It’s taken me thirty seven years to finally be able to say this with confidence: I finally feel attractive.
I want to add an important disclaimer to that statement. My beautiful, loving wife has never made me feel unattractive or ugly. She has shown me nothing but love and support in all the years we’ve been together, so the above statement is not an implication that she has done anything to diminish my perception of myself. But even with all her support, and being plainly attracted to me, I’ve never felt that about myself. I would often look in the mirror and say, “Well, I’m glad somebody thinks I’m cute.”
What caused this change in my perception of myself? How I treat my body.
In August of 2015 I decided to buckle down and start taking care of myself. I cut junk food and most processed foods from my diet. I began working out from home, and later joined a gym. In that time I have finally come to love my body, appreciate the work I’ve put in to making it better, and feel no shame in unironically showing it off. I look at myself in the mirror and I finally feel attractive.
Am I the chiseled and buff male specimen that I would like to be? Not yet. Do I feel I have to be a chiseled, buff male specimen? Yes. I grew up with a father and brother who were (and still are) in very good shape. All my childhood heroes, like He-Man and Hulk Hogan, spent most of their time shirtless. The traditional male physique is the gold standard in what I think I should look like. Will I ever attain it? I don’t know. I started from scratch in my mid-to-late thirties, so I know it’s going to be a long journey before I’m even close to where my father and brother were (and still are). Am I going to give up? Not a chance. Because I finally feel attractive.