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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How losing 100 pounds has made me a better musicia

Current mood: peaceful

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Hey UG.

It's been a while since I've been super active in the community, probably about 2 years or so. And I must say that quite a lot has happened since then.

For one, I completed my Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish, and I'm now going to a different school in a new city to get my teaching certification. It's been a long road, and I didn't think I'd ever be saying this, but I am very grateful for the last 5 years in school.

Of course, the most significant thing that has happened to me, and probably the main reason why I haven't been too active in the UG community, is because I've gone through some pretty significant life changes in the last 2 years.

As the "fat kid" since as long as I can remember, going through my teenage years that way was definitely tough. I was definitely able to fake my way through high school, using self-deprecating humor in order to offset the insults that were constantly being thrown at me.

But the only time that I was truly happy was when I was playing the guitar.

I loved how absolutely anything was possible on the instrument, and how there were an infinite number of styles that I could indoctrinate into my own. I loved that feeling of accomplishment that came with learning that next seemingly "impossible" song, and how it would eventually become one of the easiest songs in your repertoire to play. I loved how I seemed to have a knack for writing instrumentals that would draw an audience, which has slowly but surely been expanding bit by bit as the years go on.

And yet outside of the guitar, much of my existence seemed so unfulfilled.

I found it virtually impossible to get a date, even with girls that I wasn't really all that interested in. At my heaviest I weighed around 280 pounds. Aside from just relationships, my weight had also prevented me from getting my glider pilot's license through the Royal Canadian Air Cadets program, which to this day is something I regret somewhat.

Eventually it got to the point where I was head over heels for this girl who was just using me for the attention. I got really depressed and thought about calling it quits. Life, I mean.

And in the end, the only thing that came between me and this terrible decision was a dream that I had fostered since I was 14 years old. I wanted to be one of the greats, just like my idols - Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, Steve Vai etc. I wouldn't let the so-called real world take me out for good.

Since that day just over 2 years ago, through running 40 minutes a day 6 days a week and having a proper diet, I have really managed to turn my life around. Not only has the loss of 100 pounds made me more confident with women and society in general, but it has also allowed me to play the guitar with zero inhibition.

Before, when I was playing, even on my best days I would always be thinking to myself that people were judging me on my weight, and not my playing. It felt like no matter how much effort I put in, they would never be able to just appreciate the music for what it was, which is not sights, but sounds. I should also mention that my fingers became a lot more nimble, and thus my speed increased seemingly overnight.

The real profound difference was that I was also able to start singing. I'm by no means perfect yet, but just the fact that I am no longer afraid of how other people will judge me as a person means that I am no longer afraid of putting my voice out there. And I've developed a fantastic percussive-acoustic style that is no doubt due to me actually being physically fit enough to pull it all off.

Being able to put myself out there in the world more has meant that I've a plethora of new experiences. And all of these new influences have vastly improved my songwriting ability, and has given me even more confidence that one day I will make it and my dreams will be realized.

I don't know how much further I have to go, only how far I have come. And if I could go through that blistering inferno and only become stronger, then there's no way I'm going to stop now.

I'm sorry I've been away from the community for so long, but I've had to deal with a lot of my inner demons, and I've grown up a lot in the process. I don't like to talk about this stuff at all, as it's very personal to me, but at the same time I really want to use my story to help people in some way.

All I can say is that if you're overweight and unhappy, then let my story give you the strength and the courage to overcome it. I had never even known what it was like to be a healthy body weight, and somehow I managed to find it after many trials and tribulations. If you're a musician with a dream, then let this story propel you forth in those times of weakness when you think about quitting, or that you're not as good as you want to be.



So long as you keep believing, it will happen for you in the end.

Never give up on yourself or your abilities.

That is all I have to write for you today.

~Tim.
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