The Struggle

by , on
Jun 9, 2013

This post is in reply to a post title, “The Post I Didn’t Publish” by Kenlie on Like me she’s struggling with her weight issue. Her post is great (as are all her posts) and very much worthy of your attention. I would recommend reading “The Post I Didn’t Publish” before you read any further.

Dear Kenlie,

I’m so glad you wrote “The Post I Didn’t Publish”. I’ve been dealing with my own struggles with my weight for a very long time.  Since the summer of 2010 my journey, my epic string of blunders, my failures and my successes have all been very public. I’m sure I’ve lost 250 – 300 pounds since that summer; hundreds if not thousands more over the course of my lifetime; only to gain back every single ounce. I would lose 4 pounds and gain back 3.75.  Yeah, I know how to lose weight. I think most of us who face this struggle do. img013

Whatever emotional or behavioral abnormalities I developed over the previous 37 years were joined by more feelings of failure, hopelessness and abandonment in the last 3.  Here we go 40 years of emotional scarring at my finger tips. img024

6739444379_25b89e76f8_b You asked, “How many times can I post that I struggle with the amount of food that I want to eat versus the amount of food that I should eat?” Yeah, you do that. But you know what? We all think that about ourselves. We all wonder why we eat so much more than I know we should. Your readers understand. Your issue is our issue. You being open and honest about the struggle puts a very human face on the struggle. And we appreciate that. img025

OLALater on in that same paragraph you asked, “How many times can I stand to lose battles before I finally admit that I’ve lost the war?” Here’s my take, you lose the war when you die. And we all kick the bucket eventually. You keep on fighting and even though you aren’t making the progress you want any effort you put into this battle prevents everything from going straight to hell. You’re as awesome as you are because you have fought as hard as you have. You haven’t lost any battle. Your progress is just not where you want it to be. photo (8)

SAM_0954You are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for it. I mean I get it. You start feeling like garbage. I’ve been and well, still am there.  For me, my inability to keep weight off has lead to shame, fear, a lack of self-confidence, a bevy of emotional and trust issues, insecurities, and a lifetime of failures stemming from my weight issues.  I rationalize my eating, I under value myself and place more value in what others say than in my own abilities and beliefs. Eventually you believe everything people say. You internalize it. Their perception becomes your perception. You become worthless in your own eyes. So you self-medicate with food to deal with those feelings and inadequacies.  I often wonder when the pain, and the desperation will be enough. But it’s not that easy and unfortunately there aren’t any quick fixes and very rarely is there an “a-ha” moment. SAM_0100

Wills classGuilt is not the answer. It does nothing for me except put me into a lovely little shame spiral where I eat some more and the cycle starts over again. And certainly fat shaming isn’t the answer either.  I know I’m fat. I know what my issues are. Trust me, I’m morbidly obese not stupid.  And don’t people realize that we’re addicts? Would you tell someone addicted to cocaine or barbiturates to just stop?2004.3.19  Julies Day of Fun Will, What's Up With The Hair

2004.4.17  Pints I Should Never Give My Camera To Anyone People have left me, given up on me, and given me the cold shoulder. They think I just don’t want to do this. That I’m not serious enough or whatever BS they feel like spewing.  Just do it or just eat less they say. It’s not that easy! You cry on the inside when people say these things because you feel like it’s just seemingly so out of your control. You should know, right? You’ve been struggling with this your entire life. You bang your head against the wall or just sit and stare at a screen wondering what you’re going to do.M3361S-3034

1998reunion1Unfortunately haters are going to hate. Some people just suck. It’s easy to say this but screw them. You know who your real friends and supporters are. They will always be there. Unfortunately it still appears to be “OK” to pick on the obese. We’re all very well aware of people’s mistreatment; the looks, the stares the laughs, the chattiness behind our backs, the slighting in opportunities, the general nastiness and condescending attitudes. We hear you, we see you. We’re not blind or deaf. We’re human you sick twisted freaks. Please treat us with that level of dignity and respect.  We get to see a much, much darker and nastier side of man. Even the “nice” ones can really suck. But despite all the traumas we go on. But we go on with strength they don’t see. With strength they can’t even imagine. Remember, Kenlie, you are stronger than they can possible imagine. 1988 Spring  - 10th grade

WillWhen did being a coke head or a physical abuser get more respect than being obese? There are some who would say this is a mental weakness.  They should try dealing with the extremely violent emotional rollercoaster. We’re on this ride holding on with white knuckles for dear life. It’s unfortunate our weight addiction is so painfully obvious but it is, so we have to bear that burden.M3361S-3034

Wills_NY4Our friends will never get it, and God bless them for trying, but they don’t have to. In the end, with this battle only the individual matters. This isn’t saying that you shouldn’t help them understand, they are after all your friends. But they don’t need to understand what’s going on in your head for you to get healthy. I made this mistake. I won’t do it again. I’ll still blog about my trials and tribulations but in the end it’s for me and the people that need to hear what I have to say so they can start figuring out things too.

Wills_NY1 Most people will never be able to grasp the pain, the loneliness, the isolation, no sense whatsoever of self. I used to get mad about that. But I can’t anymore. I can’t blame them for not getting it. And I can’t get mad at them anymore. I don’t know what it’s like to be a single mom. Hell, I was raised by one. Even though I know what she went through and some of her struggles, I sure as hell can’t grasp fully what it was like. And yet people judge us on all levels. And folks wonder why I have trust issues and why I don’t make too many real connections.

SAM_0295Yeah, people will say you’ll only lose weight when you’re ready. I used to believe that. I have lost weight, hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Whatever it is inside us that’s hindering us, whether it’s really bad ingrained habits, an extreme lack of self-confidence, a chemical imbalance, something else entirely or a lovely cocktail of multiple issues that is what’s limiting our ability to keep the weight off. I’m done feeling bad or guilty about that. We are not mentally weak. I am not mentally.

SAM_0011I want to lose weight now not when I’m “ready.”  I’m loathing pop psychologists. I’ve been ready for a new life for years. But the pain is just so much.  I can deal with a GREAT deal of discomfort and have but the emotional impact or this process is overwhelming. All the “Why’s” in the world don’t help. We all know what we’re doing to our bodies and we all have glimpses into what our lives can be, both good and bad..

2006.08.26  MN RenFest 137 How do people, specifically men, treat you? Do you find you’re the object of their desire? I don’t know what it’s like for a woman to find me desirable, to have a lover. I’ve never even dated. Love is just a concept to me. I “love” being told I’m cute, sweet, such a nice & great guy, and a big teddy bear. I don’t want to be a teddy bear. I’m an intelligent, compassionate, loving, caring, passionate, sexual man. Not a friggin stuffed toy. Do you ever think your female friends will change when they see you as “competition”?

M3361S-3034 I’ll be honest; I want to be “hot”. Is this a vain goal? It sure is. After 40 years of being undesired, of being a Teddy Bear, of not being considered a man, of not being on the radar, I want to get noticed in a huge way. I’m tired of not being considered a threat by other men because of the way I look.  I want other dudes to worry just a little when I hang out with their significant others. You know what? I’m funny, I’m charming, I’m smart, I’m empathetic, I do have great facial features, I’m somewhat level  headed, and once I figure my life out I’ll have a rockin’ bod, my own business and a successful non-profit. So gentlemen, you better step up your game or you’ll be found sadly lacking. And the kind of transformation I’m going through is powerful, remember that.  People love an underdog story. So buckle up. Ironically, I won’t actually be a threat, I have morals.  But I still want other guys to worry just a little bit.

M3361S-3034 It’s vain, I know. But that it’s one of my goals. And until people walk in my shoes they can by no means judge.  I love being told it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that I need more self-confidence.  I love being told that looks don’t matter. While I believe that women are far, far less shallow than men, I believe it’s a lie they tell themselves to make themselves feel better. I’ve been told so many times how wonderful I am. I’ve had confidence, but that will only get you so far. I’ve never had the “look” of someone that was dateable. It’s an unfortunate reality but it is a reality.

M3361S-3034 I always thought I’d like to find someone special in my life now. Because if I lose weight and find someone, how would I know they wouldn’t be superficial. Could they have loved me at a higher weight? And God forbid what if I relapse? You’re right, we all want love, positive attention, support, acceptance, to hear we can do it, and they we are liked and loved for who we are.  But maybe we can’t put the cart before the horse.

M3361S-3034 Eating, for me it’s about love. It’s about trying to find that feeling I can only conceptualize. Love is wonderful and I so desperately want to feel it someday. What are your thoughts, Kenlie?

M3361S-3034 I agree, face-to-face time to wonderful and can’t be beat. With all my issues I tend to isolate myself. I don’t want to deal with people. So I isolate myself just to “show them”. I do the same when I’m hurt. But that’s never the way.  We’ve all heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I’ll take it farther. I believe it takes a village to get anything done of any significance. I’d say losing weight is very, very significant.  You do what you have to do inch by inch, ignore the crap, the naysayers, you push through, you survive, and you evolve. You are not alone. Your online friends, your non-virtual friends will all be there to support you.

I often compare myself to others and how awesome their lives are compared to mine. I beat myself up so much with those thoughts. I don’t know how people do so much while I haven’t accomplished much at all. There’s no way to sugar coat it, things in my life are kind of horrible.  Living the lie of my life. The perpetual smile. I have choice words for some people but I will refrain.  And I go on.

Can I point something out? You’ve lost so much weight already and that is incredible.   Between the blog and television you’ve done so much for this community. More than you’ll ever know. If you feel the need to take time to reboot take a break, we all need one. But then get back at it.  We will all support you. We are all you and you are us.

M3361S-3034 I blog. Not much though. My bog goes silent a lot. Partially because of my place in life, partially because of my emotional state, and partially because I have a lack of stories to tell at this time. But you’ve been so consistent and so open. Please, pat yourself on the back. You should be proud of yourself.

M3361S-3034 Have you heard of the “U” effect? Imagine the start of a project is the top of a “u”. Everyone is excited and jazzed up about it. After awhile attitudes change and people are sick of the project. This would be the bottom of the “u”. But through hard work and consistency people finish the project and get excited again. You can do this, Kenlie. We all can.

OLA 3Identify and release the mental constraints that bind you. Engage those constraints, those demons. Look adversity straight in the eyes and stare it down like the pile it is.  Do what you’re told you can’t. Shake up the world around you even more. Stand up and take your rightful place in this world and I will do the same.

2012.05.25 T-Shirt 1I believe in you Kenlie I won’t give up on you because there have been many have given up on me. Your readers understand all to well. We get it. We’re all in this together. I adore you Kenlie…..not in a creepy Internet stalker kind of way. But as someone who shares my struggles, my pain. And as someone who shares my triumphs, and my victories. It’s in reach, all of it.

The people that should really read this post probably never will. And that’s cool; I’ll live my life how I believe I should. For me this journey is about changing every fiber of my being. The core “Will” will be there, but there will be changes.

I’m tired of food taking over my life and influencing my decision making. I’m tired of being left out intentionally or unintentionally. I’m tired of being thought of as less.  I’m tired of knowing everyone and not really knowing anyone.  I’m tired of my feelings and I not being taken into consideration. I’m tired of never truly belonging and being misunderstood. I’m tired of being abandoned.  I tired of not being thought of first, second, third, fourth, fifth or even 6th.  I’m tired of being left out. I’m tired of being thought of as less than a man. I’m tired of putting people on a pedestal over myself. I’m just tired. I’m done playing the fool, the funny guy or the overly nice and kind person. I’m done feeling like a failure.

OLA 4I’ve had a lot of pain over the years especially over the last few months.  It’s been interesting. I’ve had nothing to hide behind. Everything I’ve done (work, school, volunteering, socializing) have been forays into normalcy. Then again, maybe you can’t put the cart before the horse.  I’ve had to deal with what’s in my head and it’s been a struggle.  Everything has been bubbling to the top and I’m forced to deal. The nagging question is, “Why can’t I make the leap?” I know I’m smart and have a bunch of ability. I’m done with never fulfilling even a fraction of my potential because my head is bogged down in “can’t”. I’m sick of being picked on because of the funny habits I developed along the way in order to survive. I’m sick of hiding and lying and feeling such an immense amount of shame. I don’t want to have to hold back the tears anymore. I just don’t want any more tears.

Decades of isolation and other issues have left my social development lacking. I’ve been left behind and I’m struggling with acceptance. But, I have learned some great tools to survive (you know, funny, charming, people skills) and I have made some huge leaps and bounds in my emotional growth because of the pain. So I’m getting there.

Wills_NY9I put up with a lot. I don’t ruffle feathers. Almost everything I do I do because I just want to be liked or accepted. What kind of life is that? Why am I debasing my values, my beliefs, and my story. People will be shocked at the change, but whatever.  This isn’t an excuse to share the same sort of villainy that was expressed to me. If anything else, it’s a reason to be more humane. It’s something that a world with over seven billion humans is greatly lacking.

I remember basing some of my behavioral patterns on TV and movies just because those were the only frame of reference I had.

I was hoping the pain would be so unbearable someday and then BOOM! I would make the changes. But apparently I know how to deal with a lot. I’m pliable. A friend told me I should stop making this to intellectual and just make it mechanical. Well, that works well for the physical part. Will it work for the emotional eating? I don’t know.

DSCN0042I need to start figuring out who I am and what I’m worth. I don’t have to figure it out completely but the process must start. I feel my body starting to fall apart and I’m no where near as quick witted as I used to be, although I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve learned to hold my tongue. I feel, no, I know, I can get everything and more back.

I will rise up, face my demons and set myself free. I will take my rightful place in the world. I am worth so much more than enough.

Thank you, Kenlie, for giving me the courage to write this post.

Sizeism, Part I

by , on
Jun 2, 2012

On Thursday, May 31st, 2012 a “friend” of mine posted a pic on Facebook of 3 morbidly obese women around a table eating breakfast. There was an insane amount of food; far more than 3 people could eat. Two of the three captions read, “Need Syrup!” and “Fuck yeah! We’re carb loading for lunch”. I don’t remember the third caption. I found this picture to be very thoughtless, hurtful and degrading. I didn’t need to see that, especially not after what I’ve been through. What made it worse was that this person, in his position, is supposed to be able to support and motivate people to transform their lives. Instead, by this single act, he’s created an elitist class, and said it’s OK to pick on the obese. He is an elitist bully.

I’m going to say a few things now. And I may lose a few friends over what I’m about to say. But I do not care if that happens at this point. I will only speak the truth and if they can’t handle that, well then, that’s not my concern.

We live in a society were sizeism and bigotry towards the obese is very real. We’re living in a time were we’re learning what’s in our food. And we’re getting very conscience about what we’re putting into our bodies. I believe a lot of this is a thinly veiled attempt to poke fun of the obese. Do we really need to see a child who resembles the Michelin Man eating at McDonald’s or pictures of morbidly obese women in bikini’s? What purpose does this serve? To educate? No, to humiliate. All of this fuels resentment towards the obese.

Is it OK to make fun of the GLBTI community, African-American’s, Hispanics, Asians, Women, the poor or persons with developmental disabilities? No, it’s not. So why is it alright to make fun of the obese? Are we the last safe vestige of outcasts for people to make fun of? Maybe.

To paraphrase Amy Monsoon, a friend of mine,

“Using the terms “larger bodies” or “fat bodies” automatically assumes a “normative body,”. Unfortunately, just by definition obese people are not normal. People with a larger body size don’t necessarily struggle with healthy body weight/size issues but with inclusion and accessibility issues. Practical accessibility to access health care and to sit in seats at stage shows, on airplanes, or in classrooms has not been clearly addressed by our current social structures,  public restroom accessibility, since many public facilities are less than roomy, unless a person uses the handicap accessible bathroom stalls, again reinforces the current social mindset of exception for fat people. Automobile design does as well. It seems that most (if not all) of the responsibility for obesity  is squarely placed on the person with a fat body, as if a fat body is troublesome, while ignoring multiple causes. Correlation and causation are confused. In other words, it seems practically impossible to consider a cause-effect link between a single cause and another singular effect (like obesity), even though “consumption” is always already assumed.  Yet, social assumptions categorize fatness as an indication of an identity, a personal morality, and a lack of personal control of one’s own embodiment.”

The obese do not fit any social constructs of being “in” (health, fashion, desirability, morality, food, anything). We live on the fringes of society. We have the feeling we don’t belong, not even within our own social and peer groups. It’s a painful feeling, and having it reinforced by society just adds to the feelings of abandonment, seclusion and abjection. I guarantee we’ve all been through so much. We don’t deserve disrespect. All our lives we’re dealing with jerks. There’s even an application on Facebook called Fatbooth where users can see how they would look if they were obese. This is all been used in good, hurtful fun. Even by a few of my friends.

You can’t imagine the pain we go through every single day. It builds up and builds up. You want to lash out with your rage but you can’t. instead, you eat it and the cycle continues.

So here’s a very, very brief overview of what’s happened to me over the years. And trust me, there’s been so much more.

  • Told by a teacher in the Surgical Tech program at Rochester Community &      Technical College that I couldn’t be in the program because I was too      large. And it wasn’t because I couldn’t fit in the OR. It was because they      didn’t have a gown big enough for me.
  • Was told so many times over the phone by employers that they loved my      application and was asked to come in to look at their openings. When they      saw me the interviewer said there weren’t any openings available.
  • Told all my life that I was never good enough
  • Told by my supervisor that I just don’t fit in
  • I constantly get funny looks from people. Oh my, especially in places where      they think I wouldn’t belong. Like the start of the Med City Marathon
  • People grabbing my tits and making a kissing sound thinking it’s funny
  • When I was younger people asking me if I was a boy or a girl
  • People following me around with cameras and video cameras, pointing and laughing
  • People mocking me as I walk buy. I’m fat, not deaf
  • Never really belonging. Never really part of the group
  • A lack of deep connectivity
  • Zero dating life
  • Lack of support at a local fitness center. They didn’t want me working out      because they were afraid I’d have a heart attack. Not even a lousy walk      around the track.

Do you want to know what I learned from all this? I learned shame. I developed multiple complexes and fear. I developed a severe lack of self-confidence. I berate myself. This has all fed to my (and quite possibly others) neurosis.          Our friends and families have fed into this neurosis. Sometimes they’re trying to be helpful. Sometimes they’re not. It’s paralytic, sometimes are far worse than others. Sometimes I’m unable to move and sometimes unable to breathe much less think.

Society likes to tell itself that a person’s look doesn’t matter and that it’s the person’s character and heart that truly matter. I say that’s a load of PC garbage we feed ourselves to make us feel better. Looks matter so much and character it seems matters very little.

There’s something I know that will happen when I lose the excess weight; all my relationships will be different at some level. The change can be good or bad. People will take me more seriously. Men will consider me more of the pack and women will consider me more desirable. I’ll be part of the group. I won’t be the outsider. I will develop deeper connections with people. I know this will happen, it always does. And I won’t have changed. In fact, by the tome of this post I will have become more jaded by then. But it won’t matter, I’ll look better. If you don’t believe me, and I’m thinking many of you don’t, ask someone you know that’s last a lot or weight or just do a Google search. Or just ask someone that’s lost 20 pounds and they’ll tell you the same thing.

Today I saw a guy who probably weighed somewhere in the lower 400’s. He was dressed nice. I liked his shirt. I wondered what his story was. I wondered how he’s been treated, what are his fears, wants, likes and dislikes. How did I see him when I first saw him? What is he really like? I wished I went up to him and started a conversation.

I’m not saying I don’t have some serious issues. Hell, I weigh over 500 pounds. That would indicate”something” is going on. I’ve made some many mistakes in my life which I still trying to fight my way out of. I’ve had so many failures. Sometimes it seems so hopeless, so pointless and dealing with all the attitudes and BS just aggravates the situation. Is it any wonder I’m moderately paranoid and that I have a hard time trusting people. I don’t think so. I want to trust, I want to give the benefit of the doubt but it seems like it gets thrown in my face a lot. But still I move on and I will always move on. It’s what I do. It’s what I will always do. But despite me moving on, why must people hurt the process? Let me tell you a few things about myself:

  • It is not ok to pick on me because I’m different
  • Do your worst and I will do mine
  • I am not a novelty
  • I am not the butt of a joke
  • I am not unhealthy
  • I am not a freak
  • I am not a teddy bear
  • I am smart as hell
  • I am creative
  • I get things done
  • I know physical and emotional pain all too well
  • I am not to be ignored, looked down upon or though less of
  • I am capable of love and hate
  • I am not the thing that society views me as
  • I am not weak. I have more strength you will ever know
  • I am capable of so, so much.
  • Your bigotry gives me strength
  • I am not an inspiration
  • I am not cheap entertainment
  • I have 2 Master’s degrees and I do workouts which would make most people cry
  • I can plan events like no other
  • I am a human being

Those of you that know me see a funny, charming, outgoing, witty guy. Trust me, this is not who I am. It’s just an act, a mechanism I use to deal with the pain, fit in and survive another day, nothing more.

Being part of something, being part of the pack is something I’ve always wanted. Being part of this organization were the Elitist Bully (EB) works made me feel like I belong. But now I’m having second thoughts about being part of this organization. The other leaders are going to have a talk with EB and that warms my heart. I have so much respect and love for them and the organization as a whole and their mission. But it would seem awkward to be there. I won’t really feel like I belong especially after raising a stink over this.

In the end I got a pretty weak apology via text from the EB. He said he thought it was funny so he posted it. He’s sorry. He didn’t realize that pic would be hurtful to me and others.. And then he complained how last nights post on FB was hurtful to him. Classy.

What are the chances he’s been talking to other people in this organization trying to defend himself? How many people there now know? How many of these people will side with him? What are the chance4s I’m going to walk into a crappy environment?

I feel spent after writing this. I have no energy left. All I want to do is crawl into bed so I can shake this crappy feeling off and regroup tomorrow. I have things to do, goals to accomplish and people to help. I’ve been far too nice for far too long, always letting this sort of thing roll off my back.

So what was the point of writing all this? One of my reasons is to vent. If I don’t vent, my feelings will eat me up. I can’t have that. Another reason is to hopefully raise some awareness. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Just because you see us smiling doesn’t mean we’re not hurting so terribly inside. And the third reason is to simply ask to be nice us. We are your peers, your equals. We have the same feelings and emotions you do. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. All of us are capable of intelligent thought, compassion and humanity. Don’t judge us because of our size. Don’t overlook us, include us. Don’t assume anything about us.

BTW, if you’re someone that believes sizeism and bigotry are fine then please unfriend /unlike me because we are not friends.


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