This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.
I hated my body when I was a kid. Physically much smaller than my classmates, I resented it for not being as big or fast or strong, for not being able to throw a baseball as far, or run as fast as the other boys I knew. It’s not surprising that my reaction to stress was to not eat – I wanted my body to go away.
A bodyworker I knew, who eventually became my partner, once pointed out to me how many people, men and women, walked without moving their hips. I started noticing it everywhere I went. I began to notice it in my own body and tried to pay attention to it, to listen to the messages it was sending when I walked like the Tin Woodman after it rained, but something blocked me from being able to do it.
I remember when it changed. A friend and I were watching a man dance. He was graceful and very sexy and she exclaimed, “Wow! He knows where his ass is!” I asked what she meant and was amazed when she explained that in order to be a good dancer, you need to be able to move your hips and your ass, that you need to be present in that part of your body. I realized something important in that moment. It wasn’t just my hips that I’d been trying to keep still – it was my ass.
As far back as I can remember, I’d always known that Real Men don’t really have asses. They walk all seized up, or run the risk of being accused of being a wimp or a faggot. It made my back hurt and it made my soul hurt, just so I could try to be a Real Man. Real Men have strong arms and chests and maybe even legs, but they don’t have bodies. After all, you can’t have a body if you don’t have an ass.
I began to explore new ways to move. The roadblocks I had to get past were amazingly deep and subtle. Most of the people around me seem to assume that a fluidly-moving body, especially with hips and an ass that actually flexed, was a sexual invitation, whether it belong to a man or a woman. And as I learned how to move my ass, I discovered new ways to move the rest of my body. After all, it’s all connected and if one part is locked up, it’ll affect everything else.
Eventually, I found my ass. Through martial arts, dance, bodywork and lots of yoga, I learned to listen to my body, to appreciate it for what it is and how it works. I discovered new ways to move and I found new ways to live fully in my body. I stopped hating myself for not being a Real Man and began to love myself as a male human being, the day I found my ass.