Four years ago I was living in Alabama with a girlfriend of almost five years.
I was miserable, things in the south were all backwards, it was always brutally humid, the mosquitoes were the size of hummingbirds and for fun we went to Walmart. I had only been there maybe eight months, and it was clear that I was not going to last down there long term, so invariably this lady broke up with me, and not 10 hours later I was on a plane back to the northwest. I flew out on a 6:30am flight, which is to this day the only time I’ve ever been strip searched. Apparently TSA gets all sorts of nervous about crying fat guys waiting to get on planes. The dude asked me if I wanted a privacy curtain, but I didn’t. As I unbuckled my belt and dropped my pants, I looked homeboy in the eye and told him that he’s going to have to live with this, and I want him to know everybody saw it; let’s get weird.
This isn’t about my breakup, or the public fondling by that poor bastard at the airport. This is about the first "band shirt." The very next night, my buddy took me to a concert in Portland. I had forgotten that there were live shows that weren’t entirely nu-metal songs or Creed covers. It was refreshing. I was completely miserable, though. I was fat, somehow still sticky from the south and feeling wholly forever alone. After the show, in a a gesture of defiance of my pessimistic view on life, I bought a t-shirt that I knew wouldn’t fit at the merch table. It was a promise I made to myself to improve my life, signed on a piece of cotton.
I took it home, and put in in a drawer, and while I thought about it, constantly, I never ever tried to put it on. For the next (almost) 4 years, every single time I did something fat, I was reminded of that t-shirt. I didn’t beat myself up about it -- having a milkshake at 3am is going to make you hate yourself no matter what, but the shirt has always been a source of motivation in my head.
This was the first, but by no means the only, band shirt. I’ve bought others since then, and recently have been able to wear some of them, sometimes. Some days they fit perfectly, and others I feel like I’m squeezing ham into a sweater, but I have a hunch this has more to do with my current level of self-loathing, and less with my actual rotundness. I try them on every so often, just to see if they’ll fit, but never the first band shirt... which I tried on this morning.
And, in a moment of near tearfulness, it actually fit. I’m wearing it right now. Not since my sister ruined my Hypercolor shirt back in 1991 have I had such a strong emotional reaction to an article of clothing. I can’t say that I feel victorious; I feel a pretty deep sense of a accomplishment, but it’s very bittersweet. I guess I thought it was going to feel like I’d climbed a mountain made entirely of 42” waists and XXL’s. But right now it doesn’t.
Flesh Wizard claimed to have found the perfect pizza dough recipe, and after a Saturday afternoon, testing pizza after pizza, I have to admit he’s probably right. I gained exactly 1lb from this weekend which is really, really good. March is going to call me Sir by the time I’m done with it.