The last several days have been incredibly topsey turvey. I was in Denver for the first time this past weekend (trying to relax from a very hectic two weeks after the launch of Anteros Media), and feeling really great about a decision I made before my wedding to recreate my diet, fitness, and body. I am now 36 years old, and I know that at some point in the next several years my testosterone levels will change, and it will become even more difficult for me to put on lean muscle. I’m an ectomorph, so it is difficult to put on weight already, and my struggles with food never did me any favors. If I don’t hunker down and do what has to be done, I will miss the opportunity to accomplish one of the major goals of my life: Achieving the physique I have always said I wanted (but which I did everything to undermine).
Everything was going well enough in Denver after some chaotic travel disruptions. I went hiking up a mountain in Boulder with some friends. It was well above 9,000 ft, and I’m not accustomed to elevation. My nose started bleeding, and I couldn’t breathe well; however, I completed the trek. My friends said people spend weeks getting acclimated, and were impressed that I’d done the whole trail on my first attempt after less than 24 hours in Colorado. Anyway, it was 100 degrees, and we’d removed our shirts (not to preen, but because it was simply too stifling to wear them). Anyway, someone took a picture from above as I was slouching in my posture. I didn’t really think anything of it, and next day went home to tend the necessities of the new Anteros site.
And then I got a Facebook notification Sunday night that I’d been tagged in a photo.
I was abjectly MORTIFIED. I’d been eating A LOT for weeks in a purposeful bid to finally pack on some weight, knowing that I would eventually need to add more cardio to my routine to tone and define my torso. But this photo shocked me. I’d been wondering how long it would take… The schizophrenic argument inside me came back full force out of nowhere. I’d been feeling strong, healthy, energetic, confident, and happy in Denver… Now I collapsed into a very dark place, and all the internal bickering almost incapacitated me.
Those voices say some cruel shit. They’re MEAN. It is not something you ever want to hear, let alone think, about yourself.
But I’m married now, and I don’t have space for these “people” in my life anymore. The Jekyll/Hyde or Sméagol/Gollum conflict in me has got to go. It cannot be that after 28 years I am still having this same circular conversation with myself.
Yesterday, I went to yoga and after everyone left I started chatting with Jane, the instructor, about allowing yoga to inform a healthier sense of body acceptance. And out of nowhere I was having an intense, overwhelming, sobbing meltdown… All over an unflattering picture? I’m a grown-ass man! I pay my damn bills! I launched a damn web site! I do what the hell I say I’m going to do, and when I take a vow in front of witnesses to love, honor, and cherish myself, then it’s gonna fucking happen!! PERIOD.
So, I looked at the mirror (not myself) and told it that it was a fucking liar and to go fuck itself. Weird as it is, I felt better. Then I did something the old me would have never dared: When the anorexic voice made another of those vicious, withering comments, I walked my thick, juicy ass into the kitchen, made some food, AND ATE IT. Fuck you! And WHAT??
Moments later, when the dysmorphic voice started its little bullshit comments, I told him to sit his ass down, and that I’d get to my goals in my own damn time, in my own way, without dangerous substances, and that I will exercise because it’s a healthful practice, NOT JUST TO SATISFY VANITY. That shut his ass up, too. Little bitch can’t take it, but he can dish it out… Typical man. Shut your damn mouth!
I’m so exhausted from this back-and-forth, and it has to stop. I realized last night that, although a gross oversimplification, one of the intertwined reasons I developed these two voices was a simultaneity that happened when I was 12 years old. I was already contending with fearing weight gain by then (that started when I was 8), but then I started dance classes WHILE ALSO TRAINING IN GYMNASTICS. So, at 4:00 – 5:30 I saw ballet teachers humiliating other kids for being “overweight” (e.g. having girls lift their arms, then sliding a piece of paper into the fold of flesh under the arm, and forcing them to take class with a constant and public reminder of how “fat” they were), and then from 6:00 – 9:00 pm I would go to gymnastics and get utterly humiliated for not being muscly enough. For one part of the afternoon I was terrified of gaining weight, and for the next part of the afternoon I had to do everything possible to get bigger. Last night, I finally realized that this intersection of ballet and gymnastics is where this argument inside me started.
I hope this war is finally starting to wind down… I have been eating six meals per day, mostly very clean food, and I’m not going to stop this new habit. I have made a conscious decision that it is time to put this burden down. There will be highs and lows, and I admit that the emotional part of this new fitness regiment is far, far more difficult than the workouts.
And why write this entry at all?? Because only moments ago, not even 24 hours after my post-yoga meltdown, I just had a person tell me in private messages on Twitter than I am one of his fitness inspirations… Are you fucking kidding me with this??? ME?!
What the hell???
Oh, no… This cycle of destructive ingratitude is done. I have people wanting to achieve what I have achieved, and I can’t even be compassionate enough to myself to accept compliments??? Fuck that! Pass me some more chicken… It’s on…
And I’m going to win.