*Get in Shape cropped sweater from designers Marek+Richard.
Body dysmorphia or as I personally call it, body gaymorphia, can be quite crippling. It’s a deep yet broad topic which has so much to cover. We can have endless debates and discussions on this topic, so I will solely discuss mine in this blog entry.
Gay Fat or Gay Skinny?
In gay world, our rules on measuring up our bodies seem to be on a whole other level, some next level shit to be exact. For this topic, I would discuss my experiences and my own demons dealing with "gay fitness" and body image. On the vain planet of the muscle gays, some would argue that gay fat would consist of being overall fit but without a 6-pack and having some chichitos. Others would argue that gay skinny would be not muscular enough.
I always tried to be very body positive and for the most part I was able to keep that mentality, but then in the deep depths of my insecurities, I also attack myself in regards to my body, fitness level, and aesthetic. Even I can feel self conscience when standing in a crowd at an Andrew Christian pool party where half the guys there are filled with steroids and plastic and the other half is perfectly sculpted 3% body fat Twunks (Twink + Hunk). But where do I stand in this sea of perfection (and fake)? I am just a dude with an ordinarily athletically fit body, nothing special. My biceps aren't bulging with popping veins forming from my forearms up to my delts. I don't have some perfectly chiseled back or a protruding and round male equivalent to a J.Lo booty. My stomach has what I would call a 4-pack. My top 4 abdominal muscles showed definition with a hint of a v-line forming below. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but for me on the inside I felt so inadequate. In this case, I didn't feel like I was muscular enough.
On the flip side, when I gained some weight deliberately to give powerlifting a go; I felt gay fat. In the process of putting on mass and wanting to feel that thicker swole as well as lift heavy and aim for my personal best 1RM (1 Rep Max), I felt gross. Although my body felt like a mini-hulk standing at 5'6, I was completely upset with how my body distributed it's fat. When I gained weight, it was starting to disperse around my pecs into my underarm pits and then lower back chichos. I did not get a belly but I was still very insecure and frustrated about mostly my chest fat. My inner body image demons were eating me up. How can I be an athlete and athletic trainer when I'm not looking ideal to myself? My mind was plagued with negative thoughts and hypercritical attacks on my own body. However. inside the gym and a glance in the mirror with that perfect lighting, I was loving how swole I was looking while I was lifting. Yet when undressing, I didn't even want to look at my body in the mirror. I just couldn't accept the fat under my pecs; it was eating me up inside. I became obsessed to the point that I was making appointments with doctors in regards to gynecomastia which is an enlargement of male breast tissue. It turns out that wasn't the case as it was quickly dismissed as just fat from gaining weight. That's just the nature of the game; our bodies are different from one another and we all don't gain fat the same or even get the same aesthetics from exercising. But in my mind, I was still gay fat. I purchased gym compression tanks in XS to fit like a faja which is basically Spanish for the equivalent of Spanx. I felt like it fixed the silhouette of my body which greatly affected my insecurities. I would't even look at my body until the shirt was on. It slimmed my lower back and compressed my chest fat. Maybe in person, it will avert people telling me that I looked "chubby" or gained weight and focus more on my muscle gains and swoleness. It definitely is a demon of mine, to not look as I imagined myself to look. I hold myself to a higher standard. I have high expectations for myself; sets the bar pretty high. So the compression shirts made me feel like I wasn't wearing Spanx and was just keeping "athletic" attire on. For some reason I was in denial about my insecurities and the real reason why I was wearing Under Armour compression shirts in an XS. I kept brushing it off because I didn't want to accept that I was wearing it because I succumbed to my insecurity about my body imagine. It was so hard to face and accept. I knew that I was stronger than that and I didn't want my demons to win.
Forget Mean Girls, the fit gays can be quite vicious and even catty, especially the Caucasian gays (but that's a whole other Pandora's Box). I can recall many incidents of my body being attacked on how it looks; many also took place as unsolicited comments via social media. One time I posted a pic on Instagram, it was what I considered a cute and standard gym mirror pic. Looking back on the pic now, I still think that I had a nice lean runner's physique. Then, a mean-spirited comment posted under my pic was mocking and hateful. The internet troll basically said the pic and my body wasn't cute and I should delete it. When I checked his profile, he was some wannabe LA gay socialite with fillers and botox and a plethora of shirtless gym pics. How nice of him to bless my photo comments. Still not sure what bothered him so much about my appearance and my pic.
Throughout the years, comments ranged from I wasn't "that muscular" to I "look chubby" or even that I was "too lean" and ending the comment with the question "what have I been doing in the gym", insinuating that I do nothing at all. It is quite catty to go out of your way to put another person down, especially a stranger. It is also quite perplexing to do it to someone you know or are acquainted to. Making casual chit chat at a birthday party about sports and fitness, a dude told me in the middle of our pretty chill conversation, “some people work hard to perfect their bodies, yours is fit. It’s ok, nothing special. There are guys who have better. You’re telling me you’re an athlete and a trainer, but it’s an ok fit body”. I’m pretty sure that was verbatim since it is still embedded in my brain. Why are other fit gays so mean? It's not like I boast about being better than anyone else or think my body is superior. Do their insecurities run so deep that they have to feel superior to others?
But that’s not the last of it...
Another trainer that I worked with at a gym would constantly berate me, do I take the abuse? Fuck nah! I know how to defend myself and I’ve been known to throw a dagger or two. We were always at odds when we weren’t being Kiki buddies; frenemies at best. At the time I was working with a coach for powerlifting so as I was putting on that mass and going for those personal bests and one rep maxes, he would just stare and judge me. He was purely into calisthenics and functional training. He was ignorant that fitness was so much more and frowned at even athletics. He had a dancer and silk performance background and his attitude was smug and pompous. He thought that lean and cut body was how men should look, more specifically gays. He would say things such as bodybuilding and powerlifting would make people fat before they had to reach their goals. He was referring to bulking. Heaven forbid if he were to gain a pound, his life would be dramatically over. He projected these insecurities on to me for sure. As he witnessed me train a coach to put on mass correctly, he would say things like you’re getting fat.
The Inner Demons Are Ugly, I’m Not.
The Mean Gays didn’t t exactly help my self esteem either. I was obsessed with staring at my pics and videos, almost like I was looking to find flaws. People have said that if you stare at something long enough you’ll find imperfections; I believe that was in a museum or something like that. I digress. The point is that I would stare or rewatch until I find all these “ugly flaws” that drove me crazy and deepened my insecurities. Does my face look ugly? Does it look handsome? Are my muscles poppin’? Do I look deflated? Or are my chichitos showing? Do I like fat? Do I look to this or that, etc etc etc.
I was careful of what I posted on social media. Do I like what I see? Is this a positive representation of how I look? There were times that I’ve posted a pic that I thought I liked but after several times of looking back at it, I deleted it. I thought to myself that maybe I didn’t like it all that much anyway. Maybe I didn’t even look attractive in it. Am I funny looking? All these feelings and questions arose in my head. One time, I stared at a professional head shot long enough to think that I didn’t like my face and it’s aesthetic. I didn’t like my nose or my cheeks. I started to think I needed fillers and Botox. Was my face too round? So many things just ate me up at that moment.
TO BE CONTINUED.