BodyImage4Justice is pleased to present today’s post from Reese Roe, a 35 year old gay man from Atlantic City, NJ. In his story, Reese talks about body image issues and the effect of body expectations in the gay male community.
Body image has a lot to do with the way we view ourselves, just as much as others perceive us. For many of my younger years I was very overweight. It caused me to be depressed and have very low self esteem. It was hard for me to gain the strength to want to lose the weight, cause the more I became depressed, the more I ate. Food became my comfort and my lover; food was there for me and no judgement was made, meaning that food could not hurt me or make me feel unwanted.
For many years I looked in the mirror and saw someone obese and ugly. This is what I was perceived as, so I stuck with it. As many times as I would try to get a boyfriend, it was always the same comment: “You’re cute, but we are such close friends I don’t want to ruin it”. It became very repetitive. I knew they were being nice and trying to spare my feelings. After losing weight, I still feel the same way even though I am a lot smaller than I was.
You see, in society we put stipulations on what we should look like. We sometime look at ourselves and say, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I find someone to love me or to like me?” See, in society large people are deemed undesirable and unhealthy. But on the contrary, I know some people that go to the gym every day and still have health problems. Yet here I stand: a thick man with no health issues at all. I even have medical problems that run in my family. I get checked out by the doctor monthly, and even now at the age of 35 I have no medical problems.
Even today it is hard to find a lover because in the gay community you have to be slim or muscular to be even looked at. But you see, not everybody’s body frame is the same. Sometimes someone is made to be thick. It is more how you identify the health problems and the way you take care of yourself. I am very happy with who I am, and even though I am a thick man, I have no health issues and I have a good life. We, as gay men, have to stop with the stereotypical view on what we should be, and stop walking past the thick men or the large men. Let’s think about this. Maybe someone who is large or thick could be your perfect match, but because you looked at them and deemed them unworthy of your time, you have just missed out on a relationship that could have been a good one. I truly believe in “opposite attracts”.
– Reese Roe, Atlantic City, NJ