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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Body Image

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

An underwear shot revealing a little bit of a gut isn’t exactly the bravery we’re looking for

Source: Will Smith / Instagram

Let’s get one thing clear right away: Will Smith isn’t fat.

Smith recently posted a couple of pics of himself on social media with no shirt on, exposing his lack of six-pack abs. It’s probably the first time he hasn’t had visible abs since the mid-90s when he made his sex symbol debut as the trigger-happy cop Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys. It appears that Smith, like millions of other people the world over, added on a few pounds during the pandemic, and I’m almost spot-on with the amount. But by the time you read this, he will have likely…

After a life of struggling with my weight and self-esteem, I was on track. Then Covid came.

Photo: John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

“You know you look skinny, right?” The words felt like a too-tight hug that was starting to hurt.

At the time, I was in the middle of a weight-loss journey, having lost about 40 pounds from my adult high of 250 or so. (The “or so” is because I had no idea. I’d stopped weighing myself and stupidly refused to go to the doctor until I lost weight.) I’d gone from XXXL shirts and a 38-inch waist to larges and a 34-inch waist. But I was complaining about still feeling fat. …

Whether early-onset puberty or my thighs being too fat, I hated my self-image

A photo of me when I traveled. Photos courtesy of the author

I come from a family that shows love through food.

Every holiday event centered around eating. By the time I was 13 and ready to have a bar mitzvah, I was chubby. My uncles would often remark, callously, that the puppy fat would melt away as I grew up.

Both my siblings were outgoing, and neither had issues with their weight. At least, neither of them expressed their concerns to me. Both enjoyed sports and active social lives. As for me, the more I became aware of my body, the more I hated stepping outside. …

Yes, the rookie phenom is able to hurdle any obstacle others put in his way

Zion Williamson on January 26, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

I grew up in Brooklyn in the ’90s when the biggest star was a fat, Black Jamaican. Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace got all the girls by flaunting his ugly cool. He was smooth and wore thousand-dollar sweaters, so that made his claim more convincing. It must be, because his debut album, Ready to Die, said so. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up then as I do now.

It took me almost my entire lifetime to accept myself and my body. I’m still not there. But when I watch basketball, I forget about body image and…


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