Striping Away the Insecurities

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Like many people, I tend to be quite self-conscious when it comes to my body.  I was always the chubby or fat kid in school, and have continued to be of a larger size well into my adult years.

I’ve spent many years feeling bad about myself, putting myself down and generally beating myself up emotionally or psychologically whenever I felt I had let myself down regarding my weight.  I’ve repeatedly tried to restrict my diet, deny myself the food I’ve always enjoyed eating, and to get more active.

But of course, despite brief periods of weight loss here and there, I’ve continued to watch my weight rise year on year.  And my own feelings of self-worth fluctuated about as much as my weight did.

Now don’t get me wrong.. I don’t necessarily eat as if I’m running out of food, or am so inactive that I’m beyond lazy.  It’s like anything in life – I know what I need to do, but don’t tend to do it.

cute bums on beachOk, maybe that is my laziness talking there. LOL

I’ve tried several things over the years to help myself to accept my own body image issues, but it’s only been recently that I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin.  And just my own skin.

Over the past couple years, I’ve discovered a love of naturalist beaches, especially after my recent trips to Gran Canaria.  I found on the beaches there that nobody cared what you looked like, and all shapes and sizes were welcome.

On top of this, a close friend of mine convinced me to join a naturalist social website well over a year ago (Nakedmates.co.uk for those who’re interested lol), but I hadn’t done much with it other than poke around, looking at the guy’s profiles and pictures.  And reading about the events some put on, wondering what it would be like to go to one.

Well… all that changed back in April, just before my most recent trip to Gran Canaria.  My mate was hosting a small gathering at his flat in town, and I decided to finally take the plunge and attend.

That’s right.. I went to a naked house party.  And despite my initial nervousness, I absolutely loved it.  It literally was just like any other house party – some laughs, lots of chatting, a bit of flirting, and maybe a bit too much wine haha.

Only difference was that everyone was naked.

The whole ethos of the website is ‘No Clothes. No Attitude’, where members organise parties at their homes, in bars, saunas, and such.

beardy threesomeOne reason I’d been so so hesitant about these parties was it felt like it was so sexualised.  My mate had told me plenty of naughty stories of things that had gone on at these events, and that really isn’t my thing.

But what I found after attending that first party was that it isn’t really like that at all for most of the guys.  It’s just a different outlet to meet like-minded guys in a comfortable and non-judgemental clothing-free environment.

Now don’t get me wrong.. there is a sexual aspect to the parties, but only if you choose to engage in it.  Most hosts when having parties in their homes will set aside a room away from the social areas for those who want to have a bit of fun.  And despite what I might have previously thought, it didn’t turn into full-blown orgies.

At this particular party, I was one of the first to arrive so was already naked when the rest of them arrived.  I think that helped me a bit, where I was only initially stripping off in front of a couple of guys instead of 20 or so. 😉

Of course, the bottle of wine I’d brought helped me relax.  The first half of the bottle went down very quickly. Hahaha

Anyway, the time flew by as I chatted to a gorgeous Danish guy in the kitchen, while some of the other guys drifted in and out of the play room.  Neither of us were interested in joining the frolics, so just enjoyed each other’s company.

Well things have sorted progressed since then, as I’ve been to 2 other parties since.  Including my mate’s naked birthday party last month… where I met a very sexy farmer from Suffolk.

And the parties continue next month.  I’ve agreed to a naked camping weekend up North with over 200 guys from around the country (the sexy farmer promised he’d make it worth my while if I went.. hehe).  And then a couple weeks later it’ll be my mate’s naked wedding!

I admit, it’s not a community I ever considered being a part of, but it’s amazing how friendly and inclusive most of the guys are.  And it’s great to meet guys from so many different walks of life all because of one shared interest.

The upside to all this is how much more comfortable I’ve been feeling in my own skin, and how I keep looking for new opportunities to spent as much time naked at home as I can.. though usually just in my bedroom or when nobody is home.

What I do know is this is a new adventure for me, and it’s one I’m quite enjoying.

Now to see what happens next.. and whether that sexy farmer will keep his promise when we go camping next month.  😉

naked camping

 

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Where Does the Future Lead?

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Sometimes I can’t help but wonder (and worry) about what the future has in store for me and where my life is going.  It worries me because I don’t feel like I have a plan or a goal to work towards, or have any real set destination in mind for my life going forward.

A lot of the time I just feel like I’m floating through life, letting the world around me flow by.  Or when I’m feeling a bit down, like I’m paddling against the currents trying to get somewhere unreachable.

But why is that?  Why do I constantly feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle just to have the life (I think) I want?  Why does it feel like I’m watching the world pass me by as I see others enjoy and (sometimes) squander what I would truly like to have?

Interestingly I know if I put a plan in place, I can carry it out successfully.  Hell, just look at what I went through planning and preparing when I first moved to London over six years ago.  I had a goal in mind, and I created a plan to get me here.. and I did it (albeit 2 months later than planned lol).

Hopes and DreamsSo I know I can do what I need to when I want to get somewhere in life, but why am I not doing it any more?  What is it that is holding me back?  Am I that afraid of failing?

Or is it more that I’m afraid of actually succeeding, so I don’t even try?  Or that I don’t think myself worthy enough to succeed?  Why won’t I take that leap of faith and just go for it?

But I suppose the real question here is what is it that I truly want out of life?

And the answer is  – I honestly don’t know anymore.  Sure, I can easily say I’d love to have an amazing relationship, a fulfilling career, a healthier more fulfilling life, or a dozen other vague and ambiguous ‘goals’.

Realistically I need to decide what exactly each of those things mean for me and how I can work to building what I want in life.  Sure, a relationship isn’t exactly something I can make happen as it’s dependant on another person, but career and lifestyle changes are solely within my own hands to make happen.

I’ve said many times before how I’d love to write full time, to be a published author or perhaps write a regular column for a magazine.  But why am I not doing it?  Why am I holding myself back from actually taking a chance in life?

Holding-Self-Back_HeaderPure and simple it all comes down to confidence, in myself and my abilities.  To be confident that people would actually pay money to read something I’ve written, be it a novel or something else.  To believe in myself enough to take that step and put my words out there .. although I kind of already do that here, to an extent.

I’m still not sure what the future holds for me, but I hope it’s full of success, happiness and love.. and that it would show up already.  LOL

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On a side note – please see my new ‘Contact Me‘ page if you’d like to drop me a line but aren’t comfortable leaving a comment on a post.  Spammers need not apply. 😀

Gay Body Image Issues

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hot hairy manOne thing most gay men out there have in common is body image issues.  Be it being self conscious about how you look, how others perceive your body, or how judgmental you are about your own body.

I know I do.  I’ve always been a short, chubby guy who’s felt awkward around others who looked more like society’s so-called ‘norm’.  And regardless of how well my life is going at the time, I’ve always felt a bit of inadequacy or that perhaps I wasn’t trying hard enough when comparing myself to those around me, both personally and professionally.

According to psychotherapist Matthew J. Dempsey, the body image issues most gay men have are actually masking other deeper, more complex underlying inadequacies that we all struggle with, including feelings of inadequacy.  There are many out there who base their self-esteem on how others perceive their physique, and fixate on trying to fix their appearance to appear more attractive to others.

Through the media and our own community, we’ve created this image of what a gay man should look like – tall, handsome, fit, charming, and so forth.  And a lot of us have bought into that ideal so much that we spend most of our free time trying to change how we look to please those around us.

Of course that doesn’t apply to everyone, as there are many people out there who are quite happy with how they look or where they are in life and are not consciously trying to change their appearance to appease others.  And that’s not to say that being physically active in order to become and feel healthier is buying into the stereotype either.

MAN-LOOKING-IN-MIRROR-facebookAs explained in the below video, we tend to be overly critical of our own bodies when there are other issues at hand, and by doing this we are avoiding dealing with whatever issue is actually bothering us at the time.  Instead of trying to fix our problems, we’d rather ‘fix’ our physical appearance because that is something we think we can have more control over.

I know I’ve stood in front of the mirror many times and looked at my body, wondering why I look the way I do, berating myself for not taking better care of myself when I was younger, and wondering how someone could find this rotund body attractive.  It’s negative thinking at it’s worst, and though some may call it being self-critical, it’s very destructive in the long run.

Changing our outward appearances will not fix or negate the underlying issues, but instead will mask it and give ourselves a false feeling of achievement… Though feeling good about how you look or how your body feels is an amazing thing, and it should be felt all the time regardless of your body shape.

Yes, I currently go to the gym several times a week and have been watching my diet, but it’s mostly to feel healthier as a whole not to specifically look a certain way.  Obviously I do hope that in the long run I will lose some weight and feel more comfortable with my body, but that’s not the main goal of going to the gym.. If anything it’ll just be a very welcome side effect.

I sometimes have to stop myself lately when looking in the mirror when trying to find signs that the gym is having a  positive affect on my body.  I need to consciously remind myself that physical appearance is less important than how I actually feel inside.

fuckable bearLooking a certain way will not necessarily improve your life on a whole, nor will it truly bring happiness. Sure, it may get you more dates, but are you getting those dates because of how you look or who you are as a person?

It’s not an easy thing to get past when you’ve spent years berating yourself over your appearance, or subconsciously calling yourself names (fat, ugly, disgusting, undesirable, etc).  It’s difficult to change how you perceive your own body, and try to see yourself through other people’s eyes.

It’s hard, and it’s not something that will change over night, if at all.  But it’s something I know I’m consciously working on.