Living up to the standard is typically the way of the world but for some it came harder and started earlier.
Dwayne “Wayne” Daniels grew up in Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools. As the only child, Daniels grew up feeling like he was the odd child out with no friends. Not knowing what beauty was at a young age, Daniels assumed it was being skinny, because most people were.
Known as “Fat Kid” by his classmates, Wayne was often bullied and teased for being overweight. Wayne felt ugly and expressed that even people he called friends talked about him in a negative way.
While the other kids played outside, participated in after-school sports and lived a care-free life, Wayne had different activities to partake in.
In fourth grade at the young age of 10, Wayne tried out his first weight-loss diet which was medically supervised, a procedure where he went in and tried did methods of weight loss in the facility. He was 162 pounds.
“I felt different. Normal kids didn’t have to go through it and I resented being there, but I knew I had to get it done to feel better,” said Wayne.
Determined to look in the mirror and see a skinny-framed person, Wayne turned his focus to redefining himself and began doing whatever it took to lose weight.
Wayne tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and as time went on constantly felt like he was beginning to get bigger and bigger.
“I just wanted to be thin. That was my whole thing. I want to be small, because I didn’t feel normal. I remember just wanting to be look normal like everyone else. I didn’t want to be big.”
When asked did he ever feel beautiful, Wayne responded “never.”
Angelo Graham of Detroit, Wayne’s long-time friend, described him as “beautiful but lacking confidence.”
“Wayne saw society and TV and made up his own definition when he was younger what beauty looked like, and I think that stuck with him, making him obsessed with the idea of weight loss and being skinny to fit in,” said Graham.
Undergoing the knife
In 2012, a year after graduating from Cass Tech High, weighing 456 pounds at the age of 19, Wayne underwent his first surgery called Gastric Sleeve.
According to Webmd.com, during Gastric Sleeve Surgery, the surgeon cuts and removes three-fourths of the stomach, reattaching the rest forming a sleeve that allows a person to feel fuller quicker. Over the course of 12-18 months, a person generally loses 60 percent of their extra weight.
The risk includes infection and internal bleeding.
According to Renewbariatrics.com, more than 36.5 percent of people in the U.S. are obese. The average for bariatric surgeries performed in a year is 196,000. Gastric Sleeve surgery accounts for about half of those surgeries. The weight loss surgery generally costs between $11,500 and $40,000.
To prepare for his beauty transformation, Wayne had to lose a certain amount of weight before the procedure.
“I would get on the treadmill every day and run for an hour even if I felt tired after the first two or three minutes,” Wayne said. “I would have rather died than got off that treadmill. I was that determined.”
Registered Nurse Dana Woods of Oakland, California, gave insight by stating that most young adults that come in for beauty enhancing procedures still deal with confidence and self-esteem issues after.
Inspiring Detroit makeup artist Jay Allen has been a social media follower of Wayne for over three years. Watching his weight loss journey inspired Allen to pursue surgery in hopes of being healthy and more attractive.
“I felt scared to tell anyone what I wanted to do, but seeing him be vocal on social media in front of everyone inspired me to do it even more,” said Allen.
Allen, 26, weighed 560 pounds before undergoing Gastric Sleeve surgery in 2015. He now weighs 260 pounds.
Allen reached out to Wayne, thanking him for being the inspiration behind his surgery, but Wayne himself was feeling uninspired.
Blind leading the way
In Wayne’s mirror reflection was the body he paid for, but mentally he still was still prisoned behind “Fat Kid.”
By the age of 24 he underwent plastic surgery, receiving a tummy tuck and chest reconstruction.
But to his surprise, being skinny and botched did not make him feel more confident or beautiful.
“My confidence did not change from my surgery and I was shocked. I would walk in a room full of people and look skinny and still feel like the fat kid,” said Wayne. “I still felt like people stared.”
Struggling with weight all his life, not losing the majority of it until age 21, Wayne still was mentally overweight. His adjustment to the “new him” was different than expected.
“I’m still adjusting to this new body and person. I’ve had all this surgery done to feel better, and I feel like I’m adjusting to a different person” said Wayne.
Wayne admits to depending on Gastric Sleeve surgery to make him feel normal and advises anyone thinking about beauty enhancing surgeries to research it thoroughly, ask questions and build confidence within oneself first.
“People are wrong when they put all their hopes into a surgery in hopes of feeling more confident. you have to love yourself, build yourself up and go for what you want,” said Wayne.