WHAT WE HAVE TO WORK WITH, PART 2

Now here comes the fun part…

In my last post I detailed all the positives that I am starting this adventure with, and to be fair there are quite a lot. Sometimes in life it takes seeing your achievements written down to really take stock and see that you aren’t quite the failure that you thought you were.

However, with age comes realism and pragmatism – we need to look at all the things that could potentially hold me back and bring the whole venture crashing to the ground in flames. We can start with something that, while not essential to success, could certainly be a barrier.

Let’s be blunt here – my current appearance is an issue. I’m bald, I’m overweight, I’m the wrong side of thirty and have been suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for two years. Its a sobering feeling to wake up, walk past the floor length mirror in your bedroom and catch sight of a belly like a melted candle, sagging man-tits and the bedroom light reflecting off a head so shiny it could give the Queen’s silverware a run for its money – all on the way to the bathroom praying that you’ll be able to take a crap so that your stomach doesn’t have a constant burning sensation all morning. In short, I’m not likely to become the next Ed Sheeran any time soon. Although I’m sure he struggles to take a shit sometimes as much as the next tiny ginger man. Its a far cry from the twentysomething guy who didn’t need to chase girls, as they came to him. I have a serious issue with comfort eating that has been with me for several years; probably triggered by the trauma of the previously mentioned toxic relationship. I have also recently started smoking like a chimney again, after five years ‘clean’. Which for an asthmatic who wants to sing for his supper is very bad news. When I smoke a cigarette now, I hear something a girl I used to know told me every time I lit up – ‘Smoking turns you yellow!’ Yes, it does indeed.

fiveyearsofchips-300x168
Me at my fattest. I look like I belong in a ska band called ‘Five Years Of Chips’

You could argue that I shouldn’t worry about my image and that the music is all that matters. There is certainly a case to be made for that (just look at Antony & The Johnsons, or The Magic Numbers for example) but I believe a good, strong image is very helpful if you want to be in the mainstream, and make no mistake that is where I feel I am best suited. At the very least I feel I’m not ugly (a six out of ten on my very best day, but not ugly!) and most of my image problems can be fixed.

Unfortunately I am destined to remain follically challenged until they decide that the cure they’re blatantly sitting on is commercially viable. Still, a good hat will always help and I’m building a sizeable collection. The good news is this – weight can change. I know this. Three years ago I ran for thirty minutes a night for six months, cut out the junk food and lost three stone. And then put it all back on again, with interest. That won’t happen this time, I can’t afford for it to happen. For the last week I have been running those thirty minutes a night, and I’ve taken the decision to go vegetarian.

Before you run away screaming to the nearest KFC have no fear; this will not become a platform for vegetable evangelism, and my motives are purely selfish and nothing to do with morals or ethics. My wife has recently become a vegan (again, purely for health reasons, she’s not militant about it) and I’ve watched the weight fall off her. I was vegetarian until the age of sixteen anyway (when I went ‘meat crazy’ for want of a less suggestive term) so its not an alien way of life to me. In the week or so I’ve changed my diet and started running; I’ve lost a few pounds already and not had a single twinge in my stomach. IBS is far more debilitating than people realise; it makes you feel unable and unwilling to do anything, so this first step is promising. As for the smoking; I’ve always been able to go cold turkey and I can do it again. This is the start of the physical revolution I mentioned in my first blog entry. We will get to the mental/spiritual revolution later.

mattthin

After I lost three stone. Some time in 2013

My next obstacle is that I don’t drive. Touring the country is going to be very difficult (though not impossible) unless I have my own wheels. I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of driving and so put it off as long as possible. Again, the good news is that I have finally been taking lessons for the last year (yes, I’m learning slowly); I’ve already passed my theory test and my driving test is booked for 8th August. So again, a problem that is close to being solved.

Something else I can’t ignore is this – I am married with children; one is only three, and one is currently being assessed for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (and has been for some years). They both unmistakably need their Daddy in their lives as much as possible. I also can’t pursue my career so blindly it costs me my marriage, I’m already hardly the most attentive of husbands and fathers and I need to take care not to unbalance things. This is all going to make swanning off abroad for a six month touring stint untenable at this time. There is no easy way to remedy this situation; but there are compromises that can be made and we will find a way.

And now onto what is without doubt the hardest obstacle to overcome – my own mind. But I think that is going to be a tricky enough subject that it needs its own post…

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