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Discussion Starter #1
For those who don't look 'perfect' from society's point of view, or have genetic traits that society deems unacceptable:

Do you feel that if you looked more 'ideal', you'd be a different person today?

Does dissatisfaction with how you are built restrict who you want to be?

Let's look at an example: Imagine you are obese, but love wearing formfitting clothes. Society tells you that obese people really shouldn't be wearing tight clothes, that it looks unflattering and that you should wear something that distracts from flabs of fat.

If you pay heed to this, you end up wearing loose-fitting clothes and might not feel completely you, because slacks and t-shirts aren't who you are. But you don't want to deal with any negative attention so you dress in a way that doesn't attract too much attention. You develop a dimension to yourself that you might not have if you hadn't been obese.

If you don't pay heed to society and dress in tight clothes, you attract negative attention. Although you're just being yourself, to society you're making a statement. People begin to comment, question and advise you on wardrobe choices. You have to defend yourself and it annoys you. Or maybe you even decide that you will campaign for your freedom to be you. Again, you develop a dimension to yourself that you might not have done if it weren't for this 'flaw'.

You could say that the way you are born is a part of who you are, and therefore any impact it has on your personal development is also an integral component of who you are.

But frankly, I think if flaws affect my personal development, it adds an artificial restriction to who I can be and who I really am. After all, what is a flaw but what society doesn't like? Mere awareness of the fact that society considers something a flaw means I have to either minimize the flaw or be defiant about it, which I wouldn't have to do if I weren't 'flawed' in the first place.

Thoughts?
 

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I get a case of the jollies when I see an overweight person wearing whatever the heck they want, no matter how skimpy, because they're saying fuckall to the standards. I also appreciate that they are refusing to be ashamed of their bodies simply because cultural standards have been shaped into something ridiculous and non-accepting of all but two body types.
 

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Yes, I believe that if I lost another 10-15 pounds that I would be much more confident, especially around good looking girls.
 

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I feel trapped by my body because I think the human body, in general, is limitating. You would reduce those limitations, I would still feel limited by the new ones.

Now, as far as body image goes, I do feel uncomfortable in my body, but it's a consequence of my own actions. I don't take care of my appearance, don't follow fashion, wear old stuff, don't do sport, etc. If I did so, I would probably be considered attractive, but in my current state, I'm not.
 

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I feel trapped by my body because I think the human body, in general, is limitating. You would reduce those limitations, I would still feel limited by the new ones.

Now, as far as body image goes, I do feel uncomfortable in my body, but it's a consequence of my own actions. I don't take care of my appearance, don't follow fashion, wear old stuff, don't do sport, etc. If I did so, I would probably be considered attractive, but in my current state, I'm not.
Well that may be so, but on the other hand you also have the ability to change that. I lost 40 pounds within a few months, and still have a little way to go. I walked every day for about an hour and watched what I ate, no more unhealthy food or pop.
 

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True, those limitations are psychological. So, in a sense, I'm more trapped in my mind than in my body. Which is not very different than being trapped in your body because of unchangeable characteristics, since again, their impact is all in the mind.

In my case, it's a cost–benefit analysis situation. Is a better body image worth the effort? What will give me the highest level of "happiness", attractiveness or free-time?
 

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I feel trapped by my body in many ways.

- I'm currently just back under morbidly obese. I am losing weight, but I've still got a long ways to go. I don't feel attractive, at all. I feel like a second class citizen, because I've heard snickers, jeers, and rude things whispered about me. Braver people have just come right up to my face and made rude, hateful, and hurtful comments. It greatly increases my anxiety levels in public, putting me on permanent guard. It severely damages my sense of esteem. It drops the quality of my life. However, I am changing this and it is changeable.

- My height can't really be altered. I'm pushing 6'5", and at my ideal size, I'm built almost exactly like Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. My body looks awkward. It always has. Either I "look" fat or I can "look" lanky and anorexic. It's difficult to find fitting clothes for me, always. Even at a healthy body weight, I'm still forced to do most of my shopping at Big & Tall stores. I just get to buy tall sizes, instead of big. Go inside one sometime, and see how hard it is to find anything that isn't absolutely hideous.

- I don't feel like I'm "man" enough. I'm a very sensitive, easily wounded person. I'm also easily touched and moved. I've never had an assertive bone in my body. If you took away my anger and impulse issues, I'd lose all semblance of masculinity. As it is, they make me appear to be some stereotypical bad boy, which becomes laughable if you stick around long enough to see my emotional pain and sensitivity drives that.
 

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Warning: Some of this may be rather blunt and include extremely negative self-talk.

Yes, I feel trapped in my body. I've felt that way since I was about 11 years old, and it only seems to be growing worse the older I get (I'm 27). At 14, I developed what would become an extremely severe eating disorder that is still with me today. My mental health surrounding my body image is as shitty as it's ever been, though thankfully, I'm not at my worst in terms of physical health anymore; that point came about seven years ago, when I was a 20-year-old who weighed all of 57 lbs and was given several months to live at best.

As is the case with most people who develop serious eating problems, it's not about looking pretty, sexy, being popular, etc. No doubt some people begin to develop such issues because of things like being teased or the desire to fit in or whatever, but something like that does not sustain a severe mental disorder for years. For me, on a deeper level, it's about so much else than my external image; it's about not being comfortable with who I am as a person, about not really even knowing who I am as a person, it's about emotional abuse, it's about being a sensitive kid who grew up in a world that didn't seem to work the same way I did, it's about genetics and environment and poor/misguided parenting skills, it's about anxiety and depression... it's really about everything other than what size clothes I wear. I probably don't even know the full extent of what it's about -- and maybe never will.

Nonetheless, I hate my physical body. It's the way I've learned to cope with all that other stuff. I hate my body with a passion that I've never felt towards anything else in the world. Looking at myself makes me want to die; I truly feel like my body is the most disgusting piece of shit I've ever laid eyes on in my entire life. I've starved it, abused it with medication, stuffed it gluttonously, cut it, bruised it, neglected it... the list goes on. The result of all that is that I've done a lot of harm to myself, some of it partially reversible and some of it not; I've damaged my heart, my bones, my immune system, my digestive system, possibly my kidneys, screwed up my hormones... and who knows what else. Yet to look at me on the outside today, you'd never know how ill I once was and you'd never suspect that I still deal with the physical results of that on a daily basis; in fact, I look like a relatively normal 27-year-old. It's a lie though -- my disorder is just as bad as it ever was as far as the mental component, and I only look healthy because my current behaviour keeps me in a "normal" weight range, rather than anything under- or overweight. At 12 years dealing with this now, in conjunction with a handful of other mental health issues, I guess I'm considered to have a chronic disorder, to be one of those people who's more treatment-resistant than most. I don't ever expect to be fully rid of this -- which is a fact that doesn't actually bother me -- and I don't believe that anyone ever truly can be, at least not completely. I do want to learn to make peace with my body, though. Not love it, because that goes completely against my nature. That might be some people's style, and I admire those people... but me loving my body is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. I don't want to love it; I want to love and respect myself enough so that my body doesn't have to suffer anymore. I want to be okay with me so that what's on the outside just isn't important in the slightest.

I've long said that I wish I could just be a mind without a body... some sort of entity that's made up purely of thoughts, emotions, intellect, ideas, etc. I know that's not possible though, much as I may wish it to be -- and in fact, none of those things could even exist if I didn't have a physical body. On my better days, I can almost begin to feel thankful for it... though I do wish I had a "do-over" button that I could press, something that could allow me to go back in time and shake the living daylights out of that kid who took such a destructive route, and then maybe show her a better way of dealing with life.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I get a case of the jollies when I see an overweight person wearing whatever the heck they want, no matter how skimpy, because they're saying fuckall to the standards. I also appreciate that they are refusing to be ashamed of their bodies simply because cultural standards have been shaped into something ridiculous and non-accepting of all but two body types.
OK, so you get a case of the jollies because you think they're making a stand and refusing to be ashamed.

My question is: they wouldn't have to be seen as making a stand or refusing to be ashamed if society hadn't told them that there this was something they would have to take a position on or be ashamed of. So if they developed more confidence because society told them that's what they'd have to do if they wanted to wear skimpy clothes, then how authentic are they really being? They've evolved in response to an artificial constraint.

Perhaps if they weren't obese, they'd have followed a different path to personal development. Perhaps like this: their body is normal --> they have no statement to make --> they don't develop a thicker skin or more confidence --> nobody gets the jollies when they see them --> they are less remarkable/they are more plain (and, IMO --> this is the authentic, societal constraints-free version of them). But that confident person in skimpy clothing? That's someone whose confidence partly developed because of an external, artifical influence (society). Maybe they actually are a very sensitive, thin-skinned person but couldn't afford to be that because society was unforgiving to fear.

Well that may be so, but on the other hand you also have the ability to change that. I lost 40 pounds within a few months, and still have a little way to go. I walked every day for about an hour and watched what I ate, no more unhealthy food or pop.
If everyone were obese, would you still care to walk everyday and watch what you ate?

I feel trapped by my body in many ways.

- I'm currently just back under morbidly obese. I am losing weight, but I've still got a long ways to go. I don't feel attractive, at all. I feel like a second class citizen, because I've heard snickers, jeers, and rude things whispered about me. Braver people have just come right up to my face and made rude, hateful, and hurtful comments. It greatly increases my anxiety levels in public, putting me on permanent guard. It severely damages my sense of esteem. It drops the quality of my life. However, I am changing this and it is changeable. [...]

- I don't feel like I'm "man" enough. I'm a very sensitive, easily wounded person. I'm also easily touched and moved. I've never had an assertive bone in my body. If you took away my anger and impulse issues, I'd lose all semblance of masculinity. As it is, they make me appear to be some stereotypical bad boy, which becomes laughable if you stick around long enough to see my emotional pain and sensitivity drives that.
So do you think if you weren't so physically different, you'd be a psychologically different person today? And if yes, do you consider the impact your physical differences have on your personality now as changing the authenticity of who you are?
 

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I definitely feel trapped in my body sometimes.. I have never been 100per cent satisfied with my body at any given time.. and have some serious confidence issues. For sure if I looked more like some of these beautiful women who are plastered all over the media I would be a different person than I am now!
 

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OK, so you get a case of the jollies because you think they're making a stand and refusing to be ashamed.

My question is: they wouldn't have to be seen as making a stand or refusing to be ashamed if society hadn't told them that there this was something they would have to take a position on or be ashamed of. So if they developed more confidence because society told them that's what they'd have to do if they wanted to wear skimpy clothes, then how authentic are they really being? They've evolved in response to an artificial constraint.

Perhaps if they weren't obese, they'd have followed a different path to personal development. Perhaps like this: their body is normal --> they have no statement to make --> they don't develop a thicker skin or more confidence --> nobody gets the jollies when they see them --> they are less remarkable/they are more plain (and, IMO --> this is the authentic, societal constraints-free version of them). But that confident person in skimpy clothing? That's someone whose confidence partly developed because of an external, artifical influence (society). Maybe they actually are a very sensitive, thin-skinned person but couldn't afford to be that because society was unforgiving to fear.



If everyone were obese, would you still care to walk everyday and watch what you ate?



So do you think if you weren't so physically different, you'd be a psychologically different person today? And if yes, do you consider the impact your physical differences have on your personality now as changing the authenticity of who you are?
Interesting.
In my case, if it wasn't for others, I would absolutely not care about my appearance. I could do more sport to be healthy(I am, but my cardio is very low), but otherwise I'm fine. It's knowing that I'm not considered attractive that bother me.
As for the impact on my personality, I would be more socially confident. Therefore, I probably would have been in a relationship more often, thus my life quality would have being a little higher (being single is awesome when it's a choice, it kind of suck when it's not).
 

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Yes I do. In my case, I'm 5'11 and 98 lbs. You can see every bone in my body, count my ribs if I wear a form fitting shirt. My kneecaps are bigger than my thigh.

But I'm naturally like that - and the minute I show any skin at all, people freak out and declare that I'm "definitely" anorexic. I had one complete stranger PICK ME UP (as in, physically) and carry me into a 7-11 store to buy me a hotdog. That.....was scary.

So even if the weather's 100 degrees fahrenheit, I have to hide under clothes. Unless I want to be kidnapped.
 

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Of course my life would be different if I appeared differently. An entirely unique set of options would open up, and due to my human nature, others would close as I only have so much time and focus to use.

That said, part of who I am is my appearance. To deny my body is my own is to say that it only exists as a shell for my conscience, which while it may feel that way at times, is argued against by the fact that my brain most certainly will respond to biological stimuli like drugs and hormones.
 

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I'm skinny as a rail, not all that tall, crooked teeth (didn't want to get braces late into high school because that would make me look worse), and have facial acne. Wonderful.
 

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Yes, I do, and it's a horrible feeling. I could do so much more, be so much more in a different, prettier body. Then again, I was the one who ruined my health for myself, so...I don't think I'm allowed to complain.
 

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Yes I do. In my case, I'm 5'11 and 98 lbs. You can see every bone in my body, count my ribs if I wear a form fitting shirt. My kneecaps are bigger than my thigh.

But I'm naturally like that - and the minute I show any skin at all, people freak out and declare that I'm "definitely" anorexic. I had one complete stranger PICK ME UP (as in, physically) and carry me into a 7-11 store to buy me a hotdog. That.....was scary.

So even if the weather's 100 degrees fahrenheit, I have to hide under clothes. Unless I want to be kidnapped.
For some reasons, I have prejudices about strangers kidnapping me and force-feeding me anything looking like a hot-dog....
 

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I feel trapped by my body because I think the human body, in general, is limitating. You would reduce those limitations, I would still feel limited by the new ones.

Now, as far as body image goes, I do feel uncomfortable in my body, but it's a consequence of my own actions. I don't take care of my appearance, don't follow fashion, wear old stuff, don't do sport, etc. If I did so, I would probably be considered attractive, but in my current state, I'm not.
I feel the exact same way.
This is probably an everyday thing for me.
 

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Darth Nihilus said:
I feel trapped by my body in many ways.
Don't we all? Spiritually speaking, we are all trapped. Especially when mental issues are concerned. You have all this stress and anxiety which manifests itself in the body, then takes it's toll on all your muscles, organs and joints till you feel anxious, panicky, and start showing signs of a hyperchondriac. There's always going to be psychosomatic signs with every mental illness, and this inevitably makes our soul feel trapped inside the body. That's why sometimes u get that out of body experience, to escape all the stessors that have make the body physically ill and negatively cycle mental issues to a state of terror and panic. When the brain is not relaxed, and the body is also extremely tense a panic attack is almost inevitable. Try a heap of relaxation techniques, like massage, aromatherapy, and eating a healthier diet (if you are not already).

Darth Nihilus said:
- I'm currently just back under morbidly obese.
That in itself is a huge burden on your whole circulatory system. Keep exercising as it will help to keep the heart pumping though you should start with consistent walks before moving on to more vigorious exercises such as light to moderate weight lifting if you are not already doing this on a regular basis.

Dart Nihilus said:
I am losing weight, but I've still got a long ways to go.
Congratulations.

Darth Nihilus said:
I don't feel attractive, at all.
I understand. But if you dedicate yourself to your weight loss, and a healthier lifestyle in general, eventually you will feel attractive.

Darth Nihilus said:
I feel like a second class citizen, because I've heard snickers, jeers, and rude things whispered about me.
Yea, that would feel awful. I guess you could try standing up for yourself, avoiding those types of people, or ignoring it for now since you know you are doing something about it, and put up with it for the sake of losing the weight. If it's going to stop you from leaving the house, then how are you going to achieve your goal? If it was me, I'd ignore them as hard as I imagine this would be. You can always unload about it in a blog, or on a thread here if you've got noone to talk about it to in real life.

Darth Nihilus said:
Braver people have just come right up to my face and made rude, hateful, and hurtful comments.
You really shouldn't tolerate this. Say something back. You do not deserve to be treated this way because of the size of your body, don't forget that.

You don't need to be angry and aggressive either. There are a heap of comebacks you could use, depending on whether you wanted to throw back an insult or just put up a shield to stop them continuing to insult you, or doing it again next time they see you.

Darth Nihilus said:
It greatly increases my anxiety levels in public, putting me on permanent guard.
I strongly believe this is because you tolerate it and don't have strategies set up for dealing with it yet. Perhaps subconsciously you feel that you deserve it?

Darth Nihilus said:
It severely damages my sense of esteem.
Of course it does. It would do so to anyone I believe. Again, find ways of preparing yourself for it since you now know it is going to happen. Think about what you might say, and meditation/relaxation techniques you could use after it happens. Maybe you could keep some money aside for one of those days where a confrontation on your weight takes place, and treat yourself to a massage or a movie or whatever it is that relaxes and comforts you! The key is to distract yourself, and be prepared so you are not wasting your energy worrying about these people and their comments. Bullies have low self-esteem themselves. Remember this, and you will feel better.

Darth Nihilus said:
It drops the quality of my life.
Perhaps, though I really think your perception of it drops the quality of your life and you respond to it by withdrawing socially. I don't believe it's the actual event which reduces your enjoyment of life, basically you're allowing it to affect you negatively so it is. In reality it's just a negative comment by a random stranger who makes themselves feel better by belittling someone with an obvious flaw. That person likely has something wrong with them too, no one is perfect and just because you can't see someone's imperfections immediately (the way you can with obesity), doesn't make them attractive.

Darth Nihilus said:
However, I am changing this and it is changeable.
I am so glad to hear that! **See above.
 
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