Smaller than I seem
March 10, 2008
I weighed myself yesterday. I am 190lbs; ten pounds from two hundred, largely muscle. Standing six foot and broad shouldered, if fine boned, this is a fairly unremarkable amount of bulk… in terms of distance from the mean. But the dissonance, the lag in my perception, makes it strange.
When I was 14 I was scrawny and awkward. Huge cheekboned, pointy chinned, with absurdly large glasses that looked to outweigh the 110lbs the rest of me comprised. And I had a mullet. It was roughly as unfortunate as it sounds. In spite of my slenderness I was strong and fierce, mostly immune to the social consequences my build suggested. In my mind I was forty pounds heavier, and implausibly imposing: somehow it worked out.
Around 17 I lost the glasses, got a decent haircut, and had filled out enough my alien features were more striking than awkward. By most accounts I was quite good looking. It took about eight years, around 25, before that notion really sunk in. I was oblivious to the changes, and didn’t understand why some girls were awkward around me. My inner AJ was still that fierce, but unappreciated, adolescent. Gradually that image became more attractive, but still slight, if deceptively strong.
The men in my family gather their bulk in their late 20’s. Almost all of them have a heavier build than I; my mothers doing. At 26 I was a hundred and fifty pounds. Muscular, but willowy. Two years later I was a hundred and sixty. And for some reason that conception stuck: a sturdy slender medium imbedded itself into my physical awareness. Then I put on thirty pounds of mostly muscle in a three year span, without intuitive recognition… until it finally hit yesterday.
There was a mansbody in the mirror: this powerfully built adult that seemed heavy and reliable; capable of bearing burdens I’d chosen not to possess. This was someones father, someones protector…a man of substance. I realize it’s an imagined correlation, but greater mass seems to include broader obligation. It’s like my body decided to step past my inner Dorian Grey and pursue a grownup life on its own. Disconcerting, but vaguely empowering. I figure one ideation is bound to draw it’s other. Isn’t it?