I’ve known Adam since 8th grade orchestra class. It was the only class we had together until the 11th grade. It wasn’t until senior year of high school that Adam and I became what I’d like to call “friends”. I remember it clearly–we were in AP Language and I had just been given the task of proofreading one of Adam’s papers. It was phenomenal work. I was intrigued, and because of that, I asked him to prom. Fast forward to 2017— Adam and I have had five years of solid friendship since that moment. To know him is to love him. Adam is intuitive, and in the most compelling and sturdy way. And the way he can form sentences is truly a work of art. Adam, thank you for letting me, and others who will read your words, into your existence. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for vulnerability.
I’ve started this series because through my own self acceptance search/journey I’ve realized that we, as humans, all have problems with our skin suit no matter what it looks like. The point of this series is to confront our flaws AND to highlight our excellence. I hope one day we’ll all be able to wake up and that voice in our mind which lists all our faults on repeat will be much quieter if not silent. The mirror will be less scary. We’ll smile as we pass our lovely selves. We’ll have a bounce in our steps. One day we’ll love our bodies exactly as they are right now. We might have bad days . We might have bad weeks. Yet once we unlock that key, that key of self love we’ll know we can get back to a sanctuary within our bodies. Our bodies and our selves are waiting for that love, waiting for that permission to just be. As I said to Adam, (and as I say to all my future spotlights), be gentle with yourself, you are meeting parts of yourself that you have been at war with.
1. What makes you feel handsome?
What makes me feel handsome is when I actually take the time and effort to dress myself in clothes that are complimentary, not merely comfortable, to my proportions and sense of self. I really enjoy getting the chance to wear a nice suit or a tuxedo, although there haven’t been very many occasions that have called for that recently. So I guess I would say that I don’t feel “handsome” that often. I just kind of accept that I am a fairly average dude with a fairly average body. That is ok with me.
2. What makes you feel powerful?
I feel powerful when I go to the gym and do weights. I do like observing myself in the mirror when I lift, although now that I think about it, that does seem kind of vain and silly. But then again, what’s wrong with taking a bit of pleasure in the fruits of my labor? I feel good knowing that I played an active role in shaping my body, and making it more likely that I will enjoy greater longevity in life.
3. What would you tell your past self about beauty and bodies?
If I could tell my past self anything about the concept of beauty and body image, I would probably start by going back in time to 2007, because that is when I was 13, and as we all know, that is right around when shit starts getting crazy for both boys and girls in terms of hormones and growth spurts and the like. I would sit my past self down and kindly inform him that I was from the future, and that everything I had to say should be regarded as indisputable. I think my 13 year old self would believe this, because he was super into science fiction at the time. Then, I would inform him that, if he wanted to enjoy the next five years or so, and not spend so much time shaming himself, it would be absolutely critical for him to start a regular regimen of working out and eating properly. And he didn’t have to regard this as a chore; I would get him to believe that doing these things would actually make him much happier in the long run, even if it was kind of painful for him to make these adjustments at first. Because arming yourself with correct information about your body is the best defense against self hatred.
4. How does your skin color make you feel?
I am generally content with the way my skin looks, although I have felt pretty self conscious at various times in my life about the paleness of my upper body area and some dermatological issues I had that made my back look kind of unappealing. I can’t really control those things, though, so I don’t think too much about them, to be honest.
5. How have you struggled with your body?
I have struggled with my body most of my life, I have to say. I have not been kind to it. I have called it awful names, and said that I wished I could change everything about it. I do not know where these feelings came from, but they were there from an early age. I can remember one occasion when I was like six or seven and I was trying on clothes in a department store dressing room, and when I took my clothes off and looked at myself in the mirror I burst into tears. I was horrified by what I saw. When I came out, my mom could tell I had been crying, and she wanted to know what was wrong—had something happened? I think I ended up telling her that I saw a kid from school who had said something nasty to me, and that was what made me cry. But in reality, the worst enemy I had throughout most of my childhood was myself. No one treated me so badly as I did.
6. Complete this sentence… “In my body is a safe place to be because….”
Currently, my body is a pretty safe place to be because it is the only body I will ever have, so it damn well better be! I’ve done some pretty bad things to it along the way, but it just keeps on going like nothing has happened. That’s pretty amazing. The human body is a beautiful thing, no matter what size, shape, or color it comes in.
From Adam, with love.