A few words about the physique of Hamishzadeh (previously Hamishopoulos, but it seems he’s Iranian, so I felt it appropriate to adjust the nickname): he is not tall (although he thinks he is), but he is very large. As I said, he’s got the physique of a caber-tosser, which is to say he’s extremely muscular, but not particularly cut. There’s mass, but little definition. If you put him in a suit, he’d probably just look pudgy.
Just last night I was hanging out with him in a social setting, and at one point he leaned back and put his hands behind his head. Suddenly, I had a moment of recognition, particularly, recognition of self. Looking at the shape his big upper arms took; I caught a glimpse of the shape of my own arms: the way that when I raise them, they look meaty, instead of just fat.
It was kind of a quietly startling moment. I tend to judge myself harshly. I have little patience for my own fuck-ups, and I won’t forgive things in myself that I’ll readily have patience for in others. When I look at my arms, I think one thing, but there I was looking at comparable arms on someone else and I saw something familiar, but my interpretation was a new one.
It reminded me of the lack of capacity that many of us have to view ourselves objectively. If I can’t haul a certain weight one day, I don’t think that I’m having just a bad day, or remind myself of all the other lifts I just did targeting the same muscle group. I think I’m weak and not trying hard enough. I look at my own belly and get angry at my lack of will power, but I see another woman with more generous curves and I’ll think she’s sexy. I’m trying to learn how to divorce myself emotionally from self-reflection, to treat myself with a little more patience and compassion, but I’m at a loss of how to do this. Is there any easy way to take a step back from oneself?