One thing I have been able to do quite a bit with my wife’s family since we have been together is go camping. It is something I never did much in my life before I met her, but something I have grown to enjoy immensely.
Her parents have a motor home which works out great for providing some privacy, storing all the good food, and shelter in case of shitty weather. My wife, daughter and I sleep in our tent which is awesome. Jocelyn last summer was a very good camper, we took her out three times I think. One of those times she even had a broken collarbone that we didn’t know about, but she barely complained. She slept through the loud bonfires and music and singing, she played on the beach and in the water, it was a real joy having her with us. Hopefully this year is the same.
I bring up camping because we are all going camping this weekend, Memorial Day. Sam’s uncle has some waterfront property up north. So we head up there and set up the campsite and get everything rolling for the long weekend.
My favorite time of day during the camping trips is right in the morning. I’m usually one of the first ones up, and I grab a book and take a chair over to the still smoldering fire and sit and enjoy a few chapters of a good book. It is quiet, peaceful, and the air is usually crisp.
Once everyone is up and active I find that I usually get lost in the shuffle, probably on purpose. That is unless someone wants to throw a Frisbee or a baseball, then they usually come find me and I am more than happy to oblige. I’m not really one to hang out on the beach, or go swimming, or really physically exert myself in anyway. I’ll play volleyball, but I’m more of a liability. I’ll play wiffleball and I guess I’m pretty good at that. I like to play cards, but they don’t always show up. I don’t mind splitting wood, or helping around the campsite, or setting things up or tearing things down. I like to help cook.
I try to be as helpful as I can be on camping trips. I am very aware that not only am I a guest, I’m not really even part of the family. I’m a guest of a guest. I am also aware of my body, the way I look, and how being fat is perceived. I don’t want to be the lazy fat guy who eats everything in sight. I go out of my way to eat well, and like a bird, to do as much as I can and absolutely everything that is asked of me. I spend a lot of my time asking what I can do or what needs to be done. I just want to be more than the size of my waist, and it weighs on me a lot.
It is the same reason I don’t swim much, sunbathe on the beach, and try not to play volleyball. I know I’m fat, there is no reason to subject everyone else to it as well. As a general rule of thumb I am very concerned with how I smell (most fat people I know are). This turns into an epic struggle while camping, as wearing cologne would be ridiculous. Deodorant, gold bond spray, baby powder, sweat rags, all vital to making sure I’m not invading someone’s nostrils.
I have also been told I am the loudest snorer on the planet. This is why I was so happy when we got our own tent. My wife doesn’t usually mind, and has told me that it has been a ton better since the ECT, an unintended benefit that I’m still not sure how it works. I like to have my own sleeping chambers, changing area, and space where I can be to myself. I like being responsible for it, and in charge of it.
Usually at night right at sunset we start a bonfire. There is a lot of drinking, usually hot dogs or s’mores or leftovers. Most nights my sister in law and her fiancé pull out their guitars and play and sing and everyone enjoys it, including myself. I used to bring my own guitar and join in but I’m not going to do that anymore. I usually also bring percussion instruments, like shakers and claves, which we pass around the fire and get some interesting rhythms. A lot of fun conversation and quoting of movies takes place when the music isn’t playing.
All in all I really enjoy the camping experience and I am grateful to my wife’s family for affording me the opportunity to join in, even if it might be the place where it becomes the most obvious that I don’t fit in properly, and where my body issues shine the brightest.