The Great Wall

“Let me look back upon thee. O thou wall

That girdles in those wolves, dive in the earth

And fence not Athens!”

William Shakespeare (Timon of Athens)


I’ve spent the past month really trying to find the reasons for the weight. I’ve had several ideas as to what it might have been. I’ve tossed a lot of those around in my own head.

Truth be told, you can self-analyze yourself into one hell of a stupor if you’re not careful.

So, I decided to bring in the big guns — I called “wolf man” (aka. my therapist).

Together we worked through how far I’ve come to date. Not just the weight loss — although, that’s important to me — but the changes I’ve made in how I deal with… well, life.

During this whole journey to better health I’ve torn down walls left, right, and centre. I haven’t gotten to all of them yet, but I’ve laid waste to quite a few.


I’ve gained confidence in myself, that I never dreamed possible.

However, throughout it all there was always something in the background. An undercurrent that still resonated loudly in my ears. It was ever-present.

It was the great wall.

The one that was built as a child.

The first wall.

Like most, it was built to protect me.

I’ve talked a little bit about bullying in the past. But there really aren’t words to adequately describe the sheer amount of vitriol I experienced in my youth.

I was attacked from every conceivable angle. And because of that, there was nowhere for me to feel safe. No hamlet for me to rest my head.

And so began construction of the great wall.

Surrounding the essence of who I was.

My confidence, self-esteem, body image, intelligence — it held me, shielding out the “wolves” as Timon calls them.

And because this wall did such an admirable job in protecting me. Other walls sprung through the surface.

And now, sitting here, at the age of 38. Those walls are coming down.

Not because I’m forcing them, or I’m ashamed of them. It’s quite the opposite; those fortifications did what they needed to do. After all, they got me this far.

No, these walls are tumbling because they’re no longer needed.

By realizing my worth, and finding my voice in the crowd, I have cleared the horizon. Instead of hastily positioned bricks and mortar — now lies a landscape dotted with opportunity and hope.

It’s amazing what you can do in a year.

15 thoughts on “The Great Wall

  1. It is amazing what you can do in a year. But more amazing is what YOU have done in a year. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I feel blessed to be a concerned observer.

  2. Life never happens in a test tube. People, places, things and situations all have an impact to varying degrees. I have done a similar personal inventory and believe that I am who I am because this is who I was meant to be. Speaking for myself only, it’s what I do with who I am today that is most important. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  3. Good on you! I found losing weight to be one of the most psychological hard … and then empowering things I have ever done. So many habits and beliefs are tied up with food … great reading about your journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing your blog. This day and previous ones on walls have hit home. I never realized how much I allowed the childhood bullying to connect my self worth. Even after losing weight in school I was bullied. So it felt like an attack on who I was and who I am. I still allow bullying in my life because I haven’t gotten past it. Thank you for pointing toward the light in this dark cave.

    1. Thanks Debbie. That means an awful lot to me. All caves are meant to go both dark and light, I think. I find it’s all in how I react to both conditions that makes all the difference.

  5. Dave, we love reading about your progress. Keep up the great work. (Who would have believed the weight was all in your head…and maybe your heart)?

      1. Dave, just reading your half-way point post – cannot imagine holding my breath like Stig for 22 minutes – but love the motivation!

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