If I was standing naked in front of you, here’s what you would see:
7 scars on my chest, ranging from a centimeter long, to 9 centimeters long. These are the result of a series of surgeries I underwent between the ages of 16 and 18 as a result of my lungs collapsing. Towards the end of my teenager years, I was ashamed of them, refusing to take my shirt off in public. The biggest scar runs right across my heart. I’m sure there’s something to be said about that, but I don’t know what.
My 4 tattoos. The first, a dancing man by Keith Haring, was inked after I finished my first world tour. My second, a symbol for hope, was done right after getting my BA. The third, which reads “Who am I being that my children’s eyes are not shining?”, I got during my second world tour, following a series of inspiring events in my life. The last one, “this too shall pass”, signifies a new, more mature(?) approach to life.
My posture. As a child, my uncle used to always tell me that men who respect themselves stand up straight. He also used to tell me that if he were as tall as I am, he would be proud to show it off. I do not stand up straight, hard as I try.
Strange body hair patterns, the result of having been shaved (from top to bottom) for surgery at 16, 17, and 18. I hate my body hair patterns.
My belly, that will forever make me feel like I am not good enough, sexy enough, fit enough, interesting enough. I grew up (very) skinny, and only started gaining weight when I turned 25. As a child, I used to be convinced that I was adopted, only because I was the only (very) skinny one in my family. Having a belly is strange for me, even though I am fully aware that I am not fat. I have only had to deal with weight issues in my thirties.
My eyes, tiny, unable to see colors, and that can barely see anything without glasses.
My nose, a typical Arab man’s nose, that has been the only thing making plastic surgery tempting for me. When I was younger, living in Los Angeles, surrounded by white people with small noses, made me very self-conscious about my nose. Today, back in Beirut, I don’t think it’s that big anymore.
My balding head. I figured out I was going to be bald when I was young. My father, all 4 of my uncles, and both grandfathers were bald. It’s still not easy to digest.
My broken front tooth, the result of a very serious bicycle accident when I was younger. My brother had tricked me down a hill that was too steep for my age, teaching me that the best way to stop was to only use the front brakes.
A series of scars: on my left nostril from a ski accident, on the back of my neck from a cyst that needed to be removed, on my head as a result of an altercation with a cousin, on my elbows and knees from the bicycle accident that broke my tooth, next to my left eye from something I don’t remember.
My insecurity. You can see it in the way I stand, in the way I avoid your gaze, in the way I suck in my stomach, in the way I try to hide my imperfections. It is the thing that holds me back the most, the thing that gets in the way of my happiness. It is the thing I hate the most about myself. It destroys my self-esteem and my well-being.