I’m fitter than I look
This story was submitted anonymously to the How We Show Up collection as part of the July SEEQ sessions.
I look fit.
At least that’s what I told myself.
I had just had a great workout at the gym. I’ve been making so much progress in my running and weight loss, and having earlier completed a great long run, I had just finished a hard Nike body workout. I was sweating. I was breathing hard. And I felt good.
I went into the bathroom to admire my handiwork. I wanted to share a picture of myself on Instagram and let everyone know, “See? James is getting after it!”
Only I didn’t look like I felt. So I flexed. I posed. I fumbled my way through taking a bathroom post-workout fitness selfie. It was not pretty.
I had to take a good 50 shots to get the one where the angle on my muscles was most flattering.
And then I looked at it, and still wasn’t quite what I wanted.
So that’s what Instagram filters are for.
Man, I edited that picture for a good 30 minutes, trying to get the shadows and contrasts and “drama” just right, to most accentuate the muscles in my arm and chest. And by the time it was done, I looked amazing.
Photoshopped, filtered, posed, staged, but amazing.
So I posted it.
And I got a ton of positive feedback. And I didn’t feel ashamed about it all. What I wanted to do was simply share with everyone how I was feeling, about my health and fitness journey, about the great run I had just completed, and the insane-not-made-for-people-my-size Nike full body workout I had completed.
I wanted people to know how that felt. So why couldn’t I just say that? Why did I feel the need to “fake it” and make myself look better than I did in real life – or at least take and share the most flattering picture I could come up with?
Why do we need to flatter ourselves? What’s driving this need for validation?
Well for me, I’m on a journey of caring less about what people thing about me. And it’s hard, boy it’s hard, because I’ve been that way my whole life. Clearly, I didn’t care enough about what people thought about me when I was overweight. So why do I care now? Why do I want them to see my progress and validate me? Am I making up for all of those years of neglect?
I think that’s the answer. I’m still chasing time, chasing my former self, chasing my 20-year old heavyweight crew body. Chasing my life before kids. Before partying too much. Before getting married too young. Before letting. Myself. Go.
So how do I get comfortable with myself, past and present? That is the question that I am really trying to answer.