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Not fat people think they know what it feels like to be fat. I have to believe they are wrong. I'm sure they can empathize, and I'm sure they have the same feelings about other aspects of their lives. Being fat, though, is a wholly unique phenomenon that only fat people can understand. Fatness is so many things, it's physical, it's emotional, it's social, it's accidental it's intentional, it's avoidable and pre-destined. The old joke "I may be fat but you're ugly. I can diet" encapsulates much of the helter skelter storm of feeling and facts of being fat. See ugly people, they can't help it. Fat people, we can...or maybe we can't, or maybe it's both.

See, it's this idea that I can fix my fatness that bothers me, because i can, and I cannot. That being fat is either a choice or a tragedy when in fact it's both. Doctor Jekyll had to drink the potion to become Hyde. I spend a lot of time in my brain and my brain knows exactly how to eliminate the fat. It has built the ray gun, it's found the power source and it even pulled the trigger. But like the Hydra and Obiwan Kenobi, when you strike it down it returns more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Self help Guru's call this Yo-Yo dieting. I call it a shit hand of cards that I've been dealt from a deck that I shuffled. Every cards a joker.

You just feel so damn weak when you struggle. This is something anyone, fat or not, can relate to. I just feel like the fish flopping around to some "Faith No More" music, gasping for breath hoping one of the hectic muscle spasms I'm using what little breath i have to force, lands me in some water so i can catch my breath and swim away to my happy fish life. What is it? It's it. What is it? It's it...duh.

I'm sitting on a beach in Mexico staring out at an ocean of beautiful people. Women and men happily frolicking in their perfect forms that nature and nurture saw fit to give them. I'm reading about scientologists and drinking a margarita, and thinking about my life and wondering what it would be like if i looked like one of them. If i wasn't terrified to get up and play beach volleyball or darts because i know if i do there will be people staring over their e-readers at me as i do. How would my life be different? I started to form an answer to that question but it got kind of sidetracked, as if i was walking on the beach and felt something beneath the sand and just began digging at it with my foot. There was something there, some piece of the puzzle buried in the Mayan sand that I didn't even know I was looking for. My mind took several days of more drinking and sun and e-reading to brush the sand away but eventually , i could make out the shape of the idea, it's basic purpose, and even some of the heiroglyphics. I'd have to consult my copy of the Rosetta stone, but I was pretty sure the buried idea obelisk said plainly: It doesn't fucking matter, this is your life.

It doesn't fucking matter, this is my life.

In all its' fatness, and dadlessness, and lesbian ex wifeyness and enforced servitude to my house...iness, my no college degree havingness, my mostly awful career trajectoryness. This is all mine, and it's the only one I have, and no amount of protein before breakfast or squat thrusts is going to undo any of that. I can't slow carb my way out of almost 40 years of my choices and the things of my life that are not of my choosing.

This is my life. I can't undo what i've done and whats been done to me. Where do i go from here? I'm happy-ish. I live a life most would find reasonably pleasant. The battles done, and I kinda won so i'll sound my victory cheer. But...where do I go from here? What I am i left with?

It seems stupid, but i couldn't answer that question until one early morning when i got up to pee, looked out my sliding glass door at the people tagging the beach chairs with their towels at sunrise and the hotel people setting up the pool bar. What am I left with, i asked myself shivering from the post early morning pee shivers, mere feet from the caribean ocean. What am I left with?

The rest of my goddam life. I can do whatever the hell i want with that. it's mine, no one else's.

That's huge. Thats a big thing to have...a life.

Weirdly enough with that the rest just kind of fell into place. Things i always knew, but didn't really "know" became vibrantly clear. Things like, eating isn't the disease it's the symptom, and, I didn't get this way because of one thing I got this way because of hundreds of things and some of them i can change and some of them I can't. Things like, I may never ever be thin and I have to find a way to be okay with that. But most importantly i realized that because there are, possibly thousands of causes creating an infinity of symptoms there can not be any single answer to all of them. Well there is one, death, and unlike ben kenobi I don't suppose i end up blue and glowing hanging out with Yoda. Really, i had to sit with that for a while The only SINGLE thing you could do to fix all your die. Thats, in some sense, what i was looking for. Thats what a lot of fat people are looking for, the one thing that cures it all. The cure is worse than the disease. I guess there is a reason why the first part of diet, is Die.

I'm a huge Malcolm Gladwell fan, I don't know why it took me so long to see this.


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