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A boy's body

health lifestyle

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American University

culture

A boy's body

Or, alternatively, all that doesn't seem right

10.20.17

It's like a snake that creeps through the grass. When you can't seem to nail this whole dating thing, or haven't been intimate with someone for some time, you often blame is yourself. You blame every little detail that isn't perfect, or obsess about how other men would prefer it. You hurt yourself, close yourself off from others, and a war begins to wage in your mind. A lot of the time, the bad guy is winning. You stand in the mirror and think of all the things you'd change if you could, and then just get really, really pissed when they don't.

You make yourself into something you never thought you'd become, and you get really good at hiding it from your family, telling them that you've been exercising more and watching what you've been eating.

You have been exercising more, and you have been watching what you've been eating, but not in the way that they think. You watch food, but you don't eat it. You make yourself walk through the tunnel on an empty stomach to build up endurance and resistance to food. Walking by MegaBytes is probably the hardest. God, you fucking love those muffins, but god, the horrible things I'd say to myself if I ate one. You make yourself go on runs on empty stomachs, and it's really painful. You suck in your stomach as much as you can, to the point of becoming light headed and dizzy.

You find ways to cheat your appetite and your mind. If you drink four large coffees today, that'll get you through until dinnertime, during which you'll let yourself have a very bland sandwich and a glass of juice if you're feeling nice. Sometimes you snap, and your body goes wild. This is when you go to TDR and eat three plates of food and like six cookies. This is when, after you've eaten those three plates of food and six cookies, you really being to lay into yourself for how much weight you've probably gained from that binge.

(God, how could you be so stupid to do that? You're an idiot, a fucking idiot. Imagine how disgusting you must have looked eating all that food. Imagine how fat you must look right now, how bloated your stomach must be. And yet you wonder why no one wants to be with you.)

There is loneliness in all of this. There is a coldness and a darkness that sits behind the caffeine-induced euphoria. It waits until the euphoria is gone, and then it begins to creep in and make itself at home. There is a loneliness in walking by people on the quad and wondering what it must be like to not constantly analyze how you look to other people and just be neutral. You wonder what it's like to just feel neutral.

You use self-deprecation as a coping mechanism, but assure others it's just your style of humor. It's a horribly transparent cover-up that makes everyone uncomfortable. That's the worst part. The way people can just see right through it and not say anything. It isn't their fault, though. They don't just want to assume you're developing unhealthy habits or that you're flying full-throttle into a very dark place. No one wants to just say that to someone. You know you wouldn't.

You wonder what it's like to be able to wake up in the morning and be ok with how you look and to not lay into yourself and to not grab at your stomach fat and pull at it, wishing that you could just get it all off, once and for all.

(Why won’t it come off? Why can’t you just look like how people want me to look like? Why can’t you be handsome, and attractive, and feel wanted. You just want to be wanted.)

Then one day, your mom comes to visit campus, but she doesn’t recognize you at first. You have lost so much weight that the woman who birthed you cannot even tell that it’s you. You came into college weighing just under 230, and have whittled yourself down to a mere 195. That’s 35 pounds. You have only been at college for a little over two months. She takes you shopping because none of your pants fit you anymore. You’ve gone down a solid pants size and a half, but it doesn’t feel as good as you thought it would.

You don’t look any different, but you’ve lost all of this weight? Why, to yourself, do you still look exactly like you did the first day you moved in, but to your mother you’re a completely different person? You push this to the back of your mind and ignore it. You’ll have to deal with that later, and boy oh boy, do you deal with it.

You are a boy, you are gay, and you are developing an eating disorder and are showing signs of body dysmorphia. You don’t dare tell anyone, and you won’t until your junior year of college, when you finally can’t take it anymore. When you finally do tell someone, it feels relieving and you cry a lot. Everyone needs a good cry, especially after three years of silence.

I’m getting better. Slowly, but surely, I am feeling better.