Body Positive for the New Year

by David Wraith

Photo by Ariana Bauer (the one on the right).

I need to get back in shape. I’m so out of shape that I almost take pride in saying that I need to get back in shape, because the strategic use of the word “back” presupposes that I actually was in shape at one point in my life, while remaining suitably vague enough to not specify when that point was. Maybe I was an Olympic level athlete until six months ago when a career threatening sports injury sidelined the training necessary to maintain my peak physical condition. Or maybe it was the cycle of agoraphobia, depression, Little Debbie Snack Cakes and obsessive masturbation that I fell into somewhere in the early 90s. The point is, you don’t know.

You probably made a New Year’s Resolution last week and if you’re like many people, that resolution had something to do with losing weight, eating better and or getting more exercise. I made the same resolution last year. Taking advice I’d read in a self help book, I booked, not one but, two nude photo sessions with two local photographers and paid deposits on them months in advance. My goal was to lose 30 pounds and I thought the fear of taking my clothes off in front of relative strangers and having it recorded for posterity (or forfeiting my deposits) would motivate me.

But school and work (and the afore mentioned agoraphobia, snack cakes and depression) got in the way.  I rescheduled several times to accommodate my lack of progress and as 2010 was drawing to a close, I considered cancelling both sessions. Finally, I bit the bullet and got naked, 15 pounds short of my goal.

I posted the pictures on FetLife and while I’m sure there are many who would advise me to put my shirt back on, the BDSM community is probably one of the most body positive on the planet and haters tend to be silent on sites where they have less anonymity, so all I got was a chorus of people (friends and strangers) telling me how hot I looked. Had I waited until I shed that last 15 pounds (I still haven’t), who knows when I would I have fed on that feast of compliments.

So let’s do an exercise. If you’re like a lot of people, you a have a list of things you’re waiting to do until you lose, say, 20 pounds: wear a bathing suit on the beach, get out on the dance floor and shake that ass, attend a BDSM event in anything more revealing than a button-down shirt and pair of cotton Dockers. Now, if you’re above a certain age, you probably weigh more now than you did 10 years ago. And, many of you were just as unhappy with your body 10 years ago as you are today.

Photo by Connie LaFlam, rope work by T-One (by the way, that's a pretty big valve).

Okay, so imagine that it’s the year 2021. And you weigh 20 pounds more than you do now. The weight came on gradually, 1-3 pounds a year, so you didn’t notice. Now imagine you log on to Facebook (or whatever we’re using in the future) and someone posts a picture of you from 2011. You sigh and think, “I was so hot back then and I didn’t even know it! I wasted so much time and so many opportunities because I was self conscious about how I looked. If only I could get back the body I had in 2011, I’d be unstoppable.”

Your wish has been granted! It’s 2011 and you’ve got your body back! Now pull out that list of things you’re putting off until you lose 20 pounds and do as many as possible as soon as possible. Besides, no one says that when you do lose those 20 pounds, you can’t do them all again.

Posted in body image, David Wraith, photography and tagged , , .

5 Comments

  1. BRAVO!!! I offer similar advice: The most important thing to realize about yourself:

    You look great NOW. I can’t tell you how many women I know who curse the fact that they were shy about wearing a bikini when they were in their 20’s and a size 8. They thought they weren’t thin enough to pull it off. Now they are 35 and a size 12 and WISH they were a size 8 again. So just wear the fucking bikini, OK?

  2. What a truly wonderful, inspiring post. Brilliant, brilliant stuff and I’m overjoyed that there’s finally a GUY writing about body image, because I’m sick to death of hearing that ‘guys aren’t expected to confirm to unrealistic standards of beauty’ all while getting pictures of the digitally-enhanced abs of male models with 3% bodyfat shoved in our faces. Body image affects both men and women, thank you very much.

    You, sir, are THE MAN. I’m so happy I read this post!

  3. Great article! I never would have guessed you were uncomfortable with your body. I recently saw you playing, mostly naked, at a local party, and thought to myself, “who is that sexy man over there?” Your face was obscured from where I was standing, but when I saw it was you, I thought to myself, “of course! I shoulda known.” Isn’t it funny how we can think terrible things about our bodies when others are falling all over themselves just to get a better look at you?

  4. I wanted to say I really agree with this. Before I had my son I was about 130lbs. I wouldnt wear bikinis, and would always try to cover up my thighs with boy shorts. Now that he is 5, I look back saying “WTF was I thinking?!” I should have been wearing a bikini and not freaking out about it. Every few years most of us look back and think of how good we looked. We should stop worrying about it so much now and just remember “it could always get worse.”

  5. Coming late to the party, just to say THANK YOU for this! My own crisis of body confidence comes and goes (Hell, how could it not? I’m a woman fast approaching 50). Today, I can feel it sneaking up on me again, and threatening to be pretty nasty. So this is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.

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