I do not condone body shaming. Or shaming of any kind.

Nor will I claim that my journey is something that you should aim for.

Mine was a long one, that forced me through over 15 years of hard work, injuries, relentless self-criticism, depression, therapy and finally, acceptance.

I really think you can skip a couple of those steps and save yourself some trouble.

Anyway, let me get to the story.

Looking back I’ve always been extremely shy.

I hated being in the spotlights and any time it did happen, my face would go full on tomato mode in instant. Inside, I would feel like a pressure cooker and all I wanted was just to dissapear from sight. And somehow, no matter how well I tried to hide, these moments kept finding me.

It was all not too bad, because luckily enough I never really got bullied. I had good friends and for some reason I always fitted in quite easily. Always a part, never the part that got the attention. I liked it that way,

Things got worse when I hit puberty. My friends grew bigger, stronger and most importantly, cooler. They dressed better, had the trending haircuts and well… they got the girls. I could never imagine getting what they had.

At around that time, my mother was in a long term relationship and my brother-in-law was pretty much the epitome of coolness. He was everything my friends were, but magnified. He was my way out. My hope.

But I could never spend enough time with him to get his coolness to rub off on me.

One day though, we were planning a holiday and he would come along. This would be my chance to spend time with him and absorb whatever I could learn off him. I was stoked.

The very first day, we were off to the pool and I could not wait to start picking his brain. But that was not how things went down.

When I came up, he looked me up and down and then, pinched my my chest. What he said then would leave a deep mark for a long time.

“What’s all this? Look at that belly, and those fluffy nipples. You’ve got some bitch tits going on!!”

Absolutely Shattered.

I spent the holiday and many after hiding, afraid to show myself especially without a shirt on.

Not very long after, I saw a Men’s Health magazine at my doctors place. I obsessively read every part and from then started to devour every magazine and book on the topic. My obsession began.

Little did I know that even though my body would soon start to change for the better , the extreme focus on my appearence would only cause an endless pursuit towards an appetite I would never be able to satisy.

I’ve come a long way since then, but it has only really been the last two years where I have been able to let go, of focusing on how I look and shift the focus on how I feel, how my body works. I’ve shifted my focus from self-sculpting to self-care and it has been a massive load off my shoulders. But that has been a process for more than 15 years now.

And still….

The shy insecure, scarred boy is still in there somewhere. But instead of hiding him, I’ve decided to embrace him and care for him.

I can only hope my experience helps you on your journey.

Mark

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