My Internet Therapist (a reader) had asked me to consider an exercise where I take two pictures of myself, one I like and one I don't like, and then talk to the reasons I like or don't like each. I certainly see the value in an exercise like this but to be honest, my desire for anonymity got the best of me and I chose not to follow through exactly how he proposed. Instead, I thought I could respond in another way with pictures that help paint the, uh, picture.
As early as I possibly could, I wore a mustache. During my years in the military, I often had superiors give me the stink eye because my mustache was absolutely always outside the grooming standards mandated by regulation. It wasn't a bushy mustache, but I certainly let the outer edges grow beyond the imaginary line at the edge of my lips. Occasionally, kind people, my wife and others would say I looked like Tom Selleck. I can assure you, I look nothing like Tom Selleck.
I am tall by some standards. At just over six feet I'm not the shortest man in my family but not the tallest either. I tower above many of my colleagues, yet I feel fairly average, after all, this is Texas. I'm heavy by east coast standards (so a doctor once told me) but for San Antonio, I'm fairly normal sized (same small, thin, petite doctor from New York said so). I don't know if people are just kind but when I refer to myself as a fat ass, I am almost universally told I carry my weight well. Well, everyone but that doctor.
When I was a teen, I would often look in the mirror and cry at how ugly I felt because of acne. Yet, up until I was fifty or so, my mom would always tell me how handsome I was. I admit, I often stare at the mirror and see a handsome man staring back. I don't see Selleck, but I do see an appealing face. I hear my mother saying, "You're the cutest boy in the sixth grade."
Years ago, 30 years ago or so, I recall posing for my sister in a pair of gym shorts. She took a snap of me with a Polaroid camera and I wrote "Before" on the white open space on the bottom. I was feeling fat at 185 pounds and I had intended to slim down. I recall seeing that photo several years later when I was probably 210 pounds, and I thought how great I looked in the "Before" photo. And today, I look at images of me in those 210 pound years and admire how svelte I looked back then. I've never had a positive body image. But I recognize that and try not to dwell on it.
So this probably doesn't meet the needs of the exercise at hand, but it does reveal a little more about me.