Mommas Worries Are Different and Hosting The Opry
Mom and I started our Saturday with some fruit and coffee. Just enough to hold us over until we met with Courtney for lunch at a nearby restaurant. It's been very nice having mom around, and we thoroughly enjoy each others company. She was so worried about my weight for so many years---it literally kept her up at night. I can remember numerous times of answering the phone at 2am and finding a very emotional mom on the other end asking when I would do something about my weight, pleading with me really, to get serious. Momma knew I couldn't live very long at over 500 pounds, and after losing my younger brother Shane at the age of 24 back in 2001, the thought of losing me too was too much to ever allow her a restful nights sleep. Mom sleeps much better these days. She still worries about me, that will never end, but it's about my emotional well being and not my morbid obesity. At some point along this road, the tables of worry shifted. She stopped worrying about my weight and all of a sudden, I was the one worried about her weight, and to see her finally breaking through with a solid understanding of what it takes to really lose it, well...it's total joy.
We enjoyed lunch with Courtney at JW Cobb's. I've written about this place many times, it's easily our favorite restaurant in town. It's a local country cooking kind of place, where it would be real easy to make horrible choices, but it's also easy to make good choices here. We've enjoyed this place for years, and the entire staff remembers 505 pound Sean very well. They remember all of the rolls and butter I would eat, and the extra cream gravy I would request atop that giant chicken fried steak, and the giant helping of potatoes and gravy---all washed down with large glass of Pepsi. Yep, they remember it well. I guess that's why I love going here so much, because it really proves my point about choices and self-responsibility. We didn't stop enjoying this place just because our choices were changing. And as time progressed and the weight came off, their “wow” reactions became better and better. It took them awhile to adjust to the differences in my choices. I always order water with extra lemons, I always request the gravy on the side, I always order from the Senior menu (yes—they allow it for non-seniors who want smaller portions---I think they should change the name from “Senior” to “portion control choices.”) and it's most usually a balanced meal. When they bring out those fresh made rolls, I sometimes completely leave them untouched and sometimes I might enjoy a half, but then again---bread has never been my big weakness. It's choices. And I navigate those choices well---and I love showing my family and friends how to do it too.
After lunch---we had to get to the Poncan theatre for rehearsals of the Poncan Opry. I was set to be the host MC tonight---and we were expecting a big audience. There isn't much I can do here, but simply pick up the set list and bios of the guest stars---I did, and we headed back home for study. I don't know why, but I always get a case of nerves before a big show. Maybe it was because Mom was going to be in the audience tonight or maybe it's just normal. Or maybe---it's because I'm not the same guy that performed a couple of hundred times a year at over 500 pounds. I only take the stage, maybe ten times a year now...and I'm no longer 500 pounds---so the biggest source for my material is gone. I have other material and thoughts that can easily be turned into “fat-free” material, but it's not as easy as it once was. And when you're sometimes introduced as a “former regular at The Hollywood Improv,” well---the expectations from the audience becomes high---and I don't have my familiar crutch anymore. Make sense? I can still hold my own on stage---but as my confidence in my appearance grew, it started lagging in the performing department. It's strange psychological stuff, huh?
Speaking of strange psychological stuff...I found this comment from anonymous on yesterday's post:
Whoa. That is soooo trippy. Damn you are one handsome guy. I know you maintain very healthy boundaries (vis a vis private & puplic life), but it would be great sometime if you wrote about the changes in your encounters with women. No, I'm really not asking about deeply personal or sexual stuff! But I do think you are a great role model for many men and it might be helpful to launch a bit of a dialog about what it is like to be treated as a sex object. I'm guessing that didn't happen very much when you were heavier (not that you weren't handsome then, too). Women discuss this particular angle in their blogs sometimes. Haven't seen men talk about it as much. It must be kind of unsettling (albeit nice) to have women coming on to you nowadays. Thanks for anything you feel like sharing. Will understand if you just *don't want to go there*. Take care!
Ok—Uh---seriously? I about spit my water when I read this comment. I certainly don't see myself as anything close to being a “sex object,” wow. But seriously---you're right, it never happened---the added attention, the extra smiles, the flirtations---never ever happened before now---and they didn't need to happen for me back then. Irene always found me attractive at every weight along the way---and that's all that mattered. I didn't necessarily believe her when she would say it, but I believe it to be true---that's love my friend. It never mattered what I looked like to Irene. She came along when I was 15 and already morbidly obese. I felt like the fattest, ugliest, most unattractive boy in school---and she looked past that and into my teenage heart. The weight didn't matter to her, until it started to worry her for my health. But it was never an appearance issue with her. And that's very special.
Things are drastically different now. A pending divorce coupled with this added attention that occasionally comes my way---it can be too much, especially when my brain hasn't fully accepted my appearance. It's definitely a topic for future discussion, that many men who lose a dramatic amount of weight could relate to, and when that time comes, I'll do it in a very tasteful and appropriate way---but I believe it to be way too soon to discuss, considering the current circumstances. Oh, and thank you for the compliment Miss Anonymous!
The show tonight was fun and well attended---the theatre was packed and the audience was lively. I had a chance to introduce mom to the crowd midway through the second half---and I think she was a little uncomfortable by that---and I understand, but everyone loves momma! It's all good!
I can't get through an event like this without someone coming up before or after the show and treating me to the coolest “wow” reaction. It happened again tonight. I was approached by a lady who told me that she hardly recognized me. She didn't really at all. She kept watching, trying to convince herself it was me on that stage---she just couldn't believe it at all. And then she asked, “you don't remember me do you?” And no, I honestly didn't. “I'm Tawnda, from Perry, I cut your hair all the time---I was your barber!” TAWNDA!! Yes---oh my, forgive me! Tawnda took care of my hair some fifteen years ago---and she was so good to me. It's been more than a decade since we've seen each other---and to say she was shocked at my changes is an understatement! It was complete disbelief---and it felt so wonderful to experience. Thank you Tawnda!
Mom and I didn't necessarily manage our time effectively today. After the show we headed home for a quick bite to eat---then we headed to the trail for my 5K. It was cool and rainy, so mom decided to stay in the vehicle and hit the trail with me tomorrow. I made my way out onto the trail and gave it a good jog, then slowed to a brisk walk, then jogged some more---and I don't know what it was that made me decide to cut my 5K short—but I did. I knew I'd have to report it here, but I did it anyway. Let's see what we have in our bag of excuses tonight: It was late, cold, rainy, and mom was waiting in the vehicle. Who's fault is it? Mine. This late night exercise session should have happened at 4pm, before the show. It might have been wet---but I guarantee it would have been complete. Not happy about that performance.
Linda and Lindel contacted me today to tell me that they had a bike and it was all mine. Lindel fixed it up and they wanted to give it to me. What a generous gift! Thank you! I'll be picking it up tomorrow. Linda warned me that it may or may not be what I was looking for, but hey---it's a bike---and a wonderful gift from friends, and I will peddle that thing with pure enthusiasm! And if I get another style bike someday, then I'll pay it forward by finding someone in need---and re-gifting it to them. I'll be picking it up tomorrow! I already said that didn't I? I'm just thrilled, very thrilled! Thank you Linda and Lindel!
Thank you for reading. Below you'll find pictures from tonight's Poncan Opry. Goodnight and...
Photo Credit: Darryl Cox
Photo Credit: Rick Logan This was a comedy bit with “Erleene Jo,” aka—Kelcy Fowler-Moore
Photo Credit: Rick Logan With Dale Eisenhauer of the Poncan Opry All-Star Band
Photo Credit: Darryl Cox After show with Lions Club members, the Fowler Women, and Dave May the director of the theatre and the guy who took over my KLOR show when I left for KPNC last year.
Mom and me on stage after show. I really need to wear smaller clothes. This jacket and even my jeans are bigger than they need to be now. But tackling deep seeded appearance hang-ups isn't something I want to do in front of a packed theatre. Maybe I should do it that way...but anyway, I was comfortable tonight.