it’s not so much that I don’t like how I look.  I’ve come to learn that I ain’t ever satisfied with how I look…  Be well, and thank you for reading these past three columns.  rc

Oh, and there is this from Steve Earle — enjoy!

15 responses

  1. It is strange how one earns their body image from incidents. Being the product of a loving and proper upbringing, my brother, myself and my sister all have body-image issues and each deal differently with out lot.

    A friend of mine once said, probably quoting someone else, “Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO-HOO, what a ride!!”

    I think it might be a wise ideal!


  2. Roy,
    This series has been one that’s been very thought-provoking for me. Because, in all that you have shared – it’s all taken me to that place of thinking more deeply about this for myself, too.

    …and “being here to do good”…that’s a pretty great way to sum up life. You are, my friend…

  3. Roy. this: it’s not so much that I don’t like how I look. I’ve come to learn that I ain’t ever satisfied with how I look..

    Now that I can relate to! BUT, my question is not so much about the bod but do you like YOU separate from how the bod looks. That is always a fight I have with myself. No matter how good I feel about how my body looks at any period of time, it is more that it does not translate to how I feel as a person… it does not make me like myself any better. Being fit does not equate to happiness for sure!

    AS for defining moments in time, well, I think we all have had them. I was teased a lot in my elementary school years for being Jewish & fat & more… yes, I became self conscious & introverted & shy. In junior high & high school, same thing. Places where people did not like Jewish people & teased about being fat… although I still made friends, it leaves a lot on you in terms of how one feels about themselves into adulthood & I still carry some of it.

    This has been a really interesting series Roy & I am still not sure I know you yet! My feeling is there are still things going on underneath there… as with me…

    • Thank you Jody. In truth, I think there is something to that — that I might not like what’s on the outside, more as a reflection of turmoil on the inside.

      “Being fit does not equate to happiness for sure!”

      Absolutely it does not, yet day after day I talk myself into believing that it will. Just another kind of drug, yes…?

  4. Roy, I have enjoyed this series and found it very thought provoking.

    Thanks once again for sharing so honestly again and again.

    It is interesting to read about body image from a male perspective. I really never thought men struggled with this so much.

    I recall a day recently when I was driving and really frustrated with myself and I just screamed “damn! I want my outside to match my inside!” I long for a day when my mind, body and spirit are well in balance!! (and to have a healthy “body” image AND “heart” image!)

    Always enjoy reading. 🙂

  5. Julie: If you are in a position that you “want your outside to match your inside” you need not take another step. You are ahead of the game and in a wonderful place.

    It is superficial schlubs like me that, in the words of Willie Wonka, need to,

    “Scratch that, and reverse it.”

  6. “I don’t blame my mommy and daddy either; because they didn’t give me enough love or attention when I was a kid – they did, lots.”

    It seems that there’s often a distinctive point in a person’s life that they cling to, saying that IT was the reason for why xyz happened. You talk about being bullied (which I can definitely relate to… junior high was my personal nightmare), but you also do note that your parents gave you lots of love. And I think that this is the case for many – so much goes RIGHT in our lives, and we point to the one thing or two that just went wrong and that we couldn’t control as the thing that led to a downward spiral.

    You’ve made a good point here about it being essential down to US. Not so much about the things that happened to us, but our attitudes and our mindset. We are certainly affected by the events that happen to us – such as getting bullied – but it takes a certain kind of person to go on a downward spiral from it. For me, it was a bad breakup that “triggered” an eating disorder. But it wasn’t the breakup ITSELF – it’s that my personality and mindset were predisposed to respond in that way. If we can adjust our perceptions of the world and how we deal with our issues, we can be more prepared for the next time that something not-so-great happens.

  7. Sagan: I have nothing to add but a big freakin’ thank you for such a well-thought and mindful comment. I appreciate where you are coming from and that you read my words as they were to be read. Thank you so much!!!

  8. Enough procrastination on my part.

    “just can’t be satisfied with the concept of being satisfied” — I think this sums it all up.
    From your post and some comments I see that we have all been conditioned to chase perfection, whatever it may be at any given moment. We get that from our parents, teachers, society and certainly from religion. There are so few who are really happy with what they are or where they are in life. And maybe, just maybe the journey is not about achievement (perfect body, career, money, whatever) but about learning to truly appreciate what we already have. But then, the other voice in my head says that then we would stop growing, developing, creating, inspiring.
    But just think, your struggles and your openness made many think and consider what it is that we are looking for. And that is good.

    Thank you for sharing.

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