Posted on June 16, 2019
I just wanted to write a little something that has been playing on my mind.
Yesterday, someone made a passing, flippant remark about my appearance to my partner, who against his better judgement, felt he should tell me. I wish he hadn’t but understand his reasoning for doing so.
That day, I had mustered up the energy to get dressed and the courage to step outside of the house. You see, it takes me a bit of time to hype myself for venturing outdoors these days as I suffer from quite bad social anxiety. I’ve suffered with it for quite a long time but it has become tough to manage in the past few years. The being outside bit isn’t the problem, it’s being surrounded by people. Strangers. On their own, in twos or groups, the prospect of being around people I don’t know is a really unsettling thing for me. My whole body trembles, I’m grouchy and short-tempered, my body sweats all over and blood rushes to my head. My only goal is to get inside my own home and back to my security.
It’s fair to say life hasn’t exactly been going my way recently. I’ve been in and out of work, thus causing financial worries and that, too, was taking its toll. I also had to withdraw from university as the anxiety spiralled out of control. I was just taking one day at a time, taking small steps and trying to be positive about the future regardless.
Although I was vacillating with the idea of cancelling my appointment, I was going to go into Manchester City Centre to get my hair cut. I go to a student academy because they cut it for free. I can sit there and not have to talk whilst the barber concentrates and I like that. Afterward, I felt good. I always feel better when I have had my hair cut. It makes me fresh and that little less conscious about myself. Usually, I struggle with the way I look. Unlike my teenage years, I’m not the slim person I was, not the loud-mouth extrovert who could talk to and make friends with anyone and every one. Over the years it’s knocked my confidence. Its broken me down bit by bit, until admittedly, I am a shadow of the person I used to be (if not in weight!) I know it isn’t true, but you sometimes feel that you’re being gawped at, like people are making inaccurate judgements of you. I’ve always accepted this as human nature but recently it’s began to cut a little deeper.
After my hair cut, I stopped by to visit my partner at work as I do when I brave the city centre. Just a quick, hi and bye with a quick cuddle thrown in. It makes me feel good, after which I hurriedly go back home and await for him to return after his day is complete.
“I’ve got something to tell you”, my partner says when he gets in. “Such and such at work made a comment today that really infuriated me and I’m only telling you because I love you”. I gulped. “She said, “Oh my God, I didn’t realise that was Antony that came to see you today. He’s really put weight on hasn’t he?”
Immediately, I got defensive. I felt upset, ashamed and embarrassed. You see, I’m not a perfect person. I cannot claim to be flawless, as much as I might like. I don’t have the best physique and won’t be appearing on Love Island any time soon. I’m sensitive, vulnerable and take things to heart. Despite all my instincts telling me not to, I made it outside of the house, if only for an hour. The truth be told, it crushed me. People assume guys don’t have hang ups over their bodies in the same way perhaps females do. But, that’s not true. In that moment, I felt worthless. I felt more closed off than I have ever been in my life. The blame isn’t on my partner for telling me – he completely has my best interests at heart. But since then, I’ve been looking in the mirror and all my flaws are magnified. Even things I saw as positive such as the dimples when I smile knock me sick. My confidence has been rocked and shaken.
But, I won’t let the comments and opinions of others hold me back. Rather, it has been the kick up the backside I have needed to get back to being the person I want to be – both mentally and physically. I am not happy with the person I have become. I am not healthy. I want to change that.
I wanted to write this blog to highlight that words have consequences and can be hurtful to others so think about what you’re saying. Before opening your mouth, ask yourself, do I need to say what I am about to say? Is it kind? How would I feel if someone said the same thing to me? That way, we can perhaps stop having such negative hang-ups about ourselves.