The Different Sides

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As i stated in my intro back a few months ago, i saw a friends blog and became very intrigued. It seemed like quite the contrary way to express myself, and to for lack of a better term “put myself out there” as to which I’ve had issues doing in the past. Captivated, I started to research everything i could about blogging. I never really understood what it was, but educated by the material i was reading, it was a form of colorful writing displayed on the internet, for whatever person who crosses your web address to peruse. I couldn’t figure out what the hell I was going to blog about, so i searched what people write blogs on. I found out that a blogs subject is not limited, it can be whatever you’d like it to be about. Blogs are authored about everything from stamp collecting, to sexual frustrations. So basically, there is no standard blog topics to begin your blog with. After surfeit research i knew that i needed to have a goal about what my blog is about and what I’m trying to accomplish, rules to writing it, and what subject matter i felt suitable enough to write about.

When I started this journey i was experiencing writers block quite often. I had seen examples of blogs, read a large amount of them, but still didn’t know where to start. I knew I had to figure it out, but instead of thinking about it, i jumped up and ran with an idea, as I tend to do. My goal for my blog was undecided, and as I can recall, still is. Maybe it’s a way for me to share my life with people. No that’s not it, I’m not here to be some kind of haughty individual. Maybe it was for me to try to find ways for people to relate to me. No that’s not it. The opinions of others are becoming very trivial to me as i get older. Sitting here throwing ideas back and forth, I’m left here to think that I’m doing it because i feel I can help someone in some shape or form. Funny thing how words can ultimately heal, or utterly destroy. A simple word or phrase can truly uplift you, or shatter every piece of confidence you’ve ever had. I’m glad that I’m trying my best to be on the uplifting side of the seesaw, because I truly do understand how much words can hurt. I just hope that people can come to my blog and discover something about themselves they may have not seen, or get inspired to try something they have never tried before. I truly love making people happy, although it mostly can be positive, it can be horribly negative, but I refuse to change how I operate for anyone so here i am, doing what I can.

The biggest thing I think in my blogging is the 3 rules i have set for myself. First and foremost i always will be completely honest with myself, and with the reader when writing.

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Everything in those few posts up there is my true heart and soul for the world to see. You really think I want to explain what dumping syndrome is and how horribly it effects me? Hell no i don’t, but its pertinent subject matter to the story at hand, so I’m going to include it. I’ve learned all throughout my life, and even a bit more recently, that you need to be honest, whether it be with yourself or anyone else. It’s a hard thing laying my guts out for the world to see, but what do I accomplish writing about something and hiding information? Absolutely nothing.

My next rule involves having no expectations. I’m trying my best to just write. To express the person i am, and the things I’ve learned to the world. I’ve learned that the world may not like what I have to say, but the best thing about that is they don’t have to and I’m completely fine with that. Expecting my writing to accomplish anything other than expressing myself, is pointless. So I will not.

My biggest rule is how I get my subject matter. Almost every post, besides the first few involves something that happened at that point in time. I really feel like pulling things out of a hat to blog about is ridiculous. Usually someone will say something to me, or I’ll notice something that will spark a large amount of negative energy or feeling. Everything I’ve heard and/or seen, and write about, is negative in nature, or sparked by a negative comment. My blog posts are pertinent to things that are directly related to my life at that time of posting. I feel this is the best way to write, it shows you how you grow, how you analyze situations, how you react to said situations, and what you’ve learned. Every venture in your life to which you fail or may not prosper, is never a mistake but always a lesson. Don’t get me wrong there are blog posts up there where I was so angry i couldn’t even correctly comprehend the sentences as i wrote them. It’s like shooting words out of a gun and trying to make something work out of it. After i initially write the blog, i will wait a few days, check back, see how i perceive it with a different attitude, and adjust my closing paragraphs accordingly. It’s a style of writing i like due to the fact of its harsh way of making me understand how I act when I am angry, and when someone has something negative to say.

So as you read this you may be thinking to yourself what prompted me to write this? My last blog post was about my gastric bypass surgery. Something people don’t understand, but still feel they need to comment on. A situation pissed me off enough to start writing. In all honesty blogging about my surgery was not something i really wanted to do. It is one of the most personal things i possess, and wouldn’t normally share it. Very few people know or understand why I did what i did and feel they need to put in there .02 cents. But i don’t care, if you aren’t pissing someone off you aren’t doing something right. I wrote out my story, got a picture, posted it and shared it to Facebook. So there it was, my drastic, intimate, lifestyle change laid out for the world to see. Now normally when I blog, I will get the same viewers, who will share their thoughts with me over text or phone call, which I enjoy hearing. WordPress has a stats page that tells you stats about blogs that you have posted and how many people have viewed them. In the first 5 hours i had over 100 views, and by the third or fourth day i had amassed somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 views. My gut reaction was shit, the most personal thing I’ve ever written, just got viewed by 200 random people. it was out, i wasn’t taking it down, so i let it be. Interesting thing is, who read it and how I found out. I have my 4 four best friends, who don’t read my blog, but hell they don’t need to, they’ve been by my side though fat and thin, but nonetheless I have small social circles that i run around in. I try to always keep in touch with people of my past that i don’t normally see very often. First time i heard about somebody reading it came in regards to a friend named AJ. I rarely see the guy but he hosts a great little party in seal beach every sunday for kids from any area to come out, meet, and have a good time. After i showed up, while we were talking away, he had mentioned that he read my blog. It surprised me to say the least. He told me how he didnt know that i had gastric bypass, and i thanked him for taking the time to read it. I even told him what I’m telling you now, wondering about why it got so many hits, in which he responded “hey man it’s whats people want to see.” Among AJs nice comments, i received numerous different comments from other people. Another freind Morgan, who had recently just had the surgery done, read it and told me it made her nervous of what’s to come. I had old coworkers to whom I somewhat inspired to get the surgery done, read it along with their family members, who were taken aback on the journey. I’ve had people tell me that they cry every time they read it. I’ve had close friends and family members tell me they never realized how much pain i was in. I’ve had people tell me to never stop writing, that it makes them rethink themselves and to change direction in their life. I’ve also had people tell me that what I write is selfish, and chauvinistic. Not having any expectations, its nice to hear the various sides. It shows me that I can do something positive for somebody else with my writing. I never, in my wildest dreams thought i could do that before. I thrive off of doing positive things for people, even if that is my downfall. It’s weird as well for me to see how most of my blogs come from negative areas, or involve a negative comment. It’s interesting for me to see how I can take a negative and flip it to be a positive. It instills that fact that throughout the things i talk about I’ve learned something, and something great at that. So I usually end my blogs with some moral exposition i feel the blog has demonstrated after its been read, so ill continue that. I think after writing this blog I’ve found my reason for my blogging; to displace the negativity in myself into positivity in others. Thank you all who read this, I hope to provide more insightful things for you to enjoy.

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Falling Down to Find Your Way Back Up

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Kim Brittingham once said, “Every weight loss program, no matter how positively it’s packaged, whispers to you that you’re not right. You’re not good enough. You’re unacceptable and you need to be fixed.” Weight loss has been a struggle for many Americans. New and improved vices appear, with new and improved systems telling you these vices can be held on to, along with losing weight. Being an overweight man all my life, led me to have to make a difficult decision to save my own life. Losing the weight is easy, but losing your mind and finding it again is the hard part.

Throughout my younger years my size was always something that proved an effective tool; a mind-controlling tool. A tool is described as: anything used as a means of accomplishing a task or purpose. I had possession of the perfect tool its uses were endless. I became an easy friend for someone, the intimidator, that guy on the football team, a feeling of safety for the girl I was dating at that time. Weight made me feel important. Its distinct control over the differences in how you feel, and how you present yourself formed me into a person I despised. I was angry with myself and the world around me. I started smoking cigarettes, which provided something to curb the anger. My feelings inside were unhealthy; my self worth was in the toilet. I was depressed, and felt alone in my own skin. I hated who I was. The large majority of people I confronted couldn’t help but burst out a comment about how big of a guy I was, or how my football team was “lucky to have a big guy like me.” Every negative word about my size, hit me deep down in my soul. Now I realize that these comments were never made to hurt me in anyway, it was simply just people commenting on their own observations. The big guy tool slowly began to break as soon as I left high school. Playing football for a top high school in southern California led me to be able to eat whatever I wanted, with no negative reparations, due to my extensive workout routine. Well after graduation I still felt I could eat the way I did in high school, causing even more problems.

Being overweight my whole life, I knew something had to be done. Fact of the matter is, when you are depressed and don’t feel like doing anything, it makes it hard to find the motivation. Being used to the screaming and yelling from my football coaches, and being forced to work out were things I no longer had. Around November 2010, in an unscheduled checkup with my doctor, he informed me of a few issues. My blood pressure was 145 over 110; a few numbers away from extreme hypertension. I was extremely close to being considered a diabetic, and suffered from small bouts of sleep apnea. I’m not going to lie, at the age of 20 its hard hearing that you wont make it until 30. His suggestion was to do something, and do it fast. Skeptical, I began looking into weight loss solutions. I tried every diet from the Nutrisystem diet, to the master cleanser. Some showed promising results, but I cant live my life eating packaged meals, or drinking peppery lemonade with maple syrup in it. I tried adjusting my eating habits, along with added exercise, but I was so lost and in a hole, the small amount of motivation I had faltered as quickly as it came. After hearty research by both close family members and I, my decision was with the Lap-Band surgery. Through even more information provided by my bariatric surgeon, I decided to switch to gastric bypass. There was a large amount of pre surgery tasks that had to be accomplished. I had to go to 2 meetings prior to learn how my body would now work, I had to lose 15 lbs. in order to prove that I was serious about loosing weight. Another prerequisite for my surgery was to meet with their in house psychologist. At the time, I had no idea why. “I’m losing weight, why the hell am I talking to a psychologist.” She asked a barrage of intrusive questions, as psychologists do. She asked if I was married or had a girlfriend, due to the fact that its extremely hard to keep them after, why I was losing the weight, what I hoped to accomplish, and sent me on my way, I didn’t understand any of it or why I was meeting with her, but come to find out that was the part of my surgery I should have paid attention to the most.

Surgery was conducted May 25th; the day my life changed forever. The one question the psychologist asked that I would never forget, regarded me handling all aspects of my weight loss journey. My original thought was of course I can, what is so hard about loosing some weight? Her question wasn’t in regards to pounds id drop but more to the psychological effect it would have. The first month requires only liquids, so it’s no wonder how quickly my weight came off. Everybody was noticing, and making comments about it. I was losing weight everyday, and looking better and better, but I wasn’t feeling better. I was more confused about who I was than I have ever have been. I heard my voice, saw the same hands, the same feet, but I looked in the mirror and I wasn’t the same person. People to whom I hadn’t seen in a while didn’t recognize me. I was skinnier, struggling to fit into clothes, struggling to well, just fit in period. The standard “your such a big guy” approach from other people, abruptly turned into “oh you look so good!” The nice guy in me always tries to find the best in people, so I’d politely respond to any questions they had and be on my way. Eventually things became much more interesting. People were treating me completely different. The best examples I personally can recall are situations involving women. Women, with whom Id had personally thought id never have a chance with, were approaching me. Women from my past who wouldn’t give me the time of day are now coming to reveal themselves. Why would somebody, who didn’t give me the time of day, then, do it now? Is this seriously the shallow world I lived in? The devil on my shoulder was telling me to act on all these new shortcomings from people of my past. These were people to whom I previously trusted. It started to become apparent that there was a reason we were never close friends to begin with. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I had women to whom I had around my entire life, whether it is friend or love interest, who wanted the old me. Its funny you feel so horrible about yourself, but there are people, who in their own selfishness don’t want you to change. The quick answer to what happen with that is they are long gone. People come into your life for a reason, and leave for a reason.

I had lost my mind. I was trying to make my way through the minefield of my past life. The minefield was the same but the mines were now different in shape and form. I had to step back and figure out how to tackle this. I contemplated forking my way through it, and trying to find the best mines to step on. I hit the point in my life where I needed to change my way of thinking. Everything you do usually involves food. Hanging out with friends, work etc. I came t learn that my life revolved around food. I was forced to change my way of thinking. If I went out and ate like I did before, id either be extremely uncomfortable, puking, or experiencing dumping syndrome. Ill give you the short definition of dumping syndrome so I can keep you up to pace. If I eat more than somewhere around 20 grams of sugar (usually processed not natural) in a meal my body goes crazy. Since there is no longer a way from my stomach to break down sugar, it inserts it directly into my intestines in its natural form. My intestines go crazy and flush my body with water in order to dilute the sugar. In doing this, the pain I experience is immense. Puking, stomach pain, diarrhea all is a part of this. The kicker is it happens in an instant, there is no real way for me to control it. So it can be quite an embarrassing thing if im around people I don’t know. Luckily it’s only happened a handful of times, and mostly at home, or around people I can trust.

In the process of trying to find my mind, I began to get the negative comments from people. Its funny how people’s perspectives can go in a completely opposite direction. Sometimes as soon as I tell people that I lost weight with gastric bypass, I can instantly tell by the look on their face what they are thinking. Some people will act upon their feelings and tell me “You took the easy way out”. It messes with your head. It’s hard having someone, close or not tell you that to your face. Even recently talking to my sister, she expressed that in the beginning she thought I was taking the easy way out, but after seeing all the crap I’ve gone through it definitely isn’t the easy way. I’m not sitting here telling you for pity, or telling you because those comments hurt me, just like the negative comments about when I was heavier, but to remind you that everybody has a different journey in their life. Don’t judge somebody by the way they accomplish a positive thing. Gastric bypass changed my life, and still does. Its taught me how to be confident in what I am doing and who I am. It’s taught me that I no longer am controlled by food. You do not realize how much sugar you consume until it’s all taken away. I cant go eat half a cake like I used to, I only get to have a bite. It’s taught me that no matter what I do, the only person I have to make happy is myself. I’ve lost close friends, and realized the people I need to have around. When you’re in a hospital bed, whether it is by a choice of your own or by no fault of your own the people who visit you, you keep around. I’ve learned that no matter how I look, somebody will have something negative to say. I’ve learned that when I support someone who is trying to loose weight, they may not want it because I did it the easy way. My diet has drastically changed and I have learned how to use it to my advantage. I’ve learned that people who don’t understand what I’ve gone through never will, and I accept that. I don’t expect them too.

Life is what you make of it. I did what was necessary to live my life, my way. I’ve lost weight and gained life. Im not going to thank the people who have helped me through my journey they know who they are, but I will tell you I know who will be in my life forever. Whatever the case is, if you feel something you are doing is good for you, do it. Be open to opinions of the people you care about, they are usually in your best interest. But at the end of the day stand by your decisions, and above all be proud of your accomplishments, no matter what negative responses you get.