by Ryan Conner
As discussed in my last post, I aim to hit topics that we never fully discuss. Things we all know everyone is dealing with; however, we are never willing to be vulnerable enough to bring them out into the open. This topic is one that I think is on everyone’s Pinterest board yet never the topic of conversation. As always, I will be bringing forward my experience and I hope you are willing to do the same.
Altered Carbon: Body Awareness and Loving your Sleeve
Altered Carbon: Body Awareness and Loving your Sleeve
For my fellow cyber-punk and sci-fi fans, you are probably already well aware of “Altered Carbon,” both the book and the Netflix series. For those you that are not, the premise of the show is based around a future where the human conscious is contained in disk at the base of the skull. It essential allows humans to switch their sleeve/body. As you can image billionaires, sorry I mean “people of wealth,” are able to live forever and the Catholics hate it. A very believable future, if you ask me. The show follows around the main character, Kovacs, as he tries to solve a murder mystery. If you have time, I would recommend both the book and the show.
One of the many themes of both is how Kovacs inner demons continue to follow him and his trouble recognizing himself in his new sleeve. It does not matter how many times he has switched bodies. His inner demons are always brought along with him. Simply put, there was no running away from who he truly was. He could change his appearance, but the rest was the same. Now must of us do not have the same luxury of being able to fully change our body. We only have one. I do not say that in the generic form of a middle school principal telling you not to do drugs, but I say it as a simple statement of fact. You only have one body and there is only one body like yours.
When we all look into the mirror, I doubt there is very many of us that find it a pleasant experience. No doubt, there are moments when we find ourselves attractive. Not often enough though. Was the last time you looked in the mirror a positive experience? Was it you slowly nitpicking everything you hate about the way you look? I bet for most of us, it was the second. For something as precious and rare as our own body, we never give it enough value. Find the worth in your sleeve and learn to deal with our own inner demons.
Since we were all young, we have been told beauty is on the inside. That is the truth. A large portion of beauty is found in our soul and who we are as people. Saying that is the only factor we judge someone’s beauty is not being in touch with reality. I do not say this simply as a superficial twenty-three-year-old man but as someone who accepts the truth. Outward appearances matter; having good looks can get you far in life. It is the same as someone being 6’ 9” is going to have an easier time learning to dunk than someone 5’ 10”. It is a matter of fact.
What is interesting is how each person defines outward beauty. A ten for someone can be a two for someone else. The Hilary Swank concept, if you will. This means that outward beauty is a person by person basis. The only person’s opinion about our beauty that should matter is our own. Unfortunately for many of us, this is the most negative opinion regarding our body. The average person walking down the street is not going to notice that one blemish, which you have hyper focused on since you were in middle school. They really could not care less about it. I know for myself, I have trouble with my weight. I would say to a toxic level. It does not matter how much I diet or exercise; the person looking back at me in the mirror is the same fat thirteen-year-old. No one sees that picture of me in their head except for me, yet it is the false truth that I continue to hold onto undying.
This blog post is not about a magic fix to love your body, because it is a daily struggle. For many of us, we strive for perfection in every aspect of our lives. That is both a blessing and a curse; we never feel like we have reached our zenith. While that may be fine with school or work, it is not the way we should dealing with our health or our body image. Because there is no true perfection regarding a person’s body. Everyone can tell you what they hate about their body in under three-seconds. I am not putting this out there as a massive vibe killer; I am putting it out there because we all need to know that bodies our freaking awesome. If medically healthy, you have no reason to hate your body.
Regardless, there are some aspects of our bodies we are going to want to change. If you want to color your hair, then color your hair. If you want to get tattoos, then spend some time thinking it over and get some tattoos. If you need plastic surgery to boost your confidence, then there is no shame in doing something for yourself that helps you. Basically, forget what everyone else is trying to define your appearance as and define it yourself.
Until we are fully comfortable with our own appearance, our own sleeve, we are not going to truly happy and deal with our inner demons. Now, you are probably saying: “Ryan, that is super obvious why even write a long blog?” First, drop the sassafras. The reason is most of us still look outwards for affirmation. We go fishing for compliments or we waste time on Tinder/Bumble just looking for people to declare they like our appearance. It may appease some of us for the short term but clearly it is not the long-term solution. At least, it is not the long-term solution in my experience.
I am at a point in my life where I have used women time and time again in an attempt to define my worth. You can find some worth in a relationship for around the first four to five month. After that point, I find you are not able longer to hide away from your demons. It did not matter how much they would tell me I was not fat, or how I was attractive. I would only see it as lies. I am still working on tackling my inner demons. I still trying to rundown that fat thirteen-year-old, and he is surprisingly fast!
That is where it all begins though. It begins with being painfully honest with yourself and starting to fight those inner demons. One post is not going to be enough to vanquish your inner demons. One does not simply walk into Mordor. One does begin to get a handle by taking a long look in the mirror and giving that person an easier time. The person you spend the most time with is yourself, so make sure that you like you; make sure that you are nice to you. You are one hot piece of ass, own it!
All in all, I would say many of us are getting to the age where we stare into the mirror and begin to wonder how we got to this moment. Some of us may not recognize our current sleeve but that does not mean the person inside is different. It truly sucks but you must be sure to fight everyday to ensure that you and your sleeve are one. Change it however you need to, because if it makes you happy, fuck the rest of them. You do not want to wake up one day and not know who is looking in the mirror.