Sunday, November 11, 2012

Taking Control

I've lost a lot of weight. Feels great, but last week I got my head shaved. I’ll tell you why…

I spent the first decade of the 21st century 125 pounds overweight. I wrecked my back making for a convenient excuse to cover my weight gain. I was sad, depressed, and it turns out I was deeply angry. I didn't know about the anger until two years ago. A job I loved was gone, and an uncertain future loomed.
In December of 2006 I stopped drinking. I am an alcoholic, and there’s no pretty way to say this. It was a health issue by then and a financial problem too. So I stopped. The following February I began my first semester at Monterey Peninsula College planning to take the composition, and writing classes. I ended up in Oceanography and Spanish along with my English class. I discovered I’m good at science, and my uncertain future now had a focus. My money is limited and I can only afford two or three classes each semester. This makes for slow going, but I’m enjoying the ride.

The writing classes have been the most important for me. Not because they’ve given me more options, but because they unlocked parts of my psyche allowing me to discover things about myself. The anger I talked about was revealed while writing a poem for class. It scared me due to the darkness I was tapping into. I had no idea where it came from. The poem was about a hero who is called upon to save the day, but at the final second he turns his back and lets the bad guys win.

So what does this have to do with shaving my head?

As my weight-loss became substantial I began to see a familiar face in the mirror. Sure, it was great to see the old, thinner me in the morning again. The problem was that a short while after this some old bad habits returned. Not the drinking, but some of the game-playing I used to keep myself out of the race. There was a moment where I worried about losing the progress I’ve made, and so my hair had to go. When I was thin my hair was usually long-ish; now when I see my reflection I see the current me, and the focus has returned.

Six months from now my hair will be long again, and I should be another forty pounds lighter. The way I see it, by then I should have the bad habits under control, or at least farther along with the rest of my life so they can’t reach me.