After I had been at sea for five weeks I weighed myself and found that I had lost 10lb. On board we ate like horses and I was always concerned that I would come back overweight and terribly out of shape. I needn’t have worried. The first time I laced up my trainers and went out for a run once we were back on shore I found that my weight loss had nicely balanced out any decrease in my aerobic fitness and muscular power. I do look very lean but, probably because I still feel fit, I also feel fantastic.
Not many men will admit to having body confidence issues. I will. I don’t think I am alone in believing, some of the time, that I could be more beautifully constructed. The culture of the society that I have grown up in is so saturated with images and descriptions of the ‘ideal’ man that I very much doubt that any one of us actually feels completely comfortable in his own skin, not that we would ever admit it. We are trapped by our own masculinity, damned to silence because the acknowledgement of fear is considered a feminine prerogative.
That is why it is so liberating to be able to look in a mirror, to see reflected a body that is bony, sinewy, pale and peppered with chickenpox scars and to feel a genuine surge of admiration for that crooked form. Because for all it’s imperfections, for all of it’s lumps, bumps and irregularities, my body has served it’s purpose, perfectly, for twenty four years now.