January 24th, 2005

Mask

Self Portrait

There has been some question as to the nature of my appearance. This curiosity is understandable, since many of you have never met me. The anonymity of the Internet calls allows that the physical is hidden, which I have always enjoyed, but you have all been very kind, so I feel comfortable answering your question. Since I do not picture well, I will attempt to describe myself in prose.

When I stand straight I am about 5’9, although, because of my hunch, I am often perceived as short. My natural stance is this; I jut my hips forward, and bow my spine back, rolling my shoulders both in towards my chest and down towards the floor. I stick my neck forward and rest my skull back on my shoulders, causing my mouth to open naturally and my nostrils to point toward the viewer.

I weigh about 318 lbs, or at least, I did the last time I went to the doctor’s office, but I cannot be sure now since my home scale only reaches 250 pounds. My skin is pasty, dry and chitonous over most of my body, although there are patches of slick discoloration. Around my distended stomach parts of my flesh hang limp in flaccid pouches. White stretch marks cover my torso like pulls in plastic. Ripe brown rashes often appear between the fatty folds of skin on my stomach, thighs and chin. The flesh of my thighs folds over, bulbous, around my circular knee, which balances painfully on swollen calves. My feet are small from heel to toe, about a size five, but also wide and flat, shaped like irregular ovals. My leg hair grows brown and slowly, except around my ankles, where it is thick, black and fast. There are sporadic patches of stubble all over my body; under my chin, over the inside of my thighs and around my nipples.

My navel protrudes rudely from my belly and is very sensitive. It is often infected and leaks pus, which is sometimes stained pink with blood. My breasts are limp and the left is significantly larger than the right by about two sizes. The smaller, more sensitive right breast lactates involuntarily when I become stressed. My biceps appear inverted, the muscles hanging down in shaking skin-bags. My fingers are short compared to my broad palm, and my habit of chewing my fingernails keeps them trimmed painfully down to the nick.

My face is covered with pockmarks from the violent way I treated my acne as an adolescent. My upper lip is quite thin, but my lower lip is large, fleshy, and often chapped. My tongue is thick, dry and often swollen with white, revolting taste buds that pain me so much that I bite them off in my mouth in order to cause a conventional wound, rather than suffer the throbbing of their infection. My eyes are small and milky; a thin opalescent veil continually leaks ichors from one side and solidifies into hard sand on the other. My hair is brown smeared with white and gray strands, oily at the top and dry as straw at the bottom. It hangs to my shoulders and I keep it tied back with a thick rubber band.

I hope this description was illuminating; it was certainly refreshing for me to honestly describe my appearance. There is more that I could include, of course, but I will refrain in the interests of space and in consideration of your time.
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