Ready to begin again.
The words were loud in my head just a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I have been slumbering for at least a year now, probably three, if I am really being honest with myself. Mentally, I have felt like a bear hibernating in winter.
Things have been good for me in the last few years. Really good in fact. I have moved up and on to the next step in my career. I am rounding the corner to my third year in a successful relationship with my man. I have become the proud parent of a bundle-of-love-dog named Gus. My friends are still plentiful and generous and contrary to my appearance, I have a clean bill of health. Life has been good, and somehow I can only describe my emotional whereabouts as numb.
At first I needed it. I had been so cruel to myself for so long that I needed to give myself some room to breathe and heal. But somehow in my healing, I eventually found myself becoming complacent and uninspired. Quiet and in my head. Going through the motions, but not not exposing and sharing as much of myself as I, and most people around me, had gotten used to. I’ve become the one thing I fear the most- disconnected.
Anything that has been tossed my way lately has been typically met with a shrug of my shoulders. “I’m fine” seems to have become my motto. Don’t get me wrong, I truly am fine, but it bothers me that I am not inspired to say, “I’m great!” It’s like I stopped fighting for anything, which ultimately means I have stopped caring. Either side of the pendulum you find yourself on, whether it be happiness or depression, you better not mix in the dangerous ingredient of apathy or you are doomed.
Last year I was offered an opportunity to produce and star in my own online talk show. An absolute dream come true. I poured so much energy and my own resources into making it happen. My sweet, kind, generous friends also rallied and poured so much of their time, energy and resources into making it happen. There were internal problems at the studio and the staff and crew were laid off. When I got the news, I just kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought, “next”.
I’d have liked to have grabbed a hold of the momentum I had built and taken the proverbial ball and run in the other direction, but instead, apathy took over.
Over these last few years, I’ve felt the painful strain on my waist band as the fat expanded around my midsection. I’ve been used to this pain and pressure from my yo-yo-ing weight over the last 15 years. I’m also used to the condescending voice in my head that beats myself up with, “hey Fatso, you better stop eating or you won’t be able to fit in those pants any longer”. “That’s it, keep eating, no wonder you can’t find a date. You’re so fat, you don’t deserve to be happy”. Seem extreme? I’m only sharing the Cliff Notes. I spent years in my head talking to myself like that.
But for anyone following along, I set forth in a new direction in 2005. I was writing a column entitled, Love Handles, and when I reached the end, I hadn’t lost all of my weight, nor had I found a man, but I had found a new internal voice. One that said I was okay and that I deserved to be happy. That I am loved because I love myself. That’s all fine and dandy, but without that former voice beating me into submission, instead of avoiding food when my pants started to hurt, I went out and bought bigger pants. Once again, shoulder shrugging and apathetic to the real issue- I was getting fat.
But why should I care? Life is good, right?
Now, before I get too ahead of myself, let me say that this new inner voice did not all happen over night. As with everything in life, it was and still is, a journey. An evolution of what I know, what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned. I’d love to say I woke up one day and started saying, “Bob, I love you fat just like I love you for being funny. I love you period.” Instead, there were days I had to make a choice to actually say it out loud because I just didn’t believe it. But I kept at it and eventually, I actually started to hear myself and when I did, I felt it, but I also just got tired. Tired of thinking about it all, tired of trying, tired of caring. It felt too good to just “be”.
Which brings me to my present state of mind. Today I am awake and am ready to begin again. I am ready to plug back in. Feel the sun on my skin. Feel connected. To start working on and towards my goals. To start bettering myself. To start bettering my life. To not only feel as healthy as I do mentally, but to find harmony in being physically healthy as well.
A few weeks ago, I stepped back into Richard Simmons aerobics class in Beverly Hills. Not because I was inspired, or even taking a stab at fitness, but because it was my friend Brandy’s birthday and meeting Richard was her dream. I sweated, I smiled and I gasped for air. After class, I sat with Richard and briefed him on my saga and asked him for a nugget of inspiration or motivation because I just couldn’t seem to find it in myself.
He wanted me to come back a week later with a food journal of everything I had eaten for the week so he could give me some educated advice and then unbeknown to him, he said what I really needed to hear. In a brief comment, he took the crutches that were perched under my arm pits and bending from all of the strain of my weight and managed to get inside like no one else could. He said, “you’re a tall, good-looking guy. You’re smart and you have a great sense of humor. You can walk into any room and take control of it and light it up. But when you are in the body that you are in and people see that you aren’t taking care of yourself, it all means nothing and all of that power goes away.”
It all means nothing.
I drove away that day hearing that in my head over and over. It all means nothing when you look like you do.
I have said for years that I have accomplished so much and have gotten to experience some of the most beautiful and privileged moments in my “magic” life, but imagine how much more I’d have accomplished if I was in physically fit shape. I’d be unstoppable. That was my crutch. I was giving myself too much credit. Here’s Richard, who barely knows me other than some guy who on occasion shows up to his class, sweats for an hour and a half and then drives off for months, unknown if I will ever return. With one comment, he was able to strike my core like Luke blasting the Death Star’s tiny vulnerable spot with his lasers. He woke me up.
About a week and a half ago, I joined Jenny Craig. There. I typed it for all of the world to see and I can no longer take it back or deny it.
Any other time I have begun a program or a “diet” or a “lifestyle choice” or whatever you need to call it, I have felt motivated and inspired. As I was walking out of Jenny Craig with my food in hand and my new lease on life, I felt defeated, lost and on the verge of tears. It could’ve been the reality that had just slapped me across the face: at my fatest moments in the past, I had 100 pounds to lose to hit my personal target weight loss. On this day, I was 147 pounds away from there. A bear plumps up before hibernation and enters the Spring hungry and thin. I may be the first one that hibernated next to a buffet.
This past Monday I had my first weigh-in. I have lost 7.5 pounds. That fraction hasn’t meant as much to me since I was five and couldn’t wait to be six, so I would call myself five and one-half. I have joined Richard Simmons Clubhouse and have been attending his classes regularly. I’m even hoping to audition for his next workout video. Without goals, it all means nothing, right?
Last Friday, I had to say goodbye, and put my friend and cat, Sophie, to sleep. In less than 45 minutes, life challenged me with two of the most difficult things I have ever had to endure. Making the choice to put her to sleep and then to be present as it happened. I hadn’t expected the flood of emotions that has washed over me for the last week. Her health had been weakening and I thought I had prepared myself, but the unrealized pain was the reflection of the 14 years we had together. The kitten who climbed on to my chest and purred herself to sleep every night for the first few years. The cat who made me feel safe and less alone living in Hollywood while helicopters searched overhead for a criminal. The cat who sat with me through all of the tears of sadness when some boy would tear off pieces of my heart and tears of joy when something marvelous happened. She was the only living creature that truly knew ALL of my secrets.
Fourteen years ago, I still lived in San Jose and life in LA was just a fantasy. She traveled with me to Arizona when I filmed Three Kings and shared my depression as she’d lie beside her food dish while she ate until she looked like basketball with legs.
In all of this reflection, I found my need for connection and the remnants of who I used to be. Gregarious, excitable, hungry for life.
When I started this blog in 1999, it wasn’t to brag or gossip. It was to share and stay connected as my jobs traveled me around the country. To get feedback from my friends and family and keep me from feeling too lonely while I was away. As time went on, strangers began reading my words and viewing my photos and as the faces became more recognizable, I was forced to censor myself and share less, causing me to be less authentic in my words.
As I continue waking up and stepping forward, I plan to start using my blog to once again connect and share. I’m going to stop trying to appease my “audience” and stay authentic to my voice and to my personal thoughts. I’m going to start listing my goals, sharing more of my stories, thoughts- the painful and the happy, and recording this life I own. I’d love to have those of you who read my words to stick around and participate, but I don’t blame you if you don’t. I can’t promise it will always be funny or even interesting, I can only promise that it will be 100% me.
Which is also why I’m going to be making some other changes around here. It’s time for a new look and feel and I have decided to start branding it all as, The Baub Show. Shakespeare said, “all the world’s a stage”, so it only makes sense that I am personally living in the Baub Show (plus I spent a lot of money branding it last year!).
I’m thinking of bringing the Baub Show back as a radio show that you can listen to online or as a podcast for iTunes you can play on your iPod. I’m thinking of working on my book again, but this time it might not be fiction. Perhaps it will be autobiographical or even a self help book, but not until I finish helping myself first. I’ve got a 140 more pounds to lose. I’m going to do it. I encourage any of you who are reading this and are either in the middle of your weight loss journey, starting out, thinking of starting or successfully maintaining, don’t be shy and say hi in the comments and let me know I’m not doing this alone. We can do it together.
This may be the longest post I’ve ever written, but I’ve had a lot on my mind, some of which I will even save for later.
Thank you to anyone who has read this, I know you have better things to do, but know that I appreciate it. It means I am connecting and I consider that one of the most important things we can do as humans.
Until next time…