Vulnerability Is Also This

Everyday / Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

This is what vulnerability can look like.

I don’t have much of a social media presence. I keep my Instagram fiercely private. FB is deactivated, and I use Goodreads only to mark my book reading. LinkedIn is the only social media network I use regularly. And posting a photo of myself online takes all my courage. There’s a reason behind this.

Growing up, I struggled with my body image. As a kid, I wore glasses and was called soda buddi. The minute I turned 21, I underwent Lasik eye surgery – one which came with many risks at that time, but I didn’t care. Anything to remove those glasses.

I felt I was short compared to my sister and told I was too thin. I was given appetite stimulants in my teens, and when I put on the weight, I was told that I was now chubby. You are never enough, just the way you are.

I was always too thin, or too fat, or had a stomach, or looked like a scarecrow.πŸ‘©πŸ»

This is me in my late teens.

Comments about my body dogged me all my life. I became shy about posing for photos. My family told me I looked like my grandmother when I smiled because my teeth weren’t seen. I thought that meant I looked old, so I stopped smiling. I spent a year wearing braces for a smile I could be comfortable with. I felt gawky no matter the clothes I wore, the hairstyle, or my makeup. 

It took all of last year and this one to change how I look at myself. 14 sessions of therapy, 40+ mental health books, and 30+ podcasts later, here I am.

πŸ‘©πŸ»This is what healing looks like.

And I write about this because I know there are many silent voices who hate their own bodies. These days, after a run, I thank my lungs and heart. After a long day at work, I thank my back for supporting me. I collect laugh lines and still wish I had more hair on my head. πŸ™‚

I am not there yet – I have to keep rewiring my brain that I work out so that I feel better, not to “lose flab.” 

People’s judgments weigh you down (Yes, you can ignore them, but that’s easy to say). I wish we would stop commenting on people’s appearance: Oh, you have put on weight/lost weight!” and replace that with “I love the happiness you show in this picture.” I wish we could stop saying, “You look beautiful/gorgeous” with “You look kind/confident.”

Appreciate qualities in people, not how they look. πŸ™‚

Do you feel comfortable posting photos of yourself? Do you have a good relationship with your body?

6 Replies to “Vulnerability Is Also This”

  1. Dave here. I always thought you looked great. I still do. In fact, I have always been in awe of your athleticism. Here’s one for you about me. As a skinny 25 year old guy, I met up with a former Mr. Philadelhia body building champion in the gym. We became friends and he began to coach me to build the bulging muscles I had always wanted. After a year of weight training 2 or 3 times a week, he evaluated my progress with these words: “Sorry, Dave, but you just have no genetic potential for big muscles.” You can tell his words have stuck with me, even now, 54 years later. In a way they are now comforting. I’m now a portly 78 and not too worried about it knowing that I would never be the guy strutting around the beach showing off his build.

    1. Wow. That’s some story, Dave. It’s funny how others see us and how you see yourself – such a vast difference.

  2. I once again get the feeling that we lived very similar childhoods.

    I’m so glad we both have healed.

    One of the reasons I stopped exercising for a bit was to see if I liked myself, inspite of the flab.

    And yes. I too wish appearances would not be a topic of conversation. Its not a kind world – this world that we live in. 😞

    1. Well even I have underwent the same,infact even now. I am skinny . I wear glasses. I am short. I did go through the feeling of being neglected and felt less. Over the years ,I have started ignoring it . Infact whenever a comment is passed on my body I take it as a compliment and feel grateful for what I am. You are totally right that the society should stop looking at how you look rather appreciate the qualities.
      By the way I liked your haircut!

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