Struggling with body images? Cole Altuzarra has some encouraging words for men.
Hi I’m Cole. I’m 24 years old, 5-foot-8-and-a-half, 190 pounds!
While I’m not necessarily overweight or bad looking, I’m “built” or “thick”—or just flat out meaty—and I carry a lot of insecurities and false confidence towards how I truly feel about my shape and value as a person. I don’t think that mindset is very sexy and it keeps me closed, cut-off, and defensive rather than open, warm, and embracing—which is sexy.
I’ve been struggling with my body image for years now—I can’t even remember when it all started. I’ve always been the sort of person that masks their insecurities with overconfidence. This is part of the reason I’ve been oblivious to my true feelings for so long (and it’s probably the reason I’ve never been in a serious relationship as well). Overtime, I’ve realized that my “put-on” self keeps me from being and feeling who and how I want to be. Letting my guard down and relaxing into myself has become an ability and a state of being that I truly want to develop.
The more I understand my tendency to pretend my insecurities don’t exist, the more I confirm my desire to change and open up, and yet, the more I’m forced to acknowledge that I really don’t know where to begin.
How can I go from closed, cold, rigid, and distant one day to open, relaxed, genuine, and easy the next? It’s such a great change—is it even possible?
Many days it feels so damn near impossible to relax and be open but, genuinely, opening up is possible because I already catch myself doing it in glimpses. Somedays I’m easy and others I’m hard. Some moments I’m open and others I’m closed.
So if change is what I want, how can I be more open and less closed?
Opening yourself up comes down to practice. But still, it’s difficult to be soft when I’m feeling more rigid than a frozen stone. How can I loosen up in moments like those?
I’ve been trying one thing as more of a long term strategy because it doesn’t always feel good at first. I’ve been trying to give into myself; to give into the moment as I am. I’ve been giving myself permission to be the hardheaded, closed, shut-off and possibly jerky person that I feel I occasionally am rather than fight it. I’m used to fighting it; to pushing it away and hiding behind images and feelings of who I “should be” and was taught to be. But now with this “zen-like” or “naturalistic” approach you could say, I’m trying to give in to who I am and how I feel in the moment, realize it, and maintain faith that in the long run my spirit and greater body-mind-self will know exactly who and how I want to be. As I get nearer and nearer to that form of myself, I will love that person – whether I’m big and round, small and hard, or something totally different and unexpected.
After all, that’s what life is all about: loving myself. It’s not about being or not being sexy. If it were all about being sexy, it’s pretty sexy when someone radiates calm, enthusiastic, genuine love for themselves. That’s why, short and thick, big and round, or anything else for that matter, can be and is sexy when it loves.
Photo credit: Getty Images