Who I am is not defined by what I do

I’m sitting at my desk working on a website for a new client listening to one of the true greats of Country Music of the last Century, Merle Haggard.

Merle was once quoted how much the fame his song, Okie From Muskogee, over shadowed so many great songs from the lexicon of his music catalog. At one point, Merle kind of wished he hadn’t recorded it.

I started to think how many times have I done something that really stood out and inadvertently cast me in a role I was destined to play out to some conclusion. Take your favorite movie actor, for example; someone like Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel or Jason Statham who play the epitome of a tough guy. Not likely to see them playing the sensitive type reaching for a tissue over angst of a soufflé failing to rise. Just saying.

I learned at an early age that size does matter. To thwart unwanted bullying or ridicule, I learned how to manipulate situations using, sometimes, just a look. More affectionately known by family members or close associates, “The Look”. Not that I’ve ever seen it, but I have been able to cause a room full of people to stop talking and take a step back simply by its appearance. Couple that with an imposing posture and size it makes for a great control mechanism when things get out of my comfort zone. For much of my life, this was one thing for which I was known. Not that I didn’t have redeeming qualities, quite the contrary. I am the guy who cries when the National Anthem is played and sung by thousands of people at a
sporting event. The same guy who has to turn the channel every time one of those abused dog commercials appear on television. It was years before I could actually listen to anything sung by Sarah McLachlan. A truer walking dichotomy has never been.

At over 310-pounds, I had gotten used to being called “Big Guy”, even by those who knew my name. Seems my size was more of an identifier that all the other parts of my life I’ve accomplished or am currently doing. This always struck me odd, but, as I said, I grew accustomed.

I find it interesting how food became a chore, a reward or something to pass the time. If I ever knew really ‘how’ to eat or why, I can’t say. Suffice it to say I’m learning just how little I need to eat now. With my level of inactivity, I needed at least 3,900 calories to maintain my starting weight. With my new program, I calculate that I’m downing approximately 1,200-1,400 calories per day – which is around 1/3rd. At one point I would have felt as though I’m being punished for 43 years of ignorance; however, I am happy to say that is not the case.

I’m not one to bloviate or soapbox, if you please, so forgive my assertion that any of this story relates to anyone but me. However, my 35-year old son said to me yesterday, “Hey, the incredible shrinking man”. That was both embarrassing and rewarding. Embarrassed for what I’d become known for, but rewarding to know it is never too late to be known for something else.

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