Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Hunger

Eighteen months ago, in the midst of one of the bad episodes of depression/anxiety I struggle with periodically, I was horrified to discover that I no longer fit into my size 35 jeans. My waistline had been trending upward, or rather outward, for several years, from 30 to 32, then from 32 to 34, 34 to 35, and finally from 35 to 36. I got naked and looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, something I'd never done before, just to confirm what I knew I would find. I had a big fat ass, a protruding belly that made it impossible for me to see my cock without a mirror, bitch tits, and a nasty tripple chin. All my self-loathing found validation in that fat fuck looking back at me in the mirror.

A woman I'd been dating had recently dumped me unceremoniously at a swishy bar on Hyperion. I thought she was inviting me there at 10pm on a school night because she just couldn't wait any longer to see me again. My mind wandered recklessly into fantasyland and I ignored the built-in safeguards I have that help me to steer clear of the kinds of hopes and expectations that invariably lead to disappointment. I pictured myself meeting her at the bar, kissing her passionately, and then driving her back to my place where I'd ravish her. I got a hardon just thinking about what she would look like naked in my room, her crumpled drawers on the floor next to my bed. What would she taste like, I wondered. What would she smell like? ...When I arrived at the bar, she ordered a gin and tonic and proceeded to gun me down. She did it swiftly and surgically, no pussyfooting around, leaving me face down in the gutter.

So now a few months later I stood there in my bathroom looking at how badly my physical appearance had deteriorated over the past few years, and I knew why that cunt dumped me. She was shallow, I tried to convince myself, and she couldn't handle being with a guy who's fat and bald. Maybe one or the other, but not both... So I joined a gym and went on a very strict diet. I'd show her. Someday I'd run into her at the grocery store, or at a movie theater, or at the Griffith Observatory. Maybe I'd even have a new girl on my arm, hanging on my every brilliant utterance, laughing at my incisive wit. My new, fit body would be on display, along with a newfound confidence and virility, and that girl, the one who dumped me in a fucking fag bar in Silver Lake, would want me back.

None of this will ever happen, of course. I recently did some Facebook stalking and discovered that she's now married to some tall, good looking guy who's probably charming, funny, smart and successful. He undoubtedly makes a ton of money and has a much, much bigger dick than I do, which I'm sure he knows how to use on/in her with masterful technique, so much so that she squeals at the top of her lungs and convulses with unimaginable pleasure every time they do it - and there's no question in my mind that they do it 3 or 4 times every day...

I'd be lying if I said I hope they're happy. In fact, I hope they're dreadfully unhappy. I hope he impregnates her with triplets and then leaves her for some 24-year-old piece of ass. I'm generally not a vengeful person, except when it comes to the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Yankees, and women who hurt me. But there's no point in papering things over and worrying about the karmic consequences of wishing bad things on other people. I try not to engage in magical thinking. I'm a materialist, and as a materialist I believe that it's not consciousness that determines material life but rather material life that determines consciousness. So there will be no metaphysical comeuppance for me as I hope and wish and pray that she has to raise those triplets on welfare. I hope they're horrible, snotty kids who make her life miserable. But none
of this will come to pass either. The two of them, the girl who dumped me in the fag bar and Mr. Wonderful, will be so fucking happy together, I know they will, and they'll probably live in the Chemosphere and make love every night against a glistening backdrop of LA's majestic expansiveness. They'll raise their kids lovingly and the whole family will live the kind of well adjusted life I would live if I wasn't so fucked in the head.

I may have had my heart broken and my fragile pride shattered, but at least the gym and the diet enabled me to get fit and lose weight, a lot of weight actually, about 35 pounds. My head is hopelessly scrambled, and I feel like I'm badly damaged goods in emotional terms, but people tell me I look good. They tell me all the time. These are people I know as well as people I don’t know. And it never, ever gets old. I grew up convinced I was ugly and unlovable. Nobody ever saw or understood the hurt I walked around with and intervened. So it’s nice to finally get some positive feedback. It’s about fucking time. I like being flattered. I like it a lot. It fills a big void and feels like compensation for the deeper emptiness, the rootlessness, that I feel way down inside of myself. So go ahead and flatter me for fuck's sake! Tell me how great I look! Give me something I can hang onto.

The thing is, I look as good as I've ever looked physically, but my body never feels right. Exercising and dieting don't make me feel strong. On the contrary, the zealousness of my three-times-per week gym routine, three hours each time, and the punishing dietary constraints I place on myself, have created a situation where my body is constantly in pain and I'm always hungry... I try to stretch as much as I can, but my hips and hamstrings are perpetually tight, sore and strained. When I wake up in the morning, I can barely bend over to tie my shoes. Bending down to put food on the plate for my cats is torture. In fact, anytime I have to bend over for something, I groan like an 80-year-old man. Sitting in a car for more than ten minutes virtually guarantees that the simple act of walking will be difficult for the remainder of the day... But I can't dial down the exercise. I'm pretty sure I have some muscle tears, especially in my right leg, but I won't get it checked out. Why? Because what if the doctor tells me I have to stop exercising in order to heal? I'd get fat again, and then I'd have virtually nothing going for me. I'd rather be thin, fit and in serious pain than fat and out of shape but pain free. And the same logic applies to food. One of the challenges I face is that I'm wired to eat. If I was just all pleasure principle, all id, with no superego, I'd be like a dog and eat each meal until I was completely stuffed, until there just wasn't any food left to eat. I used to do this. I would eat and eat until all the food was gone. But I'll gain weight if I go back to anything even mildly approaching this kind of eating. I need to maintain discipline. Discipline is good. Discipline. Pain. Routine. Self-denial. Hunger. I'm always hungry, so hugry in fact that I eat my sparse meals extremely quickly. My meals don't usually last more than about five minutes, and I eat most of them over the kitchen sink. There's no joy in eating for me. Joy in eating is for people with no discipline, for people who don't know or can't withstand the kind of pain - physical and psychic pain - that I live with every day.

I went out for dinner with a friend last week. The waitress brought my dish first. Big mistake. I was done with my food by the time my friend's dish came. I couldn't help it. I was just so fucking hungry. I hadn't eaten all day. When I returned home at the end of the evening, I immediately stripped down to nothing and weighed myself. I was three pounds heavier than I had estimated I'd be, so I woke up at dawn the following morning and went to the gym to run on the treadmill for an hour. My whole lower body was in agony as I started to move my legs. My right hip and hamstrings felt awful. ButI muddled through the pain. I had discipline, and in recognizing my discipline I began to relish the pain and sought to intensify it by running harder. The pain was good, and I wanted more of it. Pain is a great rememdy and clarifies so much in life. Discipline. Pain. Routine. Self-denial. Hunger. The hunger is the hardest part. I'm so fucking hungry all the time...

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