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People often ask me what it was like to weigh almost 600 pounds.

It’s hard to explain because for most of my life, it was all I knew.  I realize I’m probably dating myself when I make the following musical reference, but there’s an old Danny Elfman lyric that seems to capture the answer to that six hundred pound question best.

(Yeah I know.  Oingo Boingo.  You young ones go ahead and google it.  I’ll wait.)

Danny Elfman is an amazing musician.  These days he does more movie soundtracks than anything else, but back in 1981, he wrote a song called “On the Outside.” 

They laugh at me aloud
They say I’m just a clown
That I ain’t got no pride
I’m on the outside
The girls look really cute
They really make it work
They think I’m just a jerk
I’m on the outside
I never could sit still
I never was too hip
I never caught the ride
I’m on the outside

I’m on the outside, I’m on the outside now
This is where it all begins right here
On the outside lookin’ in, I’m on the outside

Those lyrics describe it perfectly–there’s no way I could possibly say it better. I felt out of place everywhere I went.  I always seemed to say the wrong thing, and I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I was always looking in from the outside. I watched people living their lives–really living them–and I was envious.  So basically, I just spent my life trying to stay out of the way of people.  (Understand that’s not easy to do when you are as wide as you are tall.)  Looking back now, I’m pretty sure that desire to stay on the outside was mostly self-inflicted, but that’s how I operated.

The worst part of it was the fact I gave up on dreams.  I never dared to dream about a better life.  In the quiet time of the night, when I’d lie awake and stare at the ceiling, I wouldn’t allow myself to have aspirations of a better life for myself–I just wanted to hold the ground I had.  I was so afraid that if I made a change, it would wind up being a step backward.  I never felt deserving.  I never took vacation time…vacations were for the real people.  I had friends who traveled–I would’ve loved to have been able to go with them–but it was, quite simply, out of my comfort zone.  I always felt that I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) move forward.  It is a vicious cycle for one to live in, really.  You can’t stand your current situation.  You want to change, but you don’t dare make a move because you fear it will get worse–and all the while, you’re consumed with the fact that you are desperate to make some sort of alteration to the present.  

So something in me changed five years ago.  I wanted change.  I craved it.  I needed it. I had to make a move.  One day I was ready.  I wanted to get into the game.  Suddenly the drive was there.  I can’t explain the change.  Maybe I’d just had enough bullying.  Maybe I was just tired of having sore feet.  Maybe I was tired of being on the outside.  Maybe it was just plain time to do it.   Once the desire is there to make the change…there’s no stopping it. 

There’s no stopping you

I am no longer on the outside. I am in the middle of it and making a stand to stay there.  It’s so much more fun–and the view is better from the inside.

Life is good. 

Paul

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