I am about to write something that may come as quite a shock to most of you long time readers. All I ask is that you stay with me until the end.
I have a very bad self-image.
There … I said it …
I make it a habit to crack jokes about my appearance, my weight, etc. I do this both self-deprecating and I also do it tongue in cheek when I talk about my “overall sexiness”. I find it humorous when some think I am serious about that and comment about my “cockiness”.
Oh … if they only knew …
The truth is that I have never been comfortable in my own skin, even as a youth when I was in decent shape. I never saw myself as good-looking, and would often wonder what the hell was wrong with any girl who said otherwise. How sad is that?
This has driven me into pursuits as well. It is very cliché to say that someone starts playing guitar because they wanted girls, but it was true in my case. Because I never saw myself as desirable I figured, well, if I was in a band, and had long hair, women would like me for that reason, so I’ll do that. It also drove me into football, into weight lifting, into most everything. Making myself somehow more pleasing to the eye was very important in my life.
I have come to a better place in that regard as I have gotten older, but it still lurks there. I have developed a sense of humor about it and play a good game at how I talk about myself, how I act, etc. but that skinny, nerdy looking, 130 pound kid is still there inside this 280 pound fat man looking at me in the mirror each day. I wish I could say that I don’t care if people look at me as the “fat guy” in the tri suit, but I do. I care. A lot. And I can also hear you out there as you are reading this, saying “John, no one is looking at you during these races”, and that might be true, but here’s the thing …
I am looking at others, so doesn’t that mean others are looking at me as well?
I compare myself to others constantly. I know better than to compare myself to a 25-year-old triathlete, because the truth is I am not 25 years old. I will compare myself to other 50 something’s though, and I will compare myself to other fat guys. I do it all the time. I know I shouldn’t. But I do, as if most of you are honest you do it too.
Well, maybe not. Maybe there is a group of people who have never been poor, never been heavy, never been abused, who grew up in loving, supportive homes and have grown up so comfortable with who they are and what they are that comparing themselves to others seems … trite.
That person is not me, and perhaps it is because I grew up the exact opposite that I have these issues even at my age. I am not sure it ever goes away.
Is it just my body though?
Lately my body has been fighting me. I told Jennifer this morning that it feels like it is not my own. It’s hard to describe. I have gained weight recently even though I have not changed training or eating style. I was 245 in January and now back to 280. My pants no longer fit and I feel like I am fighting to breathe all day long. I am not, but it seems like I am. I also have this swallowing thing happening where I feel like something is always in the back of my throat. This has awoken me in the middle of the night with my mouth so dry I have to grab for water so fix it.
I have sought help at the insistence of Jennifer and others. I participated in a sleep study which found an advance blockage which means I am going on a CPAP machine. Great. Nothing sexier than that. I also visited an endocrinologist who did blood work on me and found an issue that may …. MAY …. point to cancer being present, which could explain the throat issues, breathing etc. I am due to a CT scan this afternoon.
The odd thing is that I hope they find something.
If there is something there then I can attack it. I’ll know it wasn’t just me.
I have had cancer in the past, and got through it. Even if it is still there the chances of this killing me is very small.
But I will be honest with you.
It scares the hell out of me.