It’s nearly 4:00 am and I can’t sleep. It’s not because I’m not tired.

I’ve been in and out of bed. I’ve scrubbed the bathroom floor. I’ve tried meditating. I’ve read, and none of the words have gone in. I’ve watched TV and not got any of the jokes.

Earlier today, I met a former lecturer of mine. He taught me on my Masters and retired sometime in 2008. He still comes in to college every month or so but I don’t talk to him often.

Today, he stopped me in the corridor and we had a conversation that went something like this:
Him: Hello Connor. How are you?
Me: I’m fine thanks.
Him: Are you nearly finished your PhD yet?
Me: I think so. I’m trying to finish up this summer.
Him: You’ve gained weight again. You’re a heart attack weighting to happen.
Me: Eh.
Him: You’ll ruin your knees. Doesn’t your mother tell you this?
Me: Yes.
Him: And you don’t listen. You just need to eat less and keep active.

Luckily, at this point one of the School administrators appeared and he started talking to her. I walked off without saying anything else.

This isn’t the first time he’s done this. He’s done it at least twice before, once in 2007 when I was eleven stone lighter than I am now and my thinnest I’ve been as an adult. That time, he told me that if I didn’t lose weight, I’d never find a woman and I’d be alone forever. And every time he does this, it sends me reeling.

It makes me think that that’s what everyone thinks. “Oh look at that fat guy. If he was a bit more active and he ate less, he’d lose weight. I wonder if anyone’s ever told him. He’s obviously just too lazy to do anything about it. He’s also probably too stupid to realise that being fat is unhealthy and unattractive. And also too stupid to know that if you eat less, you’ll lose weight.” That’s what I think everyone thinks. And I know my friends would tell me that that’s not the case.

But every so often someone comes along and proves me right. Proves that the world is judging me. I was eating a sandwich in town a few weeks ago when a girl in a school uniform ran by me shouting that I shouldn’t be eating because I was so fat. And around the same time, I walked down Grafton Street one evening and a drunk old man started singing a song he seemed to have made up called “Hey Fatty Fatty”. Lots of people were around and they heard and they all looked away. And so did I.

I haven’t been clubbing in ages. I avoid town at night. Drunk people are the most likely to shout names at me. But kids do it a lot too, so I try to avoid places where children play too. I log onto Grindr and half the profiles say “No fatties no fems” or the slightly more polite “fit guy 4 same”.

And I wish I could wear a sign. A sign that said that I try. That I’ve been to doctors and psychiatrists and counsellors and eating disorder specialists and priests and Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers and the Nutron clinic and the Motivation Weight Control clinic. I’ve done the cabbage soup diet and the milk diet and the Scarsdale diet and the vegetable juice cleanse and Slim Fast and Tony Ferguson and diet pills and forcing myself to vomit and counting calories and being sensible and making small lifestyle adjustments and making big lifestyle adjustments and taking one meal at a time and getting a personal trainer and joining a boxing club and running an 8K and going to hot yoga and doing the four-hour body diet and the 100 sit-ups plan. I’ve tried. I really have. And I’m still trying. I wish I could wear a giant sign that says “Stop judging me. I really do try.”

I still believe I’m onto something with mindfulness and trying to be more mindful and conscious of my eating and of my body. And overall, I’m so much happier and together than I was this time last year. Life really is good. But tonight I can’t sleep because today I met a thoughtless old man. Fuck him.

Anyway, that all came spilling out of me very quickly. I have every intention of writing two lovely posts in the very near future: one about my final days as an Assistant Warden and one about One Direction. Chat soon. x

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