This is the eighth excerpt of my book “Shattered Image” It is a book about childhood bullying and the effects it has on unhealthy self image,the choices we make to deal with it. For me it turned into Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Those choices were eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and a suicide attempt. Most importantly, I talk about the eight steps I took to climb out of “the pit” to a confident, healthy self image and lifestyle. Release date is tentative for June-August 2013
Shirts and Skins. A ritual of high school gym athletics. A ritual of playground basketball, dodgeball and kickball. One team wears shirts. One team doesn’t. I can still hear the bellow of the gym teacher echoing off the walls of the massive, wood floor gymnasium. BASKETBALL TODAY! SHIRTS AND SKINS! SHIRTS OFF! I take a deep labored breath like I’ve been punched in the gut. A punch that had happened countless times before. My mind races. Not me! Please make me a “shirt”! SHIRT OFF CUBAN! Ugh. Heavy sweating. Paralyzing fear. Forced to reveal myself but not wanting to portray my true weakness of insecurity and shame.
I could only imagine what the other kids thought when they actually got to see my sweaty, naked, excessive fat. My stomach hanging over my shorts. Every boy and girl in the gym was a mirror of my self-loathing. I had no idea what they were really thinking. What I did know was how I would feel if I were looking at me. How I felt when looked in the mirror. Pure revulsion. I wouldn’t let them see it in the locker room. I changed in private or simply left the school to change. If I knew that there was going to be a basketball game or other gym activity that I might get chosen for “skins”, I would sometimes fake illness to be excused from gym. I had no desire for anyone in the world to see me without the cloak of body cover. The thought of taking of my shirt and exposing the “fat pig as my mother sometimes called me was incredibly stressful. In my mind, that is what every kid in the gym would be thinking as they stared at my weakness of body and mind.
Forced to reveal, I would not make eye contact with anyone. Staring at the polished wooden gym floor, sometimes seeing the reflection I was trying to avoid. Not making eye contact with anyone. I did not want to see their imagined snickers and whispering. Then came the comments from my gym teacher that I needed to lose some weight echoing through the gym like a sonic boom like the similar words I had heard from my mother, my baseball coach, other teasing children, myself. I hated gym. I hated the sweaty smell of the gymnasium that would forever remind me of my humiliation. I hated basketball. I hated shirts and skins. I still do.
*Shattered Image is on track to be released June-August 2013. Please check back for more excerpts. Please share with anyone you feel might be interested in this topic!