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My Journey

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July 2015

47 Days – Taboos

So I’ve started purging and cleaning my kitchen. By purging I mean getting rid of utensils and dishes I no longer use. But it’s also true of food. My fridge, freezer, and cupboards are pretty bare. I plan to only buy food a few days at a time from here on out so I don’t have a lot left over when surgery time comes and it goes to waste.

My trainer asked me why I wanted to start a blog, when we were working out on Monday. My hope is that people will read my words and feel eventually feel comfortable to tell their own story.

As I have said many times, I’m a pretty blunt person. We’re conditioned as a society to not talk about so many things. Taboos. I hate taboos. I don’t think anything should be a taboo. How can you truly connect with people if you don’t let your guard down and talk about subjects that are considered taboo?

Health in general is taboo outside of people who work in the healthcare field. I’m pre-diabetic. I have high-cholesterol, I weigh almost 300 pounds, I struggle with gastro-intestinal issues.

Gender and sexuality are taboos. I don’t fully feel male. Internally, I feel more feminine, however I’m ok with my male body. I don’t know what that means to me right now, so I identify as queer or genderqueer. Because I reside in a male body, I identify as gay, or queer regarding my sexuality. We could continue with sexual proclivities and relationship structures but I won’t for sake of length. I will say, I prefer monogamy, but I respect people’s interests and don’t judge.

I’m Hard of Hearing. I haven’t been to an audiologist in years to be gauge my hearing loss, but it feels like it’s getting worse. I also think audiologist’s are crooks out to make a buck. If I do go see someone it will be an ENT. That being said, I’ve also developed tinnitus. I identify as Deaf, not Hard of Hearing, because I’m part of the Deaf community, and I participate in Deaf culture. There’s a difference between big D Deaf and little d deaf.

We’re not supposed to talk about money. I’m trying to rebuild my credit. I made a lot of mistakes financially in my early 20’s that I’m paying off or that I have paid off but are affecting my credit. So is every other 30 something year old. I have so much student loan debt it’s crippling and I have no degree to show for it. My top goal for myself is to finish my degree (outside of losing weight).

It’s well established I have PTSD. Mental health is a taboo. I was diagnosed with depression in high school. I have thought about suicide over the years. One night in college I had a plan, I was going to jump out my dorm room window. Granted, I probably wouldn’t have died, but just hurt myself, but the weight of just coming out of an abusive relationship and being sexually assaulted was too much for me to bare. Three friends intervened and saved me.

Domestic abuse and sexual assault are uncomfortable subjects that people don’t want to talk about. For a number of reasons, granted, but still. I survived both. I have, for so many years, had no self-esteem, not just low self-esteem, but no self-esteem. I am taking the power back. I have control over my life.

Death is a taboo. We all are going to die. We don’t know when, or how, but it’s inevitable. People feel uncomfortable with grief and with death and dying. A colleague and good friend says it best when talking to her volunteers about handing crying people kleenex. “It’s ok to offer tissue, but we never hand it to them. It sends a message that says ‘I’m uncomfortable with your crying and want it to stop.'” (I’ve heard her give that speech a few times.) Crying, displaying emotion, grieving however you need to, is OK. Everyone is different. Sure there are common themes that everyone goes through with grief and with recovering from trauma, but every person is unique and has their own unique way of handling things. Don’t mock someone for showing emotion in public.

This has been kind of a soapbox post. But I feel like the more we talk about our taboos, the more we can connect as human beings and lead healthier, happier, more peaceful lives.

I have no statistic to share. Luckily, Chiquita’s farting subsided. 🙂 But I will leave you with the music for this post.

“With Arms Outstretched” by Rilo Kiley; “I’ll Think of You” by Kurt Schneider, Sam Tsui, Alex G, & Alyson Stoner; “Leave a Light On” by Kyler England; “Good as Gold” by Dala; “Wait for Me” by Moby; “Wasted Nights” by Nolan Sotillo; “Airplanes” by B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams; “Language” by Scott Matthew; “In the End” by Justin Vivian Bond, “In the End – Acoustic” by Scott Matthew; “Fix You” by Coldplay; “Chasing Cars” Cover by Nick Pitera; “Make a Name for Me and You” by Rachael Cantu; ” A Case of You” Cover by James Blake; “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell.

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Welcome Back?

So you came back. I promise to not be droll. I’ve been looking for an excuse to use the word droll for days. So now I can start the weekend fulfilled.

Surgery became more real today. I spoke to the clinic scheduled my pre-op appointment with the surgeon and the dietician and scheduled my history and physical with my family practitioner. I’m starting to get anxious. I wouldn’t say it’s nerves, but maybe a little bit of excitement and reality setting in? Like before today it was just kinda like this thing that I was talking about and it’s not only scheduled but the pre-surgery steps are being taken. Holy cow.

I will be on a restricted diet for two weeks prior so surgery, I forget the specifics, I have them written down, but I’m on my comfy couch and they’re a daunting 4 feet away. I am going to sit down with the dietician and spell out EXACTLY what to eat and drink everyday and at what time before and after surgery. Because I will be on liquids for two weeks after surgery. Pureed food for two weeks after that, and soft foods for two weeks after that.

I have done some more research on my surgeon and asking around about him. Let’s just put it this way, presidential candidates are less vetted than this man has been.

I’m a little worried about taking medicine after surgery but they assure me if it’s small it should be fine. My surgeon, and a few friends who have had the surgery all seem to think I can reach my target weight within a year. Then it’s all maintenance.

I do feel like my life is finally moving forward and falling into place and that I’m gaining traction. For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels or stuck in a rut and I’m finally starting to see the fruits of my labor in my life.

Sidebar, my dog just farted and I think I’m going to pass out. Fart jokes, especially involving your dog, never get old.

Any whoodles. So back to my story from my first post. I eventually became sane enough to date someone though in hindsight that relationship was soooooo unhealthy and so was I. I live in a small gay community and so it’s impossible to avoid people you’ve dated and or slept with. So we occasionally run into each other and exchange death glares.

After him I didn’t have a relationship again until this winter. Which ended in April. The relationship ending was devastating but, in hindsight I think it was made worse by having a particularly bad PTSD trigger at the EXACT time. Because, you know, timing is EVERYTHING in mental health.

I’ve been on dates with a few guys over the course of the years but relationship wise. That’s about it. A rapist, and two unhealthy relationships. I’m 0 for 3. I need to find a nice Jewish man. Seriously. I’m in the process of converting to Judaism. It would make the whole marriage thing so much easier (turns out I can get married to a same sex partner, but only if they’re another Jew, it’s always something.)

So basically I suck at dating and I live vicariously through my brother when it comes to having kids. Because he’s had two (soon to be three!!) Which brings me to my next trauma: the death of my niece Piper.

I should go back. After many months, and hours of therapy, I have established that I have a savior complex when it comes to my family and that I have needed to learn to let that go. I grew up in a very close knit extended family and that family has changed drastically the past few years and I have had to learn to accept that my family is not the same as it used to be, and that I can’t save everyone.

There are three events that have occurred that have altered the dynamic of my family. Chronologically, the first was my aunt dying. She fought multiple myeloma and lost. Her death wasn’t particularly traumatizing because she was on hospice and had been planning her funeral and planning for her death. It was expected. Still sucked, a lot. I had a very hard time letting go of the image of what my family used to be, even if it might have been a delusion. So to see other family members moving forward with their lives was difficult for me. Which is weird to me, because I normally embrace change, sometimes too quickly.

The next event is the death of my niece Piper. She was two. She was beautiful. Full of life and not a worry in the world that couldn’t be solved by a baby doll, her mom and dad, or her grandparents. I was so wrapped up in my own world and problems that I regret deeply not spending enough time with her. But hey, hindsight is 20/20, huh? Needless to say, her death was unexpected, and incredibly traumatic. From my perspective, it forced my family (specifically my immediate family) to change their outlook on life, and death. We speak about death in a very frank, pragmatic manner in my family now. Which, to an outsider can seem rather bizarre or morose. After my nephew was born I unintentionally kept my distance. I think I was afraid to get close to him. I see how hard it was for me, I can’t begin to understand what my brother and his wife went through. I have to stop, or fast forward through parts of movies or shows that depict a family losing a child to this day.

The third event that altered my family’s dynamic was renting a house with my cousin and her (now) ex-husband. He abused drugs and alcohol. Was horribly abusive. He tried to attack me. I’m not going to go into details. It’s not my story to tell, it’s hers. However, it was a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE trigger for me. My dad moved me out of the house in one day and I spent the next, probably week, curled up in a ball in bed at my parent’s house unable to deal.

And all through all of this, binge eating like there’s no tomorrow. More than once until it made me sick. And not exercising at all.

Ok, this has been a pretty heavy post. I promise the next one will be lighter, maybe? To end, I leave you with the following statistic and the music I listened to while writing this:

Number of times Chiquita (my dog) farted while writing this: 8 (ugh).

Music: Landslide – Cover by Boyce Avenue, Stay With Me – Cover by Boyce Avenue, Nothin’ Like You – by Dan & Shay, Roar – Cover by Macy Kate, Elastic Heart – Cover by Madilyn Bailey, Payphone – by Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa, Mona Lisa – by Grant-Lee Phillips (aka the Troubadour from Gilmore Girls, we’ll get into my obsession with GG later), This Moment – by Renald Fancoeur feat. Megan Oliver, Be Still My Heart – by Peter Bradley Adams, Don’t Let Me Know – From the show Smash.

 

PS We’re up to 9 farts. Dear G-d this is going to be a long smelly night.

Welcome to My Journey

Hello my lovelies.

I opted to publish a blog about my weight loss journey as instead of posting it on Facebook because A) it could potentially reach more people and B) if people on my page didn’t want to see pictures of my shirtless (I can’t blame them) then they wouldn’t have to.

So where to begin. I believe in transparency. In complete honesty and no bullshit. I also cuss a lot. Sorry in advance. I began gaining weight after high school. Most of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying “oh that pesky freshman fifteen”, well yeah, duh. But my weight gain goes much deeper than just “that pesky freshman fifteen”.

I suppose I should warn you, this blog is also going to talk about mental health, trauma, and is kind of a “coming out”. So trigger warning, I guess. I’m also a shit writer, well maybe not, I actually write quite well, punctuation is not my strongest suit (sorry Dr. Elsden). I was many moons ago, accepting into the writers workshop at the University of Iowa (for those of you who don’t know, that means I’m basically amazing). This blog is more stream of conscious writing. And now I’m rambling.

So back to my story. Sorry. The summer after my senior year of high school I dated a boy (sidebar, I came out when I was 15 as a gay male with little fanfare; still slightly disappointed there weren’t more fireworks and unicorns and glitter but I digress). The boy I dated that summer was soooooooo handsome. I mean like whoa. Still get butterflies thinking about him, to be honest. He was charming, intelligent, and a total fucking prick. Seriously. Years later, far removed from the situation, I kinda want to kick him in the balls. I was in a teen dating violence situation. He never hit me, he threw me against a wall once, but that was the extent of any physical altercations. He was incredibly manipulative, intelligent, and a textbook sociopath. That summer, sometime in late June, or July, he coerced me into having sex with him. It took me many months after it occurred to be able to put words to what happened to me. I didn’t know men could sexually assaulted. I didn’t know gay male relationships could be subject to domestic abuse. I thought domestic abuse only happened if someone beat the living shit out of you.

So I never told my parents that story… and they’re probably reading this… hiiiiiiii mom and dad. Aaaaawkward.

So what the hell does this have to do with being fat? Well, I have PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I used to eat my feelings, binge eat, stress eat, you name it. To be fair, I had shit eating habits to begin with (I was a picky eater as a kid, my mom is probably nodding and saying “chicken nuggets and tater tots” apparently that’s all I would eat until I was like 30. By the way I’m 29). I comforted myself with food and alcohol and sex. (Parents may want to ignore the next paragraph).

For about two years after my assault, I slept with anyone and everyone with a penis. Frankly, I’m surprised I never got an STD or HIV. I didn’t think I was worth someone’s love, I felt like I was only good for sex, so that’s what I did. In hindsight I should have charged for that shit, I could have had my student loans paid off. Hindsight, man.

In addition to sex, I comforted myself with food and alcohol. I just noticed that each vice has met it’s end and I’ve eventually learned to handle it in moderation. Food has been the last vice. Alcohol peaked when I passed out from alcohol poisoning at work and was rushed to the emergency room. Thaaaaaaat wasn’t awkward. So. After that I really didn’t touch alcohol again until a few months ago I started drinking wine again. I missed wine. I’m going to have to give up wine after surgery because it’s empty calories. Don’t think I won’t ask my doctor about it though. I have about a glass or two or three a week and never during the week.

I have finally gotten my binge eating, my stress eating, my emotional eating in check. I don’t do it anymore. I do, on occasion, eat out of boredom but I’m doing better about that. So for 10 years, I’ve been eating… and eating… and eating… and eating… and eating. The past five years, give or take, I’ve been trying to lose weight. I haven’t taken it seriously because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t in the frame of mind. But I’m there now. I really am. I’ve been eating healthy ish for a while now, working out regularly (except that pesky two months I broke my foot) and weight doesn’t want to go away. I genuinely feel my body needs a swift kick in the ass to jump start my system to accept that eating healthy food in appropriate portions and working out will work to lose the weight. I don’t expect the surgery to be the answer to all my prayers. I expect to work my ass off. I expect to hate it, expect me to bitch and complain. But it’s going to be so worth it.

So there’s more background to my story, but the little ticker at the bottom of my screen says I’m at like 900+ words and y’all probably stopped reading somewhere around 500 words so, I’ll save the rest for another post. I’m now going to give you my “before” stats and pictures. I don’t think I’m bleeding in the picture. If I am, I promise I’m fine, I did not suffer a head wound, I just cut myself shaving. But thank you for the concern.

Oh, before I forget. I met my personal trainer tonight. She is awesome. MK is her name. She gives a whole new meaning to the quote from Shakespeare “Though she be but little, she be fierce”. That girl is going to kick my ass but between her, my dietician, my surgeon, my nurse practitioners, my friends and family and most importantly ME! I’m going to win this. I’m going to be skinny again. I’m going to be my goal weight. (I’m not revealing my goal weight, by the way).

Ok now I’m at 1000+ so I’m shutting up. I’M SORRY OK! You’re the one who chose to read this. Assuming you got this far.

As of today:

Height: 5’10.5″

Weight: 289lbs

% Body Fat: 40.8

Waist: 53.5″

PS: I’m a bit of an audiophile (I know, how does the Deaf guy listen to music, VERY LOUDLY). While writing this I was listening to Ave Maria by Katie Boeck, Can’t Go Back Now by the Weepies, World Falls Apart (Dub Mix) by Dash Berlin, Shenandoah by Sissel, Blank Space by Taylor Swift and Style by Taylor Swift. I have eclectic taste. Ok I’m done now. Byes

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