EVERYONE FEELS THIS WAY
An ongoing body of work
Everyone Feels This Way is an exploration of insecurity and individuality. Most people usually have a choice in how they represent themselves every single day. However, the way one desires to represent themselves, and how others actually see them, do not always align. It is almost impossible to avoid the judgement from others.
The volunteers each become a subject in two different styles of portraiture. It is quite a contrast between the two portraits: the environmental portrait is taken in a space that they feel comfortable, wearing their choice of clothing, and presenting themselves the way they want to be seen. The image on the plain white backdrop (not posted online due to privacy), gives the sitter the ability to undress to their comfort level. Again, they chose how much to reveal themselves, but engage in an act which tests their vulnerability and reveals the physical insecurities that they have described in their interview.
*Names are abbreviated for privacy purposes
What are your insecurities?
When I was younger, it was my skin tone. Because I am darker, I was ashamed of that for the longest time. Because of the color of my skin, I’ve been in spaces and environments where my intelligence had been put into question; based solely on that.
Now I embrace it.
If we’re speaking in the present, overall, I don’t know what I would want to improve, but I know I’m not one hundred percent satisfied with it. It does, at times, bring me mental anguish.
I think [the insecurities] stem from the media; the people who are presented to us as the pillars of beauty.
I never felt like I identified with my body; it was more like clothing I was wearing, and not something I was, or am. I was disgusted by it, and ashamed by it. I was kind of angry at my body, starting when puberty happened.
I am not a girl, and I am not straight.
I hate the fact that I have a chest. I hate the fact that I have a period. I hate the fact that people identify me in a certain way, and have expectations because I look a certain way. It was no longer this feeling of, ‘this isn’t me,’ but now I had an image of what I ‘should’ be.
I used to be insecure about my mid-section, and not being flat-stomached, and how my butt looks flat.
My mom would tell me ‘you should take the ADHD medicine, it always made you lose weight.’ My mom would always make comments like, ‘looks like you’re getting heavier.’ My dad would tell me that her mother would make the same comments to her.
When I hear comments from a stranger, I can kinda push it at a distance. It means more, because it was coming from my mother. I haven’t been body-shamed outside of my own home.
In the gay community, a lot of people sexualize hairy men. I’ve always been very hairy. In the sixth grade, I had full-on body hair. That’s also when I came out. I was definitely an outcast. I got a lot of flack from the straight guys [back] then. I grew up being called ‘faggot.’
I feel like I carry myself differently if I am normally out in public, than I would if I was at a queer event. I just feel like I can’t be myself. If I have my nails painted, people would be like, ‘why does this faggot have his nails painted?’ Mainly when I am alone, I keep a guard up in front of people. I feel like if someone were to approach me, I wouldn’t be able to defend myself.
I am insecure about my skin. When I was younger, I had really bad acne. I went months without leaving my house. I gained weight. I felt like I was depressed. I felt really ugly.
I still struggle with acne a lot. I use makeup to cover what I feel like I should cover; it makes me feel more comfortable.
Growing up, I had to act a certain way in front of family just because they’re so critical. I can’t be myself. In Mexico, physical beauty usually means white skin, light hair, light eyes, nice figure, and being tall. Obviously, I don’t look that way; I don’t have most those features.
I’m pretty hard on myself. But with other people, I encourage them to be happy and to be the best version of themselves.
I feel like I walk through the world and everyone on the street sees me, and is like, ‘look at that fat person.’
I used to be a lot heavier than I am now. I was an on-and-off bulimic since the seventh grade. Growing up, my mom was always on some kind of diet. Her biggest goal, all the time, is losing weight. I have been aware of the concept of ‘empty calories’ since I was a kid. I would feel like shit about consuming calories, at all. It’s only been in the last two or three years, that I am able to eat stuff, and not feel insane guilt about it.
I feel that the belly button to mid-thigh is my least favorite area. It is weird how the way I see myself in the mirror, fluctuates with the way I feel that day.
Looking like one thing to people, and then knowing who I am and where I’m from - and those two not matching up.
If I tell somebody, ‘yo, I produce hip-hop and R&B music,’ from reactions I have gotten before, they’re like, ‘nah, no way.’ For me, I know image is an important thing. I’ll start thinking about it through the other person’s lens, versus, ‘this is what I want.’ I know a lot of times, when people hear those genres, they have an image in their head… especially for black men.
A personal interview with Rae T. on their insecurities, body, gender & the use of pronouns they/them
Millennials speak on their insecurities, where they might come from, and how they deal with them.