Body image, reflections in a mirror

Photos of myself A. Shepherdson.

‘Looking at yourself sitting naked in front of a mirror’ – (My response)

Sharing these three photos is the closest you’ll get to seeing me fully naked on the internet, promise 🙂 , btw they have genuine relevance to this post……… honest!

We all take time out of the day to look at our body naked in a mirror, don’t we? And before you say “A. Shepherdson you’re weird” let me say “I don’t!” Ask someone this question and they’ll reply “you have to be kidding me?” Inquire a third time and the honest answer will be “well only after stepping out the shower, until I see my ass in the reflection!” 

I wonder does anyone enjoy staring at their naked body and are you weird to admit doing so?

How best to begin this evening’s post. Well this is a response of sorts to a lady blogger I follow, a reaction to her recent post themed ‘getting back sexual confidence’. Bare in mind sex with me is more casual relationships but I want to talk about body image more generally, so I’ll just write and see where this takes me.

I’ll not name this blogger, not my place to, just be aware she suggests readers sit and look at themselves unclothed in a mirror, get used to appreciating their body positives, accept their imperfections and learn to love themselves for who they truly are.

Appreciate the real you, treasure and admire the person a sexual partner stares at, or the body friends and strangers stare at throughout a day…………although wearing more clothes!………..As an aside I’ll appreciate both busts and cleavage of women I work with ALL day long and btw ladies guys love women’s boobs whatever shape and size.

Where was I, ahh yes a female blogger and body image.

I’ll quote a paragraph from her post themed ‘getting back your sexual confidence.’

‘Looking at yourself in the mirror for 10 minutes: I know this sounds cheesy, but I promise you it does help. In a book that my therapist gave me, it suggested that you look in the mirror naked for 10 minutes. I thought this was absurd, but I reluctantly tried it anyways. I hate looking at my body and, when I do, I constantly point out my flaws. However, in about 5 minutes of staring and feeling ridiculous, my mind set began to change. I realized that I wasn’t focusing so much on the negative as I was on the positive. The 10 minutes went by rather quickly after that point and I had truly begun to enjoy myself and appreciate me. My confidence was rejuvenated.’

Well I reflected on this blog post after reading, definitely one of those pieces of writing that captures the imagination. Later that same day I found myself a mirror, stripped off naked, sat on my bed (after closing the bedroom curtains and I don’t want Helen over the road seeing me nude, then again I WISH!) Then sitting crossed legged nude (photos) I gazed at my naked reflection for yes 10 whole minutes!

Seconds into my challenge, two personality disorders came to mind, narcissism and vanity lol, however the minutes ticked past and yes the experience was interesting and a positive one.

Hold that thought and I’ll it revisit later, but first…………

We should be taught ‘how to’ and reasons ‘why to’ appreciate our bodies at school, why an earth not? Both girls and boys blossom into adulthood not liking themselves their bodies, bulimia anorexia anxiety depression often start because we hate our flaws and don’t appreciate the image others like about us school. No perhaps about it, lessons themed body image should be taught!

Do they?

Then again perhaps educational Nazis might say this leads to vanity narcissism and self love.

The only self love you should worry yourself with, whatever age, is don’t feel guilty about masturbating, enjoy the pleasures your body will give, the warmth and ‘tingles’ noting playing with your bits is good for ones mental health.

I read that last bit on the internet so it must be true? Either way playing is a great way of appreciating how you can enjoy your body.

Enough talk of masturbation!

I’m a guy who’s the opinion there’s NEVER a substitute for education! So why not teach body image lessons? No seriously I’m not joking, how many times do you pick up a women’s magazine and read stories of women hating their curves? How many times in the media have you heard stories of bulimia and anorexia where both boys and girls think themselves so overweight that they starve themselves until near death?

This very moment ask yourself ‘do I like looking at my naked body?’ Keep this in mind whilst reading on.

Speaking for myself, I have parts I don’t like, I’d love to have grown up taller, I’ll not use the word ‘wish I was taller’ because my Grandmother used to say we should be careful what we wish for! Yes taller and handsome and then perhaps I wouldn’t be single living on my own and feeling rather lonely, well at least I’m honest! Lovemaking, affection and closeness are essential to human life, we need and crave intimacy to keep us mentally healthy and happy, so experts say!

The phrase ‘we all need to love and be loved’ is at the very heart of what makes us human.

A question for you!

Can you recall a throwaway remark someone’s once said to you, a remark they assumed inconsequential devoid of weight thought or meaning, YET that remark had a profound negative effect and has remained with you till this day? The aforementioned person probably didn’t mean anything by it, perhaps they were feeling harassed, having their period, it was a soon to be forgotten observation, yet their comment had such a damaging negative effect that it will probably remain with you till the day you die?

Of course you can! I know a woman who overheard a teacher name her a ‘slut’, it left her devastated and she’s never forgotten.

A personal anecdote for you. Many years ago whilst sat in a hospital consulting room, don’t ask me why because I have no idea why I was in hospital, why is missing the point. The phrase a stranger called me is the point and has remained with me to this day…….. probably for the rest of my life?

I can clearly remember being sat on a bed age possibly 18 and listening to a conversation by two young nurses chatting in a room next door, and yes I’m pretty sure I was stripped to the waist at the time! They were attractive girls and as a teen I wanted to girls to find me attractive, we all want to be perceived attractive, jeeze the hang ups us humans have all because of sex is frigging scary.

Don’t ask me what else they talked about? I can’t remember apart from two words! One nurse said to her colleague with a patronising condescending tone of voice,

“I better attend to that little man next door”, describing me in such a dismissive negative way, the affect was like thrusting a knife into my stomach. I remember being clearly devastated, it would have been SO nice to hear her whisper “he’s nice” or whatever! But little man? A compliment would have made my day, my week! Gladdened the heart, made me smile but no lol……….. she chose a withering “little man!” She didn’t like my body. 123 Ahh!

Mortified I was and a lesson in why we should compliment each other, genuinely say nice things because they matter. A relative of mine is often heard praising her young sons…… we remember praise, praise shows love builds self esteem praise matters.

I know for absolute fact Primary School teachers are taught to praise children when they do well, they’re taught to encourage the other children to applaud excellence, it helps you learn to empathise with others.

🙂 I know a Primary School teacher.

Btw that’s the last I can recall of my day in hospital and the off handish nurse! Cow lol! Yes an inconsequential throwaway line, but for a young man lacking self confidence, a debilitating shyness around women, this pretty sexual nurse hurt me to the core, she thought me ugly and learning and hearing the lesson was awful.

So earlier when I say I’d love to be taller, lol perhaps now you appreciate why! Similarly,  I’d guess if a girl overheard someone labelling her a “plain Jayne” OR “her boobs are small!”, she’d be mortified and the affect on her self esteem would be similar?

So returning to my lady blogger also her therapist’s suggestion that you should sit and look at your naked reflection in the mirror……………….. for 10 minutes!

Staring back at my body was interesting and yes a positive experience, I don’t meditate or ever have done but I’d liken gazing at myself naked as meditative having zero option but to stare at my body! To begin with it felt alien and amusing but after a while I relaxed and viewed myself in ways I hadn’t done for a long while.

Quiet contemplation and no I didn’t!!!

I’ve always appreciated the beauty in my genitals, I mean I’m not someone who wishes different! No I’ve always treasured ‘my bits’ and like all guys impressed with their manhood when aroused, but without going into personal detail there are other things about my body I both liked and disliked and you HAVE to appreciate and accept don’t you, learn to love what a sexual partner is attracted to. Physicality’s aside I found my 10 minutes morphed into silent contemplation, a looking deep into my face, gazing deep into my eyes was a reflective experience.

By that I mean all day I will chat with friends and strangers, read their facial expressions conceptualise what I like about them, or more worryingly what they don’t like about my body? And I realised I only really look at ‘me’ whilst shaving in the morning, perhaps thinking how I can engineer bumping into perfect boobed Helen (age 50) over the road.

The only other time I look at ‘me’ is catching a reflective glimpse in a shop window, appreciating accepting the image that forms in other people’s minds.

You may be thinking ‘I’d rather have a tooth pulled’ than look at myself for 10 minutes BUT I’d reply, “we have to don’t we?”

I stared at ‘me’ looking back at me and I reflected on life’s problems, thought about my family, occupation, where I hope to be in years to come, what changes I want or should make in my life, I lived 10 minutes outside ‘the bubble that is A. Shepherdson’s life.’

Summing up.

Staring at my naked body, was a worthwhile positive experience and I heartedly suggest you give it a try. Or perhaps you do, I’ve stumbled across a blogger and her therapist who do.

Go on lol do it! If little else time spent in thoughtful contemplation isn’t time wasted, and appreciating your body, genitals, and sexuality is again time well spent. Vanity? No of course not.

(Jeeze 1874 words! :/ It’s tooo many isn’t it.)

A. Shepherdson.

4 thoughts on “Body image, reflections in a mirror

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