the circular runner

Young People Fighting in San Francisco & Other Ugly Things I’ve Been Thinking About…ME

In humor, life, observations, writing on January 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

Ugly Thing # 3:

I don’t know if it’s just the nature of writing a blog, but doesn’t seem like eventually, it always goes back to me, or in your case, you, if you write a blog?  This is part three in my three-part series on ugly thoughts. (I know that sounds completely bloated and CNN-like, but I am being consciously cheesy for effect.) So, in keeping with this inability I have to keep the thoughts expressed here independent of my being, I am ending this series about ugliness with myself–literally.  Or am I?

Last week, I was working on a documentary a friend of mine is shooting, and as a sign of times, the whole crew, when not doing something that needed to be done, was behind the scenes with smart phones in hand taking pictures of each other. While gripping, I took a picture of the cameraman behind his rig and beyond him, the producer taking a photo of me as I was taking a picture of someone else taking his picture. This is not ugly, I know. It’s craziness, but it’s not ugly.  The ugly part, I thought, happened a couple days later when my friend posted some of his crazy camera-laden photos on my Facebook page. That’s when I saw it: the gut that is forming at my center. Now, how is it that don’t know I’ve gained weight these last few months? Of course I know, but when you’re in front of your bathroom mirror, you can hide these things with angles, by sucking in breath, not letting yourself look down below your chin, which, in my case, is also getting mushy. You also avoid cameras, which I have started doing recently quite unconsciously.

So is my gut the ugliness? Maybe. I know I thought so when I first saw the photo on Facebook. But now, I’m starting to wonder. Maybe the real ugliness is that I’m a grown-up who is comparing myself to some abs-of-steel dude from late-night TV or from any commercial break any time of day on MSNBC. No doubt, there is a health issue. I’ve had doctors tell me that I need to lose 10 pounds, which is doable, right? Well not til I saw that photo because loser that I am in everything except pounds, I kept telling myself that I’m a big guy, that I have a giant head and that if I lost those 10 pounds, I’d look like a bobble-toy. I have pictures from my younger days when I was rail-thin, and I was all head. (Basically, until recently, I’ve been using the big-bones excuse except that the bones in question were in my cranium.)

So, wait? Are you keeping score? Have I gotten to the ugly part yet? Is it my gut? Is it the fact that there’s so much pressure to be perfect and fit? Is it that you really do feel like you start disappearing as you get older in a culture driven by youth-culture? You know I don’t know–really I don’t. I know that, contrary to popular opinion, there are a lot of men who feel like they become invisible as they get older–yes, that feeling isn’t just for women anymore. I know I was so shaken by the photo that on my fiction blog, my story of the week was a little fable about a man who hates the person he has turned out to be (read, look like) that he runs from everything, from everyone, even his own reflection. And by the end of the story, he has gotten what he thought he wanted: he starts to disappear–physically. I don’t usually write fiction that is so directly connected to my life. I mean, I’m not actually disappearing, obviously, but for those first few minutes after seeing my photo on my page (just before I un-tagged it) I sure wanted to.

OK, I’m confused. Is the ugliness my physical appearance that could be nicer, more svelte, less gut-ful? Or is it the pressure from outside? Maybe it’s me. The uber-judgmental side deep inside my giant cranium that’s making me want to vanish? Fuck if I know. I like to think I’m self-aware. I write a blog, for God’s sake. But the truth is that I’m in the stew along with my female student who fights in order to feel useful see (see ugliness part 1) and Todd Glass (the middle-aged comedian from post #2) a man who is, at the age of forty +, still mortified to come out of the closet. It’s not useless, but one of the few things that sticks with me from college was a professor telling me that we are all in a fishbowl, and that the best any of us could do was to sometimes climb up over the lip and get a glimpse of the bowl itself. I like the stew analogy better–probably because I’m a little too into food right now and I prefer stew to fish any day of the week.

Goddammit! I’m doing it again, aren’t I? The ugly judgmental thing. OK, I’ll stop. I have to go running anyways.

  1. Yes, my blog always comes around to me. Mememememe!
    I call it reverse body dysmorphia where, instead of seeing flaws, I see only the good parts (until a photo slaps me across the face).

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