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Welcome to my personal Hellmouth!

December 2, 2012

What have I been up to lately?

I have been catching up with old friends of mine, in order to find back to myself on this long journey of self-discovery. I kind of ended up getting distracted by some rather annoying bumps in the road, but life wouldn’t be as interesting, if those would not occur every now and then.

One of the most important things that happened to me this past week was my appointment with my plastic surgeon in order to plan my first out of two necessary surgeries – #1 Stomach / #2 Butt.

 I have mentioned that I used to be morbidly obese in my very first blog post:

Mind the Gap – Why do I write?

My battle may be coming to an end, but the war is not over!

The date for the first cosmetic surgery is set for January 3rd 2013. Someone told me that the “sexy times” are going to begin for me then, I just do see it a bit differently, because the sexy times never stopped for me – I had my fun when I needed it and I am not going to change my attitude towards shallow people, because of my changes.

Let’s face it, this photoshoped world is shallow and that’s what I am fighting against:
  • Here is a picture from back in August 2012 – taken at SWS Studios in London under the lable of 76 Imagery and I am not afraid to show some skin: Image
  • Here are the numbers: I weighed 421.08 lbs/191 kg back in May 2010 and through weight loss surgey, I’ve lost 242.50 lbs / 110 kg in about 15 months – I am on stable 190.80 lbs / 87 kg now, because 178.57 lbs / 81 kg is very close to being underweight at a height of about 6’4 / 1.92 m (the picture below demonstrates the changes I went through).

Image

Losing so much weight in such a short amount of time came with a price, not being able to feel hunger ever again (like seriously never ever, which is why I am forced to eat after a schedule), is only one among a few. I like to compare that one to a superpower others would kill for but believe me, it is not something you really want to have, because once you have it, you have to learn to live with it and in the long run it is getting rather annoying.

Ending up with an identity crises was the worst part of it all. Looking into the mirror without being able to recognize yourself, after you had gotten used to fact of having been morbidly obese for so many years, was terrifying and caused a major crisis – I had to learn to accept myself in this new body. Nobody was able to prepare me for that, since everyone reacts differently to the outcome of such drastic changes.

Image

I spent almost an entire year (November 2011 till November 2012) to get to know the new me. I even had to learn how to trust people, who suddenly showed interest in me, which I wasn’t used to at this scale – to be honest, I am still trying to get used to it, because the way people treated me for half of my life left internal scars that just slowly seem to fade. They might never disappear fully, but I am slowly coming to terms with that.

So here it comes, the inevitable truth about how I feel when people try to tell me what to do or how I should feel about myself:

When I tell people my story, even my closest friends and family, a lot of them say that they do understand/they can relate: No you don’t. You may be able to empathize on a certain level but you haven’t walked in my shoes. Only a few people I know, really are/were able to fully understand/comprehend where I am coming from.

Being part (or having been part) of two minority groups for so long (gay & morbidly obese), changes you on the inside, makes you feel more lost than you would be able to imagine. During my time of obesity, I was an outsider in the gay & straight community. I never had the feeling to belong to either world. Not knowing your place in the world turns you into someone who is constantly on the outside looking in, up until to the point, where you question yourself and the need or wish to belong to either of those shallow and cruel cultures.

Back in 2008 I was lucky enough to discover the youtube community. Without that community I wouldn’t have gotten to know people like Casey Payne & Chelsea Banks – to name just two of the many people who made an extraordinary impact on my life. (My journey in the online world began much earlier than that, I even met & maybe lost the love of my life there, which is a story for another day.)

I have to say thank you to Casey (not just him, even to the Nerdfighter community, founded by Hank & John Green), because he gave me one of the many key factors, which helped me to turn my life around and implement the changes I needed in order to be able to get where I am today.

These people gave me a sense of what it means to belong somewhere, gave me the insight of how important it is to be challenged to grow intellectually & spiritually every single day.

Some people who consider themselves my friends in the real world, outside of the internet (friends and siblings) keep complaining about me sharing too much online. Well, they may be right, but they haven’t been there, when I was at the end of my rope, they may have been aware of the physical changes but they haven’t been around this year, when I went through the most important mental changes.

They literally have no idea about the person, who I have become, because on the one hand they have kept to themselves (busy with their own lives – I don’t blame them, but there are things like telephones, you know, the things where you type in a number and it rings) and on the other hand I only kept them at arms length, which is a strange thing to do and to say, because the people in our lives, the ones that are actually family & friends, are the ones who don’t get me most of the time, although they are supposed to be the ones that should. Don’t get me wrong, I do take over the lion share of responsibility but I am done being criticized for something, that has been part of my life for so long – my online life.

So I went out there, into the real world, to make new friends and make new experiences, which is always like a hit & miss situation. For example, I meet someone interesting but then they say something shallow about other people’s appearance, behavior and/or attitude, which turns them into an uninteresting type of “blob” in my mind, but I keep them around to maybe change their minds someday.

Some other people pick up on the fact, that I am someone who helps out when others are in need and then rip my entire arm off. As they say, s**t happens but I’ve learned to move on – “Next!”

When I tell my real life friends about what happened, I just earn this kind of judgemental question:

“How comes that you always end up having trouble with other people?”

There are two ways to deal with this question (at least in my book, your way of dealing with things like this might differ) and I tended to go ahead with a mixture of them both:

  1. Avoid the topic and stop sharing the things/stories that happened to you in the future, because people only see the things you have done or haven’t done, and the other parties involved get a free pass. (Can’t I actually tell you something without getting a judgemental reply? I mean, if I wanted that I would have asked for it, but I didn’t.)
  2. Accept the judgemental part and reflect upon it. See the mistakes you have made and avoid repeating those in the future. Be thankful for your friend’s honesty. (I appreciate the judgemental question and comment on a certain level, but it sill pisses me off, because I didn’t ask for it, I just wanted someone to listen.)
  3. Didin’t you just mention two ways? Yes, I did but there is a third way, a new way of how I am going to deal with these things in the future. I’ll mostly listen to myself and only tell you about the good things happening in my life, since sharing the bad stuff kind of messes with your head, because you can’t be non-judgemental, since you compare the new “me” to the old “me” you have gotten to know in the past. (I know this isn’t the most effective way to deal with this, but I am going to try to juggle all three of them combined. Maybe you have some other suggestions, leave those in the comments. I appreciate it!)

The thing that annoyed me about this judgemental question, is the fact that my friend was right and wrong, without even asking and/or knowing all the facts about what actually happened, at the same time. On the one hand, she hasn’t really been part of my life in such a long time, that I don’t even know, if that really is a friendship anymore. On the other hand, it gave her enough distance to analyze me after my old template, but that happens when people aren’t even interested in getting all the facts before they fire such a bomb at you. She seems to be reading my facebook posts and judges me upon them, instead of picking up the phone or hopping onto a train to actually talk to me (she isn’t the only one, there are plenty of people in my life like that – this whole situation is just an example). I wish I could afford to get on a train to visit her like every other weekend but I can’t.

Some people come into our lives for a reason, others just for a season.

“True friends don’t have to be in contact every single day!” – funny you would say that, because people give away titles like “true friends” rather easily, without really thinking about it – I used to be like that as well. Bottom line is she is still a friend of mine (maybe not as close as I thought we were), I just wished she would actually stay more in touch with me, but hey, we can’t have everything – moving on (that’s what I am going to do now), because I have wasted enough time and this season might be over!

So the reason why I do share more with the friends I have made online over the past decade is fairly simple, they aren’t as judgemental as the people in my real life, they may only see and love me from a far, but the relationships we built are as important to me as the real life ones, since those people are there for me almost every single day. May it be on facebook, on twitter, on skype or on youtube. Those people may judge me as well, but they never hurt me like the people I let into my life in close proximity.

Some of my IRL friends might not even read this until the very end, but if they do, I don’t think they will be very understanding. Maybe I am wrong and something good comes out of this, because they might even understand me a bit better now, but I am not counting on it and frankly, I don’t care anymore – maybe I do care a little, because I wrote this beast of a blog post.

So before you judge me for posting too much onto my facebook page you need to understand one thing, that almost every person I met online and subsequently in real life (yes, that happens as well – shocking, I know!):

“We all are just attention whores! (Not everyone but some!)”

I came to accept that fact about myself, so it is about time you start to really accept me for who I am, so I can start to really accept you for who you are and let you back into my life again. As long as you keep questioning my style of living, there won’t be much common ground between us. Besides that, I am a doer and when I set my mind onto a project, I want to proceed as quickly as possible and I am not able to wait ages for you to find the time to do a project together with me. Either you jump on board and do the things you promised to do or you don’t, I am just tired of being held back, because you feel the need of over planning things. I am a perfectionist, too, and I have learned, there is a time for planning and a time for doing things. The outcome will never satisfy me, but that is ok, because in the end I am going to have an outcome. That is how I managed to make videos on youtube for so long (2009 – 2011/2012). The break, I was forced to take this year, helped me to reflect on where I have been, what I want to do & where I want to go.

What’s my next step?

Finding a new job is my priority #1 but I am also going to concentrate more on my writing, since I have discovered that it is my passion and I owe it to myself to go ahead and do the things I always keep talking about. I am also returning with a new video project in 2013, something that is in the works at the moment and needs some tweaking to actually become a reality. If it works out and everything goes as planned, I am getting a bunch of my online friends to contribute to this collaboration. It is ambitious, a creative challenge & I am very proud to say: “You haven’t seen the last of me!”

After all of this here is a reply/letter I wrote to my friend Chelsea today, wherein I talk about another project of mine. Something I am currently planning on doing, which started with my short story “Faster!” and this letter might give you some insight into my creative process on how I end up writing my stories:

My dearest Chelsea,

I am looking forward to the short story! I haven’t been doing much at all lately, facebook and Co. distracted me from my writing (which is kind of at a halt at the moment, but I am coming up with a million new ideas each day).

I only have read the first Dresden Files novel I think, I remember I gifted the first two books to my mum for Christmas when the show was still on TV. Oh dear, that was ages ago, I am getting old. When I sit here and type this I can feel my brain cells getting older, dang, and another few seconds went by! 🙂 See, it is rather easy to write serious and funny at the same time. I believe the trick is to not think too hard about it. STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP, you do write interesting stories, so never underestimate your talent. I wish I would be as eloquent as you are, but I would have to read a gazillion dictionaries to get there. See, for me writing in English is work, a challenge so to speak, it should come naturally to you – funny how I sound like I am Amy talking to Willow in season 7 of Buffy – The Vampire Slayer. I am just not as jealous as that bitca (see, another Buffy reference – Xander’s try to spell the b-word out loud) and try a magic spell on you to turn you into the guy you killed…ok, where am I going with this?!

See, I am sitting here in my underwear, (not a flattering picture), holding a big ass mug of coffee in the one hand, while typing with the other – yes, that is difficult – why am I doing this, because I care a great deal about you. Now clench those butt cheeks of yours together and show us what you can do! No more, “I am not good enough!”, no more, “I am not funny enough!”, if you need help, just ask for it.

I am always there for you, unless I am asleep and keep fighting off my demons in my dreams, believe me, there are a lot of them, which is why I am going to expand my “Faster!”-universe. I can’t help it, but my mind draws me back to that story, because there is so much potential in that unnamed city – it is my personal hellmouth – you praised the emotions that went into the story – newsflash: They were mine, but by writing them out, I let them out. I was hurt and had to find a way to let go of all the pain, so I made the characters suffer, let them feel what I felt, let “her”/”it” think my thoughts and transfromed her into something else, but still caught up in her emotions. I let him try to get rid of his emotions by ending his suffering in the most ironic and brutal way possible.

Your “Happy Endings – Apparently” (the short movie I am still planning to make, which is also at a halt at the moment, due to not having the efficient equipment and funds at this time) inspired me to go on with my writing and your friendship, your never-ending trust and belief in me, is what keeps me motivated, I am just lacking the focus I need to finally turn my ideas into a reality. We usually are our own worst enemies!

It is time to face and change that for good.

As you can see, there is a lot going on in my personal & creative life at the moment and I keep fighting for my dreams and either you share my dream, lift me up when I am down, support me when I need it or you don’t, just stop complaining about my online life, because you weren’t there, when I found those people I am sharing my life with, no matter if they live in the U.S.A., in Canada, in the U.K., in France, in Belgium, in Japan or Timbuktu. You don’t own the personal rights to my life nor my decisions and there is still an awful lot that I don’t share online nor in my so-called real life.

My journey has just begun.

Sincerely yours,

Dome Woo

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9 Comments
  1. I tried to finish the whole post, but I couldn’t stop staring at that sexy belly! 😉 lol

    Seriously though a couple comments:

    #4. Get totally naked! Share the good and the bad, but constantly press towards increased positivity. Your blog, FB, Twitter, etc. is a place to get things off your chest! That said, be balanced. It’s a lot more fun getting things off your chest and getting feedback, then Tweeting to deaf ears. Even where you share something “negative” try to spin it in a way that makes it interesting/entertaining/funny to the reader.

    “We all are just attention whores!” – I disagree! Although I do know where you’re coming from. Don’t worry about what everyone is or isn’t. If someone’s an “attention whore” AWESOME! Good for them! Let them do their thing! If you’re an attention whore… GREAT! 😀 I ran into an interesting quote that seems to fit in here:

    “Whatever IS, is RIGHT”

    We’re all just beings looking for our “way.”

    Some additional random thoughts…

    – Master the art of “alone.”
    – Don’t communicate with negative people. Just cut them out completely. Especially when you’re in a place where you might not have the emotional reserves to deal with their (or perhaps it’s even your, but it comes out around them) bullshit.

    Love ya bro!

    • That “sexy belly” gets always in the way 😛 As Buddha used to say, “Rub my belly, it brings luck upon you!” – or I just made this one up?!? 🙂

      As to #4, that might happen next year, good things come to those who wait, erm, ok, where am I going with this, oh dear! lol

      I am working on the balancing stuff out thing, it is a work in progress. In the end it is all about what I perceive as the right way for myself. Being an “attention whore” isn’t something negative in my book. It is more about trying to get your ideas out there instead of keeping them inside. Other people just perceive it as something they can’t deal with. I was forced to deal with some rather “negative” people but that just opened my eyes to what I actually want and don’t want in my life.
      I have to deal with being compared to my former self on almost a regular basis, which is why I am cutting ties to those people, although I still do love some of them. They are just not right for me anymore. Oh, yeah, I can smell my own bullshit a mile away but I am not covering it up! LOL

      I think I got close to mastering the art of “alone”! I have spent “almost” the entire year like that and actually came to realize that I do enjoy my solitude, since it gives me time come up with new ideas.

      I am cutting out those negative influences, even reduced my contact to certain people because of that. In the past I noticed a certain “belly” feeling (lol) but ignored it due to the fear of being alone, but now that fear has slowly desolved into nothingness. It was so damn important to me to be liked by everyone, in hinsight, it makes me laugh about myself, because that isn’t a way to deal with people and not a way to live by. It just stresses you out and costs too much energy. So, I am on a good way and constantly growing. I feel a bit like someone who enjoyed his time in a cave, far away from the outside world and I actually enjoyed that for the most part.

      I love that quote: “Whatever IS right, is RIGHT!” – I understood that, what kind of distracted me in the past though, is how many people felt the need to constantly nag me about my online life. Thing is, my attitude towards them has completely changed. Just because they don’t get it, doesn’t change the way how I behave online or how I feel about the people I have met online.

      Love ya too, bro!

  2. that was long as fuck! XD
    I’m glad you’re steadily becoming more comfortable with who you are and better coping with the cruel world. it certainly is a journey.
    and thanks to you, I have been learning to be more fearless with my writing. so thank you for that. 🙂

    • 😀 I know, luv. I wasn’t even planning on writing so much, but your blog post ignited it.

      So I have to thank you for it!

      The cruel world is what it is and it can kiss my butt cheeks now, since I am no longer scared to say what needs to be said. Does that make me always right, hell, no!!!

      I am glad I was able to take away a bit of your fears. As writers, we shouldn’t be so afraid, since the worlds we create are fictional for the most part. Fears are good for certain aspects of our lives but once they turn into something irrational, they can go to hell!

      🙂 Love, you, Chelsea!

  3. I am so proud of you for taking control of your life, finding your health, your passion, and your voice. in a way, being 5000 miles away probably helped me get to know you better than had I known you IRL, to me, for the longest time, you were a talking head. A head with a quiet sense of humor, a good soul, and some very….. “energetic” upstairs neighbors. I knew you were obese, you never really hid it from us, but that doesn’t really matter to a talking head.
    But since then, you’ve changed, and all for the good, you seem to have more drive, more ambition. In a way, it seems as if you have finally found your true self, not the self that the rest of the world made of you.
    I most certainly encourage you to write, a having a creative passion is possibly the greatest feeling, the greatest comfort. the freedom to express oneself has been a blessing for myself, and I wish you the greatest happiness in that endeavor.
    Remember, you don’t always need to find a place for yourself, you can make your one place, and to hell with anyone who says otherwise!

    Best wishes and love,
    -Jonathan-

    • Thank you, Jonathan! 🙂

      Your reply really means a lot to me (all of the replies I get mean a lot to me). I have come a long way and I sometimes forget that there are people out there, like you 5000 miles!!! away, who followed my transformation, which doesn’t mean I forgot about you. I actually think quite often of the skype calls, wherein my “energetic” upstairs neighbors let it all out, just too bad that my microphone is unable to pick those “energies” up. 😀

      Yes, for a very long time I was just a framed “talking head” on youtube and I wouldn’t want to trade that time for anything in the wrold, because the expierences I have gathered along the way are very dear to me. Guys like you helped me to find my voice, helped me to let go of the fear to share my creativity.

      A lot of the people I used to be friends with IRL, saw my videos and just saw me doing goofy stuff, saw me reading my poems but they never really understood what was going on inbetween. They didn’t see my interaction with other people in the world. That part was almost completely lost to them. I tried to explain that to some of them and earned weird looks for the most part.
      There were a few who saw that I enjoyed doing it, they even were impressed with my increasing editing skills, even asked me to do something together with them. Those things never saw the light of day, because either their expectations were too high or their work process was too unreliable – who am I kidding, they were mostly unreliable.

      When I collaborate with someone IRL I want to have the same kind of synergy effect I get when I am working together with someone in the online realm.

      I think I am on my way to create my own space and if someone wants to join, I feel blessed about it but they have to see it through, otherwise I’ll have no other choice but to drop them.

      Thank you again.

      Hugs,
      Dome

  4. That is freaking long as hell bro, but I got thru chapter 1 of it so far. Great read and great to know you at both sizes. From one fat guy to one former fat guy…YOU do YOU and fk the world bro.

    • Hahaha 🙂 I have been told that a lot these days, because of that and due to the positive feedback I have gotten so far, I am working on a shorter follow up, wherein I am going to explain the procedure I’m going to have done in January, which is just the first of two surgeries. (So there are going to be more follow up blogs about this journey – I didn’t plan this, while I was creating my blog, but hey, these things happen for a reason sometimes.)

      Thank you, dear freind!

      Hugs, Dome

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  1. Welcome to my personal Hellmouth! – Part II – The Harvest « Mind the Gap

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