Thanks, Nick, for sharing your vulnerability. (To say nothing of planting the erotically-charged image of you wearing a Speedo—or less!) I, who grew up always being the shortest and skinniest boy in the class, happily accept your challenge. Significantly, I’m writing this with my shirt off (yipes!).
Like you, as a child I was shy and had never been taught to throw (or catch) a baseball. Much worse, though, was a football which rolled eratically over the playing field when I inevitably missed the pass, making my face redden with embarrassment and shame. Unlike you, I had neither the natural ability or inclincation to do individual sports like swimming (which I gamely tried for a year anyway) or running (which I pretty much had to do for survival).
And now here I find myself at fifty-nine, still more than a bit uncomfortable about my (now aging) body. Like my father, I became pear-shaped around the time I turned forty, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever lose that extra fat around the middle. But at least I have some substance now, having gained the weight I desperately ached for through my teen years. I may be less than comfortable in my skin, but I’m not about to blow away either.
Because of my poorly-developed body image, it’s also been a lifelong process for me to learn to accept myself as a sexual being, and for me to celebrate it as God’s rather delicious gift. I’m still working on it, enjoying sex now more than ever.
One thing we certainly do not have in common. As a cleric who’s paid to sport a white dress on Sundays, it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll ever walk out of my workplace wearing just skin.
But trust me—under the robe, and under the crisply creased grey flannel trousers and stiff clerical shirt, there’s skin. And, damn, it feels good!