“The Struggle With My Body and My Identity”

CW: gender dysphoria, body anxiety
I have always struggled with my gender identity. As a child I would have dreams that I was the opposite sex and wake up disappointed when that wasn’t the case. Sometimes I’d dream that I could change between a man and a woman at will and, again, be sad to find myself in my regular old body when I awoke. This struggle with my identity has had a huge effect on my relationship with my body.

I struggle with a pretty bad case of body image anxiety. I’ve been getting better over recent months, but it’s still a struggle. Sometimes it’s really bad, sometimes I do okay. There are ups and downs. Due to a lack of decent sex education, I didn’t know that I would start to grow body hair as I entered my teen years. When I did, I thought maybe it was some weird anomaly. I was scared for people to see my armpits or legs and especially frightened of anybody ever seeing my pubic hair. But in school, everybody has to get changed together and it’s hard to keep your privacy. At times I was made fun of for being too hairy. At times I was made fun of for being too hairless. I wasn’t doing anything to my body, yet it was still disgusting in the eyes of these other people and in contradictory ways. It really hurt me. At the same time, I was struggling with my weight and with comments about that too, I tried to eat less to lose weight. In the space of a few months I lost five stone and didn’t notice. I was underweight. I hated my body so much.

All the while, I was figuring out my identity. I wanted to be very feminine, but at he same time, being too feminine and not very masculine didn’t feel quite true to my nature. I realised that what I really wanted to be was gender neutral. In many ways, I was very much a woman, but in others, I was very much a man. Realising this, it’s hard to know how to present yourself. Society says men have to look this way and women have to look that way. It makes things very difficult for those who don’t fit into either category.

But though this has been a rather negative piece of writing overall, I’d like to end on a positive. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of nudism: it reflects a healthy perspective on one’s body and it’s good to see the human body desexualised in a world which is always so keen to sexualise it. The human body is beautiful in all its shapes and sizes. Reading some of the stories here on Project Naked have made me feel a little better about myself. They’ve given me a few more drops of confidence. Below is a picture of my naked body. Yes, I know I’m concealing myself and that it’s blurry and not very good – but that’s not the point. That picture was so hard for me to take. I was shaking as I took it, because I knew I’d be posting it publicly and others would see it.. But the point is, I did do it. While I would say that there are a thousand and one things wrong with my body, I also know, in my heart that I am wrong. I am beautiful just like everybody else. If I can push myself to do this, maybe I can push myself to see the beauty of my body. If you’re struggling with the same thing, I hope you can see your own beauty one day too.


One thought on ““The Struggle With My Body and My Identity”

  1. As a woman, I remember the the very first time we went to the nude resort where we are members now for several years. It was scary for me. I had a little extra weight and I worried that my extra labia skin was weird. However know one there cares or judges any of that. It was the same for hubby, all guys worry about size, none of that matters. Just be you and have fun. (Kim)

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