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Sex Love and Obesity Part 6

Before we move on in this Sex Love and Obesity Series I need to roll back time a little bit and tell you about the guy before my husband.

Sometimes I think that how a relationship starts determines very much how it will finish. This relationship started before my husband and I had become anything more than friends. It started with him having a free trial to the phone sex service I was working for and a phone call that he made to a girl he thought looked exactly like I wished I looked in my head and exactly like the photo that was plastered all over my advertisement.

As we talked and got to know each other there was one prevailing thought in my mind the entire time. “He will never love me.” – because who would love me.

I weighed over 420 pounds. In my mind I was complete unlovable.

We continued to talk, a lot. Relationships that develop over the phone have an interesting dynamic – you don’t sit around watching TV and doing the mundane everyday life things together, you must talk to one another, converse the entire time. Which means there is a lot more communication; he knew absolutely everything there was to know about me.

He was out of my league. I knew that. He was a young attractive man with aspirations to be a movie star. I was a 420-pound phone sex operator allowing him to believe I was the woman in the photos I used for my new phone sex business.

I’d used fake photos to meet people online a dozen times before this. I always knew in the back of my mind when I did it that it would end badly. I knew when they found out who the real me was they would be angry that I lied to them, stop talking to me, and that my struggle with obesity made love an impossibility in my life.

But I loved him, and more than anything in the world, I wanted him to love me back the same way.

Our telephone conversations included lots of discussions about how amazing our sex life would be if we were together. He was the first man in my entire life that made me feel wanted. I’m not talking about wanted as in I want you around me, I’m talking I want to grab you, throw you down on the bed and screw your brains out kind of wanted. Something I had never, ever experienced in life because of my weight.

Although the rational side of my brain knew that this was all a façade based on the lies and misconceptions I was selling, as time went on, I grew to love him more and more.

But my husband came along, I found a relationship that was real, not just some telephone fantasy relationship I wished could be real, and I moved on to the life I could have instead of the life I wanted.

I never really let go though. Closure isn’t really my thing. For several years into my marriage, with my husband knowing about it, I continued to converse with him. He helped me build my business. He wrote blogs for my website, he did voice acting work for recordings I sold repeatedly, he tolerated the emotional roller coaster and yo-yo relationship I offered where I pulled him closer and then pushed him away. We’d make plans to meet, and I would come up with amazing excuses for why I couldn’t show up. Essentially, I catfished him. For the better part of 12 years.

There was a moment, where I tried to tell the truth.

About four years into my marriage, when things started going south, when I had gained back all my weight, found out that my husband was having online affairs he was lying to me about, I went to this man and told him the truth.

In my mind, at this moment, I thought, it’s been 5 years, he knows me. The real me, the person I am on the inside. Maybe, just maybe my weight won’t matter. My husband had taught me that was a possibility, in the beginning he didn’t want to be with me because of my weight. I had lost the weight, we had started a relationship, and when I gained all the weight back it didn’t become a deal breaker in the relationship.

I was unhappy in my marriage. For a million reasons I’ve already stated. But there was another issue at play too, I wasn’t sure if I had ever REALLY loved my husband. In the back of my head there was this haunting voice that constantly reminded me that perhaps I had settled for the man who would love me, instead of the man I loved.

So, after 5 years, I told him the truth.

I laid it all out there, I sent him my real photos and I explained that I had done everything I had done because I didn’t think he would love me if he knew what I really looked like.

He very kindly ended the relationship. He gave me a ton of reasons at the time. None of which were “You are overweight, and I am not attracted to you.” – but no matter what he said, THAT is what I heard.

I couldn’t take the rejection. I was devastated. I loved this man I had never met more than I had loved any man before. Not having him as a part of my life wasn’t an option. So, I back peddled. I told him that I had sent the photos to test him. To see how much he really loved me, to see if our relationship was just about what I looked like. I told him that he had failed my test and for the next couple of years, we hardly spoke. When we did speak, I would remind him how much he had hurt me. How he had let me slip through his fingertips, how he didn’t love me enough.

In some small way, his remorse over the situation comforted me.

It told me that I was worthy. He regretted his decision, he mourned losing me, and in my mind, I twisted this into, “he’s the bad guy, he didn’t love me because of my weight and he lost the wonderful person I am and a woman who loved him to ends of the earth because of it.” It was his loss.

It was somewhere around 2007 now – I had regained 100 pounds since I had gotten married. The man I loved didn’t love me back. The man I had settled on and learned to love was busy having online affairs when I was there in his home trying to be everything he wanted. Nothing was going right. I blamed EVERYTHING that was going wrong on the fact that I was overweight. Obesity was ruining my life. All I wanted was someone to love me the way I wanted to be loved and nobody did, all because I was fat.

But there was nothing I could do to fix it. I had tried and failed. I had lost weight and gained it all back. The only sex life I had was the one I had on the phone with my clients. I hated my job now. All it did was serve as a constant reminder of what I couldn’t have. I resented answering the phone. I resented the two men in my life for not loving me. I slipped into a deep dark depression.

There was nothing, absolutely nothing that made me feel better… other than food.

I’d binge eat to make myself feel better and then only end up more depressed because in the end I knew that it only made things worse. It was a vicious cycle. I wanted to die.

I accepted that this was the life I was destined to lead. I didn’t really understand why. What I had done so bad to deserve such a horrible fate? I resolved myself to the fact that I was going to die this way, overweight, unloved and never getting the chance to experience the love I had been dreaming about since I was a little girl.

I had thought that losing weight would fix everything. I believed that after I lost the weight I would suddenly be happy. I was looking for myself and thought I would find her on the other side of obesity. But what I quickly found is that there is no “u” in weight loss. If you are looking for you in life after weight loss, you’re not going to find it until you start looking within yourself and asking yourself what drove you to obesity to begin with. Losing the weight doesn’t fix you, and if you haven’t figured out what the actual issues are, the chances are, you will end up right back where you started.

My marriage was already over, even if I didn’t really know it yet, and my relationship with this man who had come before my husband, hadn’t even really begun.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 7 – Meeting Superman

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

NKOTB Inspires my Body Confidence

So there I was dancing around the room naked in front of the mirror. For someone who struggles with body image issues after massive weight loss, being able to do that without stopping to find a flaw and pick at something you don’t like about yourself? That is quite a non-scale victory moment in and of itself. I had to stop and double-check and make sure that the blinds were drawn and that nobody could see me rocking out to one of my favorite NKTOB songs as it started playing while I was put on lotion.

I was feeling like I was a sixteen year old girl, standing in front of the mirror naked dancing around like I was on stage with the five boys that owned my heart. Yeah roll your eyes, I was indeed a first generation block head. And no, I was not using my hair brush like a microphone. It was my lotion bottle. Don’t judge.

For months I have been trying to find the extra cash to buy tickets to their upcoming concert in Charlotte, NC. (The closest venue they are playing to where I live) Even after what happened when my best friend and I went to their meet and greet. And with everything else that suddenly came up my suddenly in my life. Well, it just didn’t happen. I probably could have afforded tickets if anyone that I knew was actually as big of a fan as I am. Then I could just buy one ticket but when I’d also pay for the privilege of making someone else go with me, that’s definitely not in the post bankruptcy Pandora budget.NKOTBGroupShotWeb

Several months ago, I had the money and could have bought the tickets. But I wavered back and forth, trying to decide if I really wanted to go after my best friend got slighted and disappointed when we attended the Dallas show of their last tour with meet and greet tickets.

I danced around my room sans my clothing last night grooving to not only one, but three of their songs as they came on back to back. I realized how good I felt in that moment. I realized that I had made a mistake. I should have bought the tickets and I really shouldn’t have based my relationship with the band on how someone else felt. Even if that someone was my very best friend.

I make a point out of fighting weight bias and fighting weight stigma and since my friend felt that perhaps she had been slighted by her weight I wanted to rescue her and make her feel better. But there is something else that I have learned in the last year or two since that concert: sometimes we create that bias and stigma ourselves.

See me? I’m the walking billboard. It’s hard being the big girl in the crowd. It’s even harder being the big girl in the crowd when your now skinny friend who lacks the ability to know how not to sparkle comes up with a plan to try to get someone’s attention. While I believe that Tora was entitled to her feelings–they are real and valid and  I wish that she never had to feel them–I also came to my own conclusion that it might have had a lot more to do with us and our actions (or lack thereof and personal sensitivity to the subject) and a lot less to do with the band members.

But my question of do I go or not? Can I go after telling everyone that I was upset my friend was so disappointed and felt it was related to her size? Can I support a band that had even a small part of someone I care about feeling that way? Will she be angry at me if I do go? [ See Related Article ]

dsc_2264-1All these questions made me hesitate and second guess myself, and in the end I decided to take the money that I would have spent on the concert tickets and buy myself something really nice at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend event I was attending. So I bought myself the 2015 Dooney and Bourke limited edition Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend purse. I heart it. I heart it much.

The purse is lovely, but as I danced around my room like a teenager getting my heart rate going, I remembered something my father taught me. Sometimes you have to focus on how people treat YOU.  My experience at that meet and greet was absolutely amazing. If you had told sixteen year old me that someday I’d get to meet, hug and talk to each member of New Kids On The Block I would have signed any sort of pledge you asked me for. I’m talking obsessive-teenager-I-owned-all-the-merchandise-fan here, guys. As a young lady meeting them was one of my biggest dreams. As an adult it was still of the top 5 items on my bucket list.

Each one of them was amazing. They were kind and complementary.  Jordan Knight made my century when he rubbed the back of my head not once but twice! Donnie Wahlberg paid me the best comment I’ve ever gotten by someone who doesn’t really know me personally regarding my weight loss when he told me that he wanted to hug me but more than half of me was already gone.

And that moment when Jordan Knight crossed a crowded room to head toward the stage and made a point to walk over to where I was, give me another hug and rub the back of my head that second time, well let’s just say my heart still drops when I think about my hands on his waist and his on the back of my head. In fact, my heart just skipped a beat. Yes, that really did happen. I have it on video. I kid you not.photo-3

I’ve had a really rough few months financially. Things went downhill really fast in the beginning of the year when I was trying to juggle taking care of myself and assisting in financially taking care of about five other people. My family in Oregon. My roommate and though not nearly as much as I once had too, my mother. I’m just learning the income flow patterns of the fitness industry. I’m in the second year of a new career and I’m trying to recover from the 6 digits of debt that 3-4 years of focusing on weight loss and reconstructive surgery cost me. I just started drowning fast when trying to stand on my own two feet for the first time ever while still having so many people who need my help.

The good news. I am standing on my own two feet for the first time ever.  Even though I did have to declare bankruptcy, I haven’t fallen flat on my face, and that is a better financial me than I have been since I left home at sixteen. I can do this. I just can’t afford the little extras like getting my nails done, concert tickets, traveling for weight loss conventions and flying all over the country to run half marathons anymore. There are no more credit cards that I can use with the best of intentions to pay it back later. Shopping wasn’t really my transfer addiction. Experiencing life was. That’s how I explain it to my closest friends.

I’ve learned a good lessons out of this. Lessons are experiences points I accumulate. Learning them allows me to make better decisions next time.  Next time I know what not to do in order to ensure that I get a more positive outcome.

Last night’s lesson was a special one. Last night I remembered that even in times when I feel like the struggle is too hard and road ahead is too long. There are five men out there whose voices can make me stop what I am doing while they are signing. Listening to their music motivates me and gives me a sense of self and a sense of strength that though it is inside of me I can’t always dial into.

IMG00014When I was a lonely, overweight and sad teenager they helped inspire me to dance around and pretend that someday a boy like them would love me. [ See Related Article ] When I was a 30 something adult suffering from morbid obesity at 420lb. they helped inspire me to move. My first form of exercise was slowly walking around my neighborhood listening to their reunion album The Block. Now that I am approaching my forties as a healthier me who struggles with body image issues, they are the musical source that touches me deep enough that I can spend twenty minutes in front of the mirror dancing around naked without once stopping to find some excess skin I don’t like and tugging on it to see if it tightens up an area of my body that I am insecure about.  I can waste hours of my day off doing this to myself if I allow it. True story.

I’m not perfect. I don’t always make the right decisions. I should have bought the tickets instead of the Tinker Bell purse. But live and learn. Maybe next time instead of wishing I had bought nose bleed tickets I’ll be making better financial decisions and buying a front row bar seat so I can remind those 5 men who I am. I’ll see if I can get Jordan Knight to rub my head again and who knows, throw my bra onstage or something. Dream big. I am not lying. I would do this. I’d likely do many things that someone out there somewhere is likely to disprove of.  Freebie List. You understand.

Today however,  I’m a little pouty. So I’ll allow myself to pout for a moment. I can’t afford $200 for decent tickets for two. OK. I’m done. Now instead of pouting  I’ll throw on a NKOTB play list that includes all my favorites songs. I’m talking from the days of Jones Beach 1988 all the way to The Remix. I will enjoy knowing that I’ve had the opportunity to meet them and that nothing has changed in my relationship with them in the last twenty-seven years. They still touch my heart and some other parts of me, with their music.

And… Jordan Knight rubbed my head. Twice! Plus long after the concert is over I will have that gorgeous Tinker Bell Bag around my neck. So there is that.

It’s all about appreciating the experiences you’ve had, being grateful for what you’ve got and finding the joy in the lesson that life is teaching you.

And now, I’m going to go dance around naked to “Block Party” which is the song that inspired my fitness career.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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