As I type this, I can’t lift my arms. But more of that in a minute.
Regular business first: more success. I lost another three pounds this week, for a new total of 8 stone 5 pounds lost (117 pounds or 53 kilos). I didn’t think it would be that good a result. I’d had a dicey week for eating. I’m definitely eating more than I was a month ago. But I guess I was eating so little that having more is still eating very little.
And because I’m eating very little, I’m smaller and so I’m better able for life. On Saturday, I was going to the filming of a TV show. (I love London.) When I first moved to London, I went to lots of shows. I was always nervous if someone else booked the seats. What if they didn’t book me an aisle seat? I only fitted in theatres if I could leave the bulk of my bulk hang off on one side. I don’t need to do that any more. I can just say yes to things. I fit in the seats the world sends. I don’t need special ones any more. I can just say yes.
As it turned out, we were too late to get into the show. It wasn’t starting till 7:35 and we were there at 4:00, but apparently people had been queueing all day. Who knew The Greatest Dancer was so popular? One of my friends suggested the five of us go back to mine to watch it. I didn’t hesitate. I just said yes. I cannot tell you how bizarre this is for me. I’m very protective of my own space, for one thing. For another, I used to need a lot of time to prepare before someone could visit because I used to spend the weekends lying down because I was just so tired. I wasn’t able to bend over and pick up dirty clothes off the floor. Or the pizza boxes for that matter. I used to be breathless from bending over to fill the washing machine and sometimes I’d have to wash clothes twice because I didn’t have the energy to bend over and empty it and the clothes would start to stink and I’d just wash them again because that was easier than bending over to empty the machine. I couldn’t bend over to plug in a hoover without taking off my trousers first. My digestive issues meant my bathroom was a battleground to keep clean. I’m not saying I lived in filth, but it was really, really hard to keep the place clean and tidy and any visitors would have to be prepared for in advance.
But on Saturday, I didn’t blink an eye. Sure. My house was tidy. I get great joy from tidying now. And it’s not just a Marie Kondo fad (though she helped). It’s rediscovering an ability that was lost to me. I can be that person now. I can keep a house tidy. It’s fine to just drop by. Hey world, you don’t need an appointment to call in to Connor’s place now. It’s ready.
So on Saturday night, I had five people over.
Not only that, but I was doing something on Sunday too. It’s not that long since I would have refused an invitation to do something on a Sunday if I was already doing something on a Saturday. I wouldn’t have had the energy. Now I can. I can say yes.
We were going to an escape room for a friend’s birthday. We were on the Dark Side of the Moon, killing Space Nazis and it was so much fun.
At one point in the battle against the space nazis, we had to slide down an actual slide and then roll/crawl/squirm under a giant tube. As I went down the slide, I shrieked. I shrieked loudly and at length. Apparently, people in other escape rooms could hear me. It was amazing. I visualised my death. But I was fine. I can slide!
I don’t know if I can explain what it’s like not to trust your body. When you have a body that is too big for furniture, that breaks beds and chairs, a body that doctors can’t find a blood pressure cuff big enough for, you accept that you can’t do things. And I really never trust my body. I’m not the sort to jump over things, or to jump on things, or to climb anywhere, or to wriggle through a gap, or to stand on a chair. Falling is a big risk for me. Nothing is strong enough to hold me upright. And 28 stone crushing your ankle is a lot worse than a normal-sized person crushing their ankle. I’ve never gone skiing. I’m afraid of doing things like getting up on a skateboard or into a canoe. Even as a fat child, I never learned to swim or to ride a bike. I don’t trust my body not to sink or to topple over. I’ve been afraid all my life. So just saying ‘Fuck it!’ and going down a slide meant a lot to me. I can trust my body. I didn’t die. I didn’t break anything. It was wonderful. I felt something I don’t think I’ve felt since I was a child.
And afterwards, I was able to crawl under the giant tube, which I literally wouldn’t have been able to even attempt four months ago. I just wouldn’t have fit.
If I did the escape room four months ago, the space nazis would have got me. I’d be dead now. On the moon.
And then today after work, I went to an exercise class at my gym. I haven’t been to a group exercise class since I was in the university boxing club six years ago. It was a “sculpt” class, where you basically do aerobics while lifting weights. And it was everything.
It was a very gay experience. It was all done to dance remixes of Rihanna and Little Mix. The instructor had a Britney-in-concert microphone and she shouted at us about clenching our bottoms. All very gay. I’m still not an elegant mover. I was the guy in the class that went left when everyone else was going right. I also managed to pick the wonky step that was shorter on one end so I looked like I was surfing while I was doing my bicep curls. But I loved it.
I’m so tired now. I can’t lift my arms. But I have more life than I did.
This operation has been a miracle for me. I can live so much more. I can be part of the world. I can slide down slides. I can have friends over without planning it. I can crawl under things. I can empty the washing machine without using up my quota of energy for the day. I can go to the gym and move inelegantly to Rihanna. I can be out in the world and do more stuff and I can be at home and do more stuff. I can do more stuff. I have more life. And it makes me cry with gratitude that I have this now.