I wrote this last year…
I’m a black 5'10/ 11 on a good day, 30 waist, 38 chest, athletic build apparently GBM. Don’t worry I’m not writing the opening to an online profile. You haven’t clicked the wrong button and ended up on “plenty of fish use manhunt to date my mate from eharmony using gaydar”.
This is about the body insecurity built. The body that if I’m honest, I’m proud to call home but feel it could use some maintenance and improvements.
I saw a picture of myself when I was younger and my Instagram/ Twitter followers, fellow bloggers and Facebook friends would have seen it too. It’s of a healthy pre-teen. I look at that picture and I don’t think that.
I had a very happy, healthy and well fed childhood. My insecurities were non existent. Then during my teens like most of us they appeared. I started thinking I was too short, too chubby and a hundred other thoughts.
I’m 29 now, nearly 30 and I’m still thinking that I need a bit of work. I could sit here and blame the media for constructing images of masculinity that are unachievable for us mere mortals. I could say that being gay is the cause, that gay society idealises the masculine form and that being effeminate can be seen as weak. I could say my dad didn’t teach me how to be a man, he was busy keeping a roof over our heads. Or pressure from my peers created an unhealthy bias to not be a certain way.
It’s non of these. My insecurities are mine alone. I built them. I nurtured them. Cultivated them ‘til they grew to become monsters. Monsters that took over. Monsters I had to hid from the world. Only releasing them into the darkness so they could feed, grow and consume more. They did. I went willing holding their leads. Never letting them go for fear that I would lose my only true friends. The winged demons of my creation. They knew me, they loved me for me, they accepted me for me and most of all they didn’t care. Not a healthy situation. I hide my fears from the world. Scared that someone would find out and use them against me.
There is only so long that you can hold on to your demons before they turn on you. You become self destructive. Sabotaging yourself and all you have built. The first bite didn’t hurt so much, it was almost playful. The second draw blood and the third they sunk their teeth in. They weren’t going to let go without a fight. I fought back. I reminded them who was top dog. There is a reason why you shouldn’t keep wild animals. Sooner or later their instincts kick in the need to hunt and kill. At this point you have make a decision. Keep them caged or release them. I chose the later.
I let them out in the light. The day I told someone the truth. This tiny little light appeared in the darkness. A glimmer of the outside world shone through. Through this I heard a voice. Not God, no higher power, just my voice. Not saying anything deep and meaningful, just “Hi I’m a Junior. Are you ok? I lost you for a bit. How are you?”
That was the turning point. I dropped the chain and I let my demons rise. I waited and waited expecting my world to end. It didn’t. My little monsters came back down and surrounded me. Gone the red eyes, dark circles, thick skin and sharp teeth. In their place stood me. Lots of me. As I am now, as I was and as I could be. They remind me to smile, to laugh, to go outside, not be obsessive, to enjoy the gym, to call my mum, text my sister, not take things personally, to be proud of who I am and what I have achieved.
They make me look in the mirror everyday and accept who I am. They remind me I’m strong. I’m fast. I’m agile. I won’t always be and to enjoy every moment I am. Not to judge others because I’m scared.
But there is one. One that still fears, hates, loathes, envies, craves. He sits back always watching and waiting. He’s the most deadly of them all. He is one but he’s strong. It takes all of me to keep him back. This part of me needs time and patience. He may never be on my side but I will make him understand. It’s my body. I’m in control.
I’m Jean-Junior and I have plenty to smile about.