Phase 2: I’m Fat

Yeah, I’m overweight. Some computer junkie cliché. I love technology, sitting, video games, pizza and offensive jokes. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 18. I left my parents’ house where my alcoholic father made every day a dark guessing-game.  I took a job across the country, 3000 miles away in Florida. Once I was there I was alone, in my own apartment, making too much money and I had nothing to do. I ordered pizza every night I went shopping for beer and frozen meals. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I had NO idea how to take care of myself.

I just figured, “hey I’m alive right”? I have a bank account and shoes on my feet and food in my stomach. I’m not doing too bad…

Over the course of a year I gained a lot of weight, and felt some of the deepest depression I’ve ever felt. I remember sleeping for 20 hours a day and feeling exhausted and going right back to bed. I just couldn’t cope with life. Eventually I was laid-off and forced to move back to California. Which was probably for the best. I saw the glances my friends gave me. My hair was different, I weighed about 40 pounds more than when I left. Most people were very accepting. They just shrugged and welcomed me back to my life. Then my Dad passed away.

My Dad was a complicated guy with a hard life. He was big, sometimes mean, and assertive as hell. He was a mechanic, a carpenter, a man’s man and not someone to ‘fuck with’. He also had a huge sense of humor, he loved his wife and kids, and after a terrible accident he ended up developing a full blown alcohol problem. Toward the end he was guzzling a gallon of vodka a day, reminiscing fondly with me one minute and drifting off to stare accusingly at me and criticizing my life choices the next. He drank himself to death, which I think is what he had wanted for a long time. Just to get out.

There’s a lot I need to work on about what happened to my father. I remember sleeping with a knife under my pillow, a 14 year old would-be hero. Ready to step in in case my Dad decided to hurt Mom again. I remember drinking myself almost to death in an effort to forget about the problems he caused in our family. I remember the shame of picking him up off the bathroom floor and realizing from all the blood and glass, that he wasn’t invincible.

This isn’t about my Father, but I think it’s important to know. I loved him and he loved us, but his exit from this world was about one of the worst and most painful you could imagine.

I was 18 going on 19 and I fancied myself an adult. I did what I thought an adult would do. I shut down. I didn’t cry, I tried to work, I smoked some pot and medicated myself. I tried desperately to get over it and to not think about it. Come to find out, I was pretty good at that.

Of course during that year following this I was pretty much a mess. I don’t even know what I ate like at that time, but I’m sure it wasn’t good. When the dust finally settled I was worse off than ever. Something like 60+ pounds overweight, lost, confused, and lonely.

There was a string of relationships, some as short as two weeks. With damaged girls. One night stands. Crazy fights and getting cheated on several times. Mostly I worked, I read a lot and I retreated into my computer, video games and the internet.

Over the next few years there were some ups and downs. Times where I would try for a while and then backslide slowly. It got harder and harder to diet and work-out and while It always got worse – it was so gradual that I hardly noticed. I sort of came to accept being fat.

It’s how everyone sees me, everyone knows me and for a bit there, I was even kind of OK with it. I still had fun, I still felt okay. I was just a ‘heavy’ guy.

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