Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"You look like everyone else."

Sorry for the two-week gap in updates, but I've been insanely busy getting ready for - and participating in - the Buffalo Infringement Festival.  This is historically the busiest time of the year for me, so things like blogging...and housekeeping...and other responsibilities tend to fall by the wayside. For those who aren't privy, the BIF is an 11-day art, music, theatre, dance, literary, and what-have-you festival that is quite possibly one of the most balls-out things you'll ever experience.  The irony is that as outrageous and in-your-face as it can be, it flies "under the radar," so to speak - there are no corporate sponsors, no censors, no limits.  Here are some links for more information if you're interested in finding out more:

So then.  Now that Infringement is about halfway through, I've amassed quite a collection of photos.  As I was looking through them, I thought about last year's photos and decided to put them up against each other for comparison.

For example, here's a shot of me doing my "Prattletales" show last year and again this year in the same venue:

That's not the only example, but it's the best one I could find at the moment where I'm not wearing zombie makeup or a space costume involving otherworldly boobs.  But looking at my photos and remembering last year, how miserable I was and now realizing how much different I look and feel since last year, it gives me another boost of assurance that I really did make the right decision and am on the right track.

Twice in the last few days someone has hugged me and made a remark about how much less of me there is to hug.  My friend Carla, who recently had eye surgery and cannot see very well at the moment, told me I was freaking her out a little because my silhouette is so much different.  "You look...well, you look like everyone else," she said.  She told me I move with more grace, more confidence.  And while I hadn't noticed it until then, hearing it come from her made me realize that she was right.  I'm still overweight and have a long way to go before I'm at my goal, but being 70 pounds down - and the healthier dietary choices and exercise regimen that have gotten me here - has made a huge difference in the way I move, the way I feel about myself, and the way I present myself to the world.

I'm no longer the biggest person in the room most of the time.  I don't waddle anymore. I'm no longer out of breath and sweaty and exhausted after walking a half a block from my car.  A few days ago I went to see a play at the Manny Fried Playhouse, which is on the third floor of a converted factory.  Beautiful space, but I used to dread going there because the three flights of stairs nearly killed me. The only elevator is the service elevator and you have to seek out someone to operate it for you, and I was always too embarrassed to say, "I'm too fat for the stairs; can you give me a lift?"  This time, I walked up the stairs and didn't break a sweat.  I didn't gasp for air.   My legs protested a little, only because I'd worked them at the gym that morning and they were like, "oh, come ON, didn't we already do this today?"  I told them to shut up.   I got to the top of the stairs and kept walking; I didn't have to stop to catch my breath or hit my inhaler.  I felt fine.  Holy shit.  I felt...FINE.

There are days when I curse the stomach acid that plagues me, wakes me up in my sleep, and sends me into coughing fits.  There are days when I bitch and moan about my hair falling out, or not being able to poop.  I have my moments and my emotions are all over the place, but I can say without a doubt that of all the feelings and emotions involved in this process, regret is not one of them.

And if I ever do start to feel like I might have regrets?  I'll just go find three flights of stairs to climb.

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