How Has Your Appearance Affected Your Life?

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How Has Your Appearance Affected Your Life?

No Complaints – Just another example of “Living The Learning“.

We are all under tremendous pressure to be accepted, when we are young – we care so much about it. The good news is that as we age we tend to care less. But, we still care more than we should about what others think. Our lives would be very different without this prevalent tendency to wear masks for other people.

We are all constantly wanting something we don’t have – then we will be happy and special – nope on to the next thing and the next….

If you doubt this is true! Imagine for a moment waking up one morning and you are the only person on the planet or at least in your vicinity. How long would it be until you washed less, cared less about your appearance, didn’t have to live in the best house or drive the best car, have a designer dog or wear branded clothing? Life would become less about appearances and more about survival pretty damn quick. Material possessions and status would matter little. This would be the case even if you were guaranteed food and survival continued to be easy. There simply would be nobody to impress. We all care what others think even if most of the time they are not thinking about us at all! That thought makes it worse – What can we do to get noticed, to make others revere us and to make them want to be just like us? What should we become? The peddlers of the stuff that we buy and don’t need know this fact all to well and market to us as desperate attention seekers wanting to have all that we don’t have.

There is a simple saying – Buddhist I think –

Want what you have! Not what you don’t have.

Status even affects dogs

Take the example of dogs – mongrels are now given posh names marketed as special and sold for thousands more than a lowly mongrel would cost! With vets bills and aftercare that would break most bank balances. If you have an expensive mongrel you are a mug and there are lots of you out there. I joke and give my four rescue dogs posh new names that denote their ancestry and you should see the serious reactions I get from people thinking they have unearthed a new designer dog. Otherwise when people ask me what my dogs are I say dogs and introduce them – Zen, Zing, Titch and Smudge.

We need more us and less them

Do you have to tell everyone you meet your ancestral history? Nope! But they are assessing you subtly – that is what racism is! A preference for one type of human over another. We create us and them and we create those categories of likes and dislikes across the board. Old people all grouped together with the opposite with young people – there are always lots of people that are not us. Cat person or dog person? Particular dogs over other dogs? and we compile evidence and justifications for having those lists. Think about your lists and the reasons and justifications you have invented or taken from others. Religions and politics are good examples of segregation – often common sense prevails but all too often it does not. There is no middle ground for many. In reality and for a Flexarian the middle ground is where we will find what we are searching for. Less categorisation and more acceptance of opposites.

My story (and we all have one)

This is being told in hindsight and with a belated understanding of myself and others. I was always a good athlete. Good at everything but I hated the attention and was considered shy. Men were supposed to be extroverted and strong and that was just the way it was and if you weren’t you were pushed to change yourself.

Know yourself

I now know I am an introvert and highly sensitive. My body reacts differently to situations than others. Hyper-arousal is real and affects 20% of the population. many situations that people love are traumatic for highly sensitive people. But when I was young that was not widely known if at all. I like to theorise that many of my generation suffer from PTSD from ignorance of their personality types when they were young. Que sera sera. Julie – my wife is opposite in personality traits. We complement each other perfectly but only once we had accepted that difference. We spent years not getting how the other could not be and act the same way. Years trying to change each other.

My naive solution

Anyway, to cut a long story short. I unknowingly at the time developed a big muscular coat of armour as my protection, without knowing why I was so single-minded in this pursuit. It is only with hindsight that I become aware of my intentions and why I became so utterly focused. The added fact that I could do it on my own helped a good deal also.

It is funny though because I never really changed inside always feeling vulnerable and sensitive in raucous or volatile situations.

I didn’t know you drank until I saw you sober

This subtitle is what somebody said to me once – I also went through a large period of my life drinking too much to cope with the expectations of my social life. I now love to be in reading and chatting or writing. I love walking in nature with my four dogs and would rather see nobody than be in busy places. Maybe my life nowadays is an overcompensation for the many years I was forced to play a game that I was poorly suited to play. Or at least it would have helped if I had known the rules. And an awareness of the hand I had been dealt to play the game.

That is my nature and what I have battled the whole of my life without being fully aware.

Find your strengths

I am empathetic and very intuitive to the extreme. Talents of the highly sensitive with introverted tendencies. I would say more than tendencies although I can speak in public very well it does wear me to a frazzle. I energise by being quiet and alone. Extroverts energise by being out in the world with lots of people. I am married to an extrovert and we complement each other perfectly. It is easier to understand difference when you live with it. And we both introduce the other to our opposites.

The machismo mask is not for everyone

My appearance does not fit my personality at all. But was developed to be something I felt I needed to be to play the game we like to call normal life in a generation where working-class men were expected to be macho, insensitive and strong physically. Emotion and sensitivity were thought to be womanly attributes and a weakness for a man. My Fathers role which he took very seriously was to make sure he toughened me up. Now it is understood that emotional intelligence is a prized asset rather than a liability. Everything changes – constantly. My Father pushed me into traumatic situations constantly.

Now I love my appearance and it has given me good health as a side effect. Did it protect me? I think it did most of the time, but it also attracted its fair share of unwanted female attention (the opposite sex situations can be traumatic for sensitives, no one night stands, too much anxiety) and Neanderthal male challengers, that equated it with violence and wanted to prove themselves. Pathetic! I can look after myself but I’d rather not have an audience.

My change of physique got me forceful sexual attention plus some aggressive jealous challenges thrown into the mix.

Can the personality handle the body?

I was like a non-driver given a Ferrari as his first car. This situation is made worse by the depictions of sexuality in the media. And human beings are aroused by certain body-parts particularly when they take on fantasy proportions. The issue is can the personality (the person inside the body) handle the body. In my case, the answer was no but is now yes and has led to an unbelievable life and thirst for knowledge to understand what is going on in our minds and in the minds of others. We are an amazingly complicated species.

In trying to avoid and protect myself I encouraged more attention. It is funny if you think about it. There are always consequences to our actions. In my case, they are very good now but at the time it was not a great move to become a 20-stone specimen to avoid attention. What was I thinking? If I wanted to hide away I shouldn’t have made myself stick out like a sore thumb. The opposite might have been a better strategy.

My personality has grown into my body and now I see young guys that are on the same journey of not being mature enough to handle the responsibility of a huge muscular body. Instead they do use it as a tool for their manly status and place in the herd.

We can have brains and brawn

Physical culture (bodybuilding) has given me an education on all things physical and probably protected me more than not. Although my writing, speaking, coaching and philosophical meanderings always surprise people as big muscular guys are still expected to be DUMB ASSES! We love to label others. Wrongly most of the time.

Develop good character with your body

As we age we begin to understand the lives we have lived and why we behaved the way we did. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. One thing I would say to young people is that when we think everybody is looking at us, some may be complementary and often others are too worried about their own stuff going on to care too much about us. We just imagine they do. And we often become more by maturing into our physical appearances. Kindness and respect for others go a long way. Developing a strong character through adversity is often the way it happens.

The Pragmatic Flexarian ingests all opinions and perspectives and does what is best for that moment regardless of allegiance to any prior beliefs, institutions or ideologies. Flexibility is key.

Flexarian – Adam Senex

Good luck to you.

Adam Senex x