Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gay Eye for the SSA Guy: Clothing, part 1

Clothing makes the man... but the right clothing can make the man fabulous!

I think some men hear clothing and they assume that I am referring to expensive, name-brand clothing. I actually don't care for brand names as mcuh as I care about the right styles, fits, and shapes. A man can look sharply dressed in clothing from Walmart IF he knows the rules.

I don't think fashion requires one to be following all the trends. In fact, I say most trends are not good ideas. I think being timeless and sophisticated is more important than being trendy. Adding a few trendy articles of clothing can really make your outfit special. However, if fashion isn't your thing, then think "timeless" when picking clothing. Choosing darker denims, simple striped dress button down shirts, and some great jackets will go a lot further than spending a lot of time and money on outfits.

Before I write the next blogs which will go into more things about fit and style, I thought I'd list a few things which I see which are Fashion Do's ... but mostly Don'ts.  

General things to avoid:

1) Wearing two kinds of denim at once. I actually DO like denim together but it has to be two different styles of denim. I think a dark denim jacket looks good with medium colored jeans. But I wouldn't wear dark denim with dark denim. For this reason, I say to avoid wearing two styles of denim UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

2) Pleated pants. Never found a pair which looked nice. Wear flat-front trousers. They are slimming (as they visually do not add weight or bulk to your waist as do pleats.)

3) Anything you wore in High School. Unless you graduated within the last 5 years, any clothing you wore (short of it being completely timeless) should be avoided. I have met people who wear clothing which they literally wore in High School. I have a single pair of board shorts which I own from those days.

4) Socks with Sandals. I personally hate seeing socks with sandals. It should never happen.

5) Wearing "comfortable" clothes: Sweatpants and pajamas are great lounging clothes. They're great to snuggle up with someone. But outside the house? No thanks. Put on a pair of jeans.

6) Wearing too many trends: Especially if you're 20-30 years older than anyone else wearing the same trendy outfit. I think one trendy thing (such as wearing a bow-tie, interesting sweater, etc.)

7) Holiday Themed Clothing: If it has Santa, reindeer, the Easter Bunny or glows with lights, it is probably a bad idea. Thank your Aunt Myrtle for the present, wear it once when she sees, and then mysteriously lose it in your bag for Deseret Industries.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gay Eye for the SSA Guy: Body Part 5, Make-Betters

I think to begin a beauty make-better (as opposed to makeover) was need to sit back and honestly take a look at our appearance.

Make a list of 5 specific attributes you love about yourself.

Make another list of 5 specific attributes of things you'd like to improve. In my case, I've done this so I am including a list of things I'd like to improve on where I've already written them out as goals.

Here's an example love list:

1) Eyebrows
2) Eyes
3) Clear facial skin
4) Height
5) Jawline

Improve List

1) Improve skin on rest of body
2) Work on removing blemishes (or minimizing them)
3) Lost 15 lbs from body weight
4) Be more particular with body hair trimming\grooming
5) Improve health of hair

Nothing on the list is impossible to do. Nothing is extreme. All of these items are achievable with time and effort.

For example, I love the skin on my face. Why? Because I use face masks. Sure, it doesn't sound super masculine. However, I get compliments on how nice my skin looks. Its not too oily or covered in blemishes. I'm hoping when wrinkles start showing up, I will be able to downplay those by taking care of my skin now.

If I want to improve the skin on the rest of my body, I can look into getting better moisturizers, body scrubs, and soaps. There are lots of natural ways to improve one's skin too from around the house ingredients. I've seen some people who make scrubs from things like oatmeal and sugar.

Every couple of weeks, I have what I call an "At Home Spa Night" which usually involves me, a bath tub, candles and a lot of products. I'll use bubble baths, salts, scrubs, etc. You name it, I own it. I love Bath and Body Works, Body Shop, and all sorts of smelly soap products. I'll take a long bath, shave, trim my eyebrows, use a face mask, etc. By the end of the time, my body feels so relaxed and fresh. Its truly lovely. I need to someday get a house with a large jacuzzi tub to make it even more pleasant.

The reason I bring these things up is that there are little ways in which we can improve our spirits and our beliefs about ourselves. Even doing things like making your skin look its best, smelling your best, and feeling good... will make you more positive about your outward appearance. Others will notice it too. Especially if you're not one who normally spends much time on yourself.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gay eye for the SSA guy: Body Part 4, Natural Beauty

There's a lot of talk on my blog about self-defeating attitudes and ideas which are in our minds.

I've talked to a lot of people who say things like "I wish I were cute!" or "I wish I were attractive."

Although unconventional, this is almost a form of a black and white thinking pattern. At the very least, it is a thought process which is unhealthy. Why? Because most people think that attractiveness is completely genetic. As we cannot alter our genetics, it would seem like an unreachable goal. In many peoples' minds, one is either attractive or unattractive as if there was a barrier or wall separating the two groups.

I don't think there is as much of a barrier as we sometimes imagine.

Attractiveness is about 50% natural genetics and 50% what we make of our genetics.

This is all my personal opinion. 

I think there are people who are born much more attractive than others. I think there are also people who are less attractive naturally than others. But I think that truly unattractive and truly attractive people make up only a small amount of the population. Probably less than 10% for both groups. Which means that 80% of people fall somewhere in between the Quasimodos and the Romeos. Chances are, most of us fit into the 80% range.

However, if 50% of our looks is based on genetics and 50% is made up of other parts of ourselves, then everyone has a chance to improve themselves on the attractiveness scale.

How many of us complain about our appearance and do nothing about it? Do you take care of your skin? Do you use nice hair products? Try to stay in fashion? Or have you given up?

If 50% of how you look is not something inborn, there's a lot of improvement which could be done.

I think a lot of people have given up on improving themselves.

I'm not talking about giving everyone a full-on makeover. I could never do that. But I think that everyone could have a make-better. Everyone could improve themselves.

If you think you're unattractive or ugly, then I think we can work on that.

I bet you're better looking than you think you are. We just have to get over some of that self-defeating attitude inducing beliefs.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gay Eye for the SSA Guy: Body Part 3... loving the naked us

Warning: This entry talks about nudity. Not in a gross way or a perverted way. But some people are more sensitive, hence the warning. 

I think a lot of what messes with our body image is self-imposed.

If we tell ourselves that our body isn't worth anything, then we have BECOME worthless at least mentally.

A lot of guys I know complain about their bodies not being as good as others. They have issues with body acceptance at the gym so badly that they won't even change in front of others. They wear a t-shirt in the pool. Or they complain openly about their bodies.

One bit of advice... we need to change how MENTALLY you see your body even more so than visually changing your body through the right clothing shapes and styles to maximize your body's appearance.

1) Make small goals to overcome some of your mentally-blocking self-defeating thoughts.

I used to be VERY self conscious at the gym at school. I wouldn't change in front of anyone. This stems from when I was a kid and I'd be teased in gym class. I'd find a far corner and change there, even as an adult. I loved to go swimming though and so I would have to get totally naked in the locker room. (I don't know why people ever swim with underwear on---I find it gross)

So I would start by changing far from others. Then I'd move to the same aisle as someone else---then change under a towel. Then I'd forget the towel and just change making sure no one saw "anything."

Eventually I got to the point I chose the closest locker area and just changed regardless if there were a dozen people around.

You know what I learned? No one was looking at me or judging me except for me. I had become the person who was teasing and taunting myself in the locker room because I told myself I wasn't good enough to be naked in front of others, even for the 4-5 seconds it took.

Maybe you have a similar problem. If so, make small goals to work on it. 

The gym is just one way to set goals. Maybe you have other goals you need to work on. Start small and realistic---and you'll be fine. :) 

2) Find beauty in your body.

Look hard and find something about yourself you DO like. Maybe you have nice eyes, good hair, or even skin tone.

If you dislike everything, find something small. And then tell yourself everyday how much you like that aspect of yourself.

I used to stand in the mirror and look at all my flaws. Later, I refused to look at flaws and look at things I liked. My image changed---I hadn't lost weight. I hadn't gotten more muscular. But instead I noticed how soft my hands are (I love lotions!)... I also noticed how my eyebrows are shaped perfectly and just need a bit of trimming to be flawless. I noticed my jawline which I get compliments on. 

3) Write affirmations down. And never talk down about yourself!

Post them on your mirror. Things like "No matter what I look like, I'm still worth something to the most important person I know... ME!" or "I like myself no matter what."

Even if you don't fully believe those affirmations, tell yourself them. With time, you'll begin to change the way you see yourself.

Don't say negative comments about your appearance. Thumper said "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" Fill your life and mind with POSITIVE thoughts and you'll see POSITIVE reactions. Even if you don't always believe them. If you DO say something negative, say "But that's just fine by me! I'm still worth something!" at the end. WHY? Because even if you weigh 600 lbs, you're still a human and have the same worth as a supermodel. If I say "I am fat," then it is self defeating. If I say "I am fat, but I'm still worth something and its okay!" then it is self-accepting and much more positive.

To be honest, I never lost weight when I was self-defeating and full of negativity.

4) If you have issues "down there" with size, chances are most men feel the same way about them. There's not a lot of things one can do to enlarge their penis. I don't agree with it either. Losing weight will help since if you're skinnier, your size will appear longer. Shaving or trimming pubic hair also visually enlarges. However, size is most seen when flaccid. The guys you see at the gym who are larger probably are not AS different as you are when erect. If someone has a 2 inch flaccid penis, it might enlarge to 6 inches. If someone has a 4 inch flaccid penis, it might enlarge just to 6.5.

Penis envy sometimes actually comes from pornography. Since we see those men who are so hung and perfect. Well, one thing you might not realize is that most porn stars are actually very short (Sometimes only 5 foot 3 or 5 foot 4) which means that their penis appears larger. I'm over 6 feet tall so of course I don't appear as big in comparison to the rest of my body. Why? Because I'm tall!

I actually once saw a guy from my ward at the gym. He was NOT big. But he had a great body. Totally ripped. But I was bigger than he was. It didn't make me feel better than him. Actually, it made me realize something "We're all more alike than different... at least down there."

Even changing ourselves in minimal ways---such as visually by shaving---can alter how we see ourselves mentally. If you like body hair, then work on telling yourself a positive affirmation such as "I might not be as big as I'd like to be, but that is just fine! I'm me and I'm awesome!"

5) Some people have told me that going to nudist activities has helped them be more accepting of their bodies. I've met a lot of Mohos who have gone to nude beaches and felt more masculine. I've gone to a nude beach. It was great. Nudists tend to be very welcoming of others and non-judgmental. It allows the person to see others naked in a non-sexual sense just like going to a gym. If you're not comfortable being naked in front of people you know, you can always go to a beach by yourself when you're on vacation. No one will know you. No one will care. And you know who will also hopefully not care or notice? YOU! Since we need to stop this self-defeating attitude.

6) I used to think I had a big butt and would be embarrassed. Until one day a female latina friend came up to me and said "You know why latinas think you're hot? Because you have a butt and can dance!" After that, I learned to love my butt. Why? Change of perspective! I stopped seeing it as a flaw, and started loving it. I mentally changed how I saw myself.

7) Did I really just say I loved my butt? Geez. The things I admit to.

8) Don't compare yourself to models in magazines, actors on tv, etc. Why? Because they're photoshopped, altered, and pulled through a wringer to get to look like that. They're almost inhuman.

Compare yourself to no one. Just be happy within your own skin.

9) Remind yourself everyday that a pot of gold covered in rotting garbage has the same worth as a perfectly clean pot of gold. YOU have immense worth no matter what you look like, your size, shape, etc.

Learn to love yourself! Since this is the one body you'll have in this life. So you might as well love the way you look. :)

Gay Eye for the SSA Guy: Body Part 2... Things to work on

Now that we've discussed self-defeating attitudes which affect one from having a more positive outlook on their body, let's examine some ways we can alter our size literally and visually. We'll only briefly talk about the visual since clothing will be later.

As a background reminder, I've struggled with my weight my whole life. I go up and down every couple of years which is frustrating. I wish I could stay the same ideal weight all my life. However, this is probably not going to happen.

There are a few things which I do which have very much helped me. They're basic philosophies but they go far.

1) Do not take extremes. 

I am against people cutting out an entire food group. Some people did Adkin's, then South Beach, then whatever other fad diet comes around. I don't agree with them. If I told myself I'd never eat bread again, I'd cry. Why? Because I love bread. So instead I think moderation counts for a lot.

Write down your daily typical diet for a week. Are there any extremes? Unless your extreme is a love for fresh produce, there's probably a problem.

One thing which helped me lose 5 lbs quickly was when I realized I used to drink 2-3 sodas a day. I couldn't believe it. I never realized I drank that much until I wrote it down and analyzed it. To me, 2-3 cans is extreme. So I swapped it for homemade lemonade if I wanted something besides water to drink. The homemade lemonade made with real lemons (or at least real lemon juice) and sugar is much healthier. I'd also add a handful of fresh berries as well to make it pink. (What gay boy doesn't secretly think pink is pretty? haha) 

2) Make changes you're comfortable with for a long time. 

Considering I have already admitted loving bread, I know I could never give it up entirely. I try to choose whole grain breads when I can. I also don't eat bread 24-7. I just have it occasionally for sandwiches.

Cutting out all meat, all dairy, all carbs... well, unless you're comfortable living with it for a long time... I don't think it is a good thing. If you're comfortable giving up red meat since you don't like it much anyway, then that's fine---

Once you give up bread for a long time and then go back to eating it, you might notice all the weight you've lost is regained. That is why I bring it up. ANY change to your diet will likely help you lose weight. However, it might not help you lose weight LONG TERM unless you make LONG TERM changes.

So be realistic. If you love dairy, don't give it up.

3) Be Realistic. 

Are you noticing a train of thought with my posts? Moderation, long-term changes... its all part of being realistic. Unless you want to be a body builder, taking extremes won't work well. If you are 400 lbs and want to get down to 150 in the next year, that is probably not very realistic. However, if your goal is to lost 100 lbs in a year, that IS realistic. But you'll have to make some big changes for the better and KEEP IT UP LONG TERM.

Most of us are not looking to lose 100-200 lbs though. Most of us are looking to lose 10-50 lbs.

If your goal is realistic, you can achieve it. Come up with a good goal. "I want to lose 10 lbs in the next two months!" That is realistic, short-term and reachable. When you've hit that goal, maybe your next goal should be "I want to lose 15 lbs in the next two months."

When you start reaching your goals, you'll notice it is dramatically helping you improve your self image. Especially when others start to notice!

4) Change positions!

No, I'm not talking about sexual positions. Although if that gets your heartbeat going, then so be it. Just kidding!

One bit of advice I got was "Don't walk when you can jog. Don't sit when you can stand. Don't lie down when you can sit."

Basically meaning, do something a little extra. If you're going to your mailbox, maybe do a light jog down the driveway. If you have an extra 15 minutes, take a walk around the block. Don't lie down to watch tv when you can sit. (Sitting burns more calories than lying down.)

Sometimes when I am watching TV I say "Okay, during every commercial break, I'm going to do jumping jacks!" Its about 1-2 minutes of exercise. Its realistic. I'd otherwise just be sitting. And then my heart rate is goes up a bit which means that when I sit down to watch the show, my body is still pumping a bit and being more active.

5) Stop snacking!

I LOVE to snack. I truly do. I love to eat. But instead of snacking, I try to limit my food consumption to two-three meals a day. If I DO snack, I try to find something healthy.


Stop going so often to take out, even sit-down restaurants. Cook at home. If you have to spend the time to cook, you will be thinking, planning and MOVING. You'll be going to the grocery store and choosing the food to make.

Also, when I say to cook... it doesn't mean a microwave burrito. Even learning a few simple recipes for soups will save you time, money, and the extra calories and fat.

7) Find alternatives!

I love pizza! Always have. Always will. But its full of fat and calories. So I try to make my own pizza at home and find tasty toppings. Have you guys ever had chicken and spinach pizza? Its surprisingly good! Find a healthier alternative. If you're about to eat that microwave burrito, ask yourself "Couldn't I have something a bit better for me? Like a yogurt?"
Its fun thinking of alternatives to eat. Maybe with some planning, you can replace your TV dinner you eat at lunch with a vegetable lasagna you make at home. (If you're single, you can make a larger meal and then freeze portions in plastic containers for lunches later!) Or maybe a stir fry.

Cooking food can be very fun. So challenge yourself to find a healthier alternative.

I love going out for lunch... but today I'm eating: quinoa (never had it, we'll see how I like it! I love couscous and it looks similar...) A Greek Yogurt. Oranges. And some fried breaded eggplant. And some steamed veggies.

Now some might say "You fried and breaded eggplant? So unhealthy!" Well, its a healthier alternative to something like fried chicken, a hamburger, etc.

It took only about 15-20 minutes of cooking to make my meal. And it was fun. I made the eggplant yesterday so these are leftovers.

8) Eat Slowly. 

Most of us overeat because we think we have to eat until we're stuffed to the brim. If you've eaten a baked potato, half of your steak, and some veggies and then you're full... take the rest and put it in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Eat slow enough that you'll know when your body is FULL and then stop. Don't force yourself to eat more. Don't eat the dessert just because you can.

I do these even at Thanksgiving. No reason to gorge yourself on foods and then eat dessert.

9) Clothing

Chances are, your body image is mostly in your head. But it can also be influenced by how you dress. Most people don't realize that there are ways to trick the eye not only for YOU looking at YOUR body but for others as well. If you have a poor body image, you might not even attempt anymore to find clothing which fits well or is fashionable. I bet if you DID you'd have an improved self acceptance. Clothing will be discussed further in the future!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gay eye for the SSA Guy: Body Part 1

I think that talking about one's body will take several posts. This is Part 1.

A lot of people complain to me about their bodies---both gay and straight. Men and women. Its actually really sad that its much less common for me to find people who are satisfied with their bodies than people who hate their bodies.

There are a lot of things people complain about with their bodies. The first one is their WEIGHT. Since this is a hot topic, it deserves its own post. I have had weight issues my whole life. I have worked on improving myself for ages.

My first rule of thumb about making any changes to your life and to make it more positive is this:

"I need to accept and love myself no matter what I look like! Only after that, I can change what I can!" 

I never lose weight when I do it to impress other guys. Sadly, I did actually start losing weight this year initially to try to impress someone. It was pathetic and so were my results. I had to change my focus from impressing others to improving myself. It was THEN that I shed 15 lbs in just about 2 months. Still not at my goal, but I am getting there. 

Warning: I am a direct person. I might say things which make you upset. I might even offend you. However, you're here because obviously you want to make some changes to your life. Maybe if someone was as straight forward as I am, you'd have gotten real advice.

WEIGHT. The most cliche thing for me is to hear people complain about their weight. It usually is involved with phrases commonly heard. All of these excuses are self-defeating attitudes. If you use these or similar, you've already set yourself up for continued failure at improving your weight. Pure and simple.

a) "I've always been fat!"

If you've always been fat, that doesn't mean you cannot lose weight. It just means that you haven't reached your goal. Are you telling yourself you've always been fat as a means of comfort? Or to give yourself an excuse to not lose weight? I bet you were not "always" fat---maybe childhood chubbiness was around. Maybe you have always been a bit overweight. But it doesn't mean you've ALWAYS been fat. Thats an all or nothing concept (see below for the black and white thinking reference in letter b.)

b) "Nothing I do helps me lose weight!"

If "nothing" helps you lose weight, you need to become a medical experiment because I've never met anyone who couldn't lose weight. There's always methods. If you truly are one of the .01% of the population who cannot lose weight at all because of some sort of genetic problem, get tested and prove it. Otherwise, stop your bitching and try harder. Sure, maybe nothing you've done so far has worked to your liking, but that doesn't mean NOTHING helps. You're thinking in a black and white perspective that you're either thin or you're fat. For more on Black and White thinking, go here:

c) "I've tried every diet!"

If you've tried EVERY diet, you're a miracle worker since there are literally millions of diet books, pills, shapers, plans, etc. Every week there's another dozen statistics showing this helps you or that hurts you. The phrase "every diet" is all inclusive and is an example of black and white thinking. 

The word every is a very hard word to you. If I say "Every time I play this video game, I lose!" Well, it usually is true---unless you play a game for the first time and play it until you win, you DO always lose at a video game. But you still play that video game. Why? Because it is fun! (I'm not a gamer but I am using it as an example.)

I bet you have tried several diets. Maybe even multiple. Maybe you've been yo-yo dieting. (My attitude is Yo-Yo is a No-No)

d) "Diets don't work for me"

Once again, what makes your body so unique that dieting doesn't work? I bet you're either doing the wrong diet. You're not dedicated enough to those you have done. Or you're just using this as an excuse as to why you cannot lose weight. Maybe you use this excuse at family reunions when people ask you about your body---or maybe you use it when chatting with friends who are losing weight and you think "If I say diets don't work for me, I won't be judged!"

Well, sorry, sweetums... You're going to be judged for your appearance. No matter what. You know who is judging your body the worst? Its not your coworkers or your great aunt Marjorie Dawes. It is YOU. So why don't you stop giving excuses and start setting goals and planning instead?

e) "I cannot afford a gym"

At times we all struggle with expenses. I am the queen of financial distress. However, joining a gym is not always required to exercise. Last I checked, there were at-home DVD players which play exercise videos. There's Wii Dance games you can play. There's the OUTDOORS. Hikes, jogging, taking a baby out for a walk on a stroller, buying a dog who needs to exercise with you, etc.

A lot of gyms have promotional offers which make them also very affordable too. 

f) "If I go to a gym, I'll just be surrounded by good looking fit people!"

Last I checked, you were a homo so why would being surrounded by good looking fit people be a problem? Personally, I LOVE to be around hot guys. I thought that is what made you read this blog to begin with?

Okay, so I'm half kidding with the above statements. But its kinda true. :)

In seriousness, if you're not comfortable being at a gym with fit guys, then don't join. Do the above ideas of exercising at home or privately. However, the irony is... a lot of those guys at the gym are not super fit and muscular. If they were naturally gorgeous, they probably wouldn't be at the gym. If you're not comfortable showering or changing in front of them, that is something we'll work on in the future posts about body acceptance.

I think if people at a gym see you there, they probably won't bat an eyelash. If they see you going regularly (since most gym people go at specific times of day---its healthier and fits into a schedule.) Some gyms are open early and close late. So any time can fit into your schedule.

The point of you going to the gym is to get healthy. Not necessarily to be checking out the guys. (Although that can be a perk.) Focus it all on YOU. This is a time to help YOU make changes to your body.

Part 2 will discuss ideas and principles which are so basic, you'd be surprised at how well they work.

Love and accept yourself!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Improving Self-Image

A lot of self image issues can be managed with time. I honestly believe that.

We all wish we were more beautiful, more attractive, less of a weirdo, and more of a cool guy. We want to be in the Plastics and not be in the Band Geeks. I think we all have the ability to become more confident in our appearance and life.

I'm going to propose starting a series of blog articles examining some topics which hit close to home for many of us.

There are several categories which I think are issues with people and their appearance:

1) Their body. Usually weight, height, blemishes, even penis size. All of these cause issues of people feeling inferior on some level. Some people obsess and worry about their skin tone. Others worry about not being tall enough, or being too tall even. (Is there such a thing as being too tall? Maybe I just am attracted to the tall dark and handsome types.)

2) Clothing. A lot of people thing that expensive clothing, regardless of style, size, color, etc. will make them better looking. Some people don't know how to choose clothing to fit their style.

3) Hair. I know a lot of people who complain about their hair---its either too lifeless, too boring, etc. There are ways to combat that though.

4) Being Awkward or Shy. I think being shy is normal in some situations. However, for some, it can be crippling. NOTHING is sexier than confidence. Except for maybe Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman. (Cue every Moho to google his name now.) I think I would be attracted to Jeffrey even if he was severely scarred from having acid thrown on him. Can he be more adorable?

We're going to analyze each of these ideas with my thoughts on how to overcome some of these issues.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beauty, tight jeans and self esteem

I've dealt with depression for most of my life. I have also dealt with desires to kill myself. A poor self-image. Self-hatred. And an obsessive compulsive disorder. etc. It has been a long road to rediscover that I do love myself.

While battling those feelings, I've also had people accuse me of excessive vanity. The irony of this is pretty funny to me. I secretly battled feelings of low-self esteem while publicly being labeled a vain person. I was labeled as such at BYU by people who shall remain nameless---

Anyway, continuing on...

I never thought I was beautiful growing up. As a kid, I remember being told how ugly I was. I was ridiculed for my weight. I was told I was worthless. I was spit on. Punched. Teased. Laughed at. Almost everyday. My elementary school years were horrible. 

Eventually, I lost weight and regained some of my self-esteem. I saw myself as someone who had some worth, but it was only from being skinny, tall, tan, with good hair and clothes. (Truthfully my style was so mixed up, I was a total poser but I thought I was awesome at the time in the wardrobe department.)

Then I graduated from high school and gained a lot of weight. I eventually began losing it. (Weight is something I still struggle with.) I'm never skinny enough even when I'm at my skinniest. And when I get skinny, I still feel self-conscious about my size.

I was diagnosed with OCD by my therapist at BYU. I never thought I was OCD about anything although he said I was a textbook example. I usually don't let people's comments about me leave easily. I actually have stayed up for hours at night obsessing over what people say about me. Usually stress triggers these OCD episodes where I cannot turn off the cycles of thoughts in my head. It is a very hard thing to work through. Its like a tape recorder in my head on repeat. Not fun.

At BYU, I used my OCD as a means of combating my low self-image. I figured out that I could control my appearance and thus my self-acceptance. I would control how I felt about myself by wearing the nicest clothes to flatter what I thought was an extremely bad body and appearance. I had a long list of rules which I'd use for my clothing. I couldn't wear certain things---and still don't... (Why hawaiian shirts haven't been banned, I'll never know. Socks with sandals. Baggy-saggy jeans. Sweats. Most colors beyond neutrals and dark colors. Neon. Clothing which doesn't fit properly.) I would spend 20-30 minutes picking an outfit from my closet the night before. I would try on different outfits, compare in the mirror, and make sure I looked my best.

This is a good thing, in a way, except I was obsessive over it. I was ONLY attractive if I wore my tight jeans, slim fitting shirts, the right coat, the right hair, etc. I was very self-critical.

I didn't have many friends at BYU---I was rarely invited to hang out by friends. I was told by one friend that he assumed I was so popular given how attractive I was. Sadly, it wasn't true---most of my Friday nights were spent with me wondering if I'd have a friend ask for me to hang out. Despite my attacking myself for my appearance to boost my self esteem, I didn't see my worth. I was good looking, nice, funny, and a good student. What ELSE prevented people from talking to me? What else prevented people from inviting me to hang out?

I convinced myself it was something inborn that was unlikeable in me.

I look back and I see how ridiculous my thinking was.

I sought help from the therapist---a straight man---who would compliment me and say he wished he could have my style. He'd challenge me to break my obsessive compulsive rules about clothing and style. (I even purchased a hoodie sweatshirt---the only one I own---which previously was on my list of things I'd never wear. I'm actually wearing it today. haha.)

Then I had to learn that I was beautiful for me. Not because of my clothes and style. It took a long time. I had friends who helped me. I had men and women who'd admire me---giving me compliments that I'd look good in anything. Some even said I was far more critical about my looks than necessary. I had a friend who said I was his most attractive friend and he wondered why I'd be friends with him---the whole time, I thought a similar idea that "If he knew what I was really like, he wouldn't be my friend!"

I still have rules for fashion, but they're not OCD strict. I still wear tight jeans. I still wear fitted shirts. I don't worry about it thought if I am not at the height of fashion (btw, I'm not a brand whore---half of what I wear is from a thrift store... it matters to me more than fit, style and comfort even if its a brand no one knows.)

We're all critical of ourselves. No matter what we look like. However, we all have the capable of being beautiful no matter what we look like.There's beauty which can reflect from the inside to the outside. THAT kind of beauty cannot be created by wearing nice clothes.

Do I love myself? Usually. Do I believe I'm attractive? Usually, but I still have my moments of doubt. Is my worth tied to my looks? Rarely ever.

Its a good feeling. Try realizing your own beauty and worth sometime.

Biological vs. Adoptive

Does it really matter in the long run about blood?

I've had a friend pose some interesting thoughts to me about this. He said that flesh and blood is a stronger bond than adoption. I supposed there is some logic to it. He brought up a friend of his who has only been able to adopt---citing that they experienced a void.

What he said makes sense. However, in this situation, I am CHOOSING adoption rather than it being forced on me through infertility. My only infertility issue is that I don't want to have sex with a woman's body. lol. As far as I know, my sperm is functional and would be able to fertilize an egg.

Does blood matter? Yes, it can. To some people.
Does blood make a difference? Yes. To some people.

Is it possible to love an adopted child more or less? Yes. In my case, as I don't have any options, I think loving an adopted child makes sense. I am choosing it. It is my personal choice. So in my case, blood is nice but an adopted child will be just as much loved as if I had a child born to me naturally which contained my genetics.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dreaming with my eyes wide open

I hope no one who reads my posts really believes I am a Debbie Downer. Sometimes I get very discouraged. I am a dreamer---someone who loves to look to the future...

Sometimes I get discouraged into thinking my dreams won't come true.

I am waiting to hear some news, which... if positive... could help my dreams to happen.

To close, I am posting the lyrics to my new favorite cute-song of the day. It is the new song for the musical Les Miserables called Suddenly. It makes me think of myself in a year or two going to the Congo to pick up my future son... going from being childless to having a son in the space of a short time. It is sung by Jean Valjean when he goes to get the little girl Cosette, who has been abused and mistreated. He then adopts her and realizes what love is.

Suddenly I see
Suddenly it starts
When two anxious hearts
Beat as one.
Yesterday I was alone
Today you walk beside me
Something still unclear
Something not yet here
Has begun.
Suddenly the world
Seems a different place
Somehow full of grace
And delight.
How was I to know
That so much love
Was held inside me?
Something fresh and young
Something still unsung
Fills the night.
How was I to know at last
That happiness can come so fast? 
Trusting me the way you do
I’m so afraid of failing you
Just a child who cannot know
That danger follows where I go
There are shadows everywhere
And memories I cannot share
Nevermore alone
Nevermore apart
You have warmed my heart
Like the sun.
You have brought the gift of life
And love so long denied me.
Suddenly I see
What I could not see
Something suddenly
Has begun.
                -Suddenly from Les Miserables