post script: about me

I was an overweight child. Not for my whole childhood, but a significant chunk of it. Perhaps most significantly, I was a chunk in my pubescent years.

I began big. I weighed more than 11 pounds when I was born. But I grew into an average-sized child. Then, around third or fourth grade, I began to wear the ‘Husky’ sizes, as they’re called in boy’s wear. I was overfond of Little Debbies and soda, video games and computers.

The weight persisted into my 16th year. By then I weighed 210 pounds, and I was doing almost all of my socializing via computer chat rooms.

But then I got a job, a girlfriend, and a new social group. The weight melted away. I hardly noticed.

To this day, my self-perception is that I am chubby and physically ungainly. I was genuinely surprised and flattered when two seventh grade classrooms perceived me as athletic, and started asking me if I ran, what sports I played, etc.

I was also glad I had a good story to tell them for their interest.

I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that the level of physicality involved in this whole cycling thing still holds a lot of novelty for me. I don’t know whether it’s something that will wear off. I hope not, but I do see some of the usual symptoms of nascent thinking attached to my thoughts about it. For example, the feeling that I have finally found THE thing that’s been missing for most of my life: rigorous physical activity. I have always struggled with insomnia, small-scale manic tendencies (periods of time where I feel great for no reason, periods of time where I feel awful for no reason: and by ‘no reason’ I mean, the same thing that puts me on cloud nine one day, can send me into a tailspin the next day due to very subtle shifts in perception), and general restlessness. Once I settled into the routine of cycle touring–once I was over the initial fears and misgivings–I was in a pretty consistent zen state: I got up with the sun, went to bed as it got dark, and felt fantastically even-kealed at almost every point between. Sure, I felt tired and a little lonely at times, but I always calm and capable in the face of my minor emotional quabbles. Moving to that from my two-and-a-half year desk job gave me the sense that there is something very wrong with modern working life; that man was built for physical labor and can’t possibly be happy without a heaping dose of it daily.

But I digress…

A powerful new physical awareness came into my daily life. I felt like I really understood Whitman’s celebration of the body: the expression of the body as a spiritual force. It expanded my understanding of Blake as well. I too, could sing of my body. I suppose the negative body perceptions had melted away. That’s not how I perceived it at the time.

But I did notice.


One Response to “post script: about me”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I like this entry.

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