As an over exaggeration, there are about 42 meanings in that Title, here’s the intended one: Having to use rigorous honesty on oneself, sucks. The following will be a post in which I finally make my peace with a commercial that’s always bugged me, using my own alcoholic past and rigorous honesty to do it.
The commercial in question is one of the Tread Climber commercials. An attractive blonde talks about her past and says that she was “big” but never really considered herself “fat”. She then goes on to say that at the height of her bigness she was 245 pounds. At 245 pounds, if you’re built like a brick shithouse and 6’5″ tall, that’s “big”. A 5’5″ woman at 245 pounds, especially the one in the photo they show of her, is the very definition of fat. This is rigorously honest. Also rigorously honest is, “plump”, “large”, “big”, “heavy”, “chubby”, dude, “fat” is fat. Get over it already, right? After all, what’s the big frickin’ deal already? Why try to talk around reality?
Here’s a little more rigorous honesty – and this is the real reason most people get a little ugly when talking about weight and obesity (it most certainly isn’t sexism or something silly of that nature, the argument many will employ when they don’t have anything better in their attempt to bully someone into shutting up): See, I get very emotional, call it angry, when people refuse to embrace their reality. I lash out with what masquerades as rigorous honesty, its ugly cousin, brutal honesty. This is why I struggle with politics, much of modern political journalism, Democrats vs. Republicans (and vice-versa), black vs. white (and vice-versa) and men vs. women (definitely vice-versa). When people refuse to simply be honest, with themselves or others, I get pissed – especially when the person in question tries to mask the truth with something else that simply sells better… Don’t even get me started on that.
I embraced my reality, at a very early age, that I am a butt-ass drunk and there is no way I can possibly drink alcohol (or do drugs – for the utterly ridiculous marijuana maintenance people) like normal people do. Once I start down that path, oblivion will follow, it’s just a question of when. There’s no talking around it and no amount of wishful thinking that will change it. I have no problem calling my drunken past what it is, in fact (and this is the important part), I can’t look at my drunken past in any other light than with rigorous honesty. To color my past rosy serves only to make a return to it easier. See, I still have those weak times where a beer commercial can make alcohol look good. I still have those times where I long for the escape and feeling of well-being that getting good and loaded brings about. What I don’t have are delusions about how bad it will get (and how fast that will happen) if I do pick up that first drink. That’s where rigorous honesty comes in and sometimes that’s my only defense against going back to that misery (though I’ve always maintained a rigorously honest perspective of the misery as well, so that would be a second defense).
The delusion, a belief that is not true, is the problem. This, by the way, is why anti-drunk pills will never work… You can’t cure a delusion with a pill, but I digress….
Here’s where my rigorous honesty falls short. Here’s where I fall short: I couldn’t be told anything before I was ready to be done with alcohol. I was so hopelessly lost in the weeds of my own delusion that I said (and thought) some pretty foolish things about my alcohol. Chief among those things was, “I’m not (or it’s not) that bad”… Or, in other terms, 245 pounds is “big”, not “fat”.
My problem with fat, and alcoholism to a lesser extent, is that I’ve become a bit of a bleeding Deacon. I’ve forgotten how hard it was to peel back the haze to see clearly – and this is why I defend rigorous, sometimes brutal, honesty so fiercely… Time heals when it comes to alcoholism and obesity. Time dulls the edges. I can forget how hard I had to work to sober up (getting thin again was much easier in comparison) and if I forget how hard sobering up was, if I forget just how bad my life really was, if I forget that I was always a two-fisted drinker, over time I might be defenseless the next time a thought like, “Geez, a beer sure would be nice right about now” comes along.
After all, I don’t need to go for my ride this morning and man, a Double Whopper with extra everything and a Coke sure would taste yummy right about now.
And therein lies the rub. What I really need to work on is remembering “Brutal honesty for me, not for thee” and “Rigorous honesty for we”. I can be brutally honest with me because I know I’m not going to wither away because of it. Others, however, may be weaker or sicker and unable to deal with the fact that “big” is ten or twenty pounds overweight. 80 or 100 is just plain fat. This is the answer: Looking at those who choose to live without rigorous honesty or in victimhood as “sick”, as if I would someone with the flu or some other malady is critical. This way I can feel for them without giving them a big, wet, sloppy kiss and catching what they’ve got.