“I have never written anything before but this was something that just poured out of me,” says 26-year-old Matthew King. Here’s his story.
Why do I feel this way?
Standing in the shower soaping my body and listening to the sound of the water run down my skin and onto the floor. The warmth is refreshing, my eyes closed and no mirrors are in sight, no one can see me, not even me.
Exhaling a deep breath while turning off the taps, my mind speeds up with anxiety and I begin to think ‘maybe the mirror will like me this time’.
Drying myself from head to toe, I stand naked in full sight of my reflection, nothing to hide behind but the hope that one day I will like what I see.
I put on my jocks one leg after the other, followed by my jeans.
The process of covering up my flaws begins and within the hour my clothes will mask the constant battle I face to feel worthy enough to be looked at.
Leaving the house for a night of drinks with friends, my bedroom is left a mess with turned inside out t-shirts and a trail of frenzy I created in my quest to find the perfect outfit. Maybe tonight will be the night I meet the man of my dreams and he will tell me I am the most beautiful person in the world, but as I glance in the mirror for a last minute check, I realize having a thought like that is laughable.
Arriving at the nightclub, the taxi pulls away as I take a breath of courage and head towards the line.
The faint sound of music and vibrations from the bass anticipate the excitable crowd inside.
Each step closer is a question I ask myself. Why am I here? What hope do I have? Why would anyone want to even look at me?
But I can feel them, there are eyes on me, I am being judged already and I haven’t even gone inside.
What are they thinking? Why do I care what they are thinking? But the point is I did care.
As the doors open, I step into a room of music, colour, dancing and gay men.
Screaming over the bar to order a drink, my arms are sticky from the bar top and I am getting nudged from every direction.
Feeling like a little frog in a big pond, it is overwhelming to have hundreds of eyes darting around the room, but I walk through the crowd to find my group of friends, bodies brush past me of all different shapes, ages and sizes, their eyes glance up and down at me as they continue to walk.
With a drink in one hand and the music playing I tell myself that it is ok, enjoy yourself and stop worrying.
After a few drinks with friends, the night becomes more relaxed and I start to feel comfortable and ok about my surrounds.
It quickly becomes show time and the performance stage is filled with colourful drag queens and back up dancers.
The crowd is drawn to the show and it is a chance for me to exhale as the majority of the eyes in the venue are on the show.
Standing up the back, I have the perfect view because no one is looking at me, no one can judge me and I can relax for a moment.
As part of the performance a young attractive guy is brought up on stage and they commence to take his jacket off, followed by his button up shirt so he is left standing nervously with a white singlet on.
The crowd is roaring and cheering because they want to see the guy topless.
My first thought is this guy is absolutely stunning. His hair is beautiful, amazing skin and his body is in perfect shape.
As they peel up his white singlet to reveal six-pack abs and a crowd cheering physique, everything goes into slow motion and the smile on my face has drained into my devastating reality.
Over the noise of the cheering crowd, the colours of the show and my exhausting façade, in this moment it hit me that I don’t look like him. I will never look as beautiful as him, I will never have a body like his, and no one will cheer for me if I take my shirt off. These drowning thoughts fill my head and I can’t even look down at myself, as I already know I will not be good enough.
Standing frozen, I can’t hear the crowd anymore; I feel myself shrink into a worthless spec and have to get out of here.
Tears fill my eyes as I make my exit. I run to an alley close by where I can hide my eyes and cry.
As I sit in my tears and clouded headspace, exhausted by the intensity of the moment, there’s nothing that can stop me from spiralling lower and lower. My only thought is ‘I don’t want to be here’.
Why do I feel this way?
I sit here in a dark alley by myself crying because I don’t look like one of the pretty boys in the nightclub. Even in my emotional state, I realize how stupid and skewed my thoughts are.
Why do I assume guys think I’m unattractive? Why do I compare myself to others? Is the way I look the problem, or is the way I view myself the problem?
A history of negative emotions stir up in my mind and I think: I’m 26, when will this end? Will I ever be comfortable and feel good enough just as I am, even though I am not the pretty boy in lights with a six pack?– by Matthew King