You know what I hate—when I look at myself 5 years ago I think, “that guy was such an idiot”. And I can generally do that when I look back. It’s the “if I knew then what I know now” game. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. But do you realize what that also means? I’m an idiot right now, but I just don’t know it yet. Actually, in this instance, I know it and it smashed me in the face on Monday.
I was going to use the “head in the sand” cliché, but actually I think the “fog of war” is a more apt analogy to what I’ve been up to over the last year. 2011 was a rough year for me. A lot happened and a lot of it was very stressful. I’ve been doing my best to keep a lot of issues inside the fog. It’s not that I didn’t know. It’s that I rented an industrial fog machine and ran that 24/7 inside my brain so that I wouldn’t have to deal with… anything.
For some of it, I was so focussed on moving past my anxiety in creating a podcast that I purposefully ignored other issues. (Speaking of which, the second episode is recorded and I’m starting to edit tonight.) But I ignored a whole bunch of other anxiety because I didn’t really want to face my fears. I thought I could get away with it. If you haven’t already guessed—I couldn’t. I didn’t.
Leah’s been telling me for months that I’ve been losing weight. But that’s impossible. That should be impossible. I ignored her.
I want you to understand my logic, because I’ve been wearing a 32×34 pants since I was 16. I was 165 pounds from 16 until 25 and then I got married and gained 15 pounds—that’s just part of marriage. It’s like the “freshman 15”, but for marriage.
What I’m trying to say is that my weight doesn’t fluctuate. I can eat whatever I want, at any time of day, and I don’t gain weight—which on top of being white, male and impossibly handsome, I’m sure you have a ton of sympathy for me. I’m not looking for sympathy. I just kind of slid “impossibly handsome” in there. I bet you didn’t even notice, but I’m sure unconsciously you’re thinking—yup, that sounds about right.
I’ve been dealing with anxiety before I knew what anxiety was. Anxiety is my bag, baby. And, for me, it comes from the dissonance between who I am and who I want to be. And I’m scared of who I want to be. The problem is, while maintaining a heavily fogged mind, the gulf between those poles was growing further and further apart and my anxiety was increasing, daily, with it. And I started to get sick.
I thought it was the flu at first. But then I kept getting a “stomach bug”. I’m really a strep throat or tonsilitis kind of guy. I rarely have stomach issues. I’m historically quite regular.
On Monday, I went to the doctor and it (obviously) wasn’t the flu. It was my anxiety causing my stomach to release too much acid, which made me sick. Also, I decided to see if Leah was telling the truth and I bought a bathroom scale.
I lost 20 pounds. I can slip my jeans off without undoing the button. Currently, I weigh less than my 16 year old self. I look like Christian Bale in The Machinist (not really, that’s hyperbole).
I freaked out.
So here I am, about to turn 30, and I’m just realizing that I can’t ignore myself and moreover I can’t try to be someone I’m not. I’m an idiot, but hopefully I’m getting a little smarter.
My goal for 2012 (it’s a goal because resolutions are for January only) is to look my fear and anxiety in the face and walk into it and not stop until I am the man I want to be. I’ve started jogging and exercising. I’m forcing myself to eat regularly and not skip meals, even if I don’t have an appetite. I’m done hiding. Done with excuses and shift blaming. I’m responsible for me. And you’re just going to have to deal with me—the real me.
You know what the worst thing about all of this is—I lost my ass. And I didn’t have much of one to begin with. But now I really don’t have an ass. If there’s one thing that will motivate me, I can always count on my vanity. I’m going to go eat another cinnamon bun. All booties begin with cinnamon buns and I want mine back.