So Why Not Share A Picture Of My New, More-Muscled Body?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

“When I get to a year in the gym, I’m gonna take a picture of me shirtless and post it for the world,” I said.

That thought kept me going some days. Because if you’re a fat kid, particularly a guy, you understand the shame of going shirtless – days at the pool where you wore a shirt “because you didn’t want to get sunburned,” summer nights out where you sweated your pits through because revealing those man-tits could expose you to ridicule.

Some day, I thought when I was bulling my way through just one more set of weights, I’ll post a picture of me and my abs.

Yet as the day got closer, the urge faded.

Part of it was because, as I described yesterday, all the photos I was taking of myself felt like vanity. If I compared the shirtless photo I took today to the one I took a month ago, was there really a difference? Was I just endlessly focusing on a body that was mostly the same, requiring my lovers to stroke my ego?

(Judging from the way some of my flirtations stopped responding to the photos, I’m pretty sure I was. Or maybe they just got busy. We read our own stories into the gaps, and not all of them are accurate.)

Then there was the impact, man. I only got to reveal my New Shirtless Self once, after which it became, you know, just who Ferrett is. (Kind of like a debut novel gets all the PR, after which it’s a struggle to get the same heat on for, say, a follow-up novel.)

And when I took pictures of me, I didn’t really feel my bathroom selfies reflected the changes. The strong ripples of my lats looked like smudges; the framing of my abdomen could have been a stray shadow. And as usual, the man-tits consumed all.

The improvements were there, but I wasn’t capturing them, and while I love my wife you don’t want her to take pictures.

Maybe I should hire a professional to take shots of me?

Wait, isn’t that more ego?

And if I was going to hire a pro, shouldn’t I wait until I had, you know, the body I was aiming for instead of chronicling this soft waypoint?

Which was weird, because I’ll tell women, “Hey, you’re attractive, just own it.” And I know damn well there’s plenty of women who actually want dudes with a bit of belly to them, that the dad-bod fetish is very real. It’s not like who I am is entirely unattractive, and if someone finds my meat-sack repulsive, well, fuck ’em, I worked hard to get here.

Yet the more I thought about it, the more I spiraled into this weird cycle where it felt too egotistic to get the photo I wanted, yet if I was going to be that egotistic then I should represent more fitness than I was, and what the hell was I doing?

But the truth is, if I’m gonna eventually show some skin, I do want it to be more than “Ferrett snapping shots in the bathroom.” I want someone good with photos to take a picture that kind of shows who I am, as opposed to me dorking around. Because if I’m going to expose myself to ridicule – because I know dragging my mild audience around, I’ll get a few folks sneering that yeah, this isn’t anything to brag about – then I at least want it to be for the proper reasons.

And it’s weird, because honestly, I promote body positivity. But I think one of the things that confuses the Internet is that everyone falls short of the ideals they promote from time to time. You have good intentions, but that assumption that good intentions invariably get spun into good outcomes is, well, a little simplistic.

If I was as good as I claimed, I’d probably have posted a shot already, wouldn’t need the rigamarole to get this party started. But I do. And if that’s what I need, well, eventually I’ll find someone I trust to take the kinds of photos that showcase me in the way I want to be showcased.

So I’m skinnier. I’m healthier. I have baby abs, and baby lats. And eventually I’ll show you, but I wanna show it to you in a way that feels like it looks normally, not the imperfect chemistry of squirming around trying to selfie a torso.

The process is imperfect. Like me, physically and mentally. But that’s okay. Like everything else, I’ll get there. Eventually.


  1. Anonymous Alex
    Aug 16, 2018

    Or you could do what I do, and not take pictures. Ever. Really simplifies the whole analysis.


  2. Rachel Waller
    Aug 19, 2018

    Hi, did you delete your LJ or just let it run out? I don’t wanna make a fuss but I miss a couple of your posts and the Wayback Machine doesn’t have them 🙁

    • The Ferrett
      Aug 20, 2018

      Alas, yes. I wasn’t really happy with funnelling traffic to LJ now that their Russian owners were cracking down on LGBT and anti-Russian political content, and frankly, a lot of what I’d written was stuff I no longer stood by. I hope to repost the good ones some day. Sorry!

  3. Mark Dijkstra
    Aug 21, 2018

    I’m happy you’re doing so well! Just wondering: With all the knowledge on fitness you have now, is there any way you could have persuaded your younger self to start working on your body at an earlier stage in life?

    • The Ferrett
      Aug 21, 2018

      Believe me, I’ve thought about that a lot – particularly since I lost all my front teeth ten years ago due to gum disease. Could I have convinced my younger self to be smarter?

      I might have been able to, but I think it would involve peer pressure. And that, given my social anxiety, would have been hard to find.

  4. Claus
    Aug 22, 2018

    As a large guy who is also trying to work-out, i can completely commiserate. What I would suggest is not taking those gym/bathroom selfies, and instead allow the pictures to happen naturally when you’re outside (at that pool or those summer nights) without a shirt because you’re comfortable with yourself. If/when it happens, you were comfortable, and even if its not flattering (our critical eye never allows it to be) remember that it was only taken there/then because of how you’ve grown.

    (recently stumbled on this blog after having devoured/enjoyed the Uploaded and am now losing myself through the Mancer series…. quite fun all of them!)

    • The Ferrett
      Aug 22, 2018

      While good advice, this assumes I ever go outside. I avoid the sun as much as possible, because for me the benefit of humanity is, largely, air conditioning. So I never get those shots! 🙂

      And I’m glad you liked the Uploaded, et al. It’s still happily weird to me when someone finds my blog because of my books and not my blogging.

      • Claus
        Aug 22, 2018

        I can appreciate the love of AC… but the lure of water will always draw me out!

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