Self-conscious of physique, but still need to be seen?

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kx250rider
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25 Nov 2010, 1:19 pm

This is a weird question, and maybe it's just me, and nothing to do with the Spectrum...

I've always been very self-conscious of what condition my body is in, and I have always been embarrassed to go to the beach, or to places where it would be normal to take my shirt off. However, I don't feel that way if it's on "my terms". What I mean is, that I realized I have plastered pictures of me on the internet (here & elsewhere) showing off, and that somehow doesn't bother me. But I still get weird if it's a hot day and other guys are going shirtless... I still keep mine on. It's not that I have anything to hide; in fact I'm a bodybuilder with a washboard stomach, and in better shape than most in my age range (not intended as a boast; just as a qualifier). People do stare when I take my shirt off, and you'd think I'd like that, since I put so much work into it. Kind of like if I had a very rare sports car that I completely restored, and I just kept it up on jacks and locked away in a dark garage; never to be driven or put in a car show. Doesn't make sense.

My question is; does Asperger's have something to do with being very self-conscious about exposure? I remember in high school how I was terrorized at the thought of having to take a public shower in gym. Luckily I never had to take gym class, as it was over-full all 3 years and I was excused and got an elective in stead. Do other Aspies in good shape (or otherwise), worry about that, or get embarrassed so easily?

Charles



lotusblossom
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25 Nov 2010, 1:49 pm

perhaps on the internet it feels less real to you so you dont mind people seeing you, where as in person it feels more personal. I feel like this about talking about problems, Im happy to share quite personal stuff on the internet which I would not talk about with even very close friends or therapists in real life.

I dont like the sensation of haveing too few clothes on in public, it feels more secure to have the weight of the clothes. I dont like the summer when I can not wear a cardi or coat. However in the house Im fine about going round nude.



Raymond_Fawkes
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25 Nov 2010, 3:50 pm

I'm skinny, and my bones are very brittle and petite. I always wore clothes underneath my clothes .. never wore a short sleeve shirt at all in high school. Always long-johns underneath my clothes. I was exempt from gym too. I always used to think I was the only one, until I saw on a documentary that Kurt Cobain did the same thing in high school so I felt alittle better about it.



CockneyRebel
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25 Nov 2010, 6:18 pm

I'm very self concious about my boobs. I like to wear clothes that are looser than what they make for women these days, because of it.


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25 Nov 2010, 6:36 pm

I do not know the answer to this for sure. I do think that since we may not be used to the attention of eyes all on us, it produces a feeling of anxiety. Considering you are a bodybuilder you probably spend time looking at other guy's physiques that could be more aesthetically pleasing than you find yourself, perhaps that could also play as a factor.



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25 Nov 2010, 8:13 pm

It is hard to say. I am sure that you felt different from people growing up with aspergers, especially if you didn't know that you had it. I can remember being self conscious about appearing different back then and trying my best to mimick how everyone else was acting. When I could never quite it right, I thought that my appearance just wasn't acceptable and that was a reason for feeling rejected. It was more the fear that I might be too ugly than a poor physique for me. From the work I had to do growing up, I knew I was in better shape than most kids my age and was fairly confident about my body. I actually became somewhat exhibitionistic for a while in my teen years.

Now that I am older, I am more self conscious about my body. I see some flaws that weren't there back in my teen years. I usually keep my shirt on when I am running during the hot summer or I will go to the change room instead of changine t-shirts in front of everyone after a hard gym workout. I think it is ingrained confidence issues partly from having aspergers, but not caused by aspergers itself. I have a lot of confidence about certain things and fairly poor confidence about others. Whether that is common in aspergers, I don't know.



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25 Nov 2010, 8:38 pm

i think i might know what you mean. i am a bit of a nudist around people i care about, and there may (or may not) be some un-shy pictures of me floating around the interwebz. but i am very modest in public and don't wear anything too revealing. i don't like to be overtly sexual or sexualized in public.


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chrissyrun
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25 Nov 2010, 9:18 pm

I understand what you mean.
I have to be modest, partially because I am a girl, and partially because I believe in modesty.
However, whenever we are in the locker room, dressing out, I feel really awkward.
So awkward that I dress in the showers.
Yet, there are other people, who don't have autism, who do this also, that I know.



auntblabby
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26 Nov 2010, 9:02 am

i never cared one way or another, what anybody else thought of my nakedness. i have lots of naked dreams, though- so i don't know if that means i have some sub/unconscious worries concerning my appearance.



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26 Nov 2010, 11:16 am

"This is a weird question"...

Not at all IMO, I completely understand what you mean.



the_curmudge
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27 Nov 2010, 5:26 pm

kx250rider wrote:
I've always been very self-conscious of what condition my body is in, and I have always been embarrassed to go to the beach, or to places where it would be normal to take my shirt off. However, I don't feel that way if it's on "my terms". What I mean is, that I realized I have plastered pictures of me on the internet (here & elsewhere) showing off, and that somehow doesn't bother me. But I still get weird if it's a hot day and other guys are going shirtless... I still keep mine on. It's not that I have anything to hide; in fact I'm a bodybuilder with a washboard stomach, and in better shape than most in my age range (not intended as a boast; just as a qualifier). People do stare when I take my shirt off, and you'd think I'd like that, since I put so much work into it.


I can completely identify with this experience. I was ashamed of my body as looking too immature and too feminine so I took up bodybuilding and improved my physique a lot. But I was still shy about showing it and never took off my shirt in public. (I liked looking good with my shirt on, though, and if there were an Internet then, I would have shown the world.) Then I got tattoos on my arms and stopped wearing short sleeved shirts (in Florida!) because, from time to time, people said things (usually positive) about them. It seems my fear of being the center of attention was stronger than my fear of unworthiness to be the center of attention. Whether that's a specifically Aspie thing or not, I can't say.

Bottom line: you become less body conscious with age, and a good thing it is, too. I go shirtless when it's hot and if people don't like it, tough. At some point you realize that no matter how awful you think you look today, it'll be what you're nostalgic for tomorrow.



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27 Nov 2010, 5:30 pm

I've always been self-concious of my size until 2 months ago.

I wouldn't say its an aspergers thing, I'd say most people would be self-concious of their sizes but it seems that some people get so self-concious that they even go to the extreme to get the shape they want.

Mostly to get really skinny (which is not a healthy option).


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stgiordanobruno
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27 Nov 2010, 7:25 pm

I am self conscious of my belly getting over 34 inches around and my BMI getting over 25.



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27 Nov 2010, 8:54 pm

I've always been tremendously self conscious about my body and my physical appearance.Since I was a teenager people told me I should be a model,something I was never comfortable about.The fact that people give most attention towards your physical attributes,especially someone in their twenties as I am,makes me incredibly doubtful and uncomfortable. Even when I am in my best shape, which is about 6 pounds lighter than I am,I am still finding faults with myself. Right now I am trying to get back to "fighting weight" and feeling generally bloated and pudgy,even though I am far from that. Who ever said the grass was greener on the other side of the fence? Why can't we be satisfied and grateful for being healthy to begin with? hmm



kx250rider
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28 Nov 2010, 11:43 am

Thanks everyone for all the replies! I'm glad I'm not alone on that feeling.

I forgot to say one other thing, which supports the idea of the self-consciousness being related to "up close & personal" contact rather than "at a distance"... I often ride my motorcycle with no shirt (maybe a bad idea for safety reasons), and that doesn't bother me; I almost like to show off my work that way. I always wear a helmet, so somehow that makes me feel protected in more ways than just from worse head injuries in an accident. It gives an anonymity. If I am driving a car with no shirt, that's OK too, but I get a sort of a panic feeling if I realize I'm going to come up alongside another car at a red light, etc. Feels weird. When I get where I'm going, I'll put my shirt on BEFORE I get out, but I'll see other guys with much more average phyisiques, just casually walk toward wherever they're going, and putting their shirt on as they go. Not a care in the world. I wish I could be that way.

Charles