Tuesday, June 27, 2006

200 Pounds of Fun

For those who were at the drag show in October, you might remember I did a little number called 200 pounds of fun, by Candye Kane. It's a fun little romp about being sexy despite being a bit...voluptuous. And if you know me in person (I'm very excited by the number of non-locals who've found the blog, welcome to all), you know that I've been working to trim down my ample frame. And that I've always been sensitive about my weight. It's the one thing people aren't allowed to tease me about.

Body image for men is something that is rarely discussed. Body image for gay men is ridiculous, and many gay men have eating disorders. Some might be surprised to learn that I had one in high school. I just plain flat didn't eat. At most, I'd have a dry lettuce salad for lunch, and would pick at my food at night. It was easy, as I usually had to reheat food anyway and wasn't at home for meals. I was also on the cross country running team at the time, and would go home after practice and pass out from exhaustion. My mother thought I was napping after a hard day at school and practice. Obviously, not a healthy weight loss plan, and not one that worked either. I didn't lose much weight, as my metabolism is funky to begin with. Not giving it food didn't help matters.

Recently I've found some combinations that work, and am losing weight in a healthy way. 27 pounds and counting, thankyouverymuch! Now that I have momentum going in the right direction and have kick started my metabolism a bit, it should only get better from here on out. This week at pride, I spent a lot of the week at the pool, without wearing a shirt...something that is decidedly new to me. My close friends have been commenting on how good I look, and how proud they were that I was shirtless. The last few months I've gotten more than a little attention at the bars in Denver. Granted, it's at the "bear" bars, but it's new to me. And I like it!!!

I will continue to go dancing in Denver. I will continue to eat as I have been recently. And I will continue to tighten the belt...and rediscover items in my closet I can wear again! But I will try to be more open about body image, eating disorders, and the hidden crisis men (gay men especially) are facing in America today to live up to impossible ideals. We've broken through a barrier of silence when it comes to women and eating disorders, body image, magazine covers, etc. There's still an epidemic of anorexia, bulimia, and other disorders for women (see the cast of Ally McBeal for examples), but at least we can talk about them as a society.

And for me personally? I rewarded myself. I have long thought about having my nipples pierced, but promised myself that I'd wait until I was skinny and they would look good. I've known a lot of guys who had it done, and I think they look hot! So, after a week of positive reinforcement from a group of friends I trust, a year of working to shed unwanted pounds, and a little ego stroking, I decided I'd done well enough that it was time. I'm sore, and am not looking forward to a couple months of healing, but I am now the proud owner of two shiny new nipple rings. (Anyone trying to play with them, tweak them, or otherwise cause pain with them while healing will suffer honest pain in return...healing must happen, so don't think it's a new game, kiddies!)

I also discovered a whole new way of dancing. This weekend, due in large part to my newfound comfort level and aforementioned positive reinforcement, I let myself go on the dance floor in ways I never had before. I borrowed a friend's glow sticks, and discovered that I can dance with them too! I can dance the way I've always wanted to, as I wished myself skinny. I had people coming up to me and asking me to dance with the glow sticks for them. (And the best part is, the new method of dancing is an even better workout, helping me lose even more weight!)

Today's lesson: we're all beautiful, even if we don't conform to the current standards of fashion, size, etc. It might be difficult to find that beauty in yourself, but chances are that the people who care about you most see it. Work to find it yourself. I don't have to lose weight because my health is at risk (my cholesterol, glucose, etc. have always been good). I don't have to lose weight because other people say I do. I don't have to lose weight because I worry nobody will want to date me unless I do. And now, most importantly, I don't have to do it because I feel like I should hate myself. I'll never be a skinny little thing. But that's okay too.

And that, boys and girls, is post #200. What better way to commemorate a blog milestone than with a personal/emotional one as well? Isn't it funny how the universe looks out for us sometimes?

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