Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Image of God (Genesis 1:26-27)

About a week ago I promised a post on body image issues. Well, here it is!

I think that largely I don't typically seem like the "gay stereotype" charicature figure. However, if there is a way I fit the "mold" we've created in society of what gay people are "like," this is probably the biggest one. I have always been very self-conscious about my appearance. In junior high and high school I had lots of thoughts that were borderline anorexic. Now, I have NEVER even approached the line of being overweight. Sometimes I've been UNDERWEIGHT (like, perhaps right now) but I've never had weight issues. And yet in Junior High I always felt like I was fat. It was less so in high school, but still flared up from time to time. I don't ever really think I'm fat anymore. Now I get concerned about lack of musculature or above all: my face. I have experienced severe self-esteem issues from my face. Most mornings I wake up, leave my room, and look in the mirror. My first thought is immediately how I look that day. 9 times out of 10 I'm disappointed. Every now and then I look in the mirror and like what I look like. But not often.

Sometimes when I'm stressed or have low self-esteem I don't eat very much. It's not because I think I'm fat, it's just something I do. Another behavior that may make me seem kind of stereotype is that I like to dress well to compensate for my perceived lack of comliness. As I'm not super rich and many of my clothes are hand-me-downs (thankfully my older brother has fantastic taste), this can be difficult sometimes. But I've learned that looking good often depends more on HOW you wear certain clothes and put them together. Certain pants and shirts combinations simply don't do! Then I write sentences like that, or more often simply think those thoughts, and suddenly my self esteem goes right out the window again because then I am reminded that I'm fashion conscious because I'm compensating for my perceived ugly face, which is because I have deeply set body image issues. Honestly, I know I'm not actually a bad looking guy, so when I feel that way, I start feeling bad that I feel that way! (Boy this would all be much simpler if I also didn't have a huge propensity for over-analyzing myself!)

I imagine I'm not the only one with major body image issues. From what I've read from others, it seems to go with the territory a bit, though not everyone--which is why stereotypes are dangerous. Honestly, I don't know all the answers with this one yet. I know that it is bad for me to hate myself, and certainly things that deteriorate self-esteem need to be addressed and conquered. I don't know HOW to fix it but I know it needs to be fixed. Or maybe I just struggle with it my whole life like SSA? Who knows. On the one side, there are parts of it that aren't a problem. For example, wanting to look good and wearing trendy clothes is not a sin (once again, my wardrobe isn't really actually that trendy, but I wish it were more so and typically do pretty well with what I have). And yet I feel guilt attached to the feelings. I suppose it is similar to the way I am trying to stop feeling guilty about being attracted to men--something that in and of itself isn't wrong, but which I've been telling myself is for years.

Anyway, while I haven't figured out the solution to this particular problem yet, I do find solace in these verses from the first chapter of the Bible:

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; mal and female created he them.

If ever I feel like my body is subpar, it helps at least in part to remember who it's modeled after. Any advice on this topic would be appreciated. :D

My best,



  1. For me, it's my hair--or lack thereof. I started losing my hair at 20 years old! I am super self conscious about it. Every time I see a man with hair loss I immediately loathe myself. The sad fact is, 50% of all men will experience some degree of hair loss in their lifetime. It's an undesirable trait I see in others, and therefore myself. I suppose everybody has something about their image they wish they could change. Everybody says I'm skinny, and I wish I were more muscular. It's hard because I'm not that into sports.

    I just decided that I want to learn how to swim. I almost drowned when I was younger and have always been afraid of the water. I want to start doing things I haven't done before and face my fears. But I'm wondering if I'm doing it for the right reasons. I thought to myself, "If I take up swimming maybe I can develop a great muscular body." I want to be more attractive, but the question is, for who? Well since I'm not attracted to women, why would I care? And because I'm rejecting the gay lifestyle, why would I care what men think? I'm always saying to myself, "If I look like the guys I'm attracted to, I will feel better about myself." What if I did have the body image I want? Would it change anything? I really don't know. All I know is that I can't stop obsessing over it. The simple truth is that looks don't matter. Why is that so hard for me to accept? Why can I accept the fact that I can love someone else regardless of how they look, but I can't love myself for how I look? It probably has to do with the root problem of SSA. Until I feel accepted by other men, I feel like I have to look better to get their attention. In reality I know that straight men really don't care how I look, and I should just accept myself for who I am.

  2. I don't have any advice per se on the topic, however, I found this post interesting because I'm the same in a lot of ways. In high school I was way underweight because I was a bit anorexic , and then after my mission I have continued to care a lot about my appearance, but I have refrained from anorexia, I mainly work out a lot and just eat healthier. I've also started to spend a lot of money on clothes because my appearance means too much to me.

  3. I dislike how much emphasis is placed on looks. I think I'm pretty abnormal in this category though. I couldn't tell you what physically attracts me to someone. For me, im attracted to how I feel when I'm around someone. I guess it kind of gives me hope that I will be able to be attracted to a guy. I don't know.

    I think it's sad how many people struggle with self image issues. It can have such a negative impact on on our confidence. If I'm ever a parent, raising my kids to believe in themselves will be a top priority.

    Obadiah...I bet your face is beautiful :). Especially if this girl in the ward that everyone wants is hitting on you. is over rated :)

  4. I think that this is a great post. We've talked about your perceived unattractiveness before.

    We'll talk more about it and I might blog on this same topic. Wake up every morning and tell yourself something good about your appearance. And someday, you'll wake up and won't need to because you'll finally believe you're a nice looking guy. :)


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