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Sunday, May 31, 2015

How Twenty-Seven Was The "Big" One

Today may be the last day of May, but this retrospective is set to last at least one more week.  After all, I am a lot older than twenty-seven years old.

As much as I hate to admit it sometimes.

Anyway, this is the story of my twenty-seventh year on this earth, and I have to say that 27 could have gone a lot better for me.

Then again, I suppose my 27th year went a lot better than Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse.  All of them died at 27.  So, right off the bat, I'm grateful that I even made it past 27 in the first place.

But let's just say that 27 was a year in which I came to a realization about myself.  And, it wasn't a very good one at that.

Now, I'll get to that story in a second.  But before we do that, I have a few things that I want to share with you that are pop culture related.

I do have a photo taken of me from my 27th year...but I think I'll share that photo a little later on.  You'll understand why as we proceed.

For now, let's see what was hot around my 27th birthday...

#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/2008
"Bleeding Love" - LEONA LEWIS

Now, I can't remember if she won Britain's Got Talent, or the X-Factor.  I know that she was a contestant on one of those shows.  The ultimate result was this worldwide smash hit.  It's a shame that she never really had much success in North America, but she's still a star in the UK from what I hear.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"

Although I loved reading as a child, I never really got into The Chronicles of Narnia series, which is probably why I never watched this movie.  I heard it did very well though.

"American Idol" know what?  I'm bored with talking about this show.  Let's just skip it for now.

Okay, so 2008.  What was happening in 2008?  Well, not a whole lot.  I mean, I was still working my full-time job and I was enjoying it.  I had friends who I could hang out with and who liked me.  And as the holiday season approached, I had thought that things were going well.

I still remember the holiday celebration that we had at my workplace back then.  It was just after I celebrated my fourth anniversary with my workplace (I started two weeks before Christmas in 2004), and it was at a time in which our workplace uniforms were dark blue (they're now a lighter blue).

As part of the festivities for the holiday season, we were allowed to dress in Christmas colours, and for the occasion I wore a green polo shirt, green khakis, and a red sweater vest that I had bought myself some time earlier.  All I needed was red socks, and the entire outfit would have rocked!

In our employee lounge there were all sorts of treats for all of us employees.  If I remember correctly, I was working a day shift that day, so we were treated to pancakes, sausages, fresh fruit - after all, it was a holiday breakfast.  And naturally, all of us employees - especially yours truly - took advantage in a big way.

Well, I think someone from management was going in and out of the lounge periodically taking pictures of all of the employees and somehow my picture was snapped.  I didn't realize this until I saw a collage of all of the photos that were posted on the wall outside the lounge.

And when I saw my photo, I felt so sick inside.  Have a look.

First things first, contrary to what you might think, I do not randomly drink an entire gallon of store-bought maple syrup.  It just happened to be placed on the table that I was sitting at.

Secondly, I thought that my green polo and red vest would have looked fantastic, but when you throw the blue vest over top of it, there was clearly too much going on, and it just looked bad.

And lastly...and more painfully...I realized just how much I let myself go.

I was huge.  I was enormous.  And, here's a bit of a confession.  I was probably at the 300 pound mark, if not completely over it.  And, it just made me want to break down and cry.

The sad thing never made me feel that way before. 

I don't know if any of you could tell based on my childhood photos that I've posted over the last month, but I was always a husky kind of kid.  I needed a big and tall store before the days of Destination XL.  In first grade, I was four feet, five inches tall.  By seventh, I was five foot seven.  And by my eighteenth birthday, I was already at 6'1".

The height I could deal with.  The weight was always a problem.

You see...I am what you call an emotional eater.  I ate to fill the void of things that I didn't have.  When I was in high school and all the other kids were going to dances, I was raiding the refrigerator at home and gorging on whatever food there was that contained sugar, fat, or both.  And well, by 2008, it had all caught up with me.

It got to the point where I didn't recognize the person who I was looking at in that photo.  It certainly wasn't the best representation of who I knew I could be.

But, who was I?  At 27, I didn't know the answer to that question.  All I knew was that when I was growing up, people were mean to me for being overweight - both kids and adults.  When they weren't calling me "Fatty Matty", they were giving me unsolicited advice about how to lose weight.  One kid actually lectured me by saying that I should stop eating junk food and maybe, just maybe he would have something to do with me.

Clearly he and I were never going to be friends.  Not with his holier-than-thou attitude.

Though, admittedly, my attitude sucked as well.  I basically had the "I give up" attitude where I just binge ate over and over.  Food filled the relationship void, the friendship void, and the general life suckage void.  And all I had to show for it was a three hundred pound body that I was convinced that nobody would love.

I suppose it was sort of an insane way to show self-preservation.  Self-preservation through self-sabotage.  At least by being heavy, I ensured that people who could potentially hurt me would stay away.

But it's not a great way to live life.  And I suppose that you could call this a two-part piece...because at age 28, I decided that I would change all that.

But it also made me come to a rather sad realization.  One that I will be one hundred per cent honest about.

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