Monday, June 25, 2012

What was your first clue?

I outlined many of my long term health issues in October. Any one of those things or just the fact that over weight has blocked or prevented me from numerous opportunities and created as many other disappointments over the years that should have each been the alarm that set change into motion. Self-change is always difficult, especially when what you want to change is a key survival trait woven into the most primal part of your DNA. Alcoholics (those pussies) have one kind of substance to avoid completely. With weight loss you still have to eat everyday of your life. The challenge is much more subtle and pervasive. A balanced and healthy diet consists of all the things that can lead to over weight. Only in proper proportions. Your friends and family can’t tell right way when you fail. Who will know if you slip into a McDonalds for an order of fries? The pleasure, the anticipation of satiation pushes everything else out of your mind. Then the sensation last only a moment and is just as quickly forgotten.

Regardless, changes are an ongoing task I have to make an everyday part of the rest of my days. But when?

In 2010 I embarked on a new adventure. I was giving it a go as a comedy hypnotist. In May of 2009 I went to a 3 day seminar in Las Vegas to learn the workings of staging and promoting a Comedy Hypnosis act. In the 17 months that followed something had happened. Partially because I am ‘lowest common denominator’ disinclined and partially because I am a serious cheapskate, I am immune to the charms of Las Vegas. I spent much of my free time walking around. In Las Vegas you have to hire a cab just to find places to walk around, even so, miles of walking yielded many sights and sounds. By the time I finally arranged my first show it was clear that standing for for 60 minutes to do the show was going to be a problem. My svelte 330 went to 360. I had gained 30 lbs just sitting around. Most of my extra weight is right in front making up a giant belly. When I do stand I have to have my legs bent to center gravity over my feet. You’d think this would be enough to trigger drastic action.

As I plied up failure after failure in my efforts to find bookings my depression and physical deterioration escalated. On the verge of foreclosure I also ran out of some of my medications. I was in a very dark place; the darkness enhanced by withdrawal from my ADHD medication. Adderall (aka speed). Somehow in the midst of all this, out of nowhere, I had an opportunity, for the first time in years, to make love to a woman who has danced and been a beacon of hope in my consciousness for decades. Between my inability to maneuver my body and with my giant belly in the way, it just didn’t happen. Disgusted, she asked that I not contact her for a while. To say she has never been a generous lover would be giving her too much credit. She does however posses great physical beauty coupled with tremendous charm and kindness that have given hope and meaning to my existence when nothing else did. I had to let her go. You’d think this would be enough to trigger drastic action.

I was given reprieve from financial oblivion by resuming my place in the selling and distribution of newspapers. I had tried to escape the dying media the year before. Just like I had seen happen to others, I was pulled back in. The public health system despite all of it’s slowness got me on track with meds and even helped figure out that I have GURD. See a previous post. I also described in April the problems Gemfibrozil was causing my joints and muscles. 
It started with pain in my rear end when I sit then got very bad when I stared going to the gym again. At this point between the pain and general feeling of weakness I spend my days sitting here in front of the computer, in the recliner in front of the TV, in the seat of my car at work or lying in bed. Many days I also have pain in one hip or the other making even walking a painful chore. This leaves lying in bed the only time I am pain free. At long last it is time for drastic action. 

Other things to overcome or deal with:
I have an extended family that I am part of. Or is it? I am an extended member of a family not my own. Anyway I met this family in high school and was made welcome, as were others, to many family functions over the years. 40 years later I am sure not to miss a Seder or Holiday meal. My own Father, Mother and older Sister gone, it is a comfort to have something of a family in this world. (no disrespect to my younger sister or nieces but they have lives on a different track) The fact of the matter is my extended family members (my age and older) are all over achievers in a variety of ways. If you ask one of them about being an overachiever they won’t know what you are talking about. This is, for the most part, a very good thing. Over the last years of symptoms that have made me grouchy and miserable much of the time I've gotten a little sympathy and almost no understanding. Naturally. Not a one of them would never let any of this happen in the first place. Just because I am at times an outspoken person, definably of his own mind, doesn't mean I am immune to the pressures of comforting to the expectations of peers and family. This is made worse by the love and admiration I have for theses people. 

Humor lost. One of my favorite things about myself was my sense of humor. Not everyone got my jokes. I was always able to evaluate a situation and quickly turn it sideways just enough to squeeze out a quip or a one liner. On my good days I could tune into the audience (1 to 1235) and bounce a volley of custom riffs off of them to the delight of all. A specialty was cutting remarks that showed off a fallacy or inconsistency in a claim or situation. About 10 or so years ago this all started to go wrong. Little sister, having had to deal with this (abuse) her whole life one day had enough. I didn’t speak with her for several years. Likewise a woman friend / gal-pal I ran around with never got the joke and thought I was just cruel. 
I could write much more on this topic. The point here is that besides social pressures, my miserable state of mind and the terrible side effects of the medications I was prescribed; my humor has flown the coop. To survive and succeed in serious change to myself I need it back. Albeit a more mature version.

In the midst of the goings on of the last couple of years I had to let go of my dental plan. I haven’t seen a dentist in that time. My teeth are in big trouble. I went to what I thought was a low cost dental clinic. I don’t believe such a thing exists these days. I need 6 extractions. A root canal. A crown. A partial denture and more. List price $5000 that I don’t have. Or the special poverty discount of $2000 that I don’t have. I’ll figure something out but the process will be stressful and take months. I let go of my health insurance too. My income is low enough That I qualify for county healthcare. Even though I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2003 they want to do a new "sleep study". The county is all over reporting this kind of thing to the DMV. The DMV revokes your driver's license if you have sleep apnea. I drive my car for a living. The Dr said he could write out something to override the revocation, but he would say that in any case. This kind of common stress factor make giving up on the soothing intoxication of food especially difficult. A way to deal with it must be found.

I spend altogether too much time with introspection. However this new destiny I have chosen has at least some of my reasoning in a sharper mode than is usual:
I have known for some time that; even though I have never had a primary capital R “Relationship” are like most people, I am a person who is hard wired to function best as part of a couple. Since this has never come to be I have replaced it with, at times, inappropriate infatuation or devotion to a task, drinking or smoking joints. Best for me (and most people) is to have a great love and a great mission in life. I don’t know that finding a great love is possible at this point in my life. I am not at all pleased with who and what I am these days and would have trouble respecting someone who thought I was great. This may just be because of how terrible I feel in general and may change as a feel better. How bad of an opinion of myself could I really have if I think someone might read this? More troubling is that except for emotional bonding or at least casual sexual liaison nothing motivates me or sparks in my imagination. In the past I have had a couple of highly rewarding careers and a few great jobs. Right now nothing sounds good. I hope this changes too. I don’t want to spend all of my time thinking about food.

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