I almost started this series as a new blog. It would have been another cheat to myself though, as it would distance me from myself, which I’m often trying to do. I’ve even thought of writing a book about life as a fat man, a lot of the stories are on here from my youth, and I keep saying to myself if I just start losing weight I’ll chronicle it and write a book about my successes and yada yada yada. But that wouldn’t work even if it did work because it’s putting the cart in front of a horse that’s too fat to move.
The thing is, I’m fat now. If I start losing weight before I start writing, I may never write. Ironically my old fear was if I start writing before I lose weight, what happens if I don’t lose? I’ll tell you what happens, nothing at all. It will be just another day in my life. Here is one of those days.
Yesterday, the building I work at had a fire drill. I work on the 5th floor which when you figure there are 15 above ground floors here that’s really not that bad. A lot of people have to spend a lot longer walking a lot farther to get to safety. But when you’re carrying an extra 300 pounds, 5 stories is an eternity.
I’m on a ‘special list’ at work. This list is for the elderly and disabled who can’t walk down the stairs. When a fire occurs, I’m to stand just outside the stairwell until everyone who is able passes by (That’s 10 floors of people, it takes awhile) and then I go stand in the stairwell.
What happens next? That’s to be determined and I hope I never find out. The ACTUAL plan is that firemen coming up the stairs help those down who can’t otherwise help themselves. I’ll come back to that.
Yesterday I sat in the stairwell alone after everyone passed. The few people who might have not been able to walk down decided to try it anyway and the one guy who would have hung out with me had gone home early, I’m going to call him Ray to protect anyone else’s identity. He has Cerebral Palsy and has a lot of trouble walking straight, fast, or consistent. My brother has CP, but it is a much more mild case and Ray would make my brother look like he’s running.
I like Ray a lot. He bowls twice a week and is actually pretty darned good at it, too. He also doesn’t let any disability he has, stand in the way of his job. And if Ray really needed to, I bet he could make it down those 5 flights of stairs. Sadly enough, if we both had to go down, he’d probably beat me by a long shot.
Lastly, Ray weighs at least 1/3 of me. He’s what a tall fat man like me likes to call a ‘little fella.’ If firemen came up the stairs and saw him waiting (or more likely trying to climb down), one of them could easily get him down in no time. Me? 500 pounds? I’d need 2 firemen and I still don’t know how they’d do it. I would simply have to try to make it down, stopping every so often to sit as the flames raged above me. Whose the real disabled person in this scenario?
And that’s really the kicker. Very few people understand just how disabled someone my size really is. So many small things become huge issues and grandiose amounts of self-doubt, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. When standing for a few minutes starts to hurt, the idea of walking around a store can not only be daunting but impossible.
This makes a circle of inability to lose weight more than diet or depression. Since we CAN’T do, we won’t, and so can’t walk around a store? Get fast food or order a pizza. If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone in your area who can deliver groceries, which leads to awkward conversations with friends saying, “Why don’t you just go shopping yourself?” Because this is the norm, friends don’t understand and don’t try to understand.
The most common of these statements, I am sure you’ve heard, is “you just need to start exercising more.”
It’s true, but what exercises?
Here’s an exercise for anyone who still can’t grasp the severity of the situation. Take 2 backpacks, and put 150 pounds of whatever you have in each of them. So that’s 300 pounds total. Now sling one backpack over your back like normal. The other one, sling around your front, the belly area is best but really anywhere will give you an idea.
Now, stand up. That’s it, just stand up with all of that. You can try walking around, but either way have someone around to help you because I don’t want anyone getting hurt.
The truth is as often as I’m disappointed in my muscles I’m also often amazed. I CAN walk around a store and I can walk around the office somewhat. It’s not far but it’s amazing considering what I’m having to carry. I always have this image that if I quickly lost 100 pounds I could dunk a basketball because my muscles wouldn’t know what to do with themselves.
Are the backpacks too much for you? I understand. I encourage you to take them off. I know I wish I could.