A Jacket for All Seasons...
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... ;)