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Echoes of a Dream :: Home

Last Week's Desktop

"Opportunities always look bigger going than coming."    ~

Blogging system tweaked just for me by: Pete Holiday, who thinks I'm super cool.

Hey guys.

Long time no hear from , huh? Yeah, I know. The place is covered in cobwebs, and bots and engines have taken over the hit counter with a vengeance. Totally my fault; I get that, and I'm here to say goodbye.

What I've found is that over the past year or more the only time I really wanted to write was when I wanted to whine or complain. There's a lot of stuff going on, but I've found that rather than put it out to be dissected by those few people that still stopped by upon occasion I wanted to keep it close to me, dole it out to the people I cared about behind the scenes instead. So much craziness not meant for public consumption, and when you look at it that way, what, exactly, did I want to put out there anyway?

I am forever grateful that the internet brought you all into my life; if it's good for nothing else, it was excellent for doing that much! And as I said, it's time to quit procrastinating and start writing email again or -GASP!- letters even, keep in touch the old fashioned way, person-to-person rather than (or in addition to) posting and tweeting and changing my FB status to reflect my mood. I used to enjoy all of that before the internet came along. Now maybe I can spend some time rediscovering what that felt like.

So thanks to everyone for supporting me over the past ten years of my narcissistic writing endeavor. I am grateful for each and every one of you, and I'm looking forward to moving on with the next portion of my life with you as my friends rather than statistics.


The Anniversary    
Three years ago this month (on Valentine's Day, to be exact), I had my eye-opening this-is-it, gotta-lose-the-weight moment: Gwazi, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, hanging with my homie, and completely unaware that I'd finally come to a point in my life when I'd reached the limit where my size restricted my ability to do the things that I loved. I got stuck. On Gwazi. In Gwazi. It changed my life.

I quit smoking in 1998. At 165 pounds I was overweight at that time, but I've always been somewhat overweight so it wasn't like it was a concern of mine going into the quitting process. I gained only 6 pounds in my first year post-quit, and I deemed that a raging success, so I quit keeping track of my body and its measurements. Over the next several years I knew that I was gaining in both weight and circumference, but I never really noticed a difference in the mirror so I was sure that it wasn't that much of a gain, nobody noticed, that sort of thing. I quit wearing jeans about 6 years later because I hated looking at the increasing sizes, and I threw out my scale somewhere in between so that I had my head firmly stuck in the sand the whole time.

I don't really know how much I weighed in 2007. I'd just bought my first pair of jeans in about a decade, so I knew that my waistline had vastly increased from what I'd expected, but I still wasn't interested in knowing the exact numbers. I went to Florida for my best friend's wedding, and rather than a week of bachelorette frippery, she took me to all of the theme parks on the peninsula. We started with Busch Gardens.

I love roller coasters; I have since I was a kid. I especially love the wooden roller coasters, as rickety and scary as they may be...and that's probably why I love them so. Therefore, it was a no-brainer to walk into the park and know beyond all shadow of a doubt that Gwazi was going to be the first on my list. I waited in line for half an hour to get the coveted last car (which is contrary to the norm, I know, but trust me - in Gwazi? The last car is the best!), and two turns away from my moment of glory, I watched as a very large man tried to fit himself into a car a few sections up, the one specifically engineered with large people in mind. He was unsuccessful. I averted my eyes and talked about how sorry I felt for the poor man as he was helped out of the car and escorted to the exit, glad to know that it wasn't me, and didn't he realize that he was too large for the cars?!?

When my turn came I blithely stepped into the car and only then realized that I was in a bit of trouble my own self - the seats were wide, but they were were separated by a hard plastic divider in the middle, and there was not enough room for my hips. However, I was not to be deterred! I crossed my legs, shifted my weight, and I wedged my ass in there tight because there was NO WAY I was missing out on my initial Gwazi experience! And then there was the seat belt....

I had to stretch it all the way to its end in order to fit it around me, and then I found out that the hook was located at the back of the seat...the seat that I'd just wedged myself so firmly into. It took some maneuvering and the help of a kindly attendant to get it latched, but we were finally successful, and I was off for the most uncomfortable ride I've ever had.

It was painful. The belt dug in, my hips were compacted, and I felt every bump in the track that the coaster had to offer. I was miserable by the time we rolled to a stop. That's when the party REALLY started.

We were surrounded by a ton of high school kids, the kind I'd always wanted to be like when I was in high school but never quite measured up to their standards of beauty. The pretty little blonde cheerleader-types waiting in line for my car smirked to each other when they saw me sitting there then hastily averted their eyes when they realized I'd seen them. I averted my own as I reached for my release catch, and that's when I realized that I was hopelessly stuck.

I'm not talking a little stuck, either.

I couldn't reach the latch because it was wedged somewhere behind me when the attendant had helped to strap me in. I had enough body mass that had settled in and around it that the attendant had to hold me forward while he took care of the latch. You'd think getting up and out would be simple once the seatbelt was released, but it wasn't - I was stuck but good; I flat-out could not move.

In the end, he had me pulling by the arms and he'd put his foot up against the car to give himself leverage. After a few good yanks my butt popped out of the seat and I was free amidst much mental applause and actual laughter from the surrounding crowd, and I listened as people shook their heads and talked about the fat chick that got stuck in the car - didn't she know that she was too large?!?

I spent the rest of my stay hovering in this constant state of worry that I wouldn't fit. The seats were too high, or too narrow, or too restrictive. I was never turned away from any rides, but I was highly conscious of what I was attempting to do, of how it appeared to the outside world when I attempted it, and my pleasure at being where I was for the first time and riding the coasters that I'd always wanted to ride was so much less than it should have been because of that single incident.

It made me rethink everything - the way I felt in airplane seating, my family's snide comments about the size of my ass, how comfortable I was in stretchy stirrup pants despite how ugly they were, and by the time I was ready to come home (having been reassigned to The Big Girl Row in the plane on the way home and just barely escaping the need for a seatbelt extension) I'd made the decision to lose the ass.

By my nearest calculations, I was around 240 pounds at that point. I was wearing size 24 jeans. I could barely climb a flight of stairs without gasping like a fish out of water, and I was getting stuck in roller coaster cars. It had to stop. I came home, and I went to work on it.

Six months later I was back in Florida. I didn't make it back to Busch Gardens during that trip, but I was 60 pounds lighter. I fit comfortably on the plane, I was 4 sizes smaller, and every coaster I sat in the meantime accommodated me quite nicely, thank you! This past summer I was down another 20 pounds from that, another pants size, and April took me back to Busch to face my fears on Gwazi once more.

I was once more surrounded by The Beautiful Young, but it didn't bother me quite as much. I got in line for the last car and I waited, heart in throat, for my turn to come. When it did, I stepped into the car and hesitated as I stared at the space I was supposed to fit my ass, daunted once more by the space I was expected to occupy for the duration and panicking that I simply was not going to fit!!!!! Then I gave myself a mental slap, sat down, grabbed my seat belt, and I strapped myself in. Not only did I fit, I had to tighten the belt in order to make sure I was riding safely. I'd made it.

In the last six months I've backslid a little, regained some fifteen pounds or so of my former weight, and you know? I'm ok with that. Ultimately, I am a work in progress, and I'm learning about myself every single day. This isn't going to happen overnight, and expecting as much just stresses me out so I try not to do it, and the absolute truth is that while I may have regressed somewhat in my journey, I am still such a very, very long way from where I began, and that's still something to be proud of.

...Besides, I'm betting I can still totally kick Qwazi's ass, so really, what is there to complain about?

Literal Videos ROCK!    

Sad Day    
I find it to be a rather pointed picture of our company culture when my HR co-workers will fire the best assistant that we've had in literal years and yet are more concerned with how I am feeling about her termination than how she is.

Just when I'd finally realized that I was happy with my corporate life again I was slapped in the face with a veritable boatload of hypocritical, classist douchebaggery that further serves to prove once more that I cannot bring myself to trust, appreciate or respect my HR department.

As Sent to Pete Via Email    
Just now I very clearly heard my assistant say "I'm searching for Corn Nuts" as she stared at her monitor and clicked her mouse several times.

"Corn Nuts?" I responded, puzzled as to why she would be searching the internet for Corn Nuts when there are several perfectly good bags available for purchase in our break room vending machines.

Her laughter was my clue that I'd totally misheard her.

"I'm searching for job applications!" she corrected. "I don't know how you got 'Corn Nuts' out of 'Job Applications!'"

Quite frankly, neither do I.

The Audible: College Football PodcastSideline Warning: A College Football Blog
Skin: "Silver" by Pete Holiday