Doing more stuff

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.

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Change come dropping slow. Too slow. I’m making one of the biggest and most dramatic changes of my life. This experience is thrillingly fast. And yet, it’s not. It feels slow.

Every day, multiple times a day, I look in a mirror. And I’m overjoyed at how much I’ve lost. And yet, every day multiple times a day, I look in the mirror and see someone who is still a very fat man. Remember when Gok Wan was famous and was doing “How To Look Good Naked”? He used to line up people of different sizes and then get that week’s star to stand in their place in the line and they invariably thought they were fatter than a person who was fatter than them? I imagine we all think we’re fatter than we actually are. If I see other fat people I always wonder if they’re fatter than me because I genuinely have no idea and presume I’m always the fattest person in any given room.

I know I’m still fat. If someone wanted to describe me and fat or some polite synonym for fat wasn’t in the description, then it would just be a straight up lie. The other day, I didn’t give a beggar any money as I passed him outside Brixton Station. I never have change on me any more since contactless became a thing. He got in my face and called me a chubby fucker. Because, even though my whole existence for the last four months has been about the unfattening, the fat remains. My core life project right now is not being fat and yet my primary characteristic on display to the outside world is my fatness. It’s an uneasy marriage within my self.

I’m trying to abandon Fat Connor. I’ve given my fat clothes away to charity. And I deleted two apps from my phone at the weekend. One was Chasabl and the other was Grommr. One is an app for men who love fat man (for so-called chubs and chasers), the other for men who love men who are gaining weight (for so-called feeders and gainers). It was liberating. When I first came to London, I used to hide the fact that I preferred Diet Coke to real Coke from the men I went on dates with because they wanted a man who loved his fat. I’ll never be that person again. I’ll hopefully never have to pretend to love being fat again.

But I’m not in a new category yet. I’m still only attractive to the men who fetishise fat. What to do? Maybe I could try landing a man with my personality? I hear that happens sometimes.

So I updated my Tinder profile. New photos of the less fat me. And more sparkly photos too. In previous times on previous apps, I’ve tried to butch it up. If you like fat men, you want to shag an ox, not a unicorn. But Tinder Connor is going to be honest and he’s going to wear his pink trousers. Who knows what might happen?

I spent the weekend swiping left and right. I made 13 matches. At first I tried what I’d always tried before: friendly messages, complimenting something in their profile, maybe asking a non-judgmental question. No answers.

It was time to change tack. Instead of saying hello, I changed my greeting and I asked the prospective matches for their opinion on What Naomi Smalls Did In This Week’s Episode Of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. Literally within seconds, answers started flooding in. Lesson learned. To make a gay talk, just mention Drag Race. Admittedly, some of the men were offended that I presumed they watched Drag Race just because they were gay and one poor boy panicked because he hadn’t seen this week’s episode and didn’t want me to spoil it for him, but overall, it was a great success.

Sometimes I think all I want from life is someone to discuss Drag Race with. I mean, I’d like naked time too, and none of these conversations went there, but that was kind of refreshing. The kind of conversations I’m used to having are ones where men ask me things like “I bet you pant really hard when you wank” or “Would you sit on my neck and jiggle your belly while you squash all the breath out of me?” Discussing drag queens and frocks and lipsyncing and snatching wigs might not get me laid, but for now I think that’s ok.

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Halfway Smashway

It’s been four months since my operation and, for the first time in eleven years, I weigh under twenty stone. I’ve now lost 8 stone 2 pounds (114 pounds or 51.7 kegs). That’s a hell of a lot of weight to lose.

I mean, I’m not nearly finished. But I am halfway there. I have another 8 stone or so to lose before I’m a healthy weight. But it feels so very achievable now.

I cannot express how much better I feel. I can feel myself moving faster. There was a time in my life when every single time I walked anywhere – to the bus stop, to the shop, to the toilet, it took effort. Real effort. Every step was painful. Now it isn’t. I’m no athlete, but walking is fine. And walking is fast. Or at least faster.

A friend of mine messaged me to say that I’m glowing in my recent Instagram and Facebook posts. And it’s true. I can see how happy I look. And how much thinner I’m looking.

However, my newfound smaller body isn’t the only reason I’m posting more selfies. It’s because I have my weekends again. I no longer have to spend my weekends in bed to recover from the sheer effort of moving my body around at work five days a week. This means I get out of bed and open my curtains and clean my house and that makes the selfies possible. Because I have daylight in my life again and I have a clean space that’s fit for photography. And it doesn’t take effort to get up and do this. For years now, I’ve just accepted that everything is an effort. But it isn’t any more. My weekends are weekends again. And they’re mine.

My brother was visiting me this week. The last time he visited me was murder. I couldn’t go at tourist rate. I wasn’t able to walk around museums and shops and markets and I just had to insist we take breaks and sit down. I vividly remember standing with him in Camden Market, trying to hold back the tears, while fantasising about stabbing my ankles, because maybe bloodletting would relieve the pain. This time was completely different. I was able for walks. I was able for museums and shops and exhibitions. I didn’t need to plead for breaks.

My brother seemed worried about how little I was eating. I know I’m not fun to go out to dinner with. I eat very little and sit and watch the other person, probably while I burp and rub my chest because those three pieces of chicken were just a little too much for me. He encouraged me to eat more. He’s not the only one who can’t seem to see the freedom in not eating much. Lots of people look sad for me that I can’t gorge myself on whatever they’re eating. I want to say to them that they don’t understand the joy I have in saying no. The joy in not having to open my mouth and just pour food in any more.

He also suggested I practise eating bigger meals because I’ll have to eat more someday.

Again, lots of people seem to be very worried about me not being able to stop losing weight like this. First of all, trust me, I don’t need training in eating more. I know how to eat more. Secondly, calm down! I’m only halfway there. It’s like someone who’s halfway up a mountain and people keep asking them how they’ll get down. I have to get to the top first, you numpties!

I’ll be able to eat more. My stomach is getting bigger all the time. I can tolerate carbs like I couldn’t before. I find myself having chocolate occasionally. I find myself having more pasta. I’ll definitely be able to eat again. Don’t worry. Right now, it’s all good. I’ve lost five pounds this week and five pounds last week, so I’m still eating small enough amounts. But that’s going to slow down. So don’t worry. I will eat again. But while this surgery has granted me a little holiday from food, don’t begrudge me it. I needed it and I’m going to squeeze all the good I can from it.

Halfway there, living on a prayer.

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20% happier

The stats are still great. 16 weeks out and I’m down 5 pounds this week, for a total loss of 7 stone 11 pounds (that’s 109 pounds or 49.4 kilos). I’m dropping down through clothes sizes at an alarmingly thrilling rate.

People are less likely to avoid sitting next to me on the bus because less of my bulk falls into the neighbouring seat.

I had to take a hammer and nail to my (new) belt today to knock some new holes in it because I’m getting smaller.

I can wash my feet in the shower now and no longer have to have faith in the cleansing power of sudsy water running over them.

I debuted a pair of smashing pink trousers at work on Friday. They are size 46. Size 56 were too tight for me in October.

Thin people have better lives.

But my favourite difference was something I only noticed last week. That is that my mind is no longer feverish and panicky and noisy.

When you feel caught in a trap all the time, it can be difficult to enjoy things. I spent so much of my life binge-eating constantly, feeling guilty about my bingeing, making deals with myself to stop eating constantly, feeling devoid of hope of ever being able to move around comfortably or ever being deserving of love or desire. Those thoughts were with me constantly and they wouldn’t shut up.

One evening last week, I was watching TV and I realised that that was all I was doing. I wasn’t eating a pizza and wedges and garlic bread. I wasn’t checking my phone every two minutes. I wasn’t getting so distracted that I couldn’t follow the show. I was just watching TV and enjoying it. There was no noise in my brain. No worry. No internal arguments about food or about whether I would ever be master of myself and my body. No noise. Just me, watching a stupid drama on Netflix.

The same is true at night. Now I can lie in bed and fall asleep. I don’t need to read or look at my phone or laptop for the first three hours I’m in bed because I just can’t stand the silence of just falling asleep. My brain will now let me do this. I don’t want to exaggerate here. I’m still someone who finds falling asleep very difficult, but it’s nothing as bad as it used to be. My brain is ok, even when it’s undistracted.

I’m still overly emotional and introverted and excitable and a thinker and a worrier and a planner and a dreamer. But my thoughts aren’t feverish any more. I have peace in my days.

I remember the moment when the pizza would arrives and I’d take my first bite and I could just focus on the pizza and forget about my brain. It was a lovely moment, but I kind of have it all the time now. Now I don’t need the pizza to bring me focus and quiet. Now I carry it with me.

I wish I knew how to describe this better. It’s not as if my problems have been erased and it’s not as if I used to wander around in the past completely dysfunctionally mumbling to myself tearfully at all hours of the day and night. All I can say is that my brain used to be filled with a frantic noise and now that’s gone. I used to find peace in binges and now I don’t need to because I have it all the time. I know this sounds like I’ve found religion. Trust me. I haven’t. But I have found something. A happy something. I would say that on a typical day now, versus a typical day five months ago, I am now 20% happier than I was and I don’t know if we can ask for much more than that from life.

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These little things

So I’m down another four pounds this week. It’s been fourteen weeks and I’m down seven stone three pounds (101 pounds or 45.8 kg). That’s a hell of a lot. Some little changes:

  • I no longer avoid stairs. I now sit upstairs on the bus, not downstairs with the drunks and the elderly. I work in a school with a lot of stairs and while I still can’t bound up them like a gazelle, I don’t make up silly excuses to not climb them any more.
  • Because I’m a slave to the zeitgeist, I watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix show last weekend and have obsessively been touching my possessions to see if they spark joy and disposing of those that don’t. I tried on every single item of clothing I own last Sunday and filled three big black bags with clothes that were too big for me. Five days later, I put on a shirt that I had kept for work. It was already too baggy. A shirt became too big for me in 5 days. This process is insanely fast.
  • My ass is always sore. I’ve lost a lot of padding there and sitting is murder. My coccyx is used to having a layer of fat between it and the chair. That’s not there any more. I’m told that this will pass after a month or so. I can’t wait.
  • My joint pains are improving so, so much. I still wake up stiff because my body’s been through a lot. And my ankles are still sore because they’ve been sore for twenty years. But my hips and my knees are no longer in constant pain.
  • I can kneel again. And I can get up after kneeling again. Come and get me boys.
  • Speaking of which, my harness fits way better than it did.
  • My skin around my chest and belly has started to sag. I knew it was coming, but I thought maybe I’d get away without any loose skin. When I last lost a significant amount of weight, in 2007, my skin snapped back to my new size and nothing sagged. But I was younger then and my starting weight wasn’t anything as high. Oh well. Battle scars to wear with pride.
  • Laundry doesn’t take as long. Partly because bending over at the washing machine is no longer an ordeal and partly because I can now take off my socks. I can now reach my feet to get my socks off at the end of the day. Before, I found it hard to reach my feet, so I’d use the big toe of my other foot to get my sock off, turning it inside out and launching it across the room in the process. Now that I can reach my feet, my socks come off without having to be turned inside out and without having to be rescued from where they’ve landed on a bookshelf or in a bin and so when I’m doing laundry, I don’t have to turn them the right way round.
  • My jacket has become a coat. I felt something at my ass the other day. I reached around to see what was fondling me. It was my jacket, which previously stopped at the bottom of my back, but I’ve lost so much bulk that it now hangs much lower and so it covers my ass as well.
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I’m now officially three months post-op and I’m ready to be swept off my feet.

Note, this is a post about, among other things, my man parts, so mild NSFW and TMI warnings for what’s to come.

I’m still losing weight at a ferocious rate. Four more pounds down this week, so I’m one pound away from having lost seven stone. I weigh under 300 pounds for the first time in forever.

I think I’d probably still be attractive to the chubby chasers of London. My belly is still pendulous. But nothing as pendulous as before. My thighs are still thick and flabby enough for a man to spend hours with his face lost in their folds, nuzzling in the way that chubby chasers love to nuzzle. And I’m still heavy enough to pin them down with my body as they all seem to love.

But I haven’t met up with any men since the operation. I haven’t really wanted to. I know this mightn’t make a lot of sense, but I kind of feel like the weightloss gives me the same benefits that I get from casual sex. I get more pleasure from my body now than any man could offer. I find myself feeling my belly and how much smaller it is, or just staring in the mirror and smiling to myself.

That said, I’m ready for a man. A relationship man, not a sex man (though a sex man would be alright too). I’ve been saying this for a while now. In fact, in one of my favourite ever blogposts, I said the same thing two years ago. I said I was ready for a relationship. But I wasn’t.

In all my 37 and three quarters years, I have had two men with whom I had short, quasi-relationships. One was my Man of 2007, who called me his boyfriend during our feverish eleven-day relationship and made me ludicrously happy. As I say in the post about him, I was happier when I was telling other people about him than when I was actually with him. A lot of our interactions before and after sex consisted of him asking me what I was thinking about and me not being able to think of what to tell him. The second was French Train Station Platform Boy, who I write about in this deliriously happy post. Yes, he kissed me in public and chased away bullies who called me names and he worshipped my body and suggested we go on holidays together. But I didn’t take the hint. I didn’t show signs of committing. I couldn’t accept that I might be happy with someone so in love with my fat. He still texts occasionally and tells me how happy he is with his fat boyfriend.

I’m more ready for a relationship now than I’ve ever been. I don’t feel, like I did when I was at my fattest, that I have to hide, that I shouldn’t go outside, that I should just spend time alone with my books and the internet. I’m more open to people now than I’ve been in years. But it’s not just the emotional side of weightloss that makes me more ready.

On the physical side of weightloss, I can now wipe normally after using the toilet. Every poo makes me happy now. I’m not afraid to share space with others or to share my body with others now that I can say that again.

Also, I have started to get random erections again. For years, as I’ve gained weight, I’ve had to really focus to get there. Now, I wake up and hello, there he is. It’s like being 17 again. It wasn’t age killing my hardness. It was fat.

I still have reservations. Being in a relationship is far from the norm for me. I still have a quiet, solitary side, along with my social, touchy-feely side. I still have difficulty imagining myself sharing a bed or a bathroom every night. And I know that I will have issues with loose skin that will probably make it hard for my body to ever be truly sexy. But reservations be damned. I’m ready for a relationship. A real one. Come and get me boys.

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More like Twenty-FINEteen

Like Scooter, I’m back in the UK.

I had a good Christmas, all in all. I had a spectacular haul of presents, possibly the best gift haul since I was an actual child getting actual presents from actual Santa Claus.

And I didn’t die of jealousy from not being able to eat to excess like all those around me.

In the weeks before Christmas, I’d got used to my restriction and didn’t ever test it. I knew when my new stomach was full and so I knew when to stop, more or less. Predictably enough, Christmas jiggered with my wiring in this regard. I knew stuffing wouldn’t be a good idea. Nothing very bread-y has gone down well since the operation. I don’t know why I thought I’d get away with stuffing. Twice I tried sausage meat stuffing (my favourite part of Christmas dinner) (or at least of my family’s Christmas dinner – rumour has it some of y’all pagans don’t eat it) and both times, my chest nearly exploded and I had to sit down and burp for two hours. And it wasn’t just stuffing. I had two much ham and cheese for breakfast one day and had to go through a long recovery burpathon. (Yes ham and cheese and nothing else is a perfectly normal breakfast.) Don’t get me wrong. My meals were still exceedingly small, far smaller than what my 6-year-old niece was eating. I was pushing myself from 3 or 4 bites per meal to 5 or 6.

I also tried Christmas pudding, but two spoonfuls of that made me feel like I’d eaten a tractor. And I had two M&Ms, two Roses and a segment of a chocolate orange. They left me feeling fine, but I was cross with myself for taking them, because I wasn’t hungry and I’d managed to avoid all sweets completely for the last three months.

On the last few days of my Christmas holiday, I started having the same nightmares I’d had immediately before and after my operation that I was eating again and gaining weight again. I kept waking up in a blind panic that all of this was for nothing. That I was going to be broken forever.

On the way to Ireland, miraculously, I had asked for an extension belt on the plane and then realised I didn’t need it. The plane seat belt fit around me. It squeezed the bejaysus out of me but I didn’t care. It closed. I was one of the normals. Then, on the way back, try as I might, I couldn’t fit the belt on. I had to ask for an extension. All the way home, I panicked. I’d gained weight. The Aer Lingus seat belt fit me on the 23rd of December but not on the 30th. Less than three months out from the operation and I was getting bigger already. I was bound to fail.

I got home at 11:00 pm last night, checked my fish were alive (they are) and stripped out of my clothes and hopped on my weighing scales. How much had I gained? I’d panicked so much that I was convinced I’d gained three or four stone. Of course I hadn’t. In fact, this Christmas, I lost four pounds.

I measured around my waist. I hadn’t gained anything there either. Again, I was smaller. It was Aer Lingus’s fault. I hadn’t been any smaller on the 23rd than I was on the 30th. I hadn’t gained any weight or any inches over Christmas. The airplane seatbelts must be different sizes. Relief washed over me like a woman in a shampoo ad taking a shower in a waterfall. I felt like one of the apostles bumping into Jesus on Easter Sunday. I’m not dead after all! It’s all still going well. The Promised Land is still waiting.

I’ve now lost a total of 6 stone 9 (93 pounds or 42.1 kilos). This is the most weight I’ve ever lost in my life. I’ve now surpassed my record weightloss of 6 stone 6.5 pounds in 2007. Of course my starting weight then was close to my current weight now, so I still have a long way to go, but what took me a year then, hasn’t even taken me three months this time. I’m a man reborn.

It’s New Year’s Eve. For the first time in four or five years, I’m going to a party tonight so I’ll have to watch my NYE episode of the OC early to see if Ryan makes it to the hotel on time to stop Evil Oliver from kissing Marissa at midnight.

As always, I have a million resolutions. It’s weird to know that the one that’s always been my first resolution for as long as I remember is actually going to happen. 2019 is the year Connor is really going to become a thin person. So I can focus on all the other amazing things I’m going to do in 2019. It’s going to be a good one.

Happy New Year everyone! xxx

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