When I was 9 years old, I wanted a robot.
And, being 9 years of age, I still believed that Santa and his friends up in the North Pole were going to go that extra mile and bring me one.
As a kid, I was an expert in the art of finding things. I mean, I should have been a fucking rover or a search and rescue professional, because let me tell you, I was something else.
I could find a fart in a cornfield.
I was that good.
Anyway, as the days drew closer and closer to Christmas, I began to get increasingly more anxious and impatient. I had convinced myself that it wasn’t going to happen. That Robbie Jr. (pictured below) wasn’t going to arrive.
So I set out to make sure my fears were unsubstantiated.
So, I shimmied into the crawlspace beneath the house — nothing but damp earth and spiders.
*It should be mentioned that I really thought that Santa had a deal worked out with parents whereby said parents would hold the gifts until such time as St. Nich could pick them up. I mean who has that kind of square footage that they could just stash everyone in the world’s gifts? Nobody. That’s who.*
Eventually, after stumbling around the back of my Mother’s silver Nissan hatchback I saw it.
A Radio Shack bag with a rather large box inside of it. It was buried beneath a bunch of wrapping paper rolls.
It was him.
Robbie Jr. Sitting there in all his robot glory. Isaac Asimov himself would have wept at the sight of it.
Now that would have been something to see.
Anyway, days pass and it’s Christmas morning.
We’re all opening the gifts under the tree, and naturally I go straight for the big box that I know to be Rob.
But that’s when I see it.
It’s the same paper that was in the back of Mom’s Nissan hatchback.
That’s when it hit me — there is no Santa.
A crushing blow landed by my inability to remain calm and patient in moments of panic and distress.
These days I don’t have much to say to Robbie. I think he’s still there at my folks’ place, tucked away in a closet.
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking, what the hell is he going on about?
Well, the same kind of impatience demonstrated by me as a child — which led to the ruination of the myth of Santa, can also be attached to my current journey.
Patience isn’t just a virtue. It’s fucking everything.
Case in point: I could be killing it at the gym, lifting a load of weight, and making “great gains” as they say in the biz, and I could feel like a million bucks, like George fucking Clooney.
Then one day I could be walking in the mall, shoulders back, head high, eyes wide —confident, y’know?
All it takes is a sideways glance in the mirror, and all of that pride, that swagger, that George fucking Clooney suave bullshit comes crashing down like an avalanche.
Then shame digs its heels in and tries to pull you down with it.
It’s not often I post photos that make me look “still fat”. You pick the best of the best. The ones where your face is trim. You become a contortionist with your cell phone, spinning to try to find the light that best slims you down.
And that’s bullshit.
Tonight my trainer, Mike O’Neil (shameless plug) took a a side profile photo of me
And here it is.
Why am I posting that?
I’m posting that because it’s important for people to realize that in a world filled with biggest losers, extreme home weight losses, and all kinds of other garbage, this stuff doesn’t happen overnight.
It is an absolute mind fuck.
One minute you’re sky high and untouchable, and the very next you could crying in a pool of your own doubt.
But here’s the question, why?
It’s important to understand that those of us who face these battles, whether it be weight, or drugs, or alcohol, or sex — it’s important to know that we control the expectation; expectations that are tainted by media, advertising, fashion trends, and any number of intrusive moments that make their way into our lives on a daily basis.
It’s equally important to remember that all of that stuff is just white noise.
At the end of the day it’s just you and your mind and your body.
I believe that success comes through patience, compassion, and a love of who you are — not in the mirror or a photo, but who you are at your core.
Celebrate yourself every chance you get. Not just when you’re on top of the world, and feeling bullet proof, but in the still moments of uncertainty which aren’t quite as glamourous. Those are the moments when you need compassion and love.
For me, I’m celebrating the guts it takes to put a picture of myself that caused me just a flicker of doubt. A flicker that passed just as quickly as it sparked itself.
Everyone has a Robbie Jr. story.
I have several.
But this latest one is going to have a much better ending.