December 13, 2004
I hear you're having some trouble with your weight and thought I'd tell you that I've been feeling a little heavier recently as well. Last year I lost a good deal of weight. It wasn't by design--I've never dieted in my life, and never plan to--but instead simply by cooking more food instead of eating out or eating frozen and by starting to skateboard on a regular basis. This year, as my workload has increased and my life has become more inwardly-focused, I've started to put on a few more pounds again. With winter starting, when the option of hitting the skatepark or going on a long walk with Janice and the dog is not as feasible, I'll probably add a few more still.
I remember growing up and feeling like a fat kid. I always wore clothes that were too big, I always dressed really fast in gym class. When I would go swimming, I'd wear a T-shirt in part to cover up my body. I was one of those kids who, when people would want to play football and break the teams into shirts and skins, would break into a blind panic if I was on the skins side; one of those kids that changed in the bathroom at sleep-overs for fear of ridicule. Remember those Special K commercials, the ones that go "Thanks to the K, you can't pinch an inch--on me"? Well I distinctly remember reaching down, pinching the center of my gut and being horrified.
But the thing is, Mr. Bush, I was never actually that big. I was pretty average for a growing kid; certainly no bigger than most of my friends. There was just something in my head that told me that I had something to keep hidden.
Even as I grew older and the little bit of baby fat I had was stretched over a much larger frame, I never stopped feeling like a bigger guy. I remember being in high school and feeling chunky, but looking at photos now, I realize that I wasn't big at all--just a six foot rail with long, blonde locks and horrendous facial hair (it was high school, Mr. Bush, forgive me). But back then, it felt like something I had to cover up, to hide.
It's an impulse that I've been able to overcome to a certain degree at this point, Mr. Bush (lord knows, those that suffered through my wrestling singlet stage can attest to that), but still today, when I tried on a shirt that fit me well over the summer and discovered it was a little tighter now, my initial reaction was to toss a big sweater on over it. But I caught myself and changed into a smaller sweater (actually, a little extra bulk helps out on days that it barely cracks thirty), and remembered a time when I couldn't even conceive of wearing a size large.
So fight that impulse to cover it up, Mr. Bush, this new weight will either become a part of you or it will pass away unnoticed. Either way, embrace who you are; you don't get a second chance.