I have lost 117 pounds to date. I have made the choice to change my life and eat better and exercise more. I have probably added 20 plus years to my life. I did it for me. I did it for my family. I am a better man because of it. I am still scared.
I often do not like to divulge many personal feelings in my blog. I am the happy go lucky person that enjoys life, at least on the outside. My wife and my circle of friends could tell you of a different Joe. One who is still sad. One who still sees his life as unfulfilled. One that wakes up everyday trying to figure out what his purpose is. Sure I have changed my life, but I did not solve anything. Some people may read this and question my love for my family, but that is not what this is about. I have the best wife in the world. My kids are fantastic. I live for my family. I may be a little grumpy, okay a lot grumpy with them, but I love them with all my heart and would sacrifice everything for any of them. I should treat them better, they deserve way better.
My problem is between my ears. I cannot get out of my own way. My weight issue has held me back for a long time. It has kept me from chasing my dreams and I have never stepped out of my comfort zone. I may have lost weight, and even gained some confidence, but I’m still scared. Scared of another failure. Even without the weight I am being held back by my weight. Somehow, someway, I must confront this demon. Step outside my comfort zone, take the leap. I deserve happiness and so does my family.
But…the last ten years of my life has been littered with poor decisions and failures. I never found my way, if you will. I was content just getting by and most of the time I barely did that. I stayed in a “career” that I knew wasn’t a good fit for me just because I was afraid. Growing up through school, I was smart, never anything special, but I didn’t have to work too hard at anything to succeed. I never developed a solid work ethic and always expected things to come easy to me. Wrong! In college I did the same but instead of A’s I got C’s and eventually I quit. Quitting became the motto of my life. I quit my marriage to Rachel, I quit many jobs by simply not caring, and I quit myself. I was in a dark place. A place that I am still slowly crawling out of. At that time I could have lived or died and did not care. I floundered like that for many years. I kept seeing my best friends become successful doctors, engineers, and artists. I saw my brother become a manager of a major restaurant. I saw my sister go to school to enter the health care field. I saw my wife give up everything to support our special needs daughter and thank goodness because I was absent, not physically, but let’s just say that I had checked out. I was witness to all of this and it pushed me deeper and deeper into the depths of depression. I was The failure. I was The one who hadn’t realized his potential. I gained more and more weight and even hoped to have a heart attack. Everyone would be better off I thought. My daughter deserves more than loser like me. These are the thoughts that crossed my mind. Everyday. Day in, day out. Every hour, every minute, every second. Thank God for Rachel. She never stopped believing in me.
I did finally got a job that I liked. It didn’t pay very well but I enjoyed the work. It was a good fit for me. I even felt a little better, but I wasn’t cured. Rach and I had our second child in June of 2008. A little boy. This should motivate me right? Nope. I never understood how people got to weigh six, seven, eight hundred pounds. Suddenly I started to understand. I understood that it is a conscience effort. People don’t accidentally weigh 800 pounds. I was well on my way.
In August of 08’ I popped the buttons off both pairs of pants that I wore. I decided that enough is enough. I vowed to lose the weight. I even bought a giant poster board and drew a weekly chart with weight and measurement columns. I saw that poster board in the closet the other day. It had the first week and second week filled out. Yep, quit again. Another failure. More depression. What could I do? How could I motivate myself?
So I inquired about going back to school. As it turns out they don’t care how much you weigh as long as the bill gets paid. So I started back on a Tuesday night at 6:00pm. It was a big step for me. I was scared to death. I wanted to leave as soon as I got there. I was always social around people I know, but in a classroom full of adults and professionals. I was horrified. I was also the fattest person in class. I hated myself for this. During presentations I was embarrassed and ashamed. No one takes a morbidly obese person seriously. How could they?
I was never going to make it. Quitting again I thought to myself. Figures.
Except something happened. Something deep within. Something I cannot explain. It coincided with New Years in 2009. It wasn’t a resolution but something more. A commitment to myself. A commitment to my family. I’ll never forget that night on January 4th. Rachel and Bella were playing with finger paints at the kitchen table and I had my shirt off so as not to get paint on it. I was so fat I could barely muster the energy to play with paints. I told Rach that this was it. Never again. I’m losing this weight for good. I said it with conviction. Of course I’ve said it many times before, but this time I meant it. Rachel drew a red smiley face on my belly and wrote the word bye-bye, and she took a picture. I looked like the freaking Kool Aid man. I put the picture on myspace and started a blog. How embarrassing. How humiliating. How disgraceful. How motivating? How inspirational? I received several words of encouragement on that first blog. I lost 20 pounds my first week. Then 7 pounds. Then 8 pounds. I took a picture every Monday and wrote a blog about my weight loss experience. It helped me. Soon I was below 300 pounds. I changed my thought process. I didn’t want to have a heart attack any more. I wanted to live. I want to be something. But I’m still scared. I may have lost all this weight, but I’m still that fat person who fails. I’m still a loser. That is what I’m dealing with right now. Overcoming those thought pattern that filled my mind for the last ten years. The voice in your head that says “you can’t do it” “you’re too stupid” “you know you will gain all the weight back”
Yeah that voice is still holding me back. But, losing this weight has also put another voice in my head. He says “you can do it” “you are worth it” “if you want it, go for it” “you deserve this”
They battle it out on a daily basis. My own little rockem sockem robots in my head. Some days the negative fella wins, but you know what? With every pound, every success, every ‘A’ in my college class, my confidence grows. The positive voice wins most of the time. I am starting to heal. I am almost ready for my next step.
You see, I have wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a little kid, when I sat in my living room with my Mom and watched my first episode of LA Law. I love the theory of law. I love analyzing situations, seeing the angles, and arguing my point. I will make a great lawyer. I never concede defeat. My #1 dream job would be playing for the Royals, becoming a lawyer is #2. Actually I might try out for the Royals at this point, but really, being a lawyer is my calling. Unfortunately, I wasted my opportunity when most people grasp it and chose not to finish college. Now at 29, I am scheduled to graduate from college in May 2010 and I am going to take the LSAT in September, maybe December. I’m still scared though. Can I do it? Can I even get into law school? If I do get in, can I cut it? The answer is yes.
Literally as I have written this blog, I feel better. I feel stronger. Maybe this is the first step to conquering that demon that is known to me as the bad rockem sockem robot. The weight loss was a catalyst, but to continue I must face my fears. I will succeed.