I’m sitting at Chapters in downtown Newberg today. This is maybe the third time I’ve come here to write in the past week or two. It’s been really nice, and surprisingly productive (which is why I keep coming back).
Except today. I had a rough start. I got here early but had to turn around and head all the way home to get a phone adapter. Then I had to just sit and wait while my phone charged.
But that’s not the real problem. The problem is that I can feel myself bursting out of my clothes. I’ve gotten so damned fat, even I can’t believe it.
And I’m not being hard on myself. I broke 300 pounds over the summer. And that was when I weighed in after a month of exercise.
So I can’t get comfortable. At all. I feel like I’m smuggling a sack of lard around my midsection. I’ve never heard anyone talk about that side of being fat, but it’s true: The fat doesn’t feel like part of you. Or at least it doesn’t feel like part of me; maybe other people are comfortably settled into their mass. Personally, it hangs on me like a garbage sack I can’t take off.
I watch what I eat, both in quality and quantity. Not being able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables sucks. Same with fish. So finding lean proteins, low-sugar fruits, and vegetables I don’t have to cook into nutritional oblivion is a daily pain in the ass.
And I exercise. More and more often. My workouts are getting longer and more intense every week. I walk, I jog sometimes, and I box (heavy bag work). I can feel my overall health improving. I feel it in the little things throughout the day: being able to move more easily, feeling less fatigue. But I’m older now, and it’s taken longer for my body to adapt to my workouts. I’m not seeing the nearly instantaneous weight loss I used to. I’m back under 300, but I’ve got such a long way to go.
But now, for today, wearing a fresh pair of jeans (read: tight, unstretched), and wearing an XXL t-shirt that, frankly, doesn’t feel quite big enough anymore…
…well, I feel sick. I’m paralyzed with shame, and that’s no exaggeration. Sitting here at a little table, trying to make myself physically comfortable (mentally comfortable seems like too much today), I can feel myself trying not to move, trying not to do anything that might let other people in on the big secret that I’m here, in the same room with them. Trying very hard to be invisible.
But being invisible isn’t enough on days like this. Even if people couldn’t see me, I can feel me. I can feel myself bulging out, my shirt taut against my gut. I can feel myself taking up way too much space, hanging out to the front and sides. And all at the same time, it’s not me. It’s just some horrible, sagging thing that’s attached itself to me, something that glommed on to me all the way back when I was a toddler.
And it grew up with me. For the first ten years of my life, it grew faster than I did. Once I was aware of it, aware of myself, aware of other people staring at me, I fought it off, hard as I could. I made good strides in high school, got down to 200 pounds. But even with lifting weights in gym class, walking several miles home from school everyday, and then exercising for an hour (because anything less would be lazy), I never made it over to the winning side of the battle.
And at no point in that time, nowhere in my entire life, did this thing—this unwanted extra me, this surplus flesh—at no point did this feel like a part of me. It was always on me, around me, hanging on, distorting my sense of self.
So yeah, I’m hoping that if I write this down it’ll somehow exorcise the accuser sitting behind me, just out of sight. The answer is, “no”. But at least I’m a little warmed up for the rest of my writing now.
Note to self: don’t sit at the little round tables. They jiggle too damn much.
Let’s move on…