Nothing Special, Really

Monday, June 2, 2008


I'm 29 years old. I'll still be 29 for the next two and a half months. And in those 29+ years, only once in my life have I been comfortable with my body.

It was the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I was just getting over the biggest crush I'd ever had. Her name was Alexa (quite the stripper name, I know). Back then, at age 15, she was the hottest 14 year old I had ever seen.

Ugh. I'm cringing at the thought of how often this blog is going to come up in some sicko's Google search thanks to that last sentence. Anyways, back to the story.

I had a couple crushes before, but nothing like the one I had on Alexa. It seriously drove me crazy. I'm going to spare most of the details, because even 15 years later, I'm still embarrassed at some of the things I did, but let's just say that my "love" for her was expressed in every which way possible: love letters, phone calls, even flowers. Those fucking flowers. I was crushing on her so hard, I skipped Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals between the Suns & Sonics, when Barkley went for something like 43 & 17, just so I could go to the flower store without anyone knowing. If only she knew how deep my crush ran for her.

I finally got the hint sometime that summer when she continued to never return my calls. I knew why. She was a beautiful girl from a well-to-do family who was among the most popular kids in school, even as an 8th grader. I was a nerdy Freshman who wore too much hairspray in his hair, had over-sized glasses, and was, to put it politely, "on the heavier side." Things had to change, and so they did.

I started the transformation near the end of my Freshman year. I started skipping lunch, spending all my time on the basketball court, hoping that it would help me lose weight. Considering I never ate breakfast, this meant I was down to about one meal a day. And it started working.

I ditched the rest of the image as well. That summer, I convinced my parents to get contacts for me. I also talked my mom into spending money on the "cool" clothes, brands like Stussy, Mossimo (pre-Target era) and Guess. What she wouldn't buy for me, I used money that I got from selling basketball cards to buy more clothes. I got my hair cut short so that I wouldn't need hairspray to keep the helmet that I once sported.

I entered my sophomore year a new person: a svelte 150 pounds, thinner than I had ever been in my life. But new body & new clothes aside, my new image was still not enough to overcome the fact that I was still a huge dork, and I graduated high school without anything resembling a steady girlfriend.

High school. That was the last time I was happy with the way my body looked.

Anytime I've wanted to change my appearance, it's always been related, either directly or indirectly, to my pursuit of a female. That's probably not surprising; I'm sure there's thousands of fat guys trying to lose weight that probably wouldn't care about their weight if they were already banging strippers. I've tried to claim other motives for losing weight, i.e. training for a half-marathon, but even then, it was still mostly about a girl.

When I was diagnosed with the 'Betes, it changed my habits partially, and I'm somewhat happy to claim that my weight is the lowest it's been in years, even less than my half-marathon training days, but it's still not anywhere near confidence-building, and considering my weight is directly tied to how my body handles the 'Betes, I've still got a long way to go.

But I think I've finally found inspiration again, and this time, it's due to a woman. But it's not due to the pursuit of a woman. It's due to the woman I've already got.

Anytime I feel like I need inspiration to improve my health, I don't need to look any further than the other side of the bed and see my girlfriend, a woman who, quite literally, is not the same woman that was my girlfriend 2 years ago. This new woman, they share the same name, and they pretty much look the same in terms of physical features, but other than that, it's a new woman. A woman who is more than 75 pounds less than my girlfriend from two years ago. A woman who went from not wanting to walk 5 blocks from the apartment to the coffee shop to now wanting to run two half-marathons & a marathon this year alone. A woman who went from letting her appetite get the best of her to one that diligently watches everything she eats.

I don't need to find inspiration to change myself ever again, because I'm living with it.

A month ago, when we were driving back from Vancouver, B.C., I told Wac that I would run a half-marathon this year as well. I didn't even run the race, but I felt myself getting caught up in all the glory and energy that surrounded me as I watched the race. A contact runner's high.

October 4th, 2008. The Leavenworth Half-Marathon. That's the day that I confront 30 years of inadequacy at the finish line and give it the finger. The day when "woulda, coulda, shoulda" becomes "just did." The day that I finally accomplish something I've never been able to do, because I never had the right inspiration.

But I have it now.

And she's going to show my ass up the next day at the Portland Marathon, but that's OK. It's just more inspiration for me.


  • Aw, thanks, babe!

    You know, it's been a while since I've received a love letter, phone call, or flowers... jk :)

    I'm so proud of you and excited to start training with you. It's going to be a hell of a weekend in October!

    Here we go!

    By Blogger wac, At June 3, 2008 at 5:52 AM  

  • "You know, it's been a while since I've received a love letter, phone call, or flowers... jk :)"

    BUSTED! :)

    Dude, GREAT POST as usual!!! I'm inspired too!

    I know what you mean about getting excited with the atmosphere though. I run a 10k race in Richmond every year (which surprisingly is like in the top 5 of the entire country's 10k with 16k+ runners) and the atmosphere is so awesome.

    Good luck in your pursuit for the half. Keep us posted on the updates.


    By Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage, At June 3, 2008 at 8:38 PM  

  • I can't even tell you how cool this is! Best of luck to you, Matt. You're going to do great!

    By Blogger Deborah, At June 6, 2008 at 6:24 PM  

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