I had to hunt for the elusive pictures of me, and there were not many to be found. I did find some though, and horrified as I am at them, I’m going to share them with you here, as well as what I look like TODAY, as of the writing of this post, which is still pretty horrifying, albeit less so.
Here’s where I started. This picture was either taken in Las Vegas or the Bahamas, and I’m not sure which. I’m smiling. Surely in either place I was having a good time. Looking at this picture inspires a lot of different emotions though, and none of them are fond reminiscences.
Here’s me now. The shirt fits reasonably well even if the pants are clown pants. I’m working on that, the changing of wardrobe. As you can see, I’ve lost some weight, and apparently I gained a neck. That’s pretty sweet. I’m not overly thrilled with this picture either, even though it is exponentially better than the other. It does help to firm my resolve to continue though.
When I published the last Healthy Gamer update, my stomach immediately went into knots. Exposing myself like that was (and is) scary as hell. A few people reached out to me to express gratitude for something they could relate to. Which I suppose was the point. Make myself the spokesperson of my deeper darker worries, and maybe get some of you to take that different kind of look in the mirror. Talking about it right now, knowing that I’m getting ready to write again about those things that none of us would dare speak aloud is already giving me some gastro-intestinal anxiety. And I know that I can’t go back now. Me and Phil Collins, we play for keeps. With any luck, the prize to be gained is the dismantling of these insecurities. I have no idea if that’s a realistic goal. Talking about pictures, and now posting them, doesn’t really make me feel any better about getting in front of the camera. Getting better about these things isn’t going to be an overnight success story.
I feel I should mention here that what I’m going to talk about today is an experience more limited to people who have been heavy a very long time. People who have found that their weight acted as a prohibitive factor in any number of situations. People who weren’t always heavy but have undergone some weight gain might not be able to relate so much.
Like I said last time, picture/camera avoidance are not the only insecurity us heavy nerds face. Not even close. In addition to the discomforts of weight and health risks, a lot of us carry shame. Shame and fear. Shame that manifests in a variety of odd fashions.
Obesity is one of the last off-color topics it’s still socially palatable to make fun of. As the times change, this is slowly gaining the same protections that race and sexual preference have picked up in the public eye. The culture of fat-shaming has its claws in deep and paints us in subtle tones as junk food obsessive, slothful undesirables. Some of us buy the hype, too. We have to remind ourselves and proclaim loudly that we are not. Who should ever have to clarify that? But I digress, this isn’t about the practice of fat-shaming or even fat-acceptance, both of which are huge topics in and of themselves.
We’re gamer nerds. If your wolfpack runs anything like mine, (and I bet that it does) there’s a lot of trash talk. It’s all in good natured fun, and only rarely is anyone putting any intent behind their words. The zingers are flying back and forth, everyone is laughing, then that joke is made. Something changes in a split second. Your brain shifts to defensive mode, and the laughter that you were a part of not a second ago has closed you out and is pointed directly at you. It’s a real bitch, isn’t it?
You know, it’s funny that while we will make fun of ourselves on the subject (with much hesitation) it’s a sore spot if anyone else does it. Like the facts somehow change with the identity of the speaker or that it’s somehow OK for one to do it but not another.
What can you do about this? If it was easy as “I’m not going to let it bother me” then surely all of us would have done it by now. We aspire to just “rise above it”, and in terms of knee-jerk surface reaction, we succeed.
That’s not a solution that will be sustainable long term, and not even one that really addresses the problem so much as a symptom.
As far as I’ve been able to figure out, the only real way to combat this effectively is to make it patently untrue. At the conclusion of the Captain Hammer Project, those sorts of comments will likely just disappear. It’s hard for me to say. I’ve wondered if I’ll ever be able to rid myself of the “fat guy” mentality, no matter how good of shape I get into. The potential for an identity crisis will probably make a decent topic to discuss in the future. We’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but don’t dismiss the ability of words to hurt you. What you can do, is change your life to where they can’t.
Good news, Healthy Gamers. Fitocracy has FINALLY released an Android app. It’s curious how dependent we become on our gadgets. When I had to get on a computer to log workouts…well, it just didn’t happen. What Fitocracy has recorded and what I’ve actually done are two entirely different things. Now that I can do so from my phone, I’ll actually get back to gaining levels. Which adds to the fun, and this process needs all the fun it can get. Are you a Fitocracy user? Come join the Pretty Sneaky Sis group. Your presence will spark my competitive nature, and my efforts may do the same for you. In a few levels, we can start talking about what Prestige Classes we’re interested in building towards.
Next time: Progress update.