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Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Jacket for All Seasons...

So I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today but I remembered something that Buchilala (Nick) said about wearing a shirt in the swimming pool. This got me to thinking about all the silly ways we try to hide our weight if only to make ourselves feel better.

For me it was always my chest. My chest has been my biggest cause for discomfort since I first started gaining a lot of extra weight. For lack of a better term I developed uh, man boobs...how's that for honesty? (and now everyone I know is going to be staring at my chest going...oooh yeah...man boobs) I hadn't really noticed until my freshman highschool gym class started swimming. I hadn't really given it much thought before then but you know how kids in high school are all about physical image...well it became clear very quickly that my body shape was unacceptable. I remember my first attempt to mask the problem consisted in always standing with my shoulders hunched over a little and constantly tugging at my shirt so that it didn't cling to my chest and give away the shape of my body. As I got larger I started walking around with my arms crossed all the time and started blocking people off if they got too close. I believe that this is where I started developing my discomfort with physical intimacy. From there it went to layering, tugging and arm crossing and from there it went to wearing a jacket all year round. It didn't matter how hot it was. Whether I was inside or outside. My jacket was always on and you would have to fight me to get it off. Of course this was sometimes unbearable. In my town it can get up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in the summer. I can't tell you how many summers I spent killing myself just to hide a few extra pounds. I even went so far as to wrap ace bandages around my chest...and other methods that I still don't feel like going into. It was horrible for a long time but if it gave me 1 moment's comfort I was willing to suffer through it.

About 12 years ago I decided to do something about my weight once and for all. (at this time I think I weighed about 370) I started my own diet and exercise program. I would only eat one large meal a day. I went home from work every day and did 100 sit ups/ lifted weights for 45 minutes and walked a mile to two miles every night. In about 5 or 6 months I had lost about 100 pounds and I felt great. I stopped covering my chest all the time and I was able to give up the jackets. I got a social life back.

I'm not sure why I started gaining all that weight back but I did...and then some. Over the next 10 years I would balloon up to 528 and that's I find myself today. Although the odd thing is as I gained the weight back I completely gave up on the whole cover my chest thing. I got so sick and tired of being hot all the time I just said to hell with it. I will admit, however, to wearing button up shirts exclusively until recently when I couldn't find any that fit me without having to order through a catalogue. Now mostly I wear these soft waffle knit shirts that I found...like the red one in my pictures. I have started to wear bright colors as my self esteem improved over the last couple of years (that's something that I had been working on for a while before I met all of you fine folks).Before that I used to wear nothing but Khaki pants and denim shirts....booooring!

I guess I figured... a couple of extra layers aren't going to hide anything. The world isn't fooled. I still look fat but now I'm just fat and hot! Screw that! I guess my point is. Sometimes we kill ourselves to hide our flaws when in all reality no one really sees us as we do and if they do we're probably just drawing more attention to ourselves by hiding. It took me a long time to realize this but I started to gage my own reaction to people my size and I realized that people will always notice our weight...it's an unavoidable fact but think back to the last time you met someone large...how long after you started talking to them did you even dwell on that fact. I would venture to guess...not that long. People tend to have short memories for things like that...your inner strength and personality can win out. I know it sounds simplistic but it's true. And if you happen to come upon someone who does dwell on your weight and can't see you for the person you are...is that someone whose opinion really matters to you anyway?

Just a thought...gonna hit publish before I realize what I just wrote... ;)


Blogger evamarie said...

Okay, Sean...love the theme song! But it wouldn't play on your website, just on the one I linked to. I think you need to get the song on your left menu...maybe put a link with the others b/c it's really great! xo Eva

5:59 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger The EYE said...

self consciousness regarding image is a scourge, isnt it? it affects far too many of us, regardless of specific size. it sounds like youre doing way better now than you once were.

although its difficult to really tell very well just through reading, even beyond those "watchers" (myself included) that know you only over the internet care for you, it seems you have a number of people who know you in person who care as well.

that kind of encouragement will take you thousands of miles further with regards to sticking to your goal than would trying to go to it alone, and with a low self esteem.

i feel like im rambling. anyway, glad to hear youre getting past image issues, and it really is great to know that image is the lesser reason to your health for losing the weight. love yourself, man, itll get you so much further!

eye <0>

6:35 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger Joanne said...


I've been reading your daily posts since Kyle posted the link to your website on ORP.

I just want to thank you for being so candid -

6:37 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger Paul Babin said...

Hey Buddy . . . thanks for sharing this and hitting post without getting second thoughts. . .I wanted to share back at you something that relates but is in a totally different ballpark. I've got issues with my chest as well but for different reasons. You ever hear that joke by Robin Williams . . he's talking about taking his kids to the zoo and he walks past the monkey cage and a monkey yells out . . .-dramatic pause- hey . . how'd you get out? Ever since puberty hit I had chest hair that made me look like one of those cheesy but sleazy 70's porn wannabe actors that you see every once in awhile. I guess I got it onto myself because someone once said "Here drink this, it will put hair on your chest." This issue has always been one of the things that my significant others always comment about how they can look past it . . but use it as a chip to get me to do something. I'tried things to hide it - once even tried to trim . . but dude . . whoa . . . I've never been itcher 'cept for that one time at band camp . . . j/k .

Anywise . . .weight is one of the biggest things that people look at today . . . and me looking like a monkey straight out of the rainforest of Brazil will have less "problems" with society and I never realized the extent to which you tried to hide yourself. That story you told me about coffee girl makes better sense now. But Sean . . . you were always the guy at every Bob's Child event . . who knew all the words and introduced me to all your friends . . . I'm rambling now . . .I salute you my friend . . even though we've had distant but relatable struggles . . .you've come out on top and are standing tall!

7:24 AM, June 29, 2006  
Anonymous amy said...

You know we'll all start nagging you if you stop posting, right? All it will say to us is that something is holding you back and you're starting to doubt your mission (if that's what you choose to call it). It's thoughts like this one that makes all of us (meaning me) keep watching!

8:02 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger Scrapnqueen said...

This spring, I had strep throat, which caused an outbreak of psoriasis--all over my body. I wore long sleeves, scarves, and jeans until well into the summer months. Granted, it is improving, but still very noticeable--however, it was only a few days ago that I said "screw it!" and I put on short pants for the first time. I understand how self-conscious you can be about your body, and how other people perceive you. It's tough, but unlike my psoriasis, yours is within your power to change--and you are changing it. Keep at it, man. We're all behind you!

8:46 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Hi Sean!

How ya doing!? I am up in Canada for the last week or so still here for another few days...but I packed the portrait I am doing of you and have been working on it here while visiting family and friends. As soon as I get a chance, I will post some photos of its progress.

I have had some challenges getting on to a computer but just got acess for all this weekend...so will catch up with you then and read all your posts.

Take care and keep up the positive attitude and have fun,

9:12 AM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger jimbo said...

This is oh so true. While in school I feared the spring/summer. After all fall/winter of wearing a jacket and not seeing my "moobs", the summer would roll around and I would have to get used to seeing them all over again. It was a vicious cycle. It's probably why to this day I freak'n HATE the summer. The sun is my enemy. Damn Evil Life Giving Orb!

It's only been in the last few years that I've became ok with myself and my skin no mater what time of year it is.

2:26 PM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger the next great genius said...

I'm really glad you posted this! It's something I think a lot of people can probably relate to in some way or another, whether it's because of weight or not.

And you're right, even if people notice whatever flaw it is you have/think you have, they could probably care less beyond their initial thought. Plus people are usually much more critical of themselves than anyone else is of them. I'm glad you realized that, because being comfortable with yourself is what's ultimately important. :)

Great theme song, by the way!

6:11 PM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger theshellieshow said...

Black is my best friend. Very slimming. We all have issues! ;-)

6:17 PM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger pseudojoe said...

Totally off topic but, you know Sean, your really a good writer. You make it very easy for people to understand your point of view.

On topic, I can totally relate...shirts in the pool and I can't tell you the last time I willingly had shorts on outside of my house.

Its just really hard to get past what we think others think of ourselves.

Keep pushing on my friend and thanks for being so honest.

7:57 PM, June 29, 2006  
Blogger Sean Perkey said...

Eva: Yeah...I've heard that..I'm working on getting it into a movable player like on Myspace. I'm glad you like it! Thanks sis!

the eye:
Scourage...that's a good word for it. I used to let everything affect my self worth. Hopefully I'm done with most of that crap.

Hey. Thank you for saying that. I care about you guys as well and I know that with all that behind me I'm going to stick with this until the end...even if it kills me! ;)

Man! Your responses are great. all the support and encouragement! Don't ever feel like you're rambling. I appreciate every word!

Joanne: Hey! Welcome and thank you and you're very welcome. I'll do my best to keep it coming. I hope you'll stick around!

Paul: oooh you shaved it? That must have been sooo irritating! It's odd how much people have in common but will never know if they don't open up.

Yeah, you know you met me right after I decided to break out of my shell and getting out to live music and getting involved with Bob's Child was a huge part of my transformation. I have pretty good self esteem now but there are still a few aspects I'm working on... You're a good friend man..I'm glad I met you when I did, when I was open to letting new people in! Oh and let's not mention the true love incident LOL...maybe that's fodder for another self revealing post... ;)

amy: I'm in this for the long haul..besides I know if I gave up the next morning there would be like 200 people standing at my door step ready to kick my but back into the gym... and, I wouldn't have it anyothe way! Thanks again!

Scrapnqueen - psoriasis is no joke. especially as bad as you had it. I used to have a freind who had a bad case and he would rarely leave his house durring flare-ups for sheer embarrasment. I'm glad you're not letting it affect you as much as before. the mental strain of hiding yourself away is not worth the minor relief we get from embarrasment. Good for you and thank you so much for your continued support and wonderful posts!

Candy Minx: Yeah! I saw the pictures on your blog. I hope you're having a great time. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress on the painting...I've neve been painted before. I feel speical!

I gues i'll hear from you this weekend then. Have a wonderful time! Thanks again for all your wonderful support!

jimbo: Moobs! That's great! I'll have to use that one.
It's funny you posted. I was just looking at your blog today and that of your fiance'. Congrats of your own losses and your engagement? right? Sweet!
I'm glad you were able to find that comfort zone. While I'm much beter with most social situations...my skin will not see the light of day for quite a while heh ;) Thanks for posting and come back anytime!

the next great genius: Hah! That song kills me...I'm glad people dig it too.

I'm glad we agree...it just took me a while to get there and i'm still working on it. It's just messed up to allow people to have that much controll over your self image! Thanks friend!

theshellieshow: Black Rocks! Although, lately, I tend to wear brightly colored shirts. I think that this is just my way of saying that, "I'm here and I'm not hiding anymore"

pseudojoe: Thanks for the compliment on my writing. I tell people that I write like I talk and it seems to turn out pretty well. I supposed I could try to impress my readers with a big vocabulary and a thesaurus but who would read a blog that talks down at them. I'd much rather communicate "with" Them and you!

Shirts in the pool and NOOOOO shorts! do you have the other half of this amulet? ;)

thanks friends! I'm heading to bed!

3:28 AM, June 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya Sean -
I've been reading your blog since the red paperclip post but haven't written anything yet. Just wanted to tell you I'm really impressed with your courage, candor and willingess to let us in on your mission. That - and you're a great writer.

I'm going through very much the opposite you are at the moment as I'm a former anorexic (recovered 10 years now) but suddenly facing a balooning waistline because I'm pregnant. It's hard to let myself gain weight! I'm doing it of course for the baby, but I'm becoming a huge fan of the jacket hehe. Anyway - all the best!

10:18 PM, June 30, 2006  
Blogger Sean Perkey said...

hello Anonymous:

First...thank you for your compliments! I'm flattered when people like my writing. I'm always worried that all this hacking away at the keyboard will just bore people...but it's fun so i keep at it! Thanks :0)

second (but more importantly) Congrats on your impending motherhood. I'm not a parent myself but have always pictured being a father and hope to be so lucky someday!
I can't imagine the difficulty of being anorexic. Being overweight people can tell early on that you are heading down an unhealthy path but I imagine that with the "Ulrta-thin" mindedness of the world today people are less likely to think that a thin person is suffering from a life threatening eating disorder making it that much easier to hide your problems for a much longer much more dangerous period of time.

I'm so happy to hear that you have been doing so well for so long and it sounds like you are taking your child's health very seriously and that is truly commendable. Thank you, so much, for your inspiring story. I wish you and your family all the best in the world and I hope that you'll keep stopping by and posting. It was a pleasure to "meet" you!

P.S. See I was right about the comforting lure of the jacket! ;)

4:13 AM, July 01, 2006  

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