In my entire 40 years, I've never once been high or intoxicated. Still, an AA program would serve me well. Approval Anonymous. A support group that could help eliminate my need to be accepted by other people and direct me toward the sense of self that I am just beginning to claim after decades of living inauthentically.
By reducing my fat intake to zero and running for an hour at a time, I knew that I'd destroy every fat cell that existed in my body. I had commenced an all-out attack on the demon inside me that made me feel that way: my homosexuality. With the strategy that combined running and starving, I was sure to waste away and starve the gay within.
My first real-life, up-close glimpse of this insane standard for the gay male physique was at a bar in New Orleans. Although I did not want to use my minimum wage to stuff the dancers' G-strings, I envied their natural ability to grasp the attention of the room. I realized that beauty and a good body came with a lot of power.
Both my parents struggle with their weight. I was almost 100 pounds overweight as an adolescent. I have family members who are so obese that they can barely walk. Because of this, weight is a frequent topic on my mind. At one point in my life, my body-image issues were so rampant that I was willing to risk my own physical safety.