Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Am Not A Yeti

I am awake at 5:24 am.  The reason for my being awake at this time of day is because I have a roommate who has an alarm clock.  My roommate is out of town for the night, but his alarm clock was still set to go off at 5 am.  Thus I am awake.  And I must let it be known that I am not a fan of my roommate's alarm clock.  In my attempt to go back to sleep, I was unable to quiet my brain from thinking the most random thoughts, so I decided to come here to write an entry.

First thought to discuss: My hair. For those of you who know me, I have been unemployed for the last 4 months.  One result of this unemployment is that I have had a very limited cash flow and it has caused me to sacrifice things that I normally enjoy on a regular basis.  Activities such as eating out, or going to the movies, or pretty much anything that costs money.  I also could not afford a haircut, and therefore I have not gotten my haircut in nearly 4 months.

But I'm glad to say that I have recently gained employment once again, and my cash flow problem is slowly becoming resolved.  For the last week, I have been debating on whether or not I should cut my hair or grow it out.  I have never grown my hair out before, but rather I normally wear it cropped short on the sides and spiked on top.  In my mind, I would like to think that if I grew my hair out I would look like Keith Urban, but in reality I fear that I would more closely resemble Chewbacca.

I am not designed for long hair.  I have an internal temperature that one might compare to the core of the earth.  Molten.  Cold weather is my friend.  Unfortunately for me, I live in Texas.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy living here.  Texas is not known, however, for cold weather.  A Texas summer maintains average daytime temperatures ranging from 100 to 106 degrees, and there is little relief at night from the hot climate.  Add to this fact that I drive a '96 Geo Tracker (POS) that does not have functioning air conditioning.

And we are nearly in the month of May, which signals the beginning of the hot weather here in Texas.  I don't think this is a good time for me to begin experimenting with growing my hair.  So, I believe that I am going to give in and cut my hair.  It was a good thought while it lasted, but I don't think I can handle it.  Unfortunately, I know that with a shorter hair style my face looks rounder, but at least it won't make me sweat as much.

Second thought to discuss: have you ever heard of the Chaos Theory?  It's often referred to in popular culture as The Butterfly Effect.  The theory behind the butterfly effect  describes how small changes to a seemingly unrelated thing or condition can affect large, complex systems.  For example, initially the theory stated that if a butterfly flapped it's wings in South America, it could have an adverse affect on the weather in North America thereby indicating that the tiniest influence on one part of a system can have a huge effect on another part.

Other forms of this theory in popular culture have been related to time travel and state that if someone traveled back in time to change one minor detail in the past, an entirely new series of events would transpire in a new alternate future based on that one event in time.  This is assuming of course that time travel were even possible in the first place.

But I'm not thinking of this theory in the methods that I've mentioned.  I'm thinking of it more in the terms of how one small action can influence a change in the world we live in.  That by simply smiling at a stranger and saying hello can possibly change the course of a day in that person's life.  Or taking a moment to help someone in need could potentially save a life.  It's kind of like the pay it forward movement.  Doing something nice for three people, and then they do something for three people and so on.  It's possible to spread joy and happiness throughout the world by doing something small.

I don't know if there is any merit to The Butterfly Effect.  Honestly it seems unlikely.  But I do know the power of a smile and a kind word.  And I believe that a small action of kindness and love can change the world, even if only for just one person.  Do you think it's possible to change the world through a smile?

If so, I should smile more.  And I should get a haircut.

Well, now that was a sufficiently mindless entry.  I don't even know why you stayed and read that.  You may now carry on about your day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I’ve still been struggling, though not to the same degree that I was before.  Several of my friends have reached out to me and expressed their support, which has been helpful.  The other night at my support group meeting, one of my friends suggested that I begin writing a food journal of everything that I eat.  The key though, is to show it to someone so that I can be accountable for what I’ve eaten.  I haven’t yet started doing that, but I am going to. 

Lately, I’ve found that I’ve had a very difficult time sleeping at night.  When this happens, I usually end up binging during the night.  I don’t necessarily believe that I eat out of hunger, but more likely out of boredom.  So here it is, 3:20 am and I am really fighting the urge to go and make myself something to eat.  But I came online and decided to write about it here instead.

I was doing some thinking earlier about my life and what I would like to do with it.  For those of you who do not know, I am a singer.  For the past two years, I have made a living as a karaoke host.  It is most certainly a unique job, and while I’ve enjoyed being able to meet some amazing people, it’s not what I dreamed I would do for the rest of my life. 

Last fall, one of my friends that I used to perform with went on a show called The Sing Off, a group acapella singing competition.  His group, Pentatonix, was crowned champion of the show and they were awarded with a record deal and a large monetary prize.  This year, another friend that I used to sing with, Baylie Brown, made it to the top 24 of American Idol.  She is poised to compete for the top 12, and will hopefully do very well in the competition.

Another friend of mine, Kacey Musgraves, recently signed a record deal with a major record label and is currently recording her debut album.  She has been opening for some big name artists, and recently announced that she will be touring this summer as an opening act for another big name recording artist.

I am insanely happy for all of my friends, and I wish them all the success in the world.  I’ve been paying attention to their careers and watching them as they climb the ladder of success. 

I’ve wanted to be famous for nearly as long as I can remember.  When I was young, my parents bought a toy microphone for me and my brothers.  It had a stand with flashing multicolored lights on the base, famous lights I called them, and I used to sing into that microphone and imagine that I was singing for a huge crowd.  I wanted to be famous.

After I appeared on Intervention, I had a very small taste of what fame can be like.  People recognized me when I went out.  I got to be on Oprah.  I felt special.  But the attention that I got wasn’t for singing like I had always dreamed it would be.  It was for my weight. 

I felt an incredible amount of pressure to look good and keep losing weight.  I had an episode at work where I passed out one day, and the paramedics were called to check me out.  Thankfully, nothing major was wrong, but while I was being checked out, one of the EMTs asked me how my dad and brother were doing.  He had seen me on TV. 

At first, I loved the attention.  I enjoyed strangers coming up to me and asking me if they could pose for a photo with me.  But after I lost my job and started gaining weight again, I suddenly found the negative part of being recognized.  People would ask me how my weight loss was going. 

A few weeks ago, I went to buy a new outfit for job interviews.  I had to go to the big and tall store.  At my smallest weight, I had finally reached the point where I could shop for clothing at most “normal” clothing stores.  I cannot put into words the thrill I experienced in just being able to buy a pair of jeans at Walmart.  Those days have passed.

I went to buy the new outfit a few weeks ago, and let me just tell you that it was humiliating in every sense of the word.  Being currently unemployed, I did not have a very large budget for clothing, so the salesperson who helped me chose a nice pair of dress pants that were priced reasonably.  I went into the dressing room to try them on, only to find that they were snug.

Anyone who struggles with being overweight can understand when I mention “weight distribution.”  By that I mean a person’s body mass when standing can be greatly different than when that person is sitting.  Gravity is not kind to a sitting fat person.  We tend to “spread out” a bit.

So when I wore the snug pants in a standing position I felt moderately comfortable in them, but sitting was a much different story.  They went from snug to impossible.  The salesperson asked me to sit and put on a pair of shoes so that he could take proper measurements of the pants for the tailor to let them out.  He chose the moment where I was nearly bursting out of my pants with him kneeling on the floor while tying my shoes to inform me that he recognized me from “Intervention”.  He then proceeded to ask me, “How’s it going with the weight loss?”

If I had no shred of dignity or compassion, I would have responded, “Well, Dip Shit, I’m here shopping for fat people clothing, aren’t I?  How do you think it’s going?”

The experience was truly humiliating.  I am not in the same size clothing that I was at my heaviest, but let me assure you that I’m not far off.  And it scared me.  I was embarrassed and ashamed.

So my perception of fame has changed.  I no longer crave fame the way I did when I was young.  I have a problem of letting what other people think of me affect how I live my life.  I let their perceptions of me affect my perception of me. 

I’ve heard it said that fame is like having a microscope on every part of a person’s life.  When life is good, that can become a very addictive thing.  But when life isn’t going the way you want it to, I imagine that the attention is unwanted.  Just the little taste of it was enough for me to realize that.

What I want to do is help people.  I want to matter.  If that means I matter to thousands or millions of people or just to the lives that I interact with on a daily basis, I am okay with whatever God has in store for me.  This life is a journey of finding peace and happiness from within.  It’s not always an easy journey, but I am doing everything I can to keep moving in the right direction.  And if I can help even just one person with my struggles, then my hope is that by doing so, God can help me find peace and joy.

I have no intention of giving up music.  Music is my life.  I do not know what God has in store for me, but I know that if I have faith and continue to do the right thing, God will prevail.  Regardless of how much I struggle, God can overcome all things.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'll Start Tomorrow

I struggle with the “I’ll start tomorrows.”  For the past two years, I’ve been waiting to start losing weight tomorrow.  But every time, tomorrow turns into Monday, and Monday turns into next week, and next week turns into next month.  Until eventually, a New Year rolls around and then I begin a new resolution to start losing weight.  Tomorrow.

I can’t believe it is 2012 already.  I’m getting old.  When the New Year started, I did what I do every year and made a resolution to lose weight.  That very same night, I lost my job and it’s safe to say that my resolution flew right out the window.

One misconception about food addiction is that many people think that a food addict will only binge after a stressful day or after something negative happens.  While that does happen, I find that I often use food to cope with many emotions, both negative and positive.  If you think about it, many positive things are celebrated with food.  Many social events or parties focus on food as a main source of entertainment.  So for myself, I have often used food in an unhealthy manner regardless if I’ve had a good day or a bad one. Have I had bad days that ended with me in a tub of ice cream?  Yes.  But I’ve probably had just as many good days that ended with me there also.  Inevitably, after the tub of ice cream is empty, the remorse and guilt kick in.

After I lost my job (yet again) I went into hibernation mode.  When things get bad, I tend to hide from the problems.  That is quite ironic since I weigh somewhere around 450 lbs and it is truly impossible for me to hide at the size I’m at.  Just the other night for example, I was out and a guy mistook me for Preston Lacy of “Jackass” fame. 

Little children are the most difficult for me to deal with.  They have no filter, and many of them stare at me.  I don’t blame them or hold feelings of ill will toward them because I know they are so young that they haven’t learned any different, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  They just say what comes to mind.  One little girl saw me and turned to her mother and asked, “Mommy is that man pregnant?”  Other children haven’t been so humorous in their response to my appearance.  Most commonly, they’ll say, “Daddy, that man is FAT!”

Adults can be just as blunt, but usually in more passive aggressive ways.  A number of times, I’ve been photographed without my consent, usually by young adults who enjoy a good laugh while taking my photo.  To be honest, it cuts deeper than I ever let on.  I’ve learned to make the jokes before anyone else, because then I’m the fat funny guy and people will like me.  “Hi I’m Josh.  I’m not fat, I’m just hard to kidnap.”

Since I lost my job, I’ve been hiding.  I’m scared that I’m not hirable in the job market because of my weight, and I have yet to find another job.  So, I feel like my life is crumbling around me, and all I’ve done about it is kept eating myself to death.

The thing with food addiction is that most food addicts tend to use food as a drug.  Alcoholics drink, drug addicts use drugs, and food addicts eat compulsively.  For people who don’t struggle with an addiction, I’m sure that it can be difficult to understand what it’s like to deal with it.  I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “Well just don’t eat that much.”  Or, “Just go to the gym.”  How I wish it were that simple.   

Once I partake of even one bite of those trigger foods, it’s like something switches in my brain and I literally cannot stop eating.  There have been times that I have eaten until I literally could lot eat another bite without throwing up. 

My biggest trigger is fast food.  My second biggest trigger is anything with chocolate (or sugar in general).  When I went to treatment several years ago, I began following a food plan that eliminated sugar and white flour from my diet.  I also attended support group meetings following the time I spent in the treatment program and I found great success by doing so.

However, this time, I’ve had a much more difficult time establishing my abstinence from compulsive eating.  While I recently began attending support group meetings again, I have yet to get a sponsor and begin following a food plan.

I am going to one of my support group meetings tonight, and it is my intention to actually start working the program.  I can’t do it alone, and I need help from others who know what I’m going through.  

My biggest problem is that I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to do things perfectly, and when I have a setback, I often give up because I didn’t do it “perfectly”.  It’s not breaking news that I am only human, and failure is part of my story.  My hope is that by acknowledging my failures, I can overcome them and become the success story that I dream to be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dear God

Dear God,

I’m tired of hearing myself complain.  And I’m tired of being miserable.  I have been hiding from facing the truth.  It’s not that I’m not aware of what my problems are, but it’s that I want different results without changing anything.  A part of me is happy with my food addiction.  I just hate the results of it.

I know there is no magic pill, or quick fix to my food addiction.  But I don’t want to do the work that is required for me to get healthy.  I did it once before, and I don’t think I can do it again. 

I am sad.  I am angry.  I am hungry.  I’m hungry for something different.  But I’ve been feeding that hunger with food, instead of what I should be feeding it with. 


I don’t really think that I’ve ever had a relationship with you.  Of course, I’ve been aware of you since I was a child, going to church with mom and dad.  But the understanding of you that I developed through my childhood and even into young adulthood is not one of a loving caring heavenly father, but of someone who does not love me because I’m gay.

Let me ask you God, if you made being gay a sin, then why did you make me gay?  Why did you set me up for failure right from the start?  This singular issue has been the root of all of my problems.  I believe my struggle with homosexuality has been something that I’ve used my addiction to food to stuff down.  And even after I went to treatment and lost weight and came out, I never really dealt with that.  I still felt like I was wrong in your eyes.

I jumped at the first opportunity for a relationship with a guy.  I wasn’t happy in it…not truly.  I did enjoy the feeling of companionship, and having someone to be close to on an intimate level.  But there were many things that I was not happy with. 

Why does it seem like my life is in shambles most of the time?  Even when I have a job, it seems like there is always something that makes my life chaos: car problems, money problems, job insecurity, or no job at all.  All of these are issues that I’ve had to deal with over the past two years.

And when I lost my most recent job at the Sushi restaurant, I truly felt like I had done nothing wrong.  I wanted to work that situation out. 

I’m rambling I know, but I have a million thoughts in my head right now.  I’m having cravings for food right now, and I’m tempted to go out and make something to eat.  I’ve also been thinking about Corey, and Alan.  I know Alan and I never got into a relationship, but I cared about him very deeply. 

I think my focus has been on everyone or everything but You.  My life has become so negative.  I’ve just been hiding instead of doing anything about it.  Even the meetings I’ve attended, I haven’t really committed to the program in any way.  I haven’t achieved any length of abstinence.  And I haven’t begun to pursue a relationship with you.

On that issue, I’m scared.  I’m scared to start a relationship with you, because I’m scared that I’ll have to change.  And I’m scared that I’m wrong, and that if I do what you want me to do, I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life.

Deep down, I feel like being gay is wrong, but I don’t know if that is because of what I’ve heard my whole life, or if that really is your will.  And that is something that I’m terrified to change, because I feel like I won’t be happy with a woman.  I’m not physically attracted to women.  At all.

And to be honest, I’m really quite angry with you for making me that way.  I never wanted to have this kind of a struggle.  It has made me feel like you don’t love me.

On the flip side of that statement, I acknowledge that you gave me many talents.  I know that these gifts came from you, and nowhere else.  So I can’t help but feel like you wouldn’t have given me these talents if you didn’t love me and want me to do good with them.

But I’m getting in my own way.  My own struggles with food and depression are keeping me from being able to use my gifts the way that I’m sure you intended me to use them.

I am truly lost.  I do not know where to go from here.  I just want help.  My thoughts have been quite scary lately.  Not in wanting to cause harm to myself, but in wishing that I were dead.  Death would be the easy way out.  And I know that you did not give me the talents you gave me, just for them to be wasted by a premature death.

So God, I’m begging me what you want me to do.  Guide me in your will.  And please give me strength to overcome my struggles.  I can’t do it alone.  I’ve tried.  I’ve just ended up right back where I began.

I’m praying for strength.  I’m such a weak person.  People have told me I’m strong, but I’m not.  I’m so scared.  I live in fear, and I don’t want to live that way anymore.  So help me, God.  Please.

I want to thank you for what you’ve done for me.  Thank you for the gifts you have given me.  Help me put them to good use by teaching me to do your will. 

And God, I pray that you will help me out of this depression.  Help me get a job so that I can have something to do with my time other than hide.  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I fell a long time ago, and I’ve been on the ground ever since.  But I’m ready to get back up and try again.  Just give me the strength to give it another shot.

In Jesus’ name I pray.