Lets take a step back in time to say somewhere around 1985 and see where some of these issues with being the fat kid came into the picture. I was in the boy scouts for more than a few years as a kid and we would hike, camp and do all kinds of stuff on our camping trips that was extremely fun even though we were kind of considered the misfit troop getting into trouble a lot of the time, good old troop 24. Sometimes we would participate in the Jamborees where all of the area troops would get together and show off our scout skills in the way of fire making, knot work and all kinds of other things that we were learning about back then but as I said we were kind of known as "the wild troop" for some of our antics . Each troop would set out on one big project and then do a sort of demo for the other troops showcasing our mad skillz yo, ok ok let me not get out of character because this is a reflection kind of thing going on here. The biggest Jamboree of the year we decided that we were going to shake that stigma and make the best suspended rope bridge that anyone ever did see because it was a big project and could include every one that was in our troop on some level of the construction between all of the knots and cutting of wood and rope not to mention if we pulled it off it would be pretty cool.
The Jamboree started and we all put everything that we had into this little rope bridge that could, I clearly remember working on it all day Saturday while we all took turns making knots and lashing the braces together. Dragging logs from the woods the whole of the troop was like a perfectly oiled machine all working together like the borg to get to a single point where this rope bridge was built and we were going to win that first place badge for our project if it killed us. I can remember being covered in sweat and wood chips, sore hands and feet from cutting and tying all day and by Saturday mid day we were almost complete. Off we went to get some food onto the table because there was a daily time limit on working on the projects so we were done for the day but went back to our lean to and literally discussed between the all of us how we were going to get up at first light and finish the bridge before the time limit was up so that we could enjoy some of the other things that were going on.
Sunday the first glimmer of light we wake up and off we went again working all morning, more than proud of what we were creating and confident that we would win the projects stage of the Jamboree. I can honestly say that it was one of the first times in my life that I can remember feeling a sense of pride about something that I did, we worked hard, I worked hard to make sure that our bridge was exactly how it needed to be in order to win the day. We all sat back covered in sweat, blood and little pieces of wood and rope just staring at the bridge, it was perfect and we made it that way, it was our bridge. Excitement set in and we were all going nuts because we wanted to of course test it out and have a little bit of fun with our new creation so into a line we filed and one at a time started crossing the bridge. Someone said "Hey don't let Tony try it out we don't want it to break" which was silly as I was still just a Husky lad at that point and no where near heavy enough to do any damage to the structure but alas I was indeed told not to cross the bridge. Standing on the side line I watched most of the others including a couple full grown men cross the bridge in victory while I felt like my heart was torn out because I literally put everything that I had into that silly rope bridge and now I was suspended from actually trying it out.
Everything that I felt because of the accomplishment was taken from me with a single sentence and a silly decision from a scoutmaster that probably didn't think about what he was doing by denying me the opportunity to experience what all of the others got to. I can honestly say that I wanted to cry and just go home, I lost interest in the entire Jamboree at that point and didn't care about whether we won or not. When it came time for the whole group of scouts to make the rounds and see what each troop did as a project I stayed in the lean to, you guessed it eating roasted marshmallows and chef boyardee straight from the can. I remember everyone coming back and declaring victory as we placed second for the projects but I didn't care. I worked as hard as anyone yet was not able to enjoy what we had done I just pretended that I didn't care either way about any of it but I did, I wanted to celebrate with the others but I was down and didn't want to let any of them know how hurt that I was so as far as anyone knew I just was not interested in any of the afterward. I got over it and life went on but looking back at it I can see now that it was definitely one of the stepping stones to an obese me, and just think, the project was meant to be a confidence reinforcement tool at its very root.
There are a lot of things that happen to a person that helps push them into the path of that moving train that is obesity and sometimes no one sees it happening at the time but it happens. I have plenty of stories like this one that I could write about or reflect back on where I remember feeling completely left out of situations and turning to food for comfort as a kid and even as an adult as a result. Now I don't blame this event for anything, its just one of the notches in my belt of growing up and becoming who I am today and we all have notches like this, fat thin, short or tall everyone has felt this way at some point in their lives, I like to look at it as I learned to have a little bit of compassion that day. Pile experiences like this one on top of one another and a person starts believing that its the only truth that is there for them, I can say that because I know first hand how it happens now that I can step back and examine some of the things that happened in my younger days.
To be continued..