Patting those “little voices” on the head by Michael Harren

Patting those “little voices” on the head by Michael Harren

I had a revelation of sorts recently while looking at some old pictures of myself in my twenties. I was cute! Kind of an odd revelation to write about, perhaps, but I remember vividly how I always wore baggy clothes, or layers of clothes to hide how skinny I thought I was. I was always aware of it, always self-conscious about my body and looking at other men and how much more “manly” they looked than me. I thought I was terribly unattractive and would have given anything to have a more muscular, meaty frame. I remember even envying people whom I perceived as “fat” and thinking “at least they have some meat on them. I look like a human praying mantis.”

But now, looking back at my twenty year-old self in the skin of my current forty-three year-old self, I want to (lovingly) slap some sense into that little guy. I wasn’t nearly as bad looking as I thought, in fact, I was pretty hot. I feel sad that I allowed the insecurity that resulted from my distorted body image to keep me from living the life I wanted to live. How might I have lived my life differently? What relationships might I have had if I were not convinced I were un-boyfriend-able because of the way I looked?

Of course, while the years have brought numerous lessons and wisdom, I’ve fallen prey to a whole new list of imperfections that I sometimes allow myself to put between myself and my dreams. Maybe I’m too old to play in a rock band. Maybe I’m too fat and balding to pursue a career as a solo artist. I even caught myself a few weeks ago thinking I was too fat to go to the gym: “I can’t go to the gym looking like this!” [click to continue…]

JL Fields is co-author of the forthcoming Vegan for Her: The Women’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet and writes the blog JL goes Vegan.