I want to take a trip down memory lane before I look forward to the future. I want you to understand that the decision I am going to start to discuss is one that had me examine not only the past, but accept that I cannot go back and that I need to think of my future. This past New Year’s Eve I sat in an Emergency Room with my wife, Sarah, whom I trust and adore … and I broke down in tears. You see, I wasn’t there because of drunken shenanigans or anything. I was there because my right knee could no longer support my weight. Because I had put strain on the ligaments and tendons and even a simple standing up from my sofa caused immense pain. I broke down with Sarah and told her I was scared. I wasn’t scared of the hospital nor about my knee. I was scared because my weight had caused a problem and I knew then if I didn’t take another shot at losing weight I’d probably die before I see 45 years old. I am just THAT big.
So how did I get there? I guess you need to understand some of the past. Let’s take a little journey together down my memory lane.
I honestly cannot recall this day. I can recall that coat though. I remember how warm I felt. I was really young then. My hair colour hadn’t changed. My world was still very fresh, new and pure. I hadn’t gone through everything in my life and I literally could have taken on anything at that time. I love(d) Wellington. It’s small. Back then there weren’t any wineries and a great number of my memories of the village would be fond ones. Some negative ones, but mostly fond.
I still smile like that. My cheeks lift, my eyes widen and that big ole mouth of mine goes agape. I love to laugh. I live to laugh actually. Oh and the plaid. There’s a lot of plaid in my life for some reason. I think it was because of the 80s and 90s growing up, but also where I am from. You can even see the greens of my eyes… My memory of eating starts in around this age range. Ham steaks and fries or Kraft Dinner. What’s a fruit? No and no thanks on the Veg too. I even remember pitching a huge fit when I went to a Chinese Buffet with my family around this time because it wasn’t food I knew. Shockingly, I love Chinese food today. Still learning to tolerate rice though.
White sneakers, rolled jeans, mesh back hat and a suede jacket. You haven’t a clue at how amazingly hot and awesome I thought I was. I was a rail too. Look at me. Runway models are jealous of how thin that kid is. Honestly, I’m not, that’s just too skinny, but I was just a kid anyway so eh… who cares.
The Bare Naked Ladies classic aside, my grade 8 graduation photo stands out as a memory for me. The above photos show a happy kid. One with the world at their feet. They don’t show the broken home. The complicated family life. The excrutiating bullying. No pictures of me really do. No matter what, I have always been very good at framing how I am looked at. I guess that’s sort of why I am taking this first huge step in my life. And yes, I am burying the lead… I know.
At the tail end of 1998 (Boxing Day, in fact) I came to Ottawa by way of Wellington and Belleville. I had already faced down things I would never want people to have to face down. My father’s friend, Dave, was killed. A girl, Janine, I was fond up died in a car accident. A roommate I lived with tried to kill herself. My roommate and friend, Chris, did kill himself. I dropped out of high school. I drank. I did drugs. I was loose and free with girls and I was, unfortunately, also a heart breaker. In 1998, I ran to Ottawa to put an end to all of it. I put a literal end to everything in my past and cut ties with everyone.
This photo was taken in Spring of 1999… I chuckle at the idea I still very much love vests. I still wear bracelets, but not like that black and red one, that was knoted on my arm while sitting around chatting late at night with a pretty girl. On my fingers I wore two rings. One was my Great Grandfather’s insignia ring and the other was a skull ring that Chris wore. Behind that smile was a very broken young man. It would take another decade before I could speak about Chris without breaking down … and that would be such a challenge because I think about him every day.
This is the third proudest moment of my life. Third? Yes. Third. You read that right. Third only to my marriage and top honours goes to what I accomplished four years after this photo was taken. When I stood on the stage in 2010 and accepted my Bachelor of Arts (honours) in Anthropology.
So, what’s the big deal? As you can see between the photo in 1999 and the one above in 2006, plenty had changed with me. I had gained significant weight. I got comfortable with it too. People used to tell me “you carry it well” and I took that as a compliment. I sincerely doubt it was meant with any sort of malice, but I should have paid attention. Now in 2016, I don’t want to really post a photo of myself yet because I can see the progression in my lifetime in these photos and it simply hurts.
After trying diets (Atkins, Paleo, Low/No Sugar), increasing my excersize and failed promises I have done the one thing I would never do normally … I have asked for help. That night in January when I broke down I realized I can no longer do this without some councilling, some guidance and likely not without medical intervention. With that in mind and a paralizing fear that I would die well before my time, I decided I would ask my doctor to refer me to the weight loss clinic at the hospital. In doing so, I sought some guidance and comfort in my decision and thankfully I have a friend, Jess, who has been my literal rock when it comes to this. I won’t tell her story, but I will say that I am so glad that she and her husband Allen have come into my life. I needed them right when we started to talk.
Now, I am not without my own hypocracy. Back a number of years ago, I chided and rideculed two women I knew for taking this same very bold step. Stacey and Alyssa, if ever you read this, know that from the bottom of my heart I am deeply sorry for how I was and treated you both. I hope you can see through to how arrogant, immature and (frankly) stupid of a boy I was back then. It is because of you two and how I was then that I am going to face this next part of my life openly. I am going to keep posting on my website and doing little YouTube videos to keep myself accountable to myself. To damn the haters. To shut down the trolls. And hopefully, to help someone else eventually down the line.
That’s where I stand now … In July I have my information session about surgerical intervention. I know I have a lot to change and even more to look forward to. I don’t need your support, but it would certainly help me as I am a lot more fragile than I’ll ever admit. I just want you to know that this is all about me and about love. And I want to get back to loving who I see in the mirror again … but with less ego.