Body Shame

It took nearly 6 months to get a bike after moving to New York City. Riding in The City is a mix of reckless exhilaration and freedom. How I regret not getting that bike sooner through those first summer months.

I would ride across the Brooklyn Bridge to work each morning. At first, it was hard going. I would stop three times before cresting that tall hill of wire and metal, stone, and tourists. Soon belabored breath became steady and I am up and over in one push. Little by little I became strong.

In 2015 Facebook shares an out of focus photo “memory” in which I’m holding a beer, camera flash lending shine to my thin-framed glasses. I will repost the memory with a reflection that starts with:

It’s weird seeing how skinny I was, I never remember really feeling that thin…

In December 2010, when the picture was taken, I look at myself in the mirror and see an unattractive body. A body that I am ashamed of.

With a few year’s distance I see something completely different. Strange how time both distorts and corrects.

What I think I see in my body I actually feel in my mind. I feel that I am ugly. I lack the confidence to imagine otherwise. I am unsure and ashamed of myself.

In 2016 I return to my old neighborhood and bump into Rupert, the super of my old building. He’ll slap me on the back and says “damn boy, you look healthy”, I am nearly 250 pounds at this point, the heaviest I’ve ever been. He’s from the Caribbean and I suspect that in his culture having some meat on your bones is a good sign. I hear an unspoken end to his sentence “last I saw you were too skinny”.

These two moments, seeing my old picture and being praised for being heavy cement my self diagnosis of body dysmorphia. Seeing a different version of ones self in the mirror than what really exists.

I was so caught up in feeling unattractive that I never noticed the people who were attracted to me. I didn’t believe it was possible. I thought I was lonely because I was ugly but looking back I see that I was projecting my distorted vision onto others.

Belonging

Writings from a dream journal I took on an ayahuasca retreat in Costa Rica. The first section was written between our first and second night

Wes

Just spoke with Wes. He is really kicking ass, this guy seems like the real deal (or completely full of shit). He is getting Holegencia

It wasn’t like the real thing

Oh darling, I’m here I’m here in I’m here I’m here in 2021. Spending Spending time. On On mushrooms I got I got from, who’s