Personal Perceptions

A lot of people have self-image issues. Me too. I can look in the mirror on a given day and see reality has set in.  The image of me that I have in my mind is of a 12 year old boy. Skinny, 70s haircut (in the early 80s), bell bottom or high water pants, hand-me-down shirt, tobacco stains on my teeth and fingers. It’s not reality, but it’s the main psychic self image that I project, why? I have no idea. But I rarely think of myself in any other way. The crows feet around my eyes, the gray hair in my facial hair (or even more disturbing the first few times – gray pubic hairs – Oh no!) and on my head, the sagging here or the sagging there… It’s not just the aging thing – it’s comparing ourselves to the outside world or the world of Hollywood. Yeah, that’s a wise move for mental health, comparing yourself to celebrities.

On Wednesday I dressed up for work, normally I wear jeans and a t-shirt. I had a few errands to run and later would be shopping for a suit at Macy’s so wanted a white shirt on to get the full effect of the image. On the way to the office I had to make a couple of stops, both work related, and was complimented on how I looked by a few different people and even had a few give me the once over. I had my friend take this photo the same day.    While suit shopping after I had left the office two guys flirted with me at Macy’s, and Al at Annie’s was almost in a tizzy and said I looked great – my standard response there is “so you’re saying I look like crap every other day?” Al didn’t take the bait, but said you normally just come in looking “usual”. Hmm, I thought….

When I had a chance to upload the photo to the iMac I took a look at it and saw all the things that everyone else missed. I see the belly that makes me look a bit pregnant,  a gap in-between my teeth that makes me look rural, the receding gray hairline, and a wrinkly shirt. I don’t usually smile in photos so hate this one just like all the other ones that I smile in. That’s just how I perceive me – I have a poor self body image, so do a lot of folks.

I went so far as to put this photo on a few online dating sites I frequent and a lot of guys had very nice complimentary things to say about it, a few people who have seen photos I like of myself said they like this photo best – my perception is rarely reality, or maybe these guys have been doing a lot of hallucinatory drugs or losing their vision – I vote for the later.

I have a friend who is the skinniest person I know who thinks she is fat on occasions, works out constantly and guys cruise her all the time, maybe her self image is of the girl she used to be. I have a friend who’s a big sexy black guy that so self conscious about his body that he wont come to Zumba with me as he thinks folks will not want to see him there – he’s not a freak show, he’s a big sexy guy (lose weight or don’t, you’ll still be sexy), but maybe he can’t get past his self-image – I can’t, so who am I to judge. Yet another friend is trying to grow her hair out after chemo took it all last year, it’s a slow process and the hair is having a mind of it’s own, this frustrates her a lot, but her hair is such a small part of the whole package of her and those of us that know her think she looks great all the time – however I still give her a hard time about the hair, cause I love the reaction.

We are who we are, whether we can see it in the mirror or our minds eye or not. Should we be healthy, I guess… but even then that may not change how we view ourselves. So I might be getting a belly, might have a gap in my teeth, I certainly have gray hair all over the place. I am who I am, I can change some things about that sure, but I’m probably always going to look inside of myself and see the skinny kid with the welfare glasses and paisley shirt.

3 thoughts on “Personal Perceptions

  1. It sucks the way social media creates unattainable expectations when it comes to to the way we look. When you think about the people you really live and respect I doubt the first thing that comes to your mind is their waistline. We rarely h

  2. Rarely judge others with the harshness we judge ourselves. I think the real issue is how can we truly love another if we don’t love ourselves? Trust me, this is the pot calling the kettle black. All I’m saying is that I love you, Jamez. When I look at you I don’t notice anything other than the fact that you mean the world to me and my family, you make our lives better, and you are kind, loving, and committed to trying to be a better person. I respect you and I could give a crap about your outward appearance because when I’m with you it never even dawns on me. To me, you are just Jamez whom I love.

  3. Oh, my dear friend!! Boy can I relate to what you have just written. I have very deep issues about my body and my self. I do, however, talk to myself all the time and try to give myself little pep talks. I agree with Lisa that you are such a great human being. I don’t know what we would do without you in our family and in our lives.
    You are always a handsome hunk to me!!! :-)

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