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  • Adam 2:30 pm on September 29, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: adrift, , , future, , lost, no phase, , present, what happens now   

    The Final Phase: No Phase at All 

    After everything happened I had days upon days of harsh reflection. Everything happened so brutally – so quickly and so hard – that I didn’t really have any excuses left. I managed to finally see things how they are. The ugly things, the terrible things, the way I’ve treated Carrie.

    The entire endeavor changed in scope and suddenly I could see the things I’ve been doing not for two months but for two years, for five years, for TEN years. I could see for the first time the fear that had been ruling my life and what it meant I would lose.

    What I did to Carrie to bring this to a head was only the last in a long line of relationship-based atrocities. I did recognize a few things right away and made some decisions.

    I decided to stop drinking. I was afraid of doing it which only confirmed that it’s something I needed to do. I remember being told I’m following in my Dad’s footsteps and I just couldn’t live with that path any more.

    I knew I had to start eating right.

    I knew I had to start exercising not just a little but every single day.

    The changes I want to make started coming fast and furious and pretty soon I couldn’t see much of the person I was, in the person that I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be a person that missed out on the fun. I didn’t want to be a person that couldn’t walk around Disneyland for three days with my wife. I didn’t want to be a person that responded to caring questions with anger and accusations. I didn’t want to be a person that couldn’t hold a job or couldn’t fix something they had wrong with themselves when it was very easy to see what it was.

    At some point my qualities turned into my faults and the assertiveness, confidence, humor and joy I had in my life turned into a sick parody of themselves.

    Finally a few days later Carrie and I talked and she told me that she needed to move on. That she couldn’t be in our relationship, she couldn’t trust me, she couldn’t even believe in love anymore.

    I’ve never felt like more of a villain than when my wife told me that I made her stop believing in love.

    That’s the kind of thing that can cut you to your core.

    I feel like a criminal, an ex-convict, someone who has nothing left to do but make amends. I can’t look my friends in the face. I can’t go online and I can’t do anything but re-hash everything over and over.

    The hardest part is that I can’t make amends. Even if I tried she wouldn’t be around to show them to her anymore. I started seeing a therapist, I started health classes, I work out every day, I eat right every day.

    I’ve made a promise to myself to be genuine, to be kind to people, to be respectful of women. Also to be more honest with myself and to never flinch away from what I don’t want to see, at the expense of everyone and everything around me.

    I’ve spent so many years being immature and selfish and I feel now that the only thing I can do is to be more mature and more selfless that I’ve ever been in my life and that maybe if I do that every moment of every day for the rest of my life that maybe someday I’ll be a better person and maybe she’ll notice.

    Maybe someday she’ll meet the person I’ve become. And maybe if lightning could strike twice and there really is such a thing as love we could have it together again.

    I want to be the kind of person that people want to be around. I want to know when someone spends time with me that they know that I’m being honest and that I appreciate them.

    I want to make people smile and not just laugh.

    I want to be the kind of man that just hugs someone and doesn’t mean anything by it. I’ve been told that I’m not the worst person in the world and I’m sure that that’s true. But there’s so many miles between where I’m at and that amazing person I could be. I can see all the catching up I need to do.

    It’s so strange, I exercise every single day, and my knees don’t hurt. I don’t worry about it that much and sometimes I even think about doing it twice in a day. Everything that I was afraid would happen if I just bit the bullet and did what I needed to do, just never materialized and all I see is progress. My wedding ring feels loose and my belt doesn’t hurt quite so much. I have dreams of being a fitness enthusiast, of being strong, of being the kind of person that people admire – physically, mentally and spiritually.

    It seems to beat the hell out of being good at video games and sarcasm. It seems like something I can be proud of and not just for a little while but every day. I’m so ashamed of myself right now that all I can do is try to be a better person and if I can accomplish that and show it to myself every single day for the rest of my life then maybe everything I’ve done up until now had a purpose.

    I am so horrifically afraid that I will have to do this alone and I miss Carrie like my own limb is missing. In the silence between the sounds I hear her singing. When I close my eyes I see hers. When I roll over in bed I can feel her warmth behind me.

    I would take 10 years of silence if I knew at the end of it I could hear her voice. Instead I just have to try, I just have to improve. I have to be the man she deserved all along. Someone who would leap to help her with the chores so that she wouldn’t have the burden to herself. Someone that could take her anywhere she wanted to go because she deserves it. A true partner someone who is invested completely in our mutual happiness and our future.

    That Future is gone, it’s muddy now and I don’t know if it even involves me anymore. That’s my punishment for 10 years. That’s what I deserve for 20 minutes of lust. I didn’t just cheat on Carrie I let her drag me behind her for 10 years before I did. She doesn’t deserve that, nobody does, and I hope maybe someone reading these words will avoid that same fate.

    I wish I could write the next chapter now and let you know how it all turns out.

    I can’t.

    But I can tell you that there’s an adult who will march quietly into a better future. Hopefully this time with dignity and maturity and who shakes your hand and looks you in the eye and that you can tell has his shit together. That man used to be fat, he used to be sad, and he still loves Carrie.

     
  • Adam 11:18 am on September 29, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , collapse, , guilt, , mistakes, , ,   

    Phase 10: Full Circle 

    That kind of brings us to now. I have always had a high sex drive. I’ve dated people I didn’t like and done things I’m embarrassed about. Before I met Carrie, I had awkward one-night stands, weird relationships, marathon porn sessions. Most of that stopped after Carrie and I started dating, well everything except the porn.

    After a few years into our relationship, we started trying ‘swinging’ with another couple. And it was two nice attractive people who seemed to like both of us physically, even though I was not looking so great. For a while it was a balm to my ego and it made me feel like not only can we handle this, but that it’s good for us. It made me feel wanted, and made me feel like there was someone else who would also sleep with me.

    I couldn’t be that bad could I? I mean TWO women are willing to sleep with me on occasion and they’re both gorgeous. It’s something I clung to night after night when Carrie would roll away from me, annoyed at my fumbling attempts to just ‘get off’.

    Oh do my problems stop? Nope. I’m a womanizer.

    Not in the classic 1950’s sense of “A man who treats women poorly or engages in multiple sex-based relationships” more like “A man who flirts constantly, gropes women, and generally acts like he’s single when he’s not”.

    When I was younger I used to just be a flirt, maybe a little over-confident at times, and fairly notorious when I was drunk. But I never thought of myself as someone who made people uncomfortable. I’ve found over time and over the years, that I got worse and worse. More and more bold with people.

    I’ve gotten warned away from people’s girlfriends. I’ve had to make awkward apologies. It got to the point where people would warn other people before meeting me. He’s “Handsy” they would say, or “Doesn’t have boundaries”.

    It’s taken me a while but as I got more and more heavy, more unattractive and more unhappy. I would reach out more and more to everyone around me. If I could grab-ass a little and kiss the girls I must still have “it” right? I felt so bad all the time about how I looked the only way I could get through the weekend was to push boundaries and feel sexy. Most of the time I did this just as readily in front of Carrie as behind her back. It seems like I’m scum, but I honestly did want her to know. I’m not doing this as a secret. This isn’t a “cheating method” this is a just me being me, and if I’m not hiding it from own wife, how much harm could it really do?

    Carrie would tell me how embarrassed she would get at parties when people would ask her “Why do you let him do that?” and she would shrug and say “Oh he doesn’t mean anything by it”. I guess frankly I didn’t. I didn’t want to sleep with everyone, I just wanted to feel like I was the same old Adam who used to break hearts and change women frequently. The Adam that didn’t have a weight problem and people thought was dashing, handsome and charismatic.

    I do at least assure you, I was all those things at some point.

    I think eventually I got by on pure charisma, and then eventually I got by on feeling up women and breaking boundaries.

    One month came along where Carrie was gone for four weekends in a row. She was off showing her prize goats, which she loves to do and it made her happy. I was feeling particularly low when she sat me down and told me that she would be gone for four weekends in a row. Because of our work schedules we didn’t see each other much during the week and I knew with her gone during the weekend that I would be largely alone for an entire month.

    I actually welcomed the solitude. There were times where I was depressed and I just wanted to be alone. These four weekends I actually took the time to be by myself and for the most part I enjoyed it. Things had been strained between us for a while, maybe a break is what I needed.

    For the first few weeks I lazed around and enjoyed myself and it wasn’t so bad. I even got some thinking done about my life. On the fourth weekend things it started to get old and I found myself missing her more and more.

    I remember resenting that she was gone for so long and that she didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t with her. She seemed preoccupied with what she was doing and all I could think about was that I was by myself and no one seemed to care.

    That weekend I proceeded to get drunk at home by myself. I put away a few glasses of whiskey and started texting with people one of them was my old coworker Liz who told me that she was going to quit drinking and that this was her final day to drink. I guess at that point I kind of knew what I was doing although I definitely had some liquid courage in me. I invited her over and we ended up drinking even more together.

    A lot of it’s a blur but I remember making a move and having it reciprocated and things quickly escalating. we ended up in the bedroom and thanks to alcohol, there wasn’t much I could actually accomplish. It’s safe to say that I basically embarrassed myself – and while it was wholly inappropriate – it didn’t go well.

    The whole endeavor took about 20 minutes and afterwards sobriety came crashing in. We both stood there awkwardly, she asked if we could still be friends, I told her yes that we could be friends and while it was clear we both regretted what we had done. We mutually agreed to put it behind us and pretend it hadn’t happened.

    About two months went by and in that time I experienced a lot of guilt I thought about telling Carrie in 1000 different ways what had happened. I even thought maybe if I came clean the right way that she wouldn’t be THAT mad – that she might understand. We had had these experiences with other people and maybe she was open-minded enough to see that this wasn’t as bad as it could be and it was just a mistake.

    I actually started to clean up my act. I think it was the first glimmer I’d had in a long time that something was seriously wrong and it wasn’t going to go away on its own. I started helping more and volunteering more. For a while I actually felt like maybe I was starting to change and be a better husband. Maybe that’s part of why I kept silent.

    Ultimately I was afraid. I knew there was every chance that I had blown everything and if there was a chance that it would ruin everything I couldn’t risk it. They often say that confessing an affair is often relieving your own guilt and putting the burden on the other person and I guess I thought maybe I was doing her a favor or the right thing.

    As most secrets do – It all came out and in a single hour – and in a single day my life collapsed.

     
  • Adam 8:08 pm on September 27, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: attraction, backsliding, dysfunction, , , limbo, , , sexual, ugly   

    Phase 9: Backsliding 

    After we got back from Disneyland I fell into limbo. I was making good money, Carrie was safe and secure, at least financially. I stopped talking to my mother, first for one week, then two and three. I stopped paying attention to what I was eating and eventually I was just getting McDonalds for lunch and not really caring. I was so happy to be paying off my credit card bills that have haunted me for years. Credit card bills I racked up buying things to distract myself constantly.

    Yes I also have a spending problem.

    For the most part I would just keep my credit cards maxed I never really went beyond that but I would always spend enough to keep them maxed out.

    I called my Mom at one point, I told her I was concerned about myself and my behavior but that I was doing something good for myself. I was paying my bills. She told me it’s okay to tackle one thing at a time and to go ahead and get it done. So having absolved myself of any responsibility I just plunged onward. Somewhere in the middle of this I was about 375 pounds.

    For a long time, sex with Carrie had turned kind of perfunctory. About once a week we could get the job done and sometimes it was fun and other times it was just another chore. I remember when things slowed down and I kept constantly asking myself why, why did it go south all of a sudden. The whole time packing on weight like there’s no tomorrow and not doing much to keep my appearances up.

    I think I knew why we didn’t have sex that much and I so desperately wanted to believe that Carrie just had a low sex drive and it had nothing to do with me. But truth be told. I wasn’t very sexy. I wasn’t being charming or fun, in the bedroom.

    Sometimes sure, but most of the time. I was needy and demanding. Petulant and wanting. For the most part even the act of sex, probably my favorite thing to do in the world, was difficult and awkward and more often than not I couldn’t please Carrie.

    More often than not, I just stopped trying to please her.

    We will tell ourselves anything to not hurt and I told myself that she didn’t want to sleep with me because she just wasn’t into sex. I wanted to believe it. She wasn’t into sex because I brought nothing sexy to the table. An overweight guy with a hungry look in eyes who will just get off and go to sleep. Every woman’s dream right?

     
  • Adam 8:14 pm on September 26, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: career, disneyland, , ecstasy, , , finances, job, , money, pain, , shame, vacation, walking, wheelchair   

    Phase 8: Ask and Ye Shall Receive 

    Quickly enough, I found a job, not just a job… A great job. For an educational company, making really good money. Suddenly, everything seemed possible.

    I had money coming in, I could pay my bills, I could pay her bills. I could afford groceries and I could treat her kindly for a change. I was so glad that my life had turned around so quickly that I just wanted to make everything about Carrie for a bit.

    I took her to Disneyland for vacation. We ended up walking around so much that first day that I was in agony. I was still 350 pounds, and after 12 solid hours of walking the dream vacation turned into a nightmare. My ankles, my knees, my hips, were on fire. I felt like I was walking on knives.

    Carrie was so excited about Disneyland that she didn’t want to abandon her hopes and dreams because I was “sore” she tried to talk me into getting up at 6am and going back to the park the very next day and doing it all over again. I got mad, we yelled, we fought. I told her “I can’t do this”. Eventually she relented and let me sleep in a bit and to take it slow the next day. The next day stretched into 9-10 hours of walking and I was almost worse off than before. I was dying on my feet and I was so scared of another day of this that I was ready to fake a heart attack to get out of it. We fought again.

    That next day I tried to go out again and perform this miracle a third time. Carrie was trying so hard to make this happen. She offered to get me a wheelchair. So that I wouldn’t have to walk. I felt embarrassed but I figured if it’s the only way for her to be happy that I’d give it a try. We awkwardly went up to the counter at Disneyland and asked about renting a wheelchair. They didn’t ask any questions they just rented us a chair and they wheeled one out. Of course, it was too small.

    They went back and brought out an XL chair, for people like me. You know, people that don’t even fit in normal wheelchairs. I sat down and awkwardly placed my feet in the stirrups. Then of course the reality set in. How do we move this damn thing? It’s a giant chair with 350 pounds in it. I tried spinning the wheels myself but I could make about 1 mile an hour at best. Carrie as a trooper just started pushing me. This next 5-10 minutes was some of the most shaming and awful of my entire life.

    My wife huffing and puffing, straining and grunting to maneuver me through a theme park. As I sat with my feet up and tried to look sheepish. Wondering if everyone saw this and thought I was injured, lazy, or retarded. We barely had made it inside the park when I just called a stop. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t spend the next 10 hours listening to my lovely wife shove me around a park while sounding like she’s pushing a boulder uphill. I would rather hurt.

    I silently popped about 5 ibuprofen and we returned the chair. Knowing what the alternative was now, I had decided to suffer through. I was careful not to wince or complain or to even show how much it hurt. I stumbled around we saw some more of the park. Mostly I tried to do what she wanted but I was in almost constant agony. Eventually we took some Ecstasy we had smuggled into the park toward the end of the night, and in a haze of artificial happiness and a complete lack of pain, we rounded out the night and ended on a good note. The next day we flew home in a fog and started living life again. I didn’t even really think about it for a few days.

    Then I would think about that wheelchair and how hard it was for Carrie to move me and the feelings I felt floating along and feeling miserable while she carried me.

    I guess it felt like a little too perfect of a metaphor.

     
  • Adam 10:55 pm on September 24, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: 20 pounds, cavalry, , , , mom, , , rescue,   

    Phase 7: Calling in the Calvary 

    Where is my Mother this whole time? Waiting patiently in New Mexico. She had basically retired and constantly worked on spiritualism, self-improvement, life-coaching and even nutrition. She was everything that I was not. She was very organized, financially responsible, spiritually attuned, and passionately healthy.

    When my Dad started to slide under, so many years ago, my Mom chose to rise above. She got versed in alcoholism, in recovery, in the spiritual side of life. She rose to massive challenges in the harshest conditions you can imagine. I respect her immensely and I never really felt like I had much to offer her, in her enlightened life. But I knew she cared and I thought she would help.

    I called and I basically spilled it all out on the table. My weight, my depression, my feelings of being lost and unsure about everything. I tried very hard to give control over to her. I didn’t believe in a higher power, but I did believe in my Mother. She was amazing. She gave great advice and in short order she had me reflecting on my life and planning my meals and working toward a better way.

    I remember feeling guilty. That I could turn to my Mom but not my own wife. Carrie didn’t have to struggle with what I did. She hadn’t been so fat that you can’t wipe yourself properly and experience the anguish that comes along with that. Being obese is impossible to describe to anyone because it’s a slow ongoing process. You make more and more discoveries about how your body has betrayed you that it’s never just ONE realization. It’s a hundred realizations over a thousand days and a million meals.

    There was a few months there, where it got better. I started walking several days a week. I changed my whole method of eating and was trying different approaches. We talked 3 days a week and she was like my trainer, my counselor and my food coach all wrapped into one.

    I lost 20 pounds.

    Eventually finances reared their ugly head. Carrie was happy that I was making changes and she even offered to pay for my rent and my bills to keep me going. I couldn’t accept that. I couldn’t deal with her suffering for me for another 6 months, or year or whatever it took, while I peevishly ate brown rice and tried to take walks.

    I was still extremely ashamed of my behavior thus far, and I couldn’t imagine continuing to be a burden. I started looking to a job and I felt like maybe I could handle that and my current path of righteousness.

     
  • Adam 8:48 pm on September 24, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: break, business, entrepeneur, , , , pause, , reprieve, short,   

    Phase 6: A Short Reprieve 

    During a solid year of my unemployment, Carrie worked constantly and made good money. Her wrist would hurt, her back would hurt. She was a pet groomer with her own business and it’s active, hard work. She kept us afloat, paid for dinners, paid for groceries, paid for everything. While I blew my meagerly unemployment checks and under-the-table work on treats for myself, gadgets, video games and distractions. I tried starting my own business but in retrospect, it was stupid. I think about what Carrie went through to start her company, the long hours and the endless questioning and fear. The setbacks and the heartache.

    I think inwardly, I was proud of Carrie and maybe even a bit jealous and I wanted to show that I could do what she had. I tried starting my own Web Design company. I got a business license. I opened a business checking account and I did everything you’re supposed to do to start a business. In my head I could imagine myself on the phone 12 hours a day hard-selling myself.

    To be honest I wasn’t really up to selling my self. My work ethic was lax at best and my work was decent but not anything exciting. I think I just loved the idea of being my own boss. To do what Carrie had done and to be proud of something I created. I managed to get a few clients and talk a lot about it. The spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. Eventually I stopped trying.

    I stumbled through some work projects and told myself I was doing okay. I argued with Carrie a lot and eventually after months of this I got buried under a deep fuzzy blanket of pure depression. The likes of which I hadn’t felt since my Dad died. I would get up at 10am, stumble to my desk, check emails and pretend to work for 2 hours. Then I would abandon the facade and just play video games for 5-6 hours.

    Carrie would come home, exhausted, upset, and tired. I would be dying for human company and spoiling for a fight. I would claim that I was working too. That I was working hard. Just so I wouldn’t feel so guilty. She would complain and I would complain right back.

    I was so desperate to support this lie – that I was also having a difficult day – that I would refuse to help her with anything. Claiming that I was ‘also tired’ and she would have to do more and more every day to keep the household stumbling along, cleaning, laundry, running her own business. While I sulked and pretended not to play video games.

    At some point I got so depressed I just couldn’t move. I couldn’t even play games. I was just wander around in a funk and watch movies. I was really scraping bottom. It was only after a week of that that I realized I desperately needed to change something.

     
  • Adam 9:32 am on September 24, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: fast, , , gallbladder, , juice fast, nearly dead, , , , sick, starving, surgery   

    Phase 5: Like “Really” Fat 

    I’d been heavy since I was a teenager so it never shocked me how fat I was. It comes on in stages, in waves and you don’t really think about it.

    There’s lots of little cues you start to see. Parts of you start sagging. Other parts jiggle. You feel more tired more quickly. Stairs become scary. You’re afraid to let people see you without a shirt. These things just slowly build up.

    I remember when my belt started bothering me. My belly hung over my belt buckle and because my jobs involved sitting a lot, my belly would press down into my belt buckle. It’s strange, I never really had the issue before, and suddenly my stomach hurt all the time. It would leave scratches and callouses on my stomach. I got used to the idea that every time I stood up, I had to brace myself for a sharp pain and pull my belt out of my stomach.

    Carrie commented one day that I had horrible skin where this occurred. I was so instantly ashamed that I snapped at her. “I KNOW” I would say with a hint of sarcasm. I would desperately try to draw her attention anywhere else.

    This was my body, I knew all its faults and features. She would stop talking about it but her eyes said plenty. God, what I wouldn’t give to wear a belt without a sense of fear. Every time I strap one on, and trust me at this weight you NEED one, I would shudder a little inside. I knew it would hurt later. I felt that I probably deserved it. I thought about switching to suspenders, but just the thought of explaining why the hell I looked like a 50’s nerd, sent me into paralysis.

    I tried juice-fasting. We watched the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, and it was fairly inspiring. It seemed like there was not only a way back from my condition, but a quick way back. I fasted the first time for 23 days and I lost 30 pounds in that time.

    I was so exuberant. 30 pounds. I don’t think I’ve ever lost 30 pounds…. ever. Inevitably, this proved to be a quick fix with a quick backlash. I started gaining some of the weight back. I hadn’t really learned to change anything. I just hoped that motivation alone would set me on the path.

    After a month or so I started having stomach pains. I ended up losing weight so quickly, I gave myself gallstones. Eventually after 3 trips to the emergency room I had to have surgery to remove my gallbladder and I was bedridden for days, barely able to move for weeks.

    I was terrified and in pain. Carrie was with me and beside me the whole time. I made it through and silently vowed not to juice fast like that again. Around this time I weighed about 340 pounds, dipping to a low of 330 around the end of the juice fast. Before I knew it, I was 350, 360 pounds. I was closer to 400 pounds than I was to 300 pounds.

    There’s something about nice round numbers that people love. 200 pounds, 300 pounds. These are milestones. If you pass 200 pounds, you’re getting unhealthy. When you cross north of 300 you’re definitively unhealthy. When you approach 400 you feel like human garbage. I watched the scale silently scream toward 400. Hell, I had to get a new scale because my roommate’s old one, only went to 350. That’s right, the scale didn’t even work for me anymore. Every time I thought about it I felt a deep and burning shame. That sometime as simple as ‘eating right’ and ‘being active’ seemed impossible, crippling, terrifying.

    As I hovered and fluctuated around 370, 380, I would try to focus on other things. I did improv comedy, I worked in journalism and writing. I laughed with my friends, went to the movies constantly. There wasn’t much I could do at that weight. So every few weeks I’d find myself, standing on shore while my friends went ‘tubing’ and hanging back while people walked ahead. Pretending constantly that I didn’t want to do things because they were boring, or tedious. When in fact I just didn’t trust my body to keep up. I got so ashamed that I couldn’t really even process it. I just ignored it. I’d have fits of shame almost daily but just tamp them down to avoid getting depressed.

     
  • Adam 6:30 pm on September 23, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , happy, , , proposal, safe, ,   

    Phase 4: Wedding Bells 

    There got to be a point where there was a lot of tension about our relationship. We had some major fights, some major make-ups. My weight came up a lot, my health did, and I deflected it. I was trying – I’d say – I was struggling. I wasn’t really, I was just frozen. I didn’t know how to eat better, to exercise, it all seemed so foreign. Like changing my life and my hobbies and my happiness for some idea that didn’t quite make sense to me. It just seemed like staring at the base of a mountain of change, and thinking, “I’d better not, it looks dangerous”.

    I remember intellectualizing everything. Turning it into a philosophical debate, and browbeating Carrie into seeing my own misguided point-of-view. Working out was dangerous for me, all I could do was ‘walk’. I needed a trainer, a professional. This is just the way I am. Any excuse I could come up with to not drastically change my life – I provided. I actually tore my knee ligament one time while camping and after that I had a pretty solid excuse to not work out because it wasn’t ‘safe’ I hid behind everything.

    Carrie could see deep down that I was afraid. I was afraid I would fail, I was afraid she wouldn’t love me if I did fail. I think she understood on a deeper level than I did what it was that motivated me at my core. That I desperately wanted to be loved as I was, even if I wasn’t perfect. I wanted to believe that I didn’t need to be any better than I was just now. In an effort to show me that and to give me the foundation that I could really trust. She proposed to me.

    I was shocked, she asked me to meet her in the park where we first started seeing each other. Some horrible part of me actually thought she was going to dump me. But she did it. She was brave. She dropped to one knee, told me that she would stick with me through whatever I needed to go through, to be the kind of person I needed to be. I accepted whole-heartedly. Even though I wasn’t the person I wanted to be, I knew deeply and instantly that she was the person I wanted to be with. I told myself I would earn this. I would deserve a love like this and that I would reach the mountain-tops with her by my side.

    That year flew by like a whirlwind, we planned the wedding, she was aching to fit into her wedding dress and she dieted and exercised and once again flew through the process that seemed so effortless to her and so insurmountable to me. By the time the date came around, I was heavier than ever.

    She was radiant. She was so beautiful it hurt my heart. I felt that if I had done something to deserve this creature, then I must be a pretty great guy. But I remember looking at our wedding photos and being ashamed.

    Each photo had an unflattering angle, showed some sign that I was not just overweight but obese. My hair was thinning and I was developing a bald spot. I couldn’t look at those photos and not feel a little bit disgusted with myself. Carrie looked like an angel and while I couldn’t have had a bigger smile on my face, it was a face surrounded by too much landscape to really see it.

    Soon it was over and we had some talks and really tried to adapt to a LIFE together. To forever. I went through some changes, my mind and my point of view changed.

    I had to wrap my head around what a marriage was. I always thought when I was young that people did it because they simply knew. Later in life and after I got to be a little more cynical, I thought that people did it because they wanted to have kids, or were afraid to be alone. I didn’t really know what marriage meant, to me, or anyone.

    I started thinking about ’till death do us part’ and to be honest, it didn’t scare me. I knew I loved her with all my heart and that forever with her wouldn’t be so bad. I never flinched at growing old with her.

    Some selfish part of me knew I might die young. That I would probably die when my Father did. Around mid-fifties. His crutch was booze and mine was food, and like peas in a pod we would both succumb to heart failure by 55. At times it was almost comforting. On some level I knew she would outlive me and then I would be gone and while she would suffer, and probably live a good long time afterward, that she was the strong one. She would pull it together like I never could. She would be OK.

     
  • Adam 6:24 pm on September 22, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , her, , marriage, rose, the girl, the one, ,   

    Phase 3: The Girl 

    When I was 15 I met Carrie. She was quirky and beautiful. She had just shaved her head to declare herself a pariah at school, which in its own weird way appealed to me. A shaved head didn’t affect how beautiful she was. She was a smiling, mysterious siren and I was instantly hooked.

    Like most sirens, it led to disaster. After two solid attempts to ask her out, each met with a gentle but firm denial, I determined that I was barking up the wrong tree. Because she was always so kind and so gentle I never quite gave up hope. I just liked her from afar. I used to bother her friends all the time asking about her. They knew I was fixated on her but they just rolled their eyes.

    I brought her a single rose when I asked her out. I think I felt, even then that she was special. I’ll always remember being that awkward kid holding a rose behind his back and waiting to hear that she liked me back.

    Eventually she moved away to Georgia for a few years and I just went on with my life. But I would always find myself thinking about her and wondering how she was doing.

    She came back eventually and somehow I got word. We probably never would have even started to hang out but her sister was intent on playing a match-maker.

    What’s a little odd is that she was IN a relationship when she came back. She was dating a guy who sounded like a wreck of a person. He was the manager of a small semi-successful band, he was gone all the time, he had hit her, he had been cruel to her. My heart went out to her and I wanted desperately to take her away from that. I didn’t really think she would just abandon her relationship for me. But it seems eventually he kind of dragged things to a stopping-point himself. Maybe me waiting in the wings helped her, maybe it made it harder. But I just tried to be kind, supportive and to help her regardless of whether or not it helped me. Which is a little odd for me.

    The breakup happened, this guy had a meltdown in a major way. I feel more empathy now for him. At the time all I could see is that he had hurt her, emotionally and physically on more than one occasion. I’m sure he was unhealthy for her and I’m glad it ended. Of course it opened the door for me as well so it may have been selfish too. Carrie turned to me for help. I did everything I could to cheer her up and make her see that she deserved better. Quietly, inward, I believed it was me, that she deserved.

    A few weeks later we were dating, and a few weeks after that we were moving in together. It’s the kind of quick rushed rebound that you would assume would blow up in everyone’s faces 100% of the time.

    We made it work. There was some difficulties, some doubts and some problems. I remember that I was heavy back then but not nearly where I’m at now. For a time, I was so in love and so happy with how it all worked out that I didn’t even care how I looked. If she liked me, loved me even, I looked good enough.

    Eventually when things slowed into a routine, I felt comfortable. Happy. We didn’t pay much attention to how we ate and she was very fit and could even afford to gain some weight and not be much the worse for wear. I remember several years in – her going on a diet – exercising, making an effort to step back from the reckless way we were both gaining weight. At the time I think I tried, made a few efforts and kind of lapsed back into just supporting her and not worrying about myself.

     
  • Adam 6:23 pm on September 21, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: background, backstory, , dad, family, , , , , , weight   

    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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