The Gintlemen, Ewan: So This is What It’s Like to be Scared

This week Ewan is coming to terms with his changing physique, and it’s impact on his self confidence. 

I briefly mentioned in my previous article that I’m struggling with transitioning, in terms of body image, from being a strongman to a runner. And in this article I’d like to speak a bit more about that, and what some of the knock-on effects have been.

I feel I should preface this article by saying I was never that big. I’m 6’3, and at my biggest weighed around 108kg (a shade over 17 stone in old money). There are plenty of bigger dudes out there, and I never looked unnaturally big in the same way that, say, a steroid user might. However, combine my height with my naturally broad shoulders, a shaved head and a big beard and I definitely had a presence.

At my most strongmaniest people genuinely crossed the road to avoid me, cars would stop to let me cross at junctions and  strangers would give me steely eyed nods in the supermarket. I never encouraged it, or particularly liked it, but I looked intimidating. And while I didn’t like scaring people, one positive effect was that I felt very safe. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of guys with a pre-occupation on being an ‘alpha’ would give me looks, and maybe a few hard words, but none actually went through with anything.

However, as I am trying to become a better runner, I am actively trying to lose weight. Right now I weigh around 92kg, which is roughly 14.5 stone. Compared to some, I’m still a relatively built guy, but compared to my old self I am a twiglet.

Coming to terms with my physique and my appearance is one thing, but recently I have started to feel another thing, which is new for me. I feel unsafe. I am not a violent person, but when I looked scary I knew that most situations could be dissolved with my presence and a few means looks. A tactic I employed to stop my best mate getting a black eye the night before his wedding. But now, I don’t feel like I can do this anymore. I have no armour, as it were.

I know it’s ludicrous. Though the media may have you thinking otherwise, in reality we live in one of the safest societies on the planet. The chances of something violent happening to me are miniscule. But still, the feeling is there, and it’s something I’m not used to.

I’ve found myself wondering if this is something that women feel, all the time? I don’t mean this in a belittling way, but when I used to date some of precautions they would take when meeting somebody, me, for the first time were quite surprising. Precautions I didn’t even know needed to be took.

I know as I get more comfortable in my new, reduced skin, this feeling will pass. But it’s certainly a surprising side effect of simply transitioning sports and losing a bit of weight, and in interesting reflection on society.

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