Close encounters of the first kind…

•September 23, 2012 • 1 Comment

My partner Frankie and I had been dating for over fifteen months when he finally met my grandmother, Nanny. He’d first met my parents the spring before when they came up for a weekend visit, and while that was an important encounter, him meeting Nanny was much more important to me.

Nanny raised me. My mother and birth-father (often referred to as sperm donor) had met, married, conceived, separated, and divorced all within the course of a year. After mom became a single parent, we moved in with Nanny and Papaw (my grandfather). He was a full-time Southern Baptist pastor of a church in Campton, KY. Mom found a job. This left Nanny with the responsibility of being my primary caregiver, a role she gladly filled.

After Papaw died in ’90, both Nanny and mom worked. Being older and living on savings, Nanny was able to take more time to be with me than mom. Sure, other extended family members helped, but if Nanny could be with me, she was. Even after mom remarried when I was nine, not only did we have weekly conversations with Nanny over the phone, but whenever school was out, I was in KY staying with her.

During college, we talked nearly every day. Coming out to her was not easy for either one of us, but deep down, I believe she always knew who I was and in what direction my life was headed. Finally, after Frankie and I started dating (’09) and things became serious, we knew it was time that she met him.

It took Nanny awhile to feel comfortable with the idea of having my same-gendered partner come to stay with her. She really wrestled with it. Being a Southern Baptist herself, there were certain beliefs she maintained about relationships and sexuality; but when the rubber met the road, her love for and relationship with me meant more than dogma or doctrine.

Three days before Christmas, Frankie and I loaded up the rental car for the six-hour drive to Falmouth, KY where she lived. Knowing that having Christmas at my parents’ home would not be a wise idea, Nanny opened her home to us, on the condition that we slept in separate rooms… a compromise I was willing to make for the sake of having her meet the man I loved.

It was a Wednesday night when we got there. Not too cold. Not snowing yet. As expected, Nanny met us at the door, hands full with suitcases, bundled up in our coats. I wasn’t sure what her demeanor towards Frankie would be, but when she introduced herself and offered him a hug, I was both surprised and comforted. This was huge for her, and I had made it clear that I didn’t expect it to be easy.

None of had eaten dinner yet, so in good Southern fashion, we went to the nearby Lee’s Famous Recipe to pick up fried chicken, biscuits, and all the fixin’s to bring home. We sat at the table after spreading everything out, and Nanny said grace. Here I was in my childhood home with the woman who made me who I am and the man who meant the world to me. It wasn’t awkward. There was no tension. There was simply just… family.

Mom and Dad (my stepfather) arrived the next day, and while they were kind and cordial, there was a marked difference between their interactions with Frankie and Nanny’s. For those two days, she set aside her beliefs and biases and simply just loved on him, making him comfortable, feeding him, hugging him. When we left the next day, during our goodbyes, she told him she loved him, giving him a hug as big and long as the one she gave me. So much more happened those two days, but these are the moments I remember most vividly and hold most dear.

Unfortunate to say, that was the only time she spent with Frankie. The following June, she died in a car crash two days after I’d returned home from a visit with her. When Frankie and I got married this past April, we asked a friend to bring a lantern with a Kentucky blue candle inside to be used to memorialize her at our ceremony. I’d like to think that as the years went on, she’d grow to love him as I have. I’d like to imagine the Christmases and the phone calls, the cards filled with coupons, the meals around the table. While these are but dreams that will remain unfulfilled, I can rest knowing that, at the very least, she met him and she loved him. As far as “meeting the parents” goes, I could not ask for more.

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Speak up…

•September 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching for our “contemporary” chapel service. It was the first time I’d preached since my last sermon at Irving Park last spring. It was my first time preaching at my school outside of the classroom setting. Needless to say, I was somewhat nervous.

Part of my nerves came from having had a lot happen lately. I’m in my third year of seminary. I’m taking a course that forces me to think both of my entitlement and my oppression. I’m interning with an organization that engages the very denominations who look at queer people like me and see nothing but stereotypes and often feel nothing but disdain. I’ve just recently had a talk telling my mother that our phone conversations often left me feeling hurt and unheard, and therefore needed to be put on hold until the holidays. I’ve been working through my grief more. I’ve continued watching my diet, though my yoga practice has been put on hold due to a shoulder injury (a.k.a. stupidity on my part). I’ve decided to go a different route with my ministry, at least denominationally.

After writing my sermon last week, I sent it off to my former preaching professor for some edits and feedback, all of which I took into consideration when compiling my final draft. I got up there, and I just let go. From the first word, it was out of my hands. Now I personally think (or prefer to think) of preaching as an intimate act. It’s a giving of myself to the people listening, and it comes with a prayer that they will be able to use part of that gift to deepen their own spirituality. Part of the challenge with seeing preaching as an intimate act is that I have the habit of dropping my volume as if in the midst of a sincerely intimate conversation. Unfortunately for preaching, this doesn’t work all that well.

Another challenge for me, when it comes to preaching, I have a hard time believing that anything I have to say, to add to the conversation being had, is all that valuable or beneficial for anyone else to hear. Granted, according to what I’ve been reading in Henry Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved, this is just a form of self-rejection, of denying the reality that I’m a beloved child of God with a uniqueness about me that no one else has. In any case, it’s hard… not just for me, but for many of us.

After the service was over, several classmates and professors came up to me with affirmations and encouragement. But one in particular meant a lot to me. This particular professor is a self-admitted hard-ass with a tendency to be intimidating. I feel alright writing this because we’ve already had a conversation about this. In our brief encounter, he offered a much-needed critique about projection and articulation. I know it’s an area of struggle for me, so I wasn’t surprised. What did surprise me was when he looked me dead in the eyes, with a smile on his face nonetheless (something else that’s often hard to earn), and told me, “You’ve got some really quality stuff here. You’ve got something important, really important to say, and I want to hear it.”

It’s hard to put into words what this compliment meant to me. Having come to some difficult conclusions lately about life, the universe, and everything, it’s been challenging to trust my own voice, my own views. It’s been hard to believe in my own value and worth. So to have this man whom I’ve not had as a professor and who only knows me in a fairly superficial sense speak this blessing onto me was invaluable. Personally, one of my strongest love languages is words of affirmation. It’s important to me for those whom I love to know that I love them and to know why I love them so deeply. This is something we all need… someone to tell us that our voice matters, that our smiles and hugs make a difference, that our existence makes the world better. While it might not always feel like it, everyone in our lives is there for a reason, has something to offer us, and and has something to gain from our presence in their lives. It’s a simple reality in theory, but it’s difficult to assimilate and put into practice. Regardless, I strongly believe that when we remind others of their belovedness and we let others remind us of our own belovedness, we make community happen, and we make life better for everyone.

True lies…

•September 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

We all tell ourselves different lies, probably on a daily basis. When we’re confronted with the reality of this self-deception, well, it’s awkward, uncomfortable, sometimes disarming. Unfortunately, for someone like me who seeks to be as authentic, rational, and emotionally stable as I possibly can, I go through cycles where I sit down and inventory the lies that run through my head on a regular basis, and then I start to attack them with logic, dispel them with rational thought… or at least I try. Here are some of the lies I find to be the most pervasive in my life…

1. I need someone in my life to be happy and to feel complete. This is probably the biggest one for me. I remember asking a friend once, “Where’s your other half?” He very quickly responded, “He’s not my other half. That would mean that I’m not a complete person in and of myself. That’s not me.” He’s right, for the most part. I do believe that, as humans, we’re made to be in relationship with others, to be a part of a community. That said, I know plenty of friends who are single and perfectly content. We’re all whole people, even if we don’t always feel like it. And unfortunately, whole does not necessarily mean without pain or brokenness, but while the process of healing is often helped by the presence of others, we never really need someone else to complete us.

2. I’m not beautiful because I don’t have … In a world and culture where media is constantly telling us what is and is not attractive, sometimes it’s painstakingly difficult to find the beauty in yourself. At IML a couple of years ago (a kink/leather/rubber/fetish convention held in Chicago every Memorial Day), I was sitting out in the lobby with a friend of mine and my partner’s. I believe it was my second time attending the convention, and being someone who makes vanilla soft serve look kinky at times, I felt out of place. I didn’t feel as if I looked good in anything remotely skin tight. I wasn’t into really anything there. I didn’t feel attractive, and I shared this with our friend. He looked me straight in the face and said, “Sweetie, you have to realize that there are plenty of people who find what you’ve got goin on goin on.” In a later conversation, he shared his belief that beauty is a fetish. Everyone is into something different, and sometimes, we have what someone else finds attractive, and they have what we find attractive. It was a pretty strong revelation, and certainly a new way of thinking about beauty.

3. Money is necessary for happiness. This one’s a strong one for a lot of us. We live in a nation riddled with debt and obsessed with materialism. We watch shows about celebrities and the extravagant lives they lead. We walk by stores that display things we want but would have to starve to have. For most of us though, it feels like we can never have enough money. We live paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, money is a necessity, but I’ve learned something over the past couple of years. Last summer, my grandma passed away, and much to my surprise, had prepared for me in a way I could and would never have imagined. I was concerned for myself afterwards that I would waste it all and go on a sickening shopping binge, and while I have done some indulging, I’ve honestly found more joy in doing for others. Yes, I know that this is not a possibility for many of us. But the lesson is simple, at least from my perspective. It really doesn’t take a lot of money to make one happy, not when one understands that it’s the people in our lives that bring true contentment.

4. I can eat whatever I want and I’ll be fine. After two and a half weeks of watching my calorie intake and exercising three days a week, I’ve learned what difference a little intentionality about eating and physical health can make. I’ve also learned that overindulging on those things that are unfortunately not so good can make me feel, well, pretty crappy. I’ve been amazed to see some pretty drastic changes both in my appearance and in my energy levels since tracking my food and exercise. Granted, for someone like me who can become slightly obsessive over things like this, it’s hard. In times like that, it helps having someone there to pull you back out of the madness, sit down at the table for a meal with you, and remind you that there’s more to life than the numbers on the scale.

5. Healthy relationships happen when I keep my mouth shut, my ideas to myself, and my feelings bottled up. Anyone with any amount of common sense sees the deception present here. Good relationships take mutuality, and nothing good can come from one person feeling unimportant or silenced. Unfortunately, some of us grow up thinking our emotions matter less than someone else’s. It’s important for any friendship or partnership for there to be a sense of equality, even if it’s in a constant state of flux. We all give, and we all take, and it’s vital to feel as if what one receives is comparable to what one gives. This probably differs between introverts and extroverts (I’m the former), but the idea is the same. Everyone needs validation, and no one has the right to take that away.

Mirror’s remnants: moving beyond an eating disorder…

•August 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

For many, the topic of eating disorders is a difficult one, especially if one has been diagnosed or suffered from symptoms of one. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of us who struggle with such things are rarely diagnosed, most often because we never share the secret. We don’t talk about the obsessive calorie counting, the endless hours working out, the feeling of gazing in a mirror and never seeing the beauty that’s really there. We hide the bingeing and purging, the dental visits to repair teeth damaged by months or years of stomach acid. We pray that no one notices just how anxious we are about eating around them, worried just how much we’re being watched and just what the watchers are thinking while breaking bread with us. So when the question is posed, “Do you ever really get over an eating disorder,” the answer most often is no, probably not.

One thing is fairly clear about eating disorders: it’s not really about the food. It’s often about control — at least it was in my case. During my sophomore year of college, in the midst of coming to terms with being gay, I became bulimic. Not in the usual sense of binge-purge. Rather, I just purged. I grew up in a family that was anything but body-positive. Mom was overweight. Dad was overweight. And me, well I filled out my choir tuxedo a little too well. I think I actually looked like a penguin at times. Food was a necessity and rarely something to truly take pleasure in. It was often more important for our family that meals were affordable, leaving their nutritional value unchecked. So when it was time to go off to college, I had very little experience with planning my own meals, and I’d never had the experience of looking in the mirror and liking what I saw.

I began purging for several reasons. One, I had an incredibly poor body image. Two, being raised in a conservative Southern Baptist home and being gay led to much self-hatred and internalized homophobia. Three, I was attending a small, private Christian Reformed college where the majority of the boys, while easy on the eyes, only served to make me feel even less in control on the ways that I felt my mind, eyes, and body had betrayed me. Apparently throwing up one meal after another made complete sense to me. That’s how we all deal with emotional baggage, right?

My stint of purging unfortunately led to some very apparent, long-term effects. The amount of metal in my mouth could make a quarter I often think. My hair, well, I’m thankful that I have the head shape to pull off the 1/8″ look. I can still bring up a meal with barely any effort, which makes those times I get sick with a stomach bug a little more bearable. Despite it being several years since I voluntarily purged after a meal (and we’re not counting one of those nights of intense drinking where “cleansing the system” is the only way to ensure going to bed and waking up without an awful surprise), I still consider myself a bulimic at times. Even though I don’t act on my inner urgings and desires to purge, the urge and desire to do so is still there, and frequently.

When I tell people I deal with bulimia (as well as a couple of other diagnoses), they’re often surprised. I don’t look bulimic. I’m not super skinny. My flesh doesn’t hang from my bones. I’ve got a good set of teeth. I’m not in residential treatment somewhere. In fact, on the outside, I appear, well, stable. That’s what struggling with an eating disorder does for a person. It gives us the capacity to feel and look “normal” to those around us. It’s a coping mechanism like so many of the other things we as broken humans do to be able to get through the mud and the muck of life. Fortunately, for a lot of us, the temptation to act out, and the reasons we sometimes contrive for doing so, start to disappear and fade away. We develop healthy ways of dealing with pain and the feeling of not having control. Better yet, we learn to take control in ways that were not previously visible to us. After deconstructing the lies we’ve told ourselves for so long, we’re left with these pieces, these remnants of who we truly are. With grace, patience, and time, we’re able to take those remnants and build something new. Those pieces of who we were — the diagnoses, the exercise, the lost meals and unspent calories, the denial and secrecy — still have an impact. Scars still show. But in becoming someone new, someone more whole, more complete, those scars fade into our new skin. We know they’re there, and when we share our stories, the reality of redemption, of restoration comes to life.

Dishonor…

•August 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

Since I began discerning my call into ministry, one key component that has kept coming up is that of authenticity. There is immense value in being oneself. After all, if we are all beloved children of God, then we cannot and should not deny the existence of some divinely imbued goodness within us. We should be real, for the sake of our own well-being, as well as for the benefit of those we encounter and with whom we develop relationships, whether they last only a few moments or a lifetime. When we put on a mask, a guise as a means to reach a particular end, we do injustice to ourselves, and we dishonor who we are created to be. Furthermore, when we ask others to put on such a mask, we do immense harm to their souls. We might not like or approve of every aspect of a person’s character or life, but the call to love them and honor their humanity never ceases.

I love the United Methodist Church. After a several-year hiatus from any faith community, I found a new home in my current congregation. I was encouraged to finally answer my call to ministry and attend seminary. I was loved and welcomed into a community that admits its various forms of brokenness and seeks to uplift and affirm the goodness in each other. I’ve had three pastors who’ve supported me and some of the challenging decisions I’ve had to make, one of whom has been an incredible mentor, and I’m honored to call him friend.

Pursuing ordination within the UMC leaves me with a perpetually challenging question: how authentic am I truly called to be? As a man who has fought and continues to fight to love himself and honor the person he’s been created to be, I’m stuck in a dilemma I knew was coming but hoped would not be this difficult. The cold, hard reality is this: while my home congregation is a reconciling community — meaning it welcomes and affirms the sacred worth of all people regardless of race, class, creed, age, background, belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, or relationship status — the denomination I unite myself with does not universally share these sentiments.

This past Thursday, I met with my district committee on ordained ministry to be certified as a candidate for ordination. I’d not met with them since the fall in which I started seminary. I’d spoken with a few members, as well as some other mentors and colleagues, about my paperwork and how best to present myself and answer questions posed to me. I felt relatively prepared going into the meeting, but there were still some lingering questions on just how true to myself I could be and still be successful my journey towards ordination. How much of my story could I share without raising red flags or self-sabotaging?

The reason for my asking these questions lies within the governing policies of the UMC, the Book of Discipline. Within its pages, after affirming the “sacred worth” of all people, it declares that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and asserts that “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church.” In a denomination whose membership spans numerous countries and various cultural contexts, it’s not surprising that there is disagreement on the above statements. In several annual conferences (or regional districts), it’s fairly common knowledge that someone who falls into this category can fail to disclose the truth of their identity, lay low, and successfully traverse the ordination journey.

Long story short, for an out gay person who is partnered, becoming ordained in the denomination requires being professionally closeted. It means not speaking about their true self or their relationship in what’s often called official space. It means hiding and often allowing oneself to be implicitly heterosexual. My frustration rests with my desire to be a part of this denomination, primarily because of the good I see it as capable of doing. United Methodists are some of the best people I know. For many of them, living out the Christian faith is not simply about evangelizing or “saving souls.” Within them is an understanding that this life is not merely a stepping stone on the way to heaven or hell. This earth is not simply a way station. There is real pain, brokenness, suffering and injustice here, and as people who seek to live out the message of the Gospel and live like Christ, we are called to be agents of change, people through whom God’s redemptive power flows for the purpose of helping others find lives that are truly abundant and not merely bearable. I love my denomination, and while there are people within it who love me and affirm the fullness of who I am, my denomination is a system that suffers from the same brokenness that many other systems face.

On Thursday, I was certified as a candidate for ordination. There were positive affirmations given, and there were good suggestions for growth. Unfortunately (and painfully), it was implied that even referring to my partner as my “significant other,” leaving out any gender markers, could and most likely would hinder me from becoming ordained. I felt as if I was being told to keep my head down and my mouth shut about who I really am, and if I do that — if I put myself through several years of verbally rejecting, or at least neglecting being honest about the amazing love I’ve found with the man I love — then I stand a chance of being ordained and given credentials by the denomination.

I left that meeting, not feeling the joy of having completed another milestone, but instead feeling dejected and rejected, silenced. I felt rage that people who clearly see an injustice yet choose to place the dictums of the denomination over the well-being of someone who clearly exhibits graces, gifts, and fruits for ministry. I felt physically ill thinking about 4+ years of being what for me would be dishonest and lacking integrity. I spent much of my therapy session this morning crying, feeling the anguish of going back into a sort of closet. I felt dishonored. I did not feel as if I had sacred worth.

Blake told me today that opting to continue in the process as suggested would be a form of emotional masochism and quite possibly detrimental to my mental health. I have a year until my next meeting with the committee. While I truly feel called to ordained ministry, I fear that goal will not be reached in the denomination I’ve come to know and love. There is time to decide, to think, to discern. This I know: I cannot and will not do dishonor to myself. I hope and pray that we can all feel loved and valued, and this means being authentic and honoring the beloved children of God we all are.

Across your face…

•August 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The following is my first post for In Our Words: Salon for Queers & Co.

1. You stop going to Monday night Showtunes at Sidetrack because the crowd is “so much younger”, you have to be up before 6am the next morning, and you feel like you “fit in better” with the Friday or Sunday evening crowd.

2. You’ve experienced the reality of heartburn, and it’s a bitch.

3. You buy off-brand medication, not because you’re cheap or poor as dirt, but because it feels like a waste to buy Zzzquil when you know it’s just dyphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl) at twice the price.

4. You know medications by their chemical name instead of their brand name.

5. You get an inheritance from a family member, and you decide to pay off your loans and open an investment/retirement fund knowing that you might never see a dime from Social Security.

6. You use phrases like “Kids these days” or “My, you are so young.”

7. You start thinking about cholesterol… seriously.

8. You realize anyone turning 21 this year was in 5th grade when you were a senior in high school… and you cry.

9. All your joints hurt, and it’s not from the amazing sex you had the night (or even 5 minutes) before.

10. You get the feeling of being “settled,” and it doesn’t horrify you.

11. You hear yourself saying, “Yeah, we’re thinking about having kids.”

12. All of the 18 year olds look like 12 year olds.

13. You’re not afraid to admit to watching shows like Family MattersFull House, Blossom, or Are You Afraid of the Dark.

14. You miss the 90′s, and then realize they started almost two decades ago.

15. You see the clock says 10pm and either have medicine to take, or you just go to bed — and not because you have to be up early.

16. You’re slightly scared realizing that Mark Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell) is only 10 years older than you… and only 2 years shy of turning 40.

17. You worry that you friends might do for your 30th birthday party what Brian Kinney’s friends did for him: throw him a funeral with a tombstone cake and their own version of This Is Your Life

18. You see Lisa Ling on The View and remember when she was an anchor for Channel One News, which you watched in 6th grade.

19. You realize the OJ Simpson murder trial took place when you were in 6th grade; you were thankful because it meant your teachers stopped teaching for the majority of that time so you could all watch it.

20. Someone asks you what you think of 1984, and you have to do a mental check to make sure that really was the year in which you were born… it was, and so you answer with something  snarky about George Orwell.

21. You talk about going bald as “your hair losing the fight against gravity.”

22. You talk about your favorite scene in your favorite movie (Sally Fields’ historical breakdown in Steel Magnolias), and your younger friends who watch Lifetime but won’t often admit it dare to say, “I bet Queen Latifah will be so much better.”

23. Breakfast is a real meal… not just hangover food.

24. You remember when gas was $2.00 and cigarettes were $5 — and that was expensive!

25. You start getting flyers from AARP… and you open them.

Control…

•August 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s been 12 days since I started calorie counting using MyFitnessPal. It’s been 10 days since my first yoga class at CorePower. In that time I’ve lost 8 pounds. This morning was the first morning since starting that I woke up heavier than when I went to bed. Yesterday was a bad day…

I feel myself slipping into old habits. What’s the easiest way to count calories? Don’t give yourself any to count. My energy is low today, despite eating plenty yesterday. A friend recently advised me to shoot for what he calls the fat-burning ratio with 50% of my calories coming from protein, 30% from carbs, and 20% from fat. Coming from a place of eating whatever and not paying attention to my intake/output, this has been a strain. The foods that my body loves and is used to are the ones with the highest fat and sugar content. The amount of chocolate I’ve eaten in the last two weeks is miniscule in comparison to what I was eating before. It’s scary…

I’m, well, I’m worried. Initially, my reason for deciding to gain control over my eating habits and physical health was because, one day, I looked in the mirror, and I couldn’t even recognize myself. Since the year before starting seminary, when I initially quit smoking (an endeavor that lasted just under a year), I’ve gained approximately 40 pounds. At my lowest, I was 155. Unfortunately, even then, I was severely unhappy. I think I’m starting to understand why.

Standing outside our courtyard last night, in a conversation with a close girlfriend, I talked about how many gay men raised in conservative, evangelical families and church communities share the experience of feeling like their bodies have betrayed them. One day, they wake up, and they are the very thing that they know those closest to them will detest or despise. They know they are this thing based primarily on the reactions their bodies have when they see someone of the same gender to whom they are attracted. Shortly thereafter, they come to the realization that, in order to be attractive to someone else (hopefully to the person they find attractive), they have to change, to become something they presently are not. I think most members of the human race can empathize with this, especially any of us who have any desire of finding a romantic partner. Fact is, I’ve never trusted my body to be on my side, to surrender to my control. I’ve always felt as if it controlled me.

Around my sophomore year of college, I started having issues. More specifically, I started developing bulimic symptoms. To compensate for my surfacing desires, I began purging. I never really binged much. Purging, however, was comforting. Even to this day, as much as I hate getting sick, I’m more than comfortable with throwing up (forgive the visual imagery if you got any). However, my spell of purging tendencies only last about 6 months, unfortunately with some clear side effects — mostly the dental damage and what seems to be irreversible hair loss. I guess I just get to show off that soccer ball head God gave me for the rest of my life.

In the last 2 weeks, I have noticed my addiction to numbers. Being a career student and someone who manages his own finances (as well as much of his partner’s), I’m a stickler for numbers. I can look at them and gather concrete information. Sadly, being in the digital age, there is an abundance of information present on how to lose weight and become healthy. Even more frustrating is that rarely do two places offer the same answers to commonly asked questions pertaining to weight loss, exercise, and eating habits.

Where does this leave me? Confused. Frustrated. Worried. Fearful of becoming the extremist I know I can become, and even more frightened of diving into bad habits. Have I felt better the past week and a half? Most definitely. Am I starting to notice a difference? Yes, I am. So what’s the big deal? Well, truth is… I still don’t trust my body. Food has been a very dear friend to me for a very long time. Many of us know what this feels like. Shit hits the fan and who’s there to pick us up? Oreos and milk. Cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Any and all things baked, battered, or fried. But I’ve been 195 pounds, and I’ve been 155 pounds, and the latter sure as hell feels better. Right now though, I’m in a perpetual state of staring and glaring at numbers that don’t always make sense. More important, I need to let myself realize what the number on my scale does and does not tell me. What it does tell me is my weight, body fat, body water, and BMI (a number I seriously think is worth less than cow manure). What it doesn’t tell me… well take a look…