It was a decision that was more than two years in the making, and one that still makes me nervous as I write this. After ten years I’m walking away from the microphone. My last show as a morning radio host will be October 31st. *Gulp*
Almost two years ago, after losing the first 100 pounds, I was shooting a video for this blog near a walking track in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. I was holding a picture of myself at my heaviest weight and I said, kind of angrily:
“The life that that guy had at 460 pounds is really the life that I have now. We get up everyday and go to the same job. We have the same people in our lives. We have the same goals, and in a thousand ways none of that makes any sense because what I’m capable of and what this guy (holding picture) is capable of are two very different things.”
That was November of 2012. In the next three months I blew up my whole life. I ended a relationship, I cut people out who were holding me back, and I made the huge decision to pack up my life, leave my amazing job in Cape Breton and move to Fredericton, New Brunswick to launch two new radio stations and join a brand new morning show.
I had come so close to doing the right thing, but fell short. It wasn’t the station that needed to change, it was my actual job. I hadn’t yet realized that being behind a microphone was actually holding me back. I hadn’t yet accepted that I didn’t want to be on the radio.
That’s what I wanted at my heaviest. I wanted a place to hide. I wanted to set my sights on something that came easy to me, that tested me very little, and that frankly – took no effort. I’m not saying being an announcer is easy – I’ve been getting up before 4AM for eight years now. It’s not easy. It impacts your life in every way and I’ve watched that shift tear down some pretty strong people rather quickly. But for me – the job came easy, and that’s all I cared about at 460 pounds. Show me the easiest way to do anything and it’s the way I would go.
That’s just not who I am now. Actually, it’s not who I ever was but as I get healthier and become more comfortable living this new way, I’m just less interested in easy. I want the challenge. I want to be ambitious. I am loud about what I want. Probably too loud, honestly.
Sitting behind a microphone requires a certain amount to “stretching” that I’m not comfortable with anymore. Honesty is really important to me. I force myself to be honest about what I’m feeling and what I want, and I force myself to be honest when I communicate with others. Sounds really basic – but two years ago I was lying about almost everything to almost everyone.
Radio is theatre. Hosting is a performance, and by extension the host is a character. For six years in Cape Breton I “played” a version of Jay McNeil that I knew wasn’t real. For almost two years here I’ve done the same thing.
It’s taken me 32 years to figure out who I am and I don’t think it’s healthy for me to now spend four hours a day being someone else, for someone else.
So I have no idea if I’m making the right move. I could regret all of this. I could land back in a studio in six months and realize my thinking was completely wrong. Who knows? But personally, I’m not going to be happy until I try to step out from the shadow of who I was at 460 pounds, and this job is the last decision that guy made that I still live with everyday, and I’m never going to be comfortable with that unless I challenge it and a take this shaky, nervous step away from the mic.
To everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has ever listened – thanks for all of the laughs, especially the real ones.