Selling yourself or sharing yourself

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Cooking, family, friends, regrets, The Management, Weight loss
Tags: , ,

I’ve really talked about a lot of things over the 50+ posts I’ve thrown up here. Few tidbits about life, some social commentary, shared some humorous moments… I’m here to tell you that I’ve not been completely honest with you.

It’s not that everything here is a sham… it’s not. I truly am overweight, I like to eat, cook, all that stuff. The places I’ve  been, the stories I’ve shared, all true. However, there’s a huge part of me that I’ve not shared. I want to remedy that. But first, how about a little story.

I’m hopelessly addicted to Next Food Network Star. Have been since Season 2, when Guy Fieri won. I like Food Network (big surprise) and a lot of the personalities. I watch Iron Chef America and want to actually go to Cleveland, just to eat at Michael Symon’s restaurants. I would go to Atlantic City, not to gamble but to eat at Bobby Flay Steak. I’ve been to Emeril’s Orlando. One of my favorite Food Network personalities, though, has always been Alton Brown.

Alton Brown and fishy friend

Alton is a food geek, and that appeals to me. I was intrigued by the new season of Food Network Star, where Alton, Bobby, and Italian diva Giada DeLaurentiis would each be mentoring a team of hopefuls. I started rooting for Team Alton, just because, well, they seemed quirky. Like him. At any rate, during Sunday’s episode, the remaining members of his team were all up for elimination. One of the team members, Judson Allen, finally homed in on a culinary point of view based on his astounding weight loss. However, the network was not convinced of his sincerity. Alton interjected with the following:

Being heavy… I was heavy most of my life… is painful. You learn to create a different version of yourself to project to people. You have to sell yourself because you’re not attractive and you’re heavy and you’re clumsy and all of those things.”

That just really hit me. It dawns on me that I’ve been using my alter ego so much that it’s become very difficult to know what is the real me and what is the me I’ve created. The line between the two has ceased to be clear. That’s not a good thing. So when I said earlier that I’ve not been completely honest with you, well, I haven’t exactly been honest with myself, either. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve molded my exterior persona to be so middle of the road in an effort to be liked that it comes across as complete bullshit (“bovine scatology”). Nobody likes a bullshitter (or perhaps I should say “bovine scatologist”). I always say that I don’t like phony people, and yet, I’m actually a phony. I’m not the jolly fat guy. I HATE BEING FAT. I am so envious of the normal sized people sometimes that it just hurts. Really, really hurts. And the only way I’ve been able to quell that inner pain is by eating. A lot. I believe that SPW (aka The Management) knows how much I hurt because she sees me in my unguarded moments, when I don’t put on my fat armor and mask. Not many other people do. It’s not something that I’ve ever really talked with her about, so consider this my coming out party, dear wife. However, the aforementioned  conflict between my two personas tends to make me, well, cranky. Or perhaps bitterly sarcastic. Or both. Mostly both, methinks. Either way, that conflict manifests itself in my hardly being able to really experience and appreciate the goodness and joyousness that I want to believe is still in the world.

I really started fearing that this was happening when we made our annual December trek to Disney to see all of our friends for Reunion. It was like I was going through the motions rather than enjoying the company of like-minded people. I wasn’t having fun. I hurt, mainly from carrying the weight around, literally and figuratively. I kept thinking to myself, “How the hell can I be in the Happiest Place on Earth, surrounded by some of my favorite people, and be as miserable as I am?” I did what I normally do… I sucked it up and did the best I could, but I wanted nothing more than to be elsewhere. I usually feel that way anymore… just want to be elsewhere, to find a place where I don’t have to wear the fat armor, because that’s heavy weight to lugging around all the time. You know what, there is no such place. It’s still accepted to discriminate against fat… just look around at all the popular culture. The fat guy is usually portrayed as dimwitted and slow while the this handsome guy is always the hero.

I’m done playing the role. I’m fat, but I’m not always going to be. Maybe I didn’t get the winning ticket in the good looks department, but I’m not going to let being fat steal anymore of my life. It’s taken enough for two lifetimes. Bear with me… some of the bovine scatologist will linger. One does not exorcise the demons immediately. After all, I have to relearn how to be me and to love being who I am. That’s not a task I’m relishing, although I think the reward will be worth all the pain. To look in a mirror and see me, not what I think I should be, but who I am, well, that will be one of the best days of my life.

I’ll keep you posted. And thanks for reading.

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