It had been years since I spent significant time in New York City. Every smell, taste, sound, sight is as vivid as I remember. There is just something about NY that you can’t get anywhere else. I was so excited to get out and spend time in the city.

The Brooklyn Bridge

For the first day of shooting we decided to do the whole “tourist” thing and film at all of the iconic places in New York. We scheduled time in Times Square, on the Brooklyn Bridge and on the circle tour around the island. I planned on seeing everything I could.

It was shortly after the day started that I made a major realization, I was not the same person I was the last time I was here. Our first stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. In the past I would walk the entirety of the bridge and feel great. I have, unfortunately, put several pounds on since the last time I took part in walking the Brooklyn Bridge. What seemed easy for the crew members, was incredibly difficult for me. To them, they were taking a little walk up the bridge; to me it was like running a marathon. With every step becoming more and more difficult, the only thing keeping me going was the embarrassment I felt from struggling so much. We got a quarter of the way up, already I wanted to give up and go back. I could feel the intensity of my heart rate increasing. The beat of a song getting faster and more intense as it goes on. My breathing began getting heavier and heavier. Twenty-pound weights started attaching to my legs and shoulders. With every step, my body resisted more and more. We got about half way and I had to stop and turn around. I felt horrible, but I knew if I kept going, I wouldn’t make it back.

The Brooklyn Bridge

I have several reasons for wanting to do this movie and for losing this weight. For a long time it was because I hated the way I look. I have created a fear of looking into the mirror so that I don’t see how big I am. In my head I am still the same 160 pound man I was 3 years ago. Every time I looked into the mirror, a piece of me realized how much I have changes since then, like I am not the same person. I have resisted stepping on a scale for almost a year out of hating the idea of knowing how big I have gotten. It feels as if everything I have worked for recently hasn’t changed anything. I no longer want to feel disappointed for allowing myself to get to this point. I have allowed myself to create the idea that ignorance is bliss.

Statue of Liberty

However, this was no longer just an issue about feeling bad or looking big. This was one of the first times I felt being overweight has held me back from doing something as simple as walking over a bridge. I have known that I have let myself get bigger, but it wasn’t until now that  have realized the true price I am paying for it. All I want now is to get to a point where I am able to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge without struggling. The most rewarding thing for me at this point is not just losing the weight. Rather, I must get to a point where I am healthy enough to function better at physical activity.

— Barry Roskin Blake

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