I have been really struggling lately. I did very well for the first week after I created this blog, but it's amazing to me how easily life can become complicated and how easy it is for me to slip back into unhealthy behaviors.
Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in a rut with my life. Usually when I lay in bed at night my mind just runs wild, and thoughts go through my head of what I am doing with my life, or rather what I am not doing with it. Sleep is something of a commodity that I have not been able to get hold of lately. That is until today, when my body just crashed and I slept for more than 12 hours. Now it is 3:22 am, and I am wide awake.
I am a karaoke host. Four nights a week I host karaoke shows at several different bars and restaurants. Last night at my show, a man came up to me and told me that I should invest in a better wardrobe. He suggested that I go to a Big and Tall clothing store and buy some nice clothes so that I look good when I am singing and doing my show. To be honest, I was taken aback by his boldness, but I understand that he probably meant no harm in his suggestion.
When I first lost all of my weight, I took pride in my appearance. I enjoyed dressing well and trying to look good, but when I began putting on weight I no longer could fit into my nice clothes. I didn't want to spend money on a new wardrobe, because part of me thought that if I did that, I would simply be giving into the fact that I had put on weight again. So for a while, I rocked the sweatpants and t-shirt look. Not exactly a look that oozes sex appeal and confidence.
Only recently did I give in and buy a nice pair of jeans (that actually fit me) and some newer t-shirts. The ironic thing about last night is that I actually wore a stylish hat to complete my "look" and thought that I looked okay. Apparently it wasn't good enough for the stranger.
I am tired. I'm tired of caring what people think. I'm tired of the struggle that my weight has been for me. I'm tired of giving into the addiction. I'm tired of being ashamed. I do not want my weight to be the thing that defines me. I don't want to be known as the big guy. And most of all, I'm tired of trying to please everyone. For once in my life, I would like to do something for me.
Over the weekend I went to visit a friend of mine from Florida. She was in the area visiting her family and I went to see her while she was in town. We stayed up late into the night just catching up with each other.
When I lived in Florida, I worked for a drug and alcohol treatment center in the admissions department. It was my job to talk to people on the phones and try to encourage them or their loved ones to come to our treatment facility for help. At first, the job was very rewarding, because I felt like I was actually helping people. But then, as time when on, it became more about the numbers and reaching quotas, and less about helping people. For me, recovery became a business. I became very cynical about the 12-step program. My friend was one of my co-workers there, and after I left that job, we became roommates for a short while before I ended up moving back to Texas.
She still works for a treatment program in Florida, and since I left she has become a director for the facility where she works. I am very proud of what she has accomplished, and I respect her knowledge in the field of addiction treatment. One of many things that we discussed while visiting is how I have been struggling so deeply with my food addiction, and how I've been scared to go back to a 12-step program for help.
One of the core beliefs of that program is that one must find a Higher Power who can help overcome the addiction. I do believe in that philosophy, but it has been something that I have struggled with since I first went to treatment back in 2007. I never fully worked the 12 steps, and while I do believe in God, I've struggled with believing that He loves me.
I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, attending services twice a week. The beliefs of the church that my family attended were very conservative, and so I led a somewhat sheltered life as a youth, and even as a young adult. I struggled with my internal conflicts with homosexuality from a very early age, and I can remember my mother telling me that "God sees everything, and he knows everything that you do and think." This thought scared me, because it made me feel so guilty.
As I grew older, and began having feelings of attraction toward other boys, the conflict within me grew stronger and stronger. I was aware of what the bible said regarding homosexuality, and even though my parents never really told me directly that it was wrong, I just knew that it was something that I could never tell them. So I made up my mind that I would get married, and probably have children, and just go to the grave with that secret.
When my intervention took place, I immediately left for treatment. My bags were already packed for me, and I didn't even get a chance to go home first. We left the hotel room where it had been conducted, and got into a van that drove me straight to the airport with my interventionist. I remember sitting on the plane and looking out the window as we flew high above the ground, and I thought to myself that I will never come out. That I would die with that secret.
I do not know what exactly changed within me and gave me the courage to come out of the closet. Many people have never experienced what it is like to go through an in-patient treatment program, but I will tell you that it is very intense. It is basically 24/7 therapy, and even though to most that would probably sound like a very scary thing, it was an incredible experience. During my time in treatment, I was stripped of every mask that I had ever worn, and the emotional walls that I had built over the course of my entire life began to crack and eventually crumble.
I was completely and totally emotionally raw. They told us that our secrets will keep us sick, and I knew that I had many secrets. My whole life had become one giant secret; my sexuality, attempting to hide my addictive eating behaviors, the fact that I was constantly lying to the people closest to me--these were all behaviors that I had been exhibiting and trying to hide from people. In addition to the secrets and hiding behavior, I also built emotional walls from people to prevent myself from being hurt.
My entire life, I have been made fun of for my weight. In school with bullies, and even in my adult life by complete strangers. So I naturally began preventing people from getting to know the real me as a means of protecting myself from getting hurt. So when I began realizing that these secrets and emotional walls were keeping me from getting healthy both physically and emotionally, I slowly began breaking down those walls and letting people get to know the real me.
The first major step was when I came out. I had told a couple of people before I went to Florida that I might be bisexual, but I didn't come out completely until I was there. At that point, I told my family and my closest friends. I am kind of torn as to how my family took it. I have a brother who is gay also, and he actually came out before I did. My mom cried for three days when I first told her, and my dad (who was also in treatment at the time) called me up and told me that he still loved me but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. Since that time, it hasn't been discussed very much, and I do not try in any way to force it on my parents. I know that they do not agree with it, but they have not tried to cut off their relationship with me either. It's just something that we do not talk about.
Since I have come out, it has been a big relief that I am finally honest about who I am. But where I continue to struggle is with my relationship with God. I want to have a relationship with Him, but I feel clouded by so much hate and judgement that I have encountered from so called Christians. Even when it has not been said to me directly, there is still widespread judgement that has been covered in the media and in other public forums that have made me scared to pursue going to church or building a relationship with God.
I just wonder how God feels about so much hate and judgement that is spread in this world in His name. I only hope that I can strive to build a relationship with Him. I truly feel that by doing so, it will most certainly give me the strength to overcome my struggles each day. During our conversation the other night, my friend suggested that I just sit and talk with God, just to tell him about my day as if I were talking to any other friend. That is my goal. I want a friendship with God. I want to be able to laugh with Him, and cry with Him, and ask Him for help.
In doing so, I hope that I can realize that He loves me, and that it's okay for me to love myself.
I know that this has been all over the place. I just wanted to come here and write what was on my mind. Thanks for reading...