…from Alexandra Gardner:
In 2001/2002, I weighed around 280 lbs. I had always been overweight, but the combination of the Freshman Fifteen, a messy breakup, and my parents divorcing led me to balloon out. I knew that I was unhealthy, but the momentum required to change my life seemed like too damn much to do.
Faced with a desire to change but with no real plan on how to do it, I became obsessed with my hair. It was pathetic! I was one of those guys with the artfully messed-up hair that was glued firmly in place by whatever latest mega-hold hair product held my near-OCD fancy. (My favorite for a good two years was Paul Mitchell Lab Hair Glue!) I knew that it wasn’t helping anything, but I needed to have control over something of my appearance.
Lucky for me, I had some help. I had a therapist who was helping me get through breakup/divorce crap, and she decided that I was bipolar, and put me on a crap load of bipolar meds. Well, if you’re familiar with bipolar meds at all, you’ll know that they pack a punch, and knocked me on my ass for about six months. One of the guys that she prescribed me was Topomax, which is an epilepsy drug, but was being prescribed to support bipolar meds. Topomax has an awesome side effect of weight loss. That, combined with a concerted go at Weight Watchers for almost a year, helped me to blow through about 80 lbs.
Alex’s advice to me is from one of my many Twitter-whines about my career. I have a tendency to whine online about career crap because it gives me the same kind of feeling as doing my hair did when I was much bigger. It gives me the feeling that, even though things aren’t going well, I can do something. What I need to do is figure out a real plan on how to make my career go forward, instead of putting all my effort into spinning my wheels. The tough part is that successful composition careers feel random and cruel. There doesn’t seem to be a set way to go in order to guarantee yourself anything. I can feel it making me more and more bitter all the time.
Once I got it in my mind to lose weight, I went out and bought myself a set of hair clippers and chopped off all my hair. I’ve been doing the same thing ever since. I wonder if I’ll end up doing something similar once I figure out how to proceed with composing…