Big and Tall

Big and Tall

Big and Tall

I recently lost a bunch of weight, a little over thirty pounds in the last few months.

Strange things happen when you go through a transformation like that. You THINK you will be able to handle the changes and you THINK you will be ecstatic about them, and for the most part you are. But, there is a part of you (well, of me) that can’t get quite get fully adjusted to this new person.

For years I’ve shopped in the Big and Tall department of a local store that generally had pretty nice stuff for us Big Guys. All of my clothes, especially pants, are now way too big, so the other day I walked in there, daughter in tow, and did what I always do in that store. I walked over to the big and tall section, picked out a couple of pairs of pants then made my way to the dressing rooms. I tried on the items and they were huge on me.

Duh … dude, you lost weight. You’ve changed.

Strangely enough, instead of being happy, I felt a little anxious. All my life I’ve been a big guy. I still am, I will never be small, but I’m smaller than I was. In that moment, I felt as if part of my identity, the thing that made me who I am, was slowly slipping away.


“You didn’t like them dad?” My daughter asked when I emerged from the dressing room with the pants back on their respective hangers.

“No honey, they’re too big.”

I returned the items to the Big and Tall section then looked across the aisle to the “normal” sized section. It would have taken only a step or two to get over there, but venturing into new territory was intimidating. I eventually did and started browsing, a stranger in a strange land. After a few minutes, without even realizing it, I crossed the aisle into the Big and Tall section again.

“Dad, what are you doing over there?” My daughter asked.

I didn’t know what to say, I had wandered back across the aisle by sheer force of habit. Or, more likely, the part of me fearful of losing myself had brought me back into familiar territory.

She took my hand.

“You don’t belong over there, you have to stay over here now,” she said, as she pulled me across the aisle.

She didn’t mean anything deep by her statement, she was bored and just wanted me to stop wasting time so we could get the heck outta there, but I found her words profound nonetheless. I stayed put in the regular section although my eye still wandered over to Big and Tall occasionally. Eventually, I found some stuff that fit my new proportions. They looked good and I was happy to be able to fit into the smaller size, but there was a small part of me that still mourned the loss.

Change is scary. Even a change that you’ve planned for. I guess the key is not to wander back into the aisle of the familiar and comfortable. The new place that you’ve worked hard to get to is well…new but it’s where you should be. It’s where you NEED to be.

You don’t belong over there. You have to stay over here now.


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The basement of my house is my favorite writing space even though It’s not always the most comfortable. It’s cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and I share it with the spiders who can’t seem to stay away. Artificial light doesn’t do well in the basement, the illumination from bulbs only penetrate so far, giving the room a timeless quality that can play tricks on an overactive imagination, especially when I’m facing an empty page that I can’t seem to fill. I sit in the circle of light, looking out into the semi-darkness and it’s easy to envision a grandmother down here filling shelves with jars of homemade preserves or kids playing hide and seek while the rest of the family is upstairs gathered around a huge transistor radio.

So, more often than not, I turn out the lights when I’m working so the only illumination is from the monitor with the empty page I’m trying to fill. Sometimes the words are there and sometimes they aren’t, like the ten times I sat down to write this post about gratitude. I took walks to think about it, I spoke with a friend about it, I read my favorite books to inspire me, but the grand and eloquent words I wanted to use to express my profound thanks at the many blessings I had been given proved elusive.

So, I sat and let my mind wander, and soon I noticed the sounds.

Water running through pipes.

The rumble of the clothes dryer.

Thump, thumping of my daughter dancing upstairs.

I refocused and tried to concentrate. I have many things to be thankful for and I didn’t want this to be an ordinary post. I wanted the reader to feel the profound feelings that I felt. It needed to be special. But try as I might, the words failed me again and before very long I turned away from the screen and let my mind wander again.


Water running through pipes.

The rumble of the clothes dryer.

Thump, thumping of my daughter dancing upstairs.

I gathered my thoughts and refocused (again) and began to write. About thirty minutes and a frustrating page and a half later, I stopped to read what I’d produced.

Garbage. It was forced and not at all genuine. I was trying way too hard. I deleted the whole thing and leaned back in my chair.

Sounds again, or rather, only one sound. There was no water running and the dryer had completed its cycle.

Thump, thumping of my daughter dancing.

Then the thumping stopped and I heard footsteps running through the kitchen then down the stairs and into the basement where the empty page and I kept each other company.

“Look at this Dad,” she said.

I spend the next ten minutes watching her proudly show me the progress she’d made on the move she was practicing upstairs and discussing the difficulties of handstands and bridges and back walkovers. When she was done, she hugged me and ran back upstairs. In a moment, the thump thumping began again as she’s started to practice the next move.

As I listen to her dance, I realize that I’ve been going about this all wrong. I was like a bull in a china shop, stomping around and looking outwardly for the thing I only needed to be still to find. I would have heard it, the thump, thump, thumping that means that my daughter is dancing. As long as she is dancing everything is fine.


I am thankful for many things. For health and strength, for Sunshine in the morning, for you reading his post.


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