Friday, 1 June 2012

A new beginning

Dear Harley:

You might be surprised to know that I'm keeping farmer's hours these days.

The new pup, Finnigan, is a morning dog, up at 5:30 a.m. bouncing off the bed, hungry for food,
desperate for his new life. I don't mind it, really; dawn is a terrific time for writing and reflecting on my own new journey as I confront my demons, my weight, my bad habits, my inertia.

I stood on the scale this morning and was pleased to see that I was down to 211 pounds; that's a four pound drop in a week. Not bad considering that I lost only five pounds while working out like a fiend at the gymnasty for over a year. This kind of kickstart will be key to motivating me to drop the more than 50 pounds of fat cells I've gained over the past three decades.

What amazes me -- and I found this out when I first got to the gymnasty -- was how much weight I'd actually put on. It's a slow creep, an inch here, an inch there, a thick layer of goo that coats your bones and thickens your waist, your bum, your boobs, and squeezes your heart.

It's subtle until it's not anymore. Suddenly, one day, you find yourself in a department store dressing room or in a hair salon under the merciless neon and you actually don't recognize the person in front of the mirror.

So you stop buying clothes; you stop getting your hair done. You stop going out.

You start avoiding your life.

The past five days, I've been reflecting on how I've been conducting my life, how Scott and I have been living as a couple, lo, these nine years. We used to be joined at the hip. Today, we circle each other.

I've basically checked out, burying myself in irrelevant activities, like Facebook and couch surfing, videogaming and silly blogging, biding my time, waiting to die.

It's no wonder. We both once lived successful and busy lives. We stayed at the best hotels, we ate at the best restaurants, we drank the best champagne. We were busy people, flying around the world, Scott with his camera, me with my laptop, rubbing elbows with the Masters of the Universe.

Then there were children and tennis and private clubs, big houses in the suburbs, dinner parties, festivals and charity balls.

That life is gone now. It's never coming back not matter how hard we pray or reach.

For the past decade or so, we've been living in shadows, going through the motions, eeking out a living, together, yet alone, taking comfort in libation and bad television. Missing the children. Missing the dogs.

It's what Scott always says: it's not a bad life, but it's the things that fall away. You miss them. You cry for them. Then you give up and settle.

We've become irrelevant in our own lives, living in shades of grey, going about the world in a near unconcious state. Feeding the beast.

That has to change or we will die.

Or worse.

I want to feel alive again, and believe it or not, you, Harley, are helping with that.

Being on a blenderized diet, having to make do on 1,250 calories a day, has made me hungry not just for food but for life again. I want to do better. I want to feel better.

Don't get me wrong. I won't be running a marathon anytime soon. I'm far too lazy for that. I'm still too wounded, too bitter, too frightened to take many chances.

I'll continue to put one foot ahead of the other, in my cautious way, but maybe, just maybe, I can start taking chances again, like many of the people around me.

I admire my colleagues and friends, people my age. I see them on Facebook. A lot of people are finding joy in their work; they've finally reached their Everest and put a flag up. They're running the world. Others are taking the time to embrace their creativity, delving into the depths. They're
starting bands and writing books, running marathons, becoming artisans.

They savor every moment. Cherish every kiss.

That's the life I want.

Maybe I can have it. Shedding this fat suit is a good first step.

Maybe this can be a new beginning.

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