I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Mirror Image

This morning as I came out of the shower I stared at my legs in the mirror. "You're skinny," I said to my mirror image. Perhaps that doesn't sound like much to most people. I am thin, and people have long teased me about it.

In the past, when I looked into a mirror I never saw skinny. The image that stared back at me wasn't obese but he sure could drop 25 pounds. (A disclaimer: I've never been on a diet, even though that reflection told me I was too heavy.)

Years ago, I read that bulimics and anorexics saw themselves as grossly overweight and I wasn't either. I was just a slightly chubby guy. And I lived with that perception most of my adult life.

When that distorted mirror image disappeared, I don't remember when, but I think it was about two years ago. One day, I stood in front of a full-length mirror wearing nothing but briefs. I stared at myself and marveled. How did I get so thin? (FYI, I'm 5'7" and weigh 135–138 pounds.)

What I saw for years wasn't reality—I know that now. But it shocked me to realize that I had "seen" and accepted the distorted image. I tried to explain my distortion to a close friend and he didn't seem to get it.

But for me, truly seeing my thin frame was one of the most exciting and positive inner proofs of my healing. As I saw my body reflected accurately, it made me realize I was now seeing many things differently. And I like what I see.

As the words from Amazing Grace say, 
"I was blind, but now I see."

6 comments:

Robert said...

I have always thought of my self as smaller and tried to make myself shorter to not stand out or for some reason I thought I wasn't allowed to be a tall man. Now people remark how tall I am and I enjoy it. I am starting to have good posture and be thankful for 6 foot , 3 inch height! It is a sign of healing .

Larry Clemson said...

I have had a poor body image as far back as I can remember. Something was always wrong with the way I looked. As I give those hurts of my abuse - actually as I give All to God I stop looking at myself & my flaws. When I do look in the mirror I see an Okay guy that isn't perfect but is okay with himself. As I think about it I was the "good Christian boy" who when looking in the mirror would say "I hate you" & even flip my self off. I haven't done that in a long time. Yes, I'm healing too!

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Mark Cooper said...

I still deal with body image issues.

When I was a teenager I felt obese. Looking back at pictures, I see that in reality I was not. In fact, at times I was painfully thin.

Now, middle-aged, I am for sure heavier. And don't like it. But food is an easy lover to continually turn to.

But this really isn't about body size. Regardless of what I look like on the outside, there's something on the inside I still reject. Am still harsh and critical of. And I imagine that looking different on the outside would change that. But in reality, no - it wouldn't.

Mark Cooper said...

Have had an additional thought tying in with this post. When I was a child I hated my body. I felt my body was what kept me from being able to live.

As a boy, I longed, yearned, ached to escape my body. I felt if I could just "be" like someone else looked, I would be OK, other people would love me. Like me. Accept me.

Sad thing is, I'm seeing that I still carry parts of that self-hatred.

Cec Murphey said...

For me, just to write about my own body image was difficult, but I realized it was a serious issue for me. And from the comments, I'm convinced it IS a big issue that we men need to face if we want to experience wholeness.

Thanks, guys, for being so transparent.

Cec