At my heaviest I’d typically vacillate between 4xl and 5xl on the regular. I know this sounds ridiculous, but there are some manufacturers out there that make a small 4xl. Hand to God they do.
For many people their clothing is a representation of who they are and what they’re about. It’s also one of the few things we have total control over in our lives. At least, most of us do.
You see, when you’re 5xt you kinda have to put on whatever it is that’s around you. There aren’t a hell of a lot of options.
When I was at my largest I’d often buy clothes that were far too big for me so that I could cover myself completely. I wanted to become lost in the fabric. Floating about inside a giant flannel cocoon, drifting along and hoping that nobody would notice.
I remember vividly, as a young man, having somebody I care about ask me if “Omar the tent maker” made my shirt.
It’s kind of funny, right?
For a moment, just for a flicker, think about the man or woman who has to go into a specialty store and purchase a size 14xl t-shirt — and yeah, they make them that big. Think of what else that person is carrying — outside of the weight. The anguish they are going through must be astonishing.
How do you ever fit in if you simply cannot fit?
Most people of a certain size try and hide. As I did. I still struggle with it. Some days I say “fuck it” I’m wearing a t-shirt that clings — bite me. Other days I try and find shelter. Fortunately, they’re less and less these days.
One of the most interesting things I’ve discovered over the past week is that I have NO idea how a shirt is supposed to fit. “Too small” is in reality just a little too big. I’ve spent so much time hiding that I’ve no clue as to what constitutes a well-fitted piece of clothing.
It’s something that I’ll learn with time and, well, more shirts, most likely.
The image we have of ourselves is often complex. For many people the vision of who we are never lies congruent with the truth.
I spend most of my mental energy these days doing my best Michelangelo impression — chipping away at an uneven block of marble until something beautiful emerges.
The good news is I’m making a hell of a lot of progress. Each day brings with it a new stroke of the hammer, and slowly but surely my true identity is finding its way out of the stone and into the world.
How’s that for big and tall?