Leather and mesh. Pride season always drags these materials from the depths of my otherwise bland closet. I’m not so unlike other people in that way. Pride is a queer Halloween of sorts: a liberating campiness hovers over the whole thing, blurring the line between clothing and costume. The result is an opportunity for earnest self-expression that doesn’t carry the same risks, because it’s offset by a sarcastic wink.
But at a strobe-lit party, standing shoulder to sweaty shoulder with bodies that move more gracefully than mine, I’m reminded why I prefer these clothes on other people. I’m wearing a sheer top, like hundreds of others in the room. But I swear the light is hitting me differently, and I swear my love handles are giving me away, and my costume feels more like a disguise. It doesn’t express. It deceives. I wonder if people can see right through me. I wonder if people are taking one look at me and thinking, “Oh, hon.”
That might sound paranoid, but that’s what body dysmorphia is: constant paranoia of being seen. In my mind’s eye, my body is a funhouse distortion, shifting and warping in grotesque ways, and the world around me becomes a wilderness of mirrors. I see other people, whose proportions are fixed and whose angles create definite shapes, and they seem entirely unbothered by having a body. I see them, and I think to myself, what would I do if I could move through life like that?
I wondered if other people shared similar anxieties when Pride season comes around. First, I asked writer Mathew Rodriguez from Mic, a queer Puerto Rican who considers himself a person of size. Read more via Slate