Monday, March 16, 2009

Guest Blogger - Brandi Koskie

My dear friend Brandi (whom I've given several nods to here in the past) was also kind enough to do some guest blogging for me.

One of my favorite things about Brandi (and I may have already said about Brandi here but I will say again) is that she is probably the MOST empathetic skinny person I have ever met when it comes to obesity.  Not only does Brandi gather and share knowledge to and from fat people for a living but she also can sit, without the slightest bit of awkwardness, and talk about obese people who over feed their children, obese people who self loathe, obese people who don't take care of themselves and really disrespect their families in the process and the charms of the rare morbidly obese person who is not just a morbidly obese person (that is sarcasm, obviously).  Brandi is the only person that I have ever met who is not the slightest bit overweight that I have not ever felt odd about being overweight in front of (I get over it with most people but not quickly or easily) and she is the only person that I have met since moving to Wichita (the rest of my crew of honest-keepers came with me, to be clear) who I truly believe could easily put me in my place when and if the time ever comes that I need someone to do the "tough love" thing with and for me.  

Thank you, Brandi.  For coming in to our life and bringing your husband with you.  We really enjoy you and we appreciate you.  Skinny or not - you Koskies are gooooood people.  So good, in fact, that I can't resist another plug for your site!

I remember the first time I saw Sean. I had gone into the agency to visit a friend for lunch. I am an alum of Sean's current employer. I was taken back when I saw this portly fellow walking through the agency. Being totally frank and honest, as mine and Sean's relationship has grown to be, I initially had all the stereotypical flags wave in front of me that the ignorant people I hate would typically have. But there are members of my family who are in a position to consider bariatric surgery and so I reminded myself that he's probably just as normal and lovely as they are. I have no idea what he said, but I remember thinking, "Nice! He's kind of cocky and full of himself."

It was several weeks before I saw Sean after that. As a work-from-homer I enjoy getting out of the home office space occasionally and the "employer" was letting me share a desk for a few days. I heard Sean say something about Biggest Loser and my interest peeked more. With my job I do some work with the show so I was excited to pat myself on the back and share this with a perfect stranger. That same day Sean came into the office I was using to meet with a co-worker about a client. This would become our first real engagement with one another. It was February. I had just received my order of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. I'm what you might call a sharer. So I offered. A cookie. Just one. To Sean.

INSERT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: At the zoo, they advise that you not feed the bears for a reason. They will bite you. The same phenomenon is true with a Mr. Sean Amore. Do not offer him food. Food with sugar and preservatives. He will bite.

So I held out my sleeve of icy cold Thin Mint cookies and said, "Would you like a cookie?" I got a response somewhere along the lines of "Did you REALLY just offer ME a COOKIE?! You don't offer someone who has had GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY a COOKIE?! ARE YOU KIDDING?!" And so on. And with each ALL CAPS word or phrase he spouted, I lost two inches off my small 5'4" frame. By the time he was done berating me for offering him a cookie the size of a Ritz cracker, I could have run laps around the blasted cookie. 

And wouldn't you know it, after that we became friends and lived happily ever after. 

Seriously, while his outrage over A COOKIE shook me a bit (and rarely do I find people who "shake" me), I was impressed. He was funny. Rather sure of himself. He can play sarcastic word exchange like a raucous game of volleyball. And I liked it!

A few days after that we went with a few of his current and my former co-workers to lunch at Chipotle. While standing in line it came up that he has an adorable little girl named Ava whom he and his wife Joy adopted because they couldn't have kids on their own. Again, the stars aligned. I of course had to pipe right up and offer that my husband and I also can't conceive on our own and are pursuing IVF. 

So an unlikely friendship was formed. An accidental meeting between two cocky, sarcastic people who shared a very odd bond over obesity, Biggest Loser, infertility and a certain Wichita ad agency. 

It took several months of scheduling negotiations but we were finally able to bring our spouses together and let our new little foursome finally meet under proper terms. The Amores invited us to their house for dinner and my husband, Shelton, and I left feeling as though we'd left with much more than full bellies. (That Sean can cook, p.s.!) We had two new friends.

We spent that evening swapping stories about our broken reproductive systems, Sean's battle with weight and that had by some of our loved ones, the emotional angst that can only come from being all-too-involved with the Biggest Loser and a few other topics you should always discuss with new friends - politics, religion, abortion and money. 

So enough about our love story. This was supposed to be ALLLL ABOUT SEAN, right? Well, that's my Sean story. It's how I know him. In the year since I met Sean he's grown to be one of my favorite people. While I didn't know the pre-GB Sean, I'm incredibly proud to know the one that exists today. I'd love to be able to clink a frothy beer glass against Sean's and kill some tacos together, but I much prefer being the tipsy one in this relationship if it means that his life has changed for the better in the endless list of ways he says it has. My heart swells when I hear, see and read how happy Sean is. It's never fake with him. He's probably one of the most legitimately happy people I know. He's one of the few people I know who can genuinely say he has his priorities straight. It's strange how losing "a few" pounds can do that for someone. Of course, "a few" might be the most understated thing I've written here. 

I applaud Sean for so steadfastly sticking to his proverbial guns about his diet and lifestyle. There are no beers. There are no GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! There are no salads full of evil, evil lettuce. There's a happy man. A healthy man. A man who will live to see that gorgeous curly-mopped little girl grow into a beautiful woman. A man who will stand beside Joy long after Ava has her own kids keeping her up all night. While to this point in my life I've probably only ever had a good ten extra pounds to lose, and so my empathy might feel like a slap in the face to some, I've learned one hell of a lot from Sean's experience. And since we're like buddies now, I hope to keep watching and learning from Sean. Moreso, I look forward to watching Sean meet and beat more milestones in his very, very post-bariatric journey.

Happy Surgaversery, Sean!!!

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