Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta self-esteem. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta self-esteem. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Friends & Secrets

   It was very problematic for Sean to admit that his life had improved dramatically since he had joined the gym. He didn’t want to tell anyone about it and only went there once a day, six days a week. Of course, sometime people would ask him where he was and what he was doing, but he had created the illusion that he was attending cooking lessons at a school that happened to be in the neighboring building of the gym. The smell of warm and fresh croissants was almost constant and made almost impossible to focus on one's obliques.

 Sean had never been the kind of guy that went to the gym and cared about his body. Earlier in his life he openly mocked those who took too much care of their bodies and looks. To be fair, he still mocked only that he refrained himself from saying anything out loud because he would really look like a hypocrite if he said something. The difference was the he didn’t exercise because he wanted to look better but because he wanted to feel better, which were too different things. Most of the people there were just show offs that already had a great body.

 Since he was a little boy, he had loved eating candy. His favorites were salted caramel and chocolate. His life wasn’t complete when he was at school if he didn’t have a piece of chocolate with his lunch. It was kind of a ritual, a weird tradition that he had with himself. He kept that for years, until very recently. Actually, some of his friends had begun wondering what had happened to the chocolates he always ate and also about the ones that he kept all over the house in case he wanted something sweet to enhance his day.

 All of those chocolates had disappeared and no one really understood why. Some were not idiots and had realized Sean had lost some weight and, weirdly enough, he looked as if he had grown taller and bigger but not in a bad way. They asked him about it and he only answered he didn’t really knew why and that he partially blamed work and the classes because of the tension he went through every single day. Stress could be a powerful force and could certainly be blamed for many things, so it was a nice save that not everyone bought.

 One of those who hadn’t bought into the story was Billy. He had noticed something really strange one day they were at Sean’s apartment watching a movie. At one point, they were having popcorn and Sean asked if they wanted more. Of course, everyone said yes. To be funny, Sean raised his hands in the air and exaggerated a positive response. It was then when Billy saw it: Sean’s shirt had been raised and instead of a normal belly, he saw a body in the process of getting really ripped. He knew his friend had never been like that.

 Many times before they had taken trips all together. Billy knew his friends bodies, not because he had an obsession with them or anything but because he had seen them in their trunks and bikinis. He knew what they look like. So the new appearance of Sean’s body was a very big surprise for him. Now that he was thinking about it, he remembered that Sean had not attended their last trip to the beach. He had told them that he didn’t feel quite right but when they came back he looked exactly the same, like a normal healthy person.

 Billy decided to follow Sean one day. He worked for his father so he asked him for a day off from the office in order to attend some personal business. His father never asked many questions and agreed almost immediately. They following day, he woke up really early and decided to follow Sean by bike. He decided not to take the car as he suspected Sean would know it was him if he saw it. The first time he saw Sean that day was at seven o’clock, time he left at for work. He stayed in his office until midday, when he came out to lunch.

 It was then when he saw the first red flag: Sean had never been the type to eat big pieces of meat or a large portion of anything. He knew how to choose what his body was capable of consuming. However, he had never been the type to refrain himself from eating something delicious, even if hat something was not especially good for you. Billy remembered fondly the time the two of them had eaten a big plate full of spicy hot wings by themselves, no beverages or carrot sticks with ranch sauce. That had been a fun day.

 But now, he noticed that Sean had bought a salad for lunch, a salad that didn’t even had a piece of chicken or bacon or anything. And the worst part of it all was that he really seemed to be enjoying himself while eating it. Sean stopped looked from a distance and thought that maybe he was been too judgmental and a tad exaggerated. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all if Sean was taking care of himself. He was trying to feel better or maybe it was that he wanted to look hotter or even that he was dating and he wanted to look great for that person.

 That all went to the mental garbage when Billy saw Sean pulling a bottle of water from his backpack and drinking from it. That was just ridiculous. One thing was to take care of his body and all of that but drinking plain water with a lunch that consisted mostly on a bunch of leaves only a turtle would eat, was just insane. Billy thought that there was something really wrong with his friend because he had never seen him like this. Something had to be wrong, that was clear. But what could it be or why could it be?

 After waiting for several hours in a café across the street, Billy followed Sean again and the next destination, to no surprise, was the gym. Granted, it was not the type of gym that had many windows and looked more like a giant fish tank than like a human building, but nevertheless it was a strange thing. Billy decided to go in, as he would see nothing from outside. Of course, he had to pretend he was interesting in joining because otherwise he wouldn’t have been allowed entrance. A trainer showed him round but he didn’t really listened.

 He only saw Sean many minutes later, working out on a huge machine that seemed to be used to help exercise the abdominal area. He had no trainer besides him and seemed to be focusing a lot on what he was doing. For Billy, the sight was really strange but not because it was his friend but because he had never seen someone so focused to do something like that. For a moment, he even thought it was quite admirable that Sean had decided to take on such a challenge, but moments later he felt betrayed again, as a friend.

 He decided to confront Sean. He ditched the trainer telling him he would join after walking around alone and then walked, almost ran, straight to where Sean was. As expected, Sean was quite taken aback when he saw his friend standing there. But then he decided to finish his exercise and then finally stand up, sweating more than he would have wanted to in that moment. The two friends looked at each other and didn’t say a word, not until someone dropped a weight somewhere, slamming his foot. They both laughed, which eased the tension.

 Sean explained to his friend that he had always had self-esteem problems, going back to his high school days. He had always felt fat and ugly and he recently had realized he could actually do something about it. He had begun exercising over a year ago but the change in food had been done very recently. He didn’t call it a diet because he ate as always on weekends and he couldn’t say he was going vegan or vegetarian because his favorite meals consisted of pork chops in a pineapple sauce. Anyway, he was trying something to help him achieve his goal.

 He told Billy he was sorry for lying but Billy interrupted him saying he was a bad friend for never having really talk about their past in a much more open way. If they had, he would have known his buddy’s struggles and could even have helped him. He told Sean he was sorry and then hugged him, which was a first for the two as they had always been the kind of buds that only shake hands. It was a new beginning to their friendship, a much needed one.

jueves, 2 de junio de 2016

Self-made woman

   Sam had always being a very confident person. She wasn’t he most beautiful girl in the world or the most athletic or anything like that. She was just an average girl that never really had a problem with her own body. When she was at school, she saw many people being bullied because of how they looked or how they dressed or things like that. But the bullies never got to her because she simply did not believe anything they said. Maybe it was the way she was raised or maybe she had been born with a very thick skin. The point was no one could take her down.

 As she got older, she decided to try a little bit of everything. She did theatre and always went to a summer camp not far from home. She would also love to help recycle and clean the parks of her city. She earned some money by walking her neighbors’ dogs and she had at least five pen pals from all over the world. Sam lived to be active and to feel she was doing something. She even approached the kids at school that were bullied and tried to help them by giving them more things to do. Sometimes, she succeeded.

 After graduating high school, she entered a proper acting academy where she was always one of the most advanced students in the class. She got the directions of the teacher very fast and knew how to connect with a character in a matter of minutes. She became that person fro a while. It was amazing to see her as all those characters, no matter if they were men or women, young or old or foreigner. She always knew exactly how to do it.

 The school lasted for years year and by the third year her parents announced to her that they had financial problems and that they wouldn’t be able to give her money for transportation and food for her third year and that they had no money for her fourth and last year in the academy. For a moment, she was very worried. It was the first time in her life that Sam didn’t really know what to do right away. She spent a whole night without sleep thinking of solutions.

 However, the solution came to her the next day. Her acting school was part of a larger university, so when she went to class she always walked by a big board where people would pin down what they were looking for. She checked the board to see if there were any jobs she could take part time in order to help her parents pay for her stuff or pay it herself in any case. She read many little papers looking for something good and a blue one got her attention.

 Sam had never cared about what people said about her. She had never really had second thoughts about what she wore; how her body was build or the things she had to do to get somewhere. She was a fighter and very hands on kind of a person. So after class, she went straight to the classroom written in the blue paper. They were looking for men and women that would pose for the art students.

 It was in an area of the university she rarely went to. Outside, there were about three people waiting. When the door opened, a woman asked her name and physical data. She wrote those down in a sheet of paper on a clipboard and then closed the door after one of the people that had been waiting had entered the room. Sam could only see one other person inside with the woman: a middle-aged bald man who probably was the teacher for that class.

 She waited for an hour until the other two people had passed. Apparently the “audition”, or whatever it was, could be very exhaustive. When they finally let her in, they immediately asked for her to remove all clothes and to step up in a square that was about thirty centimeters tall. She did exactly that, feeling a little scared at first. The woman, who was probably an assistant, was doing some kind of sketch on her clipboard. The man just turned around Sam, looking at every single inch of her body.

 Suddenly, he asked Sam to pose in three different ways. He showed her three different paintings and she had to imitate the positions of the models in them. Sam wasn’t very into painting as such but she knew those pictures were rather classical. So she immediately knew there not going to do anything very modern in that class or at least not from the first day.

 After the first ten minutes, she was very comfortable posing as a goddess shooting an arrow at a centaur and then being seductive, half covering herself with a very silky and transparent tissue the teacher provided for her. They were there for more than an hour until the assistant told her she could grab her clothes and dress. They told her they would call her in order to know if she had gotten the job. She asked if she could know how much they paid and the mentioned the number. It was a very good one.

 She got the job and worked there for her whole third year. She had to arrive to some early classes, which was awful because of the cold, but the teacher was always kind enough to bring a portable heater for her not to freeze. Then she would go to her classes and sometimes she would come back late in order to pose for the advanced students.

 Sam didn’t really tell many people about her job. She certainly didn’t tell his parents. They were happy enough seeing their daughter knew how to move around in the world. And only a couple of friends knew. They even went once and told her how odd it was that no one really saw her but instead saw her body as if it was some other person. It was very strange.

 That year, se won a lot of money. With that and a job she got the following summer, she was able to pay her last year of acting school. She kept modeling during that year but she didn’t do as many hours because the audition part of her life had begun and she really had to be looking for all the parts possible. Once she graduated, she began to do so more actively, landing roles in plays and even movies.

 Her breakout role was the one of the heroine of a post-apocalyptic story involving zombies. She signed on for one movie but two more were made. After that, she did more elaborate stuff like a costume drama that happened in Africa and another where she was a woman that had a very awful disease that was deemed incurable for many years. For that one she received the most praise and Sam was even considered for many awards. It was the best time of her life because she got to travel a lot.

 When she turned 28, she got the role of a woman trying to save millions from genocide in a war that people didn’t even talked about. Sam researched the role and actively pursued it for many months until they chose her over many better-known actresses. She was careful about every aspect of the role and was able to do her best performance ever. That year was a whirlwind for her as everyone praised her work and called her a “revelation” and things of the sort.

 She began being nominated for many awards. Every time it happened she would call the director of the film, a woman called Flora, and they would chat for hours about it. However, something happened that would sour their happiness for a while. Someone had gone through Sam’s past and had found the portraits she had posed for and some pictures too, as she modeled for the photography students too. The tabloids had a field day and everyone else started to talk solely about that and not the movie.

 Sam apologized to Flora but the woman told her never to do that. She hadn’t done anything wrong and it was nothing that would affect her forever. She encouraged Sam to be herself and confront the issue as herself and as no one else. And so she did. She released a statement and even made a video that went viral, when she explained how she had always trusted herself and wanted everyone to feel the same way.

 She showed everyone that she was not ashamed but rather proud of being a woman that did not have to hide or feel bad because others wanted her to feel like that. She had made a life by her own hand and she was also proud of that. In her video, she invited every woman to be comfortable in their skin, take nudes pictures or just looking themselves at the mirror and accepting who they were because everyone is one of a kind.

 Many attacked for the way she saw the world, mostly men. But she had decided she would never care about what destructive people thought. She knew most people were not like that, she knew they would all see what she meant, where she was coming from.

 Her chances of having a great career were never harmed after that. She eventually won an Academy Award and went on to pose for magazines naked, in order to prove that they couldn’t take her down or shame her. Sam was there to stay.

martes, 3 de mayo de 2016

Teacher and student

   His breathing was paced, rhythmically following the movement of his body and his partner’s body too. John had always wanted this; he had had a crush for Dean since the first week of class. But it was only now, during the first break of spring that they had come into real contact with each other and everything had unfolded in a matter of days. Dean watched John in the dark and John felt Dean’s face, as they both exhaled and inhaled in almost the same way.

 They shared a kiss and continued, John having his hands on Dean’s chest, moving slowly. Dean grabbed John’s face with one of his hands and he realized he could cover almost the young man’s entire face with it. He didn’t try to do it because it would have been distracting, but he realized he had never been with a man he could do that too. John was, after all, one of his students in college. He had never really paid much attention to him until an incident occurred in recent days.

 John had been caught cheating on a test and Dean, who had gone through that before, told him he wouldn’t get the administrative offices know about the mishap if he repeated the test another day. John, of course, agreed. The day of the repeat test, Dean was prepared to wait for John to finish but summer had started and he noticed how nice John looked in shorts and in a tank top. He began a conversation with him right when the test happened and the next thing he knew, they were having some coffee not far from college.

 Suddenly, Dean moved a little and John made a grimace out of pain. Dean asked if that had hurt but John shook his head and launched himself at him, kissing Dean passionately as if they were about to be separated. Dean kissed the student but decided to change places. He wanted to be on top now. John understood at once and positioned himself like John wanted to. They continued like that, John grabbing Dean’s hands strongly and Dean kissing his neck as they had sex.

 It was not the first time for Dean, being with a student that is. He knew it was a mistake and that it was dangerous but, somehow, he had also being lured into it by that other guy. He had been a year older than John and had been a really bad student for almost all year and he practically offered himself to Dean in order to pass the class. It wasn’t ethical but he wasn’t able to resist.

 The first time they did it was right in his office, just five minutes away from any person with the power to expel the kid or send Dean to jail. But they did exactly that for several other times, until there wasn’t any need for it to continue. The kid moved on with better grades and Dean just stayed there.

 He had being in a relationship with other men his age too. But he could never really work it out with them. They always wanted so much more: someone with a better body, someone that felt younger, someone that could go with them to crazy adventures every once in a while. And although Dean played with risky things, he really didn’t like to go hiking or diving with sharks or anything like that. He was over forty but he hadn’t been through his mid-life crisis. He just wanted to share a moment with someone and just lived through that. He wasn’t interested in anything more.

 That’s why John was so perfect. He would come in his shorts and Converse shoes almost every weekend, to his house, and they would have sex for several hours. He had lost the ability to know if that was right or wrong. He always reminded himself of John’s age: 21. That wasn’t illegal and they couldn’t do anything with that argument. It’s not like he was a high school teacher. But, nevertheless, he knew he could have problems.

 John finished first but gave Dean some time to finish too. They kissed afterwards and rested for some minutes, before John put on his clothes and announced he had to leave because he had to go help his mother with some arrangement for a barbecue party they were going to have for the whole family. Dean thought that was very sweet but he didn’t say anything. He just gave John one last kiss at the door.

 As he showered, moments later, he realized that when John left, he had wanted to go after him or asked him to stay. It was the first time he felt that. He had never had that issue with the other boy. He had been such a business transaction, that even the sex was not even exciting or interesting. It had been just something to do, and that was it. No pleasure or interest in anything from any side.

 Dean massaged his skin with liquid body gel, John closed his eyes and decided to remember John’s body, centimeter by centimeter. He knew his legs perfectly, his buttocks, his back and his chest. He loved his lips and his hair, cut in the way many young kid cut their hair, shorter in the sides and longer in the middle. He liked that and had even thought about getting that in the barbershop but he realized he would look weird in class.

 After all, college began again in only a week and he had to go back to been, or at least pretending to be, a very old man. Every single student thought that just because he had some grey hairs and was over forty, he was automatically an old man. But he didn’t felt like one. Yet, no one wanted one of those teachers that looks older and behaves like a youngster. That’s simply wrong.

 He opened his eyes again; once he was done thinking about John and about every other sexual experience he had lived in recent years. They weren’t that many although he had tried several new things to bring some spice to his life. Dean had tried saunas and discos and sex clubs, all very fun but definitely not for him. In every single one of those places, he had felt he was an invisible person waiting for something impossible to happen. It was pathetic how, when younger men came in any of those places, every guy looked like a hungry tiger. It was pathetic.

 After opening the windows and pulling up the shades, Dean walked around his house naked, looking for his cellphone. The apartment was not very big, so he got really annoyed when something was missing. He finally saw it on the kitchen counter and remembered that the day had begun with him offering some dark chocolate to John. It had been something very cheesy to do, but he really thought the kid would enjoy it.

 Back in his bedroom, he checked his phone and thought about what was always in his mind: did John really liked him or was it just because he was his teacher or because he needed better grades or maybe even just because he was an older available guy? He always asked himself that and the answers that he came up with were always torture. It didn’t make any sense to be thinking about that. It was something that happened and that was it.

 Then, he heard a knock on the door. He put on some boxers to go an answer. As he went to open, he realized they had not been buzzed in. Behind the door were a man and a woman. The woman presented her badge: she was with the police. She told Dean he had to come with them to the police station. Dean tried to ask what it was all about but the woman insisted on him getting dressed and joining them fast.

 He did so and some minutes later he was been interrogated in a small room. Everything got to his brain in waved the size of a tsunami: apparently, John’s parents had hired a private detective to follow their son, as they realized he was never home. They were apparently a paranoid couple. The detective had taken several pictures of them going up to John’s apartment and they were even infrared pictures and audios.

 Dean reminded them that John was twenty-one. The two officers looked at each other and told him that wasn’t true. They had John’s birth certificate and it confirmed he was actually seventeen. He had finished high school with honors with a very young age and decided to enter college right away. After all, it was his first year.

 Dean realized John himself had lied to him. But why? What would he get from that? Was it because he was afraid? The police formally arrested John and, soon, he had no job to go back too. A horrible chapter of his life had just begun and all because of a seemingly innocent lie.

miércoles, 20 de abril de 2016

Sweet life

   Peter had in front of him a huge selection of pastry. As the correspondent of the most important magazine in the business, he had the advantage of being able to go to any bakery in the city and being treated like royalty there. The owners would normally go out of their way in order to please him, showing him their latest innovations.

 They often tried too hard, combining too many flavors in one single piece of confectionery or trying to make a fantastic setting for the dessert when the flavor was not really the best part of it. And Peter always had the last word. He had eaten it all, everywhere, and his palate was respected by every single person except, of course, the people who he had damaged with his articles.

 He had being the cause of closure of more than one bakery, cupcake store and tearoom. With his writing, he really crushed the lives and aspirations of many people, all of whom only had the simple dream of baking the best desserts possible. It seemed like a simple dream, an easy one if you will, but it wasn’t because the competition was tough and everything had already being done. Nothing was good enough and every single idea had to be checked thoroughly in order to know if it was really original or just another copy.

 However, Peter was just another man. He only had this kind of power in a small community, where they all knew who he was. For many of his friends and people that knew him, Peter was just a big guy obsessed with desserts and he had been that guy since high school. However, people respected him because he had turned his love of sweets into a career and that wasn’t something just anyone could do.

 So you would think he should have been a happy person, doing what he had always wanted which was eating and writing about it. Well, Peter certainly wasn’t what you could call “happy”. The first reason was that he was overweight. He had always been and had been mocked tirelessly by his fellow classmates back in school. He had been called all kinds of names and had asked his parents to educate him at home because he couldn’t really take it anymore. He felt trapped.

 That was when he started learning more about what he ate and his interest in food grew and in turned into a career. He wasn’t just a fat guy who ate desserts for a living. He was also a man that knew every single nuance of every ingredient that had ever been using in the making of any sweet good. He could tell the ingredients of any dessert after just one bite and that made him a huge star in the small world he had entered in. But he was still mocked.

 Of course, it was always the people that he had attacked with his articles. They felt the best way to attack him was to create rumors or to write pieces about him online. With the Internet, he often saw videos appearing all over the places with pictures of him doing pig sounds and things like that. People were never really creative when it came to insulting. They always attacked the same spot and, to Peter’s chagrin, it always worked. Because he was fat and he didn’t want to be.

 But his job depended on him eating. He couldn’t just stop eating and then go on with life as normal. That wasn’t an option. Besides, he loved eating and the flavors and everything that had to do with confectionery and sweets. He had never properly learned to do it himself because he thought it would be counterproductive. In other words, baking himself would not help his problem and would only fuel the hate that people felt towards him

 So one day, in secret, he decided to try several ways to lose weight. The first attempts were somewhat light, relying on a diverse set of pills and massages and kind of “magical” techniques to become skinny. Of course, those didn’t work at all. He was hoping they did but none of those products ever worked, except on the ad were the fat guy or lady always becomes this weightlifter or something like that. So after one month, he moved on to dieting.

 That wasn’t as hard as he thought. He just reduced his meals drastically, trying to eat healthier and less without really pulling the plug on the desserts. He just couldn’t do that because most of them he had to eat because it was his job. That sounds like an excuse but it certainly wasn’t. His boss was very pleased with his work. After all, it was the best food magazine in the country, so any absence or refusal to work would be just devastating.

 The diet thing kind of worked but it took time and, like anyone in his position, Peter wanted to have instant results. He wanted to be leaner and more beautiful in the blink of an eye but that wasn’t possible. So he decided to go to a doctor and try to learn more about his body in order to know how to solve the problem.

 It was really confusing to have to go and eat at least four different desserts in the morning and then having an appointment with his doctor in the afternoon and complain about his weight. It was crazy but he had no other way of doing things. The doctor told him that he was fat because of the food. It wasn’t a hormonal thing. So he could lose the weight easily. He gave him advice on dieting and sent him on his way.

 Four months after that, people started noting Peter had changed his posture and walked a bit differently. His waist seemed less prominent, as well as his behind. Everyone looked at him; especially in the bakery shops where they noticed his face had changed too. He had a bit more color in his skin and seemed to be happier. Of course, his enemies took the time to attack him for this changes too, saying that a person that wasn’t proud of who they were, was always a danger for the rest because you could never really trust them.

 Those were real haters, never really setting on one thing, always having an excuse to attack someone. But, strangely, Peter lost any interest in them. His relationship with many friends had improved, mainly because they noticed he really cared for his health and that he had qualities they had never realized like a great sense of humor and a way of giving very good advice. They had never realized that because they judged too soon and Peter had paid for that.

 But things were changing. Even his boss noticed the small changes and decided to have a talk with Peter. He asked him if he wanted to have some time for himself or if he needed someone to talk to. The boss thought his weight loss was due to something bad but then Peter explained and he understood. Incredibly, his boss cried and explained he had a son who was having kind if the same problems, being bullied at school and all. Peter promised to talk to him.

 He realized soon that it wasn’t about being skinny. That’s not why people pay attention to other people. It’s when they notice you have the will to care about yourself that they make contact with you. If you are a decent human being you don’t really care about someone’s weight or their physical appearance or anything like that. But it certainly makes you interested if someone is making the impossible to improve themselves, in any way possible.

 Peter did it with his body but many people try to learn new things or create new stuff for others. He realized that’s what people really were interested in and soon, although he didn’t loose all the weight he had envisioned, he became happier with his own self. He would always be more willing to help the bakers that were starting and just ate less because he had more to do.

 A couple of years after his decision to make something different, he met a baker named Anna and they married and had two girls who became the love of their father. And Anna was always there for him, supporting Peter in new adventures like writing books about his passions, whether they were sweets or fighting yourself.

 Of course, haters were still around. But Peter just lost his ability to care about them.