I was a nerd, not a jock, a little flabby but not obese, interested in the brain more than the body, catching my breath after a few flights of stairs, thinking this was the way to live Catholicism. I saw the problem with society’s ideal model: a self-starvation woman with liposuction, plastic surgery, a facelift, make up and airbrushing; a steroid-enhanced man, dehydrated, in a constant state of flexing, and chemically tanned. I rejected that image. I chose to be body-positive. Or did I?
In hindsight, I think I fell into the cultural trap, even in trying to reject it, rather than following a Christian body-positive view.
As a boy I enjoyed sports like anyone else but being uncoordinated, I never really succeeded in them. I was one of the last boys chosen in sports: beyond lacking coordination, I couldn’t do a push-up. What was left for me except walk away and focus on where I could succeed? That was becoming a lazy but moderately successful engineering student. My body seemed like something I just had to drag around so I can do the real work of the mind and the soul.