The six months prior to my wedding- I was a nervous wreck. Anxiety is something that I had lived with since being in my mother’s womb- but the panic that can often follow chronic anxiety was a new addition to my life. The very first panic attack that I ever had came only minutes after I proposed to my wife in the cemetery. As we sat on a rustic ledge that overlooked a beautiful turtle pond my throat swelled up and my insides began to shake. I felt my heart skipping around in my chest and before I knew what to say the thought, “I am going to die,” zapped my adrenaline into 5th gear. I ran through gravestones and daisies like a man who was literally running for his life. When my then fiancé found me hyperventilating besides an eighteenth century gravestone- I was already suffering from the affliction that would significantly reduce my weight.
Prior to asking my wife if she would marry me, I was 65 pounds heavier than I was at my wedding six months later. I rarely engaged in any form of exercise and I loved to drink beer from breakfast till bedtime. I reproached any attempts to confine my dietary choices to the category of unhealthy living because the choices I made were my own- and I was an adamant individualist. My pre-marital days were filled with creative explorations and I was determined to live my life with the determination of the great artist that I believed myself to be. It was only when I began to think about inviting the tradition of marriage into my renegade existence that I began to feel the strange sensations, that some call fear, develop in my body and mind.
After my wife and I were engaged I felt the expectations from in-laws and my parents gathering heavily upon my shoulders. I felt the fear of change begin to set up camp some place in my brain. I was concerned about how I would continue to live like the great artist that I considered myself to be when I had no money in the bank and a resume that was shorter than a paragraph. My dreams threatened to cave in on me and my access fat was the first part of me to run away.
There is nothing, and I mean nothing that will reduce one’s weight faster than panic and anxiety. When the brief attacks come on, the shit is literally scared out of you. I would be constipated for days and then when panic attack overcame me I would find myself shivering from fear, on the toilet- downloading a weeks worth detritus. As the attacks grew more frequent so did my bowl movements. Everything I would eat would stay in my stomach no longer than my intense fear would allow. But what was I so afraid of?
Death. For as long as I can remember I have been afraid of death. The thought of the mysterious non-existence of me has sent shivers running down my spine and prayers rambling from my mouth. Whenever I felt the presence of a strange sensation upon my timid body I became (and still become) terrified that this may be the key that unlocks that eternal door. The extinction of my self, of all that I pretend to be- has rendered me powerless when it comes to accepting this natural transition. Some place deep in my hard wiring marriage seems to be wired to the notion of death. In marriage I somehow managed to think that a part of myself would become extinct. I feared the loss of my rugid individualism because like Nietzsche always said- tradition has a way of destroying all things individual.
The thought of loosing myself and changing- rattled my nerves. Over the many years of living for myself only- I became attached to my way of being. The thought of having to change the way I lived my life made me fear what the future would bring. Someplace deep within me I welcomed this change but on the surface domesticity was a nightmare that I was yet to reconcile with. Every day that the wedding grew closer was another pound lost. Butterflies took up to much space in my stomach and my throat seemed to be closed for business. I lived on a diet of pineapple and wine and I prayed like a man who was soon to fall off the side of the moon.
Thanks to my six months of fear, worry and concern I was able to loose 65 pounds. Besides all of my frazzled nerves and my graying hair I was the mere image of perfect health. On the inside a daily war was being waged between the forces of life and death- but on the outside I appeared picture perfect. My wedding went over well with numerous complements about my new figure and lots of requests for advice upon how to loose weight so fast. At my wedding I was in to good of a mood (I threw caution to the wind and drank and danced as if it was my last night on earth) to bring up the subject of panic and anxiety so I said I would write a book about how to loose weight without the wait and then send them a free copy. There was a sign up sheet in the lobby.
One year after my wedding I am still yet to write the book or put back on the weight. Married life has not assuaged my fears and worries but it has given me a steady partner to share my suffering with. With marriage I have also become more aware. The decisions that I make (I no longer drink beer all day and I payed my taxes for the first time, much to my discontent!) not only affect me but also the love that is shared between my wife and I. Even though my fear of death and change is just as strong as it was before my marriage- I have found that the tradition of marriage has given me not only a smaller waistline but less time to focus upon my fear. After all- the tradition of marriage demands family and home ownership and with my nervous disposition I have had to spend a lot of time reading self help books, meeting with therapists and taking meditation classes. I am trying to get into some kind of physical and psychological condition so I can play at being a responsible married man who has found the secret ingredient for rapid weight loss.