If you didn’t already know, I am one of those guys who is very proud of his Scottish heritage.
I remember being in, like, second grade and seeing a program at school about the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It was the first time I remember hearing bagpipes. It moved something inside of me and I knew that it was part of my blood. I went home and dug through my mom’s fabric box until I found a piece of plaid fabric. I wrapped it around my waist and proceeded to parade myself around the house claiming to be descended from Scottish royalty. I was elated when my mom told me that her side of the family WAS Scottish, and that her maiden name, McElrath, was a sept of Clan Donald.
I spent the next lifetime [I am still spending it] throwing myself into learning more about my heritage and learning why my heart leaps whenever I hear the pipes or smell haggis. Ok, not so much the haggis part. Scotch eggs though. Man I love those things…
When I was in college I was doing some research on my surname, Hanna, and discovered all sorts of awesomeness. I found out that the Hanna’s were Scottish and that they even have their own tartan. Tartan is the plaid fabric that kilts are made out of for those who aren’t in the know. Oh hell! My family has a tartan! That meant I was going to get a real kilt.
And then I did what every American male with an ounce of Scottish blood wishes he had the intestinal fortitude to do.
I got married in my kilt.
Now, in the above pictures, you can definitely see that even back IN THE YEAR 2000…(hello Conan fans)…I was no skinny minnie. I have no idea how much I weighed then, but I would guess somewhere around 275. It is hard to see that because there are no pictures of me from the side angle. If there were you would see it.
Anyway, I have never been afraid to wear my kilt(s) (I own like 5 or 6) in whatever environment. Seriously, any environment. I actually wore my kilt to meet the guys from Orange County Choppers in Myrtle Beach one time. Vinnie said, “Nice kilt man! We should get one of those for Mikey!”
Can you see the progression of my weight in the above pictures?
Well let me get to the meat of this post.
I was one of, if not THE, youngest board members of the Scottish Society of Charleston several years ago. That is the group that organizes the Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. I was very proud to me on the board and I took the position very seriously. I used to think that I even held a little respect in the other board members eyes.
Then one evening at a meeting, we were discussing the upcoming event. I made a comment about wanting to get a new kilt in time for the Games. One of the other board members, in front of the entire board and gathered members, commented, “Do you have to go to Omar the Tent Maker to get your kilts made?” Everyone laughed. Everyone except me.
It was the first time an adult had ever made a joke about my weight to my face, and in front of other people. I was devastated. The worst part is that it was someone that I liked and I thought liked me.
Well, that was one of those times where I had instantly wished I was skinny. Or at least not the fattest guy in the room.
I have thought a lot about that statement (ridiculous racism aside…) during my weight loss journey. It has been one of those little motivators to me; the type that makes me want to be a better person than the person who said it to me. I fell that this journey HAS made me a better person. Physically. Healthily. Mentally (debatable). But I also think it has changed the way I look at other people. People who are struggling with obstacles that are seemingly way bigger than they are. I feel compelled to care for them. I feel drawn to their story. And if I can, maybe even help them.
So what is going on with my kilt collection you ask? Here’s the good news. My kilts don’t fit anymore. They are way too big. Even the one that I wore in my wedding, which means that I am smaller now than when I got married.
Here’s the bad news.They are not easily nor cheaply tailored down. Here’s the other good news. I have a kilt maker in Philly. That one’s for you Mr. Jones. Also I have one kilt that was WAY to small for me when I got it. It NEVER actually fit. But I decided to pull it out of the bottom of the cedar trunk for this year’s Charleston Games. It was a bit too big, but I made it work nonetheless.
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