BASED IN UK
Michael Rhodes is an independent blues and soul singer and songwriter living in Milton Keynes, UK by way of Lagos, Nigeria.
He also occasionally write essays and articles about human behaviour and society.
He also occasionally write essays and articles about human behaviour and society.
This Fucking Fat
Charlie’s fucking stunning! The lines on his back. The muscles on his arms. The perfect definition of his chest. Stunning. I’ve saved an image of him as the screensaver on my phone. I’m serious this time. This image will give me the kick I need to get the body I want. I’ve made a plan. Three meals a day. Protein, carbs, and fat all perfectly measured out and a six-week timespan to start. Honestly, I mean stunning. I’m 229.2 lbs. I wonder what Charlie is?
Great smile, flat stomach, muscular thighs. Even in baggy clothes, he’s still stunning.
I wonder how boys like this feel? When he wakes up how does he feel in his body? When he’s walking down the street how does it feel in his body? The looks he must get. What’s it like to have that body? Boys like this must be so happy. I wouldn't know. It’s been 3 months and the rolls of fat on my back are the most productive thing I’ve acquired so far. Lockdown was a bad time for the diet. Really let myself feel the comforts of chicken bakes, pizza, and fries. Lots of ice cream. Lots of rice and bread. There’s a way I know if I’ve gained too much weight, a layer of fat gathers in between my man boobs. It’s back. That’s shit. As well as a layer of fat underneath my man boobs.
Over the last three months, I must have tried about 10 times to get my fitness right. I even hired a personal trainer via Instagram. If I’m accountable to someone it’ll make me more determined I thought. That was false and £115 down the drain. Nothing came between me and Dairy Milk Whole Nut.
When I go out now I walk more slowly. I’m more fatigued. I don’t think my inner frame is very big so all this fat is really an inconvenience. A big inconvenience.
I’ve been living in pyjamas for most of the time. Stretch fabrics are a great deceiver. I’ve had to put on my work clothes again. They are TIGHT! Even though I feel so uncomfortable in my own body, it seems like there’s something in me that isn’t fussed enough to totally get rid of it. I was looking at myself in the mirror at work on my first day back and I was thinking "why am I not more bothered by this?"
I was watching an Oprah episode sometime ago, she’s struggled with her weight all her life. There was mention about addiction to food being similar to other substances that are more vilified. But the comfort experienced is the same. You are hooked in the same way. I think I am addicted to food. I wonder if other people know this similarity about food, drug, alcohol addiction?
I make comments to beat people to the punch. If I say I’m fat and own that no one can use it against me. My work colleagues learnt that lesson.
Two years ago, in the shop I work at I met a boy named Billy. He is just...! He walks in the kind of way that people walk when everything in life is going their way. It’s like the sun shines on him and in him. I remember the first time I saw him. Really? Woah! Clothes just don’t fit on people that well. The way his legs move. He swings his arms in the most charming braggadocious way. His ass is amazing! Like two perfect globes in motion. I’ve been squatting for months. No such ass has developed for me. Shit! He has the most amazingly defined chest. I touch my chest. Ha! One of these things is definitely not like the other.
I stand in the shower and look at my body in the mirror. The bathroom has always been a refuge for me. I look at my reflection. I stand sideways. I push my stomach out as far as it can go. I bend over. I let the fat on my chest fall. I let all the fat fall. I look at myself. Wow!
This is irritating and inconvenient. I stand forward and raise my hands to the ceiling, stand on my tippy toes, and stretch my body as much as a can. I try and see what I would look like if I were leaner. Good, I think. The visual somewhat helps. There are times when I do get leaner. Times when I do stick to the fitness plan. A month has been my record. Now I’m aiming for three. Times like those I look good I think. But I want to be stunning! I want to walk down the street and make people double turn. I want to get things for free and have experiences I didn’t even plan for. I want to date 10 people at once because I can and have them all wanting me. I want to fuck a fat person because I can. I want this stupid fat on my back gone. No more man boobs, no more heaps of fat on my stomach, no more bloated face, wobbly thighs. No more.
Elliot is stunning, Obi is stunning, Mark is stunning. Lerato is stunning. I scroll through their Instagrams at short bursts. Soon enough I will know what this is like. Just 3-6 months. Have to stick on the fitness plan for 3-6 months. Come on you can do it. When I look like this. I’ll finally go on a date, I’ll have better sex, I’ll be invited to more events, I’ll have more friends. Boys like these have more friends.
A while ago I stalkishly found and added Billy on Instagram...cause I’m a fucking freak. He must have been so weirded out, he blocked me. Haha! "How did a random person find him?" He must have thought. Every time he comes into the shop now he ignores me.
But hey. At least I’m talented. The sounds that come out of my mouth are really sweet. I’m a great friend. I’m really nice and very knowledgeable I like to think. One day I’m going to be rich. Life will be sweet. Sometimes I hate being asked about my dating life. Of course, nothing is happening. I’m FAT! Lol. I replied to this question recently with a “here I am single like a Pringle”. I was told I’m a tasty crunchy Pringle. That made me laugh. I smiled. I know I am.
Three days ago I considered getting another personal trainer. He ended our zoom call by telling the people around him “well that was a waste of time.” How nice.
Eventually, I’ll look like Billy. 3-6 months on a fitness plan. Come on you can do it. 3-6 months.
Anxieties at 27
I feel so much shame. Yesterday I was on Instagram and came across a post from a boy I went to primary school with. It was a ginormous Spotify billboard for his new song, placed above the New York police department in Times Square. I was so happy for him, genuinely thrilled in fact. I even reposted the picture. Upon further scrolling, I found out another boy I went to school with produced the song. He looks so good, this puberty thing seems to have really worked out for some people. I'm really happy for them, honestly, I feel no jealousy. However, in the same space, feeling all this joy for their success made me feel empty. You see, I've been trying to break into the music industry for about 3 years now and most days I feel like I’m putting water into water.
I think about my past a lot. I wonder if I had kept or made certain friendships, would my life have moved further along? I wonder if life had placed me in a heavily social family, would I have known sooner that a big reason why people succeed is because of who they know and who they are friends with? This is a lesson I've learnt these last two years. I've heard Kris Jenner say versions of this lesson multiple times. "People help their friends. A big part of how you make it is who you know." Most days I feel like I know no one. I feel like I'm screaming underwater trying to be heard and the sound dies out before it reaches the top.
Seeing boys and girls I was around for 6-12 years now doing big things, travelling the world, realizing their dreams really gets me down. Am I not as good as I think I am? Did I miss my chance?
Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself though. I've always been an outsider and during those younger years, I dealt with so much bullying, pain and ostracization. I don't know how much capital I had to create friendships as the weirdo kid who everyone thinks is super strange. But had I known what I know now maybe I would have found
a way to? Maybe I would have killed parts of myself. Maybe I would have created new parts?
I know I'm talented, I know I've worked really hard on my craft, but it never seems to work. What am I doing wrong? Deep in my soul, I feel so sure of what I'm on earth to do. So not doing it seems like I'm wasting time. But I'm trying to do it, really trying. Every day I feel like I'm flailing in the wind, wasting by. I'm nearly 30, and even though I've never felt restrained by my age, I do realize and acknowledge that that has some significance in culture. What if I don't achieve my dreams? What am I actually going to do with myself? I honestly don't know.
I went to university to study fashion at one of the top universities in London. I've been a graduate for nearly three years and the only job I've been able to get is a retail job I hate. Earning minimum wage and working with 16-18-year-olds. I feel so much shame.
Every day when I get on the bus, as I walk the corridors of the shopping center and walk into the store it feels like I'm living in a simulation of my life. It's like a dream, it feels like I'm not supposed to be there. I know where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing but I'm not doing it. And it's not for lack of trying. I have attempted every possible method and used every tool at my disposal, so why isn't it happening?
In the last three years, I've gone up and down in weight. When I'm depressed I eat a lot. I think I've been depressed since I was about 11, that's when my parents got divorced. I don't know what happened exactly but I have this faint memory of being at the back of our house and beginning to use food as a calming substance. Since that moment I've had a problem with food. I've never made that connection prior to writing this. I should probably get some therapy or hypnosis to figure out what that's all about. I've tried for years to get the body that I want and I've never been able to. My sadness just gets so overwhelming and I always find relief and escape in food. For
those brief indulgent moments, everything is fine. There's no pain or worry or stress. I've been fat for the three years since my graduation and I've gotten fatter since being in the Covid-19 lockdown. That's been shit. Haha! I feel such shame.
The last year has been rocky. I'm grateful I'm still here and for all that I have, but there've been moments of job loss, financial strain, conversations about possible homelessness, sleeping, and waking up with chronic anxiety. It's been rocky.
I wish I could provide more for my mum, she does so much. My dad too. So much! But I work a fucking retail job. I feel so much shame! I have considered selling drugs. Ha! But the guy never got back to me. What a low dredge. I have a fucking university degree. I'm at a point in my life now where I'm trying to think of other skills to develop and new ways to get out there and make a better living. I'm considering marketing, copywriting, being a receptionist for a massive law firm...I wish I had a better relationship with my brother. That's a sour point. I have these grand visions of having a Kardashian like relationship with him. I wish I had more brothers. I wish I was not the oldest. I honestly don't feel like it. I feel like the essence of me is a 12-year-old me. Youthful, fragile, naive, awestruck. I wish I had stronger platonic relationships with men.
I don't know, maybe something will work out.
I'm thankful for the friends I have. Two good ones and one very good one. I suppose everyone has at least one good friend. I'm grateful for that. Most days I wish I was more good-looking. Maybe I'll be further along. I wish I had more friends. Maybe I would be further along? I think people like...least let me rephrase, I think I'm a likable person. But when I go to social events I feel like such a weirdo in a crowd of beautiful, cool, successful people. My sister's great too. Really great.
The most overwhelming example of this feeling was the first time I went to UK black pride. The train ride back home was one of the
most depressing moments of my life. Haha. Being around all these guys with their beautiful bodies and great jobs and joyful friendship groups...and there I was again. Alone. Fat and alone. Ha! I felt such shame. I saw a guy I went to primary school with there. We used to be good friends. He's a model now who works in IT or finance. The summer days before that gathering were filled with such depression and isolation for me. So that day was really a push for me to get out and find some joy. Anyway, when I saw him he looked me up and down with such confusion and maybe a bit of disgust and comic gaze. Staring at my body, uncut hair...maybe I didn't look ok enough to go outside as I thought. Ha! That memory and that look have never left me. I felt such shame. I feel such shame.
I'm really strong though and eternally optimistic. I'm a very positive person. I often think that if I didn't feel I had a talent worth sharing or there was something I really could contribute to the world that would be of value I might not be here. I've thought about suicide before. Although never in such a deep state, more at 5% frustration. Maybe it's narcissistic but I really do believe I have so much value to give to the world. And I want to give it.
I've heard the universe conspires to help you when you want something. Can someone explain to me what the universe is fucking doing? Cause this isn't what I want, and it's not what I've been asking for, for the last 6 years. I've heard manifestation is key to getting what you want. You have to get in the same vibration as what you want, and if it's supposed to be for you it will come. The life I want for myself I feel it so deeply, so strongly. I can smell it. I can feel my body in that reality. I want a BIG life! So what if it doesn't come? I cannot accept that. It's frightening to even imagine it not happening. This is honestly exhausting. Some days I wish I was rich. I could probably just buy my way in. Or perhaps was good looking enough to get a sugar daddy. Ha.
What I really want to do with my life is to use my voice to show people that we are more alike than we are different. I want to bring people together and make people feel less alone. Maybe one day it'll happen. Maybe eventually I'll feel less shame. I'm practicing a new manifestation technique. I let videos encapsulating the life I want play as I sleep. Interviews and documentaries of Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Adele, and Lady Gaga. They are talking about the meanings behind their work, having number one songs, creating in the studio, public recognition, etc. Ha. I believe it'll happen. In those moments there's no shame. I feel no shame.