My name is Luke Sheehan, writer, raconteur, podcaster, filmmaker, occasionally a musician…
Oh, and I hate myself.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a ‘pity me’ post, or a suicide note. I’m not going out Kurt Cobain style, or whinging how I’ll be dying alone, loveless, and with five bucks to my name. So if you’re reading this and you’re worried, don’t be.
But I really, well and truly do hate myself. Or at least I did. This right here is where my story begins.
I hate how I look, I hate my name down to every last syllable to the point where it should only be uttered in hushed tones, I hate the fact my hair’s thinning, I have a gut disproportionate to the rest of me, my ears are too big, it goes on and on and on. This has been happening for as long as I can remember and really, I’ve only come to terms with it a mere five years ago and still struggling. Assuming that “self esteem” is in the dictionary, my face would be nowhere near it as a reference picture because frankly, I have none.
The name thing has been going on since day one. I have a first name yanked straight from the bible and “Sheehan” is incredibly common. I remember in guest books I’d sign under a pseudonym because I hated my name that much. Oh, and I have two middle names. To this day I pick the one I prefer and use that on everything, because what sort of pompous fuck needs two middle names?
The rest came from early childhood and I don’t know what set it off. Maybe some girl I fancied called me “fat” or “ugly” in primary school and it spiralled from there. I look at old photos and not only do I marvel (and vomit in my mouth a little) at how much I’ve porked out since discovering my first pube all those horrible acne-filled years ago, but how gaunt, skinny and “gross” I looked. There’s no middle ground, here. Only self-loathing because below my neck and above my waist are caverns and mountains of flab that I need to scrub under, so far, no sign of Gollum or the One Ring, but if I find it I’ll let you know.
I remember a good fifteen years ago I almost had a meltdown because my grandfather mentioned I’ve “filled out a bit” while prodding me in the belly. That’s stuck with me since and I don’t really know how to bring it up outside of just blurting it and ruining whatever occasion I happen to be seeing my grandparents for. He didn’t mean it in a bad way and I get that. Still, thanks Gramps. that’s one less piece of cake I’ll be eating… Probably because I’ve eaten the whole thing already and now I’m in a food coma (send help, and a case of Dr. Pepper).
I remember deliberately eating less, damn-near starving myself because I didn’t have a totally-bitchin’ six pack. That lasted about two days before I found out that Magnum ice creams exist.
Really, this is the tip of the iceberg. It’s not so much a “body image” issue, it’s the entire image of myself, as I am. I can stop eating cake any time I want, but I’ll still be plain old me, boring name, big ears, the works. There’s not a lot I can do about that without spending a shitload of money and time on changing every last little thing about myself and even then, I won’t be Brendan Maclean, or Kevin Smith, or Trent Reznor, or whoever else I deem “more interesting” or “cooler than me” without having my ass thrown into court for identity theft.
Welcome to the inside of my fucking head. Enjoy your stay.
So this went on and on and on for years until maybe 2011 when I finally realized “holy shit. Okay, I have a problem”. Now it’s 2015 and I still have a problem (that entire cake won’t eat itself, and the people I idolize have changed since I was a young’un but wanting to ‘be someone else entirely’ is still there), but at least now I find myself remotely decent looking, or at least, in a relationship where two people find me attractive, which helps. Really, I’m just making do with what I’ve got and people seem to like that.
I actually don’t mind being a bit of a porker these days. Hell, I’m not even that fat. I just happen to have a gut bigger than my head. Besides, pants sizes don’t matter if you tend not to wear them.
I’m more content being myself these days which I’m chalking up to actually getting shit done and finding out where my talents lie. Hell, I even like seeing my name on things now.
I still feel like a useless sack of shit who bores people to death and isn’t good enough for anyone, ever, in any capacity, but at least I have a cool job?
I still cringe at photos of me, but that’s probably because I’ve made this face and someone’s tagged me in it on Facebook:
There’s still things I’d like to change, and things I acknowledge I can change. But at this point, let’s take one step at a time. I’m only really just getting the hang of not vomiting in revulsion of who I currently am here, and really, why fix what really isn’t broken?
I guess the whole “fat positivity” thing had a hand in it, Kevin Smith definitely had a hand in it in a “if a pretty average looking dude with a pretty common name can pull this shit off, why can’t I?” sorta way… but mostly I think I grew up a little and realized that me, as I am, actually is pretty worthy of anything I want, even if it is writing hokey dick-joke bullshit that I cast my friends in. Worthy of having a loving, stable relationship, worthy of being narcissistic enough to talk about himself being “decent looking” on his own blog.
What I want people to take from this? I don’t know. I haven’t written here in a while and really, enough time has passed that I want to talk about this shit more publicly and this is the best way I know how to address a shitload of people at once. So I guess this is just throwing a hopefully relatable bottle out in the ocean and hoping someone reads it, maybe even ‘gets’ it is my agenda. I dunno, I just write these things. You make your own damn assumptions. I have a bigass fucking cake to eat.
Till next time…