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I always avoided being shirtless. Always. I never even wanted my own family to see the torso I was ashamed of. I set my standards low with everything and even developed a way of sitting, walking and breathing that wouldn't show anything I didn't want people to see. Especially wearing black, I wasn't an Emo, just self-conscious (that was a joke).
In all seriousness, it's the worst feeling in the world. All I've ever wanted to be was normal. You know? Normal things. Like take my shirt off to swim, wear white, do a damn jumping jack. From an early age I was an overweight kid. I didn't even notice it until I was pretty deep into it. There I was in what felt like an irreversible situation. I was made fun of by the bullies, friends (if you could call them that), and even close friends (never immediate family). It was funny to them. I leaned out in high-school but my chest was still built like a girl and I felt trapped.
Working out wasn't an option to me because I never saw results. I didn't have anyone to help me and there was no consistent schedule to aid my "condition." I genuinely wanted to make a difference physically but it never felt like it would happen. From the ages of nine to twenty-five I felt hopeless and that things would never change. But they did.
I was reconnected with someone that was a huge crush from day one. She was always very nice to me and was gorgeous. Now, she is generally a nice person to everyone so I didn't think anything of it. It was a situation of: "She's awesome, but there's no way in hell that I could ever date her." She was a perfect ten in every way and still is. To make a long story short and through a lot of coaching by my best friend, I finally asked her out.
It was the scariest thing I ever did. Turns out, she liked me the entire time we had been friends. I let my self-conscious mind make up a lie and believed it. I expressed to her how I felt and that I never understood why she would ever consider me boyfriend material. She shut me down (lovingly) very quickly and said that I was great in every way.
Not only was I with the girl of my dreams (whom I am married to now). This situation gave me a huge boost in motivation to make a difference for myself physically. I finally sought out help to figure out how to exercise properly. I didn't have to look very far. She helped me. I was going pretty much everyday and feeling better in every way.
Now life does hit you sometimes and I wasn't able to go for a long stretch but I am back in it now. The question is: Do I still feel average?
Yes, but not anywhere near where I used to. I'm not where I want to be YET, but I am seeing results and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Change will happen. You CAN be happy with yourself. If I can find confidence, so can you. If you work at it and make a goal, you will get closer to it every time.