The man who melted

He melted like a candle, his skin laying flabby about him, his face sunken and wrinkled. Intensive weight loss made a fat man shrink to a much thinner version, with all the excessive skin and the impossibility of recovery of some fitting appearance, specially at his current age, 58 years old.

looseskin

He is short and has always been overweight, and even fat. He became obese, and never really fought it, despite his profession being a physician. Fear of surgery, lack of self esteem. Whatever.

And I was once in love with him, 12 years ago. I can´t say he was sexually appealing, or that he was physically attractive, I´d be lying to myself. I liked him and I was sick, marriage in its final crisis. He happened. It did not last, and I moved on. And as I moved on it was natural that I´d lost any interest in him, except as a friend. He did not feel the same, and still doesn´t.

One of the reasons I never liked to tell people that we had a relationship once, is that I am ashamed of his ugliness. And I am ashamed of being ashamed. I am not beautiful, but there is something about his growing obesity that irked me, cause I knew that it had sources other than physical, it wasn´t a disease of the body, it was the physical manifestation of his inner world, deformed, retentive, anxious, needy, compulsive… I am younger and wanted to live something more satisfying, have more pleasure, enjoy myself, and also deal with my own problems and ghosts. I literally did not want to carry his burdens.

He married again, a woman who hates me and who might hate him too. He complains she doesn´t care about him, not even sexually anymore, and I refrain from telling that I totally understand her. I just had no idea how the surgery made him even worse. He aged 20 years. Dying his hair does not help, neither does roasting under the sun, these only make it worse.

His voice is not feeble, as if the weight loss has somehow being affected, and he used to have a beautiful voice. Now it sounds… feeble.

Oh, yes, his health indicators are better, even though he waited so long to treat his obesity, but he is the incredible man who melted. The stick with layers of excessive skin about him, with a big head and ugly colored hair, wrinkled face, droopy eyes and feeble voice. I pitied him, I was disgusted, I wanted to run, to beg him not to tell anyone we ever had anything.

And I felt guilty for that. Regardless of all he made me suffer because of my psychiatric problems I never hated him, cause I always saw his weaknesses. I chose not live with him, I don´t love him, but I can´t hate him, cause he never consciously caused me  harm and he did much worse to himself.

Perhaps his looks are so terrifying because they make me think about my own looks. Am I like him?  Do people pity me too? Am I as deformed as he is? His being so close scares me as badly as mirrors, and I feel I must face his image, in order to detach it from myself.

I pray he is strong enough to go through the plastic surgeries needed to excise the excessive skin, although I know that the face and neck are more complicated. I hope he is wise enough not to keep trying to look younger, and let his hair grizzle naturally, treating it to a dignified middle aged look, I hope he exercises and find his own aesthetic balance and perhaps some self-esteem, even if starting from the outside and then working on the inside.

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I know I fight his battle everyday with myself, even though I am not obese. I must go back to the gym, to fix my back and shoulders, and keep my weight more stable (I am not fat, but I am always gaining or loosing a couple of pounds, about the same weight range), and better health. I have just turned 47, I want to get to 58 in good health at least. Age won´t turn back, unless I get Alzheimer, so I am not interested in looking younger… oh, hell, I don´t even truly know what I look like!

I was scared, disgusted, I felt guilty, I wanted to run and also could not stop staring at his complete deformity. I have to work those feelings inside me, figure them out, for they say a lot about my personal issues and I guess that´s what is haunting me… the ghost of dysmorphic disorder

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