I’ve caught a lot of flak recently for a few things I wrote on facebook about obesity. Things that are objectively true, but are offensive by virtue of the fact that some people wish they weren’t true. I got attacked, in fact, for being cruel or heartless. A couple of people were shocked, shocked, that I would say such a thing considering that I used to be fat myself.
They don’t seem to realize that it is precisely because I was fat myself that I’m in a position to point out how reality actually works for fat people.
I get the impression from talking to people about their weight that there is a pervasive fear about seeming to be shallow. This fear of seeming shallow colors a lot of what people think about themselves and their relationships to others, especially if like me they grew up struggling with weight and body image. People will go to unreasonable lengths to avoid the appearance of vanity, to such an extent that they end up making unhealthy and destructive choices in life… because it seems better than appearing shallow. It can keep us from making positive changes in our life and even sabotage us in some ways.
I feel awful… and since today I can’t generate a post that’s on topic about weight loss or fitness or being a fat kid, I’ll write about this. Hopefully since the blog is about me in a broad sense it still is kinda relevant.
There are days I feel awful and today is one of them. I sat down at my computer hours ago to try to write something, anything, so I could tell myself I’d written today. I started writing about 5 different things and in the process wrote a few pages worth if unfinished scrap. Nothing to show for it really. I have plans to work on my book chapter, plans to finish an article, plans for this and that… everything is in a stage of “almost there”. I just can’t focus: my mind is flooded today by anxieties and fears and frustrations and a dozen things that make me depressed.
I’ve been depressed for a few days. And not depressed in the vague “oh I’m kinda blue” way. If I’m doing something I really commit, and being depressed is no different. I’m overwhelmed by a lot of things ahead of me, even as I’m haunted by a lot of things behind me. The mountain of my responsibilities, of my uncertain future, looms above me and leaves me paralyzed it seems. Can I really do this? Any of this? Is moving to Chicago a mistake? Is committing to this writing a mistake? I’d a book something I can even do? Will anyone even read it? How do I get from here – from basically nothing – to the life I imagine for myself? Is that even possible for me? Can i move and find work and find friends and find a home and find love and find success… Can I do all of this?? And do it by myself?
I feel overwhelmed. I have too many things to do. I can’t do them… I want to give up.
And so today I can give up. I can’t do those things… so I won’t. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way and it won’t be the last, so instead of trying to shape my whole life I will just shape today. What can I do today?
I can get up and go to the gym. It’s small, especially in the face of everything ahead of me, but on a day like today I need to not focus on the things I can’t do and focus on the things I can. And if that is the only thing on the list, it’s still a step above laying on the couch with a pint of Cold Stone ice cream. I can’t be perfect and I won’t plan on it… but I can be better.
So I’ll hit the gym and take care of today. Tomorrow can take care of tomorrow.
It’s a phrase I use with friends when it’s time for us to really cut the BS and face reality. So that’s what I’ll do here for you, dear reader, because while it’ll be painful to document my own BS, it’ll probably be helpful for me and maybe even for you! (I’m imagining this being a long series… I have a lot of BS I cut through). So prepare to look behind the curtain.