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Avant Garde fashion and the dark arts.

"I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking." -Albert Einstein

Chad Fowler is apparently a genius computer programmer. He was also fat, something he's changed in recent years. A change he decided needed to be made whilst shopping in the Harajuku district of Japan with friends. When he thought to himself "It doesn't matter how nice the clothes i buy, i'm not going to look good in them because i'm fat." He may have even said it aloud, i'm not sure, this is all anecdotal. He calls this his Harajuku moment. The moment at which he saw the problem and vowed to turn it around.

I think Alchoholics call it hitting bottom. It's always darkest before the dawn. No matter what you call it, it sucks. It's the moment where your self loathing has developed free will and more or less taken you over, and you've just realized it. That awkward moment when you realize your body is not your own, and it is driven by a force both outside you and malevolent. It's horrifying. It's dark,slimy, and greedy with enormous yellow eyes... like gollum, Your self worth and self control are it's precious. You are it's shadow, living alone, an unsolid darkness projected on the ground, recognizeable only because of the absence of sunlight. It ghost rides your body. It owns you by stripping you of expectations thereby protecting you from real feelings and disappointment. The worst part of it all is that you are trapped, watching it steal your life, watching it use your own hands to destroy you. There is nothing uglier than the realization that you, because of whatever means, have lost control of your own mind and body to the other.

So many of the signs of addiction are there, but unlike alchohol or drugs which kill you quickly and dramatically, and are patently obvious to the outside world, this thing kills you slowly. And i'm not talking about being fat here, i'm talking about the other, the thing that eats you, not the things you eat. Friends, family, they can all be around you seeing it happen, seeing physical manifestation of your own self loathing, and they just don't see it for what it is. Unlike alchohol which can be blamed for holding you in thrall, they think: "just put down the 8th slice of pizza." or "he's funny and having a good time with life, who cares." or "every body has different body types, so it's okay." They can join a gym with you. They can take you hiking. They can deeply, deeply,to the bottom of their soul, want to help you. They sense the other but cannot allow themselves to fully believe it exists, kinda like global warming. They want to help, but that just makes it worse. Thats whats so insidious about the other. The other hides in the sunlight, and even though they don't mean to, those that love you often help it gain strength. They eat their faces off and never gain a pound. They eat and drink like a satyr after lent and encourage you to do the same because, you only go around once. They celebrate every holiday with a fried chicken. They make excuses for you. They make you an excuse. When someone dies, you eat. When someone marries, you eat. After sex you get chicken fingers at the Diner...I can't be the only one, c'mon. If The other lives in you this tether between feeling and food begins to wrap around your throat. Eventually, it tightens, if you don't notice it...you die, any number of deaths.

She was into me. Intellectually i knew it. She was flirting a little. Showing interest, laughing at my jokes, even the lame ones. Twirling her hair. She looked for excuses to continue the conversation...literally looked. At one point she darted her eyes around to find another topic of conversation. I laughed out loud and the brazen obviousness of it. I was smitten with her and she seemed to be smitten with me. She was lovely, pretty, someone I could smile at and talk to for hours, and thats even before i started wondering what she looked like naked. We saw each other almost every day and i had a thousand opportunities to ask her out. Of course, i never did. The other wasn't having it, she didn't seem likely to break my heart so the other thought...nah.

My Co-worker gave some good natured ribbing about it. I blushed, i'm sure. Eventually it came around to the inevitable "you should ask her out" part of the conversation. Trust me, if you've ever thought to say this to someone, they already know it. People sense the connections when they pop up. "you should ask her/him out" is the least helpful bit of advice you will ever give. It exponentially increases the likelihood they will not ask them out. Unless you're they person who said "no you should definitely write the episode where fonzie jumps over the sharks" it could possibly be the worst advice ever given, depending on the circumstances. A far better approach, in my humble opinion, would be to say to the person "so why aren't you asking them out?". Engage in conversation and you will both learn something. Anyhow. I say all that, and really my own story makes all that a lie, because being told i should ask her out sent me into a downward spiral of dark thoughts that lead me to hitting the bottom.

"I can't ask her out."

"Why, she would totally go out with you."

"I don't think so."

"Shes sweet, she would definitely go on a date with you."

"I know it's...not that i think she...wouldn't want to go out with me." This is when the other played (or over played?) it's hand. It buried it's claws deep in the hemispheres of my brain and began playing my neurons like a key-tar.

"It's that i think she shouldn't."

I think she shouldn't.

I think she shouldn't.

I think she shouldn't.

Thud.

Bottom.

Me and The other alone in the crushing depths of my own sea of self hate. Every moment of hell i've ever put myself through sat on top of me now. All my issues bared down on me crushing my heart. How the hell did this happen to me. Many of you know me. Does this seem like me?

No, this seems like bullshit.

If any single friend of mine said this to me i would smack their face, and here i am Thinking somone shouldn't like me. Shouldn't be burdened by someone so foul and lost and torn down as me. Should not. As if liking me would drag them into the octopusses garden the other and i were picking out curtains for and i'd have to watch as their entrails burst out their nostrils as they imploded.

Say it with me now. "Fuck. That. Noise."

Ultimately, as with all villains, The Others strengths are it's weakness. The other is easily and quickly defeated. It's ability to make you hate yourself only works until you decide to stop. You have to decide. It's the only thing you have to decide. You don't have to fix a damn thing. You don't have to lose weight or be working toward some assinine ideal of physical beauty. You don't have to be perfect. You just have to decide that all that rancid honey the other is pouring in your ear is shit. You just have to call it out and tell it to bugger off. It's just a bully. It's a coward. You stand up to it, I promise you it will back down. Once you name it, you have power over it. Old Magic. Druid stuff baby.

Deep knee bend. Thrust. up we go. The other might catch up to me, but he's going to have to swim faster than my finally-give-a-damn-about-my-own-happiness can. I see the sunlight, and i'm breaking the surface and that first sweet burning breath of sea air is the best breath i have ever taken.



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