Radio Silence

It’s fun to celebrate victories. It’s all smiles and party favors when you come home with a report card filled with A’s and B’s. For most kids, anyway. Growing up, my mother would want to know why I only got a 99…..what question did I get wrong? Maybe that has something to do with the last few weeks.

In my quest to introduce the two Michaels, I’ve set weight goals as benchmarks of success. A test of sorts to get from point a to point b and measure progress. That last benchmark was 217…my arch nemesis of years past. A weight that for all intents and purposes might as well be the lowest number on any scale I purchase, considering my inability to puncture gravity any lower.

The last month or longer has been an interesting time, fraught with a cacophony of emotional undertows emanating mostly from relationships at my place of employment. The easy out would be to parse blame out in neat little “it’s you not me” boxes. The deeper truth lays somewhere closer to “how is God changing me in this conflict?”.

Change is painful, and tumultuous. In Physics 101, you learn that the universe is moving from a point of perfect order, towards a decaying ever increasing state of chaos. No one ever walks into a toddler’s room to find that the room is cleaner than it was ten minutes prior. Four year olds are great professors of physics if you stop long enough to observe them.

And so, down here at 217 land…in emotional change land, I’ve noticed some things about myself and my tendencies.

I still use food as a sedative, and an anesthetic.

I still revert to an emotional “little boy” condition when challenged or confronted. In my mind’s eye, I can see a rage building up in my chest. My heart beats faster. My voice starts to crack a little and I become physically agitated. Stress seeps down into my chest down into my gut like a thick cough syrup. A stress sludge, of sorts.

I stop weighing myself everyday.

I gain a few pounds and start using phrases like, “I suck”. Self-defeating self talk dominates my thinking. I begin to wonder if I’m really as talented and gifted as I think I am, or if I’m just a good pretender and scared to death that someone will expose the “real me”.

I’m back in the kitchen of my growing-up house, wondering why 99 wasn’t good enough on a test.

It’s one thing to think that thought – and another thought completely to type it out, and just sit and stare at it for a solid two or three minutes. Like maybe you’ve just figured out something important.

Maybe I don’t deserve to be healthy, or thinner. Maybe I’m really not “that good”.

Or maybe there’s a fear of failure. A fear of 216.9 and below. Of getting down here, and spiraling completely out of control one more time, back up to 270 again. I can think of nothing worse.

And yet, when faced with conflict and change and emotionally overloaded circuit breakers, I eat. Revert to established habits. Eating alone when no one’s looking. Eating quickly past the point of satiated hunger to bloated self loathing and guilt. “Why did I just do that”, land.

This is a scary, scary place, right here. No parachutes or air-bags. No boo-boo kisses if I slip and skin my knee.

I don’t like it here. I don’t like it much, at all. I like to be the champion and the guy who gets it done. The guy with the great ideas and the abilities and the talents and the smiles and the jokes and the funny stories. I like that guy. Most of you like, that guy.

I had no idea when I started this how deep down the rabbit hole I’d be going. I thought it would be more about calories and corn syrup. Turns out that was the easy part. Today, I’m sitting here talking to a 17 year old kid in my head, whose head is down and doesn’t particularly believe he’s very special. A kid who eats alone when no one’s looking, past the point of satiation, and says things like “I suck” after the fact.

We’re both trying to figure out when that whole thing started, today. I think both our lives depend on it.

Radio Michael – over and out.

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One Response to Radio Silence

  1. Consuela says:

    Wow… This was a very courageous piece to post. Ironically enough I’ve been on a similar journey that has intensified over the last two and a half months. It did not start out as an intentional journey, but has become a necessary one for my health. I haven’t gotten to the self reflection or examination point just yet. I think that is because I’m afraid to do it right now, but Thank You for sharing and posting this piece. Your Friend Suela

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