I’ve never met Steven. But he sent me an email last month with all the enthusiasm you can contain in a brief but encouraged message and asked if he might write something on the subject of body image. And so, he sent me this. It is the sort of thing we must never forget – no matter our size. He calls himself The Roving Gypsy and blogs at Life Moves On.
I’m that guy. The somewhere-around-three-
Thrust into the world of school yard bullies unprepared for the torment of first grade through twelfth. Not ready for the stares of my peers as they whispered words of discust to their thin friends a little too loudly.
First grade, day number one. I walked into a place called Hell.
It’s been seventeen years that first unsolicited remark about my size. From peers and teachers alike.
I used to believe I was the victim of an all too wrong body. I believed that what I looked like determined my worth. And I was worthless. Any advance by girl – who now I see, probably was interested – was seen as a way to hurt me.
Because that’s what all did. They hurt the fat people.
It’s been seventeen years, one failed relationship, and one current relationship since then. This isn’t the story of a boy who learned to hate. Not the people around him. Not himself.
It’s the story of a man who learned that love couldn’t see fat, thin, freckled, black, or white. Couldn’t see the differences in differing bodies.
Looking in, both relationships were with women who were thin. Looking in, you’d say she felt sorry for him. Looking into each others eyes they knew, what he looked like compared to her, or she to him had no meaning.
Body image wasn’t the key factor. It was that my heart sang when in the presence of the other and theirs while in mine.
It wasn’t what we looked like – our body image. It was our heart image.
This divide we have over bodies. I thought a lot about it in my years as the fat kid. During the few moments of rational thought I could find.
I came to one conclusion. This divide is the result of an abnormal society. A diseased society. What else, to me at least, can it be? When it’s a scandal that either woman could have fallen for a guy of my size? But when a girl starves herself trying to reach an ‘ideal’ image, or a boy overdoses on steroids to maintain a muscular facade. That’s normal?
I wish I could see them; tell them what I found. This beauty in heart image.
Live to love. Love to live.