Anyone over thirty five knows about Greg Brady's brush with stardom on tv's The Brady Bunch, when he fit the suit designed for rock star, Johnny Bravo. It was a role he got, not because of talent or hard work, but because he fit the suit already designed for the star. This, as it turns out, is a great allegory for life.
In many areas of my life, I don't fit the suit. Literally.
Last month I talked about having a few Dark Passengers (Dexter reference). I admitted to my brush with alcoholism and where that took me. Now I'm going to tell you about the one that has brought me the most shame. My weight.
I was a fat kid from about eight years old, if I remember correctly. Now I know enough psychology to know that when kids suddenly start putting on weight, they are often protecting themselves from something.
I stayed overweight, or husky, as we called it back then, for most of my life. I grew up as the fat faggy kid. Nope, no therapy needed there. In my early twenties, after I got sober, I began to really love myself and my new life, so I dropped 85 pounds in a year and a half. I had actually become anorexic, because I never do anything half way. I stayed thinnish (within by goal weight by about ten or fifteen pounds) for about eight years and then I started packing the pounds back on. At this point I was in my thirties and had stopped smoking so it wasn't coming off as easily as it did at twenty two, but I tried. I tried, but the shame kicked in and finally I gave up. Gave up on weight loss and myself.
Okay, that's the history lesson. Now, back to my point. I don't fit the suit. Recently, a friend of mine has lost something like 85 pounds now. I've told him how much I admire him and how much I struggle with my own weight. In tears one day, I asked him (and myself) why I couldn't seem to make any progress with weight loss. His answer was very simple. "You're just not ready yet." My first instinct was to ask what kind of bullshit answer that was, but I instinctively knew he was right. Fat is a great protector and I wasn't ready to break down that wall that keeps me "safe." Being a fat gay guy at forty seven makes you pretty much invisible. Most other gay men won't even make eye contact, so I don't have to worry about them wanting something from me I feel powerless to say no to. Food is my comfort and fat is my protector.
I'm tired of my size standing in the way of having the things I work hard for and deserve. As an actor, you can be incredible, but if you don't fit the suit, you don't get the role. Part of me thinks that's bullshit, but the reality is that it's true. My size limits me to the fat roles. Overweight people rarely get promotions. We get put in this box where people think we can only do what they think we can do. I'm here to say that too is bullshit. I am capable of so much more than what people think I can do. I'm tired of having to perform in the box others have built for me (or I have built for myself).
Aside from all of this, I deserve to be happy and be at my full potential. That's the first step. I said before that I lost that 85 pounds when I started loving myself. That's how I'm approaching it again. No fad diets. No pills or surgery. I'm going to love myself enough to feel my feelings rather than shoving them down with food. I'm going to love myself enough to make me the number one priority. I love myself enough to put healthy foods into my body. I'm love myself enough to get moving because I feel so much better when I do.
I may never truly fit the suit, but I can sew. I'll make my own fucking suit, and I will feel terrific when I do.
As an aside, I'm down ten pounds from December 31. Now I'm off to the gym!