Wait Weight? Don’t Tell Me!

IMG_5526

A friend’s post online sparked a thought, one about size, weight, and we feel about ourselves.

One of the things I am happy to see through social media is all the positive life progress people post online to keep themselves accountable. People are making their lives better and tracking every moment of it. These progressive pictures that propagate may be pesky to some people, but it always reminds me of being able to overcome adversity and the ability for us to turn our lives around, not through ease but through hard work and perseverance.

I used to count calories to see low I could go. Food was the enemy, and I was just a warrior in my battle against it.

I had always been heavy for my height, thankfully always getting taller to accommodate for all the extra calories.  By the time I entered high school I was already unhappy with myself, which was one part depression and two parts the unfortunate side effect from it.  I ate to make myself feel okay, thinking I needed that extra sandwich at lunch.  I was a new place, with new people, after an old place with old people, something needed to change.

I was in my second year, learning to love the hobby of running that the results gave me something more than I could imagine, confidence.  I was starting to feel comfortable in my own skin.  The problem was I didn’t really know what healthy was, I mean sure my cousins worked out but I was never really privy to what exactly they were doing.  So I stuck to my guns, decided to do all I could to reduce my weight.  I was adhering to a guideline set out for me by the BMI index and dropping weight as much as I could.

I think few things really affected me during this period. First is that I got down to the weight that I wanted to, finally for the first time in my recorded life I hit the standard weight category. Second, my sister constantly referred to me as manorexic because of this weight loss. Third, I felt like I was finally able to have control over my own body. Lastly, the way I was eating caused me to have dizzy spells in the middle of the day where my vision would act like I was in the ocean and start wiggling about. I wanted to keep going because it felt so good to lose but my body resisted and stopped.

That being said, the next year I gained some of the weight back (partially because I was happily in my first relationship) and I have been yoyo-ing ever since. In all the subsequent years after that, I have never had a normal BMI number. Now it’s not unobtainable for a long stretch, but the question is, what is it that I want.

Years after another set of up and down I decided that my fitness goal instead of a number I am shooting for a fitness level.  I want to be able to get up and go if my friends ask me to go on a spontaneous hike. I devoted myself not to look at the scale, as it is deceiving, never letting me get away from how others think my body should look and feel.

Now my goals have grown from there, and I feel like I am the most fit I have ever been in my life, not skinny in the conventional sense but have a lot more muscle than before.  I am happy because I can eat the occasional unhealthy meal knowing I mostly eat healthy things and keep active incredibly regularly.

I stepped on the scale recently, not by choice but I wasn’t worried about what it said.  I am 6’1″, 222 pounds, conventionally this weight would mean I was on the verge of obesity but I know that’s not true.  This is a weight of effort and work, muscle.  We’re not all the same, and there are better ways to check how well you’re doing but it is always possible to become healthy, our bodies want us to be.  In the end as long as your making progress, then that’s all that matters, you are lapping everyone on the couch and that’s something to be proud of.

I will occasionally get worried about the number of calories I eat or feel like I need to step up my game at the gym. The mirror truthfully never is anything other than a battle between me and my scarred self-image. Whats most important is that I’m healthy, so if you ever wanted to have me step on a scale I might reply “Wait weight? Don’t tell me!”

Untitled.

A writes got to write.

But these worse, they don’t come easy.
Like a separation of skin from spirit, my hesitation comes from within.

There is a pain I wish to feel, sorrow in my heart that would make me feel okay
Like all of which I have just gone through is not just me but something more.

How can you argue with yourself
When your body and mind fail, you and you are sitting at the keys wishing words to pour out, but none come.
I scared them away with this intensity, and I don’t know how to get them back.

I have to be here, to suffer through the ambient silence and allow myself to be consumed by its misery. Quietly be eaten away but the hands of time as the push me towards the end of days.

I am not great, nor am I good.  This separation of what others see and what I do confuses me.  How could they see something that I can’t, why won’t the way I see? I would be much easier for me.

I need to write because I am a writer. Without writing I feel this pain weigh heavy on my heart. So I will put words to a page to save myself from the nothing within.

The Eternal Calm

IMG_8973

Like the sitting shores of a forgotten beach lays waveless water calm and deep.   Its sands untouched, unmoved, unmanned stacks so high like a reaching hand. From atop the sandy hill, you can see the waters still. And with those waters without a wake, reflects the world we hope to make.  Sky is ground and ground is sky, maybe it’s how we learn to fly. Because out on the horizon where these two skies meet, lies the eternal calm of a waveless beach.

The storm has passed for now, and my body is telling me that I need to rest.  It’s in these time, right after the rain ceases to fall, that calm rolls over and we are allowed to sit and ponder before life resumes again. I have faced these fears of mine, fears of inadequacy and being an impostor.  My stress levels have dropped, and my body relaxes. Many of these things have subsided for the moment, though to be honest I probably am just in the eye of the hurricane, waiting for the water wall to hit again.

I feel this weird, eerie calm wash over me. My body lightens and heavies, recovering from the burden I have been putting it through. I am a bit flat affect, much quieter and introverted. This part of me comes out to restore and refresh. To remind me that I am human and though life will move on, that things will change and the only way to get through them is to take care of myself.

So that’s what I am doing this week, not thinking much, but thinking regularly. Not doing much but moving forward.  Not saying much but speaking volumes. Soon the world will become boisterous again with the tide of fall so I will enjoy the calm while I can. Today is for rest so tomorrow I can be strong again.

 

The Promise

DSC00263

I bought a ring recently, seemingly out the blue but it had been something I was thinking about doing for a while now. In slipping it on my finger, it felt it right, felt like exactly what I needed. Now the ring is nothing fancy, just a black and red silicone band that fits my finger well enough. A simple ring that called to be worn, a finger bear and empty.  There is something I needed from this ring that I couldn’t get from a tattoo or some other symbols. With every morning, be it habit or choice, I could put on the ring and carry it around as a reminder to myself. A reminder I spend my life pursuing the things that matter to me, a life I choose above all other alternatives. Each time I put on the ring, I will choose to walk this path, a promise to myself that this path is a choice, and the path that I have chosen.

It’s easy to lose sight of the important things when the mounting stress and deadlines are sitting at my doorstep.  Over the past couple of weeks, it has been difficult starting a cycle of impending dread that would mount infinitely high until I felt like my head was ringing and a weight upon my chest.

These feeling pass though, as long as we let it and when everything clears it always comes with revelation.  Whether or not this is the, I want to be doing with my life.  It’s not the first time this has happened and these feelings never get any easier to feel, there is great humility in them.  When everything is stripped away things become clear and path before me adjusts to razor sharp focus.  I want this life, it’s a life I have been building up for years.  When everything is overwhelming, the motivation and feelings towards it feel bloated and stale.  It’s easy to lose sight of the goal or become jaded with the constant progress I need to make to achieve it. Sometimes we need that suffering to stay true to the path.

Above all things I have been thinking about life, and what life really is about.  Sure there are many aspects to it, roles to fill, things to do, and memories to have. But a lot of what it comes down to is the suffering we choose.  Take for instance parenting side effects include sleepless nights, undue stress, premature hair loss, loss of time, and loss of money and yet billions of people choose to do it.  If I went up to most parents I don’t think they would even think about it, the choose this life because suffering culminates to something more, something fulfilling.  We choose our sufferings because it brings us closer to the lives we want to live. I look at it and think about it, would it be better to be suffering from having lost my purpose, or grief of giving up on a dream? I would always much rather have sleepless nights and stressed filled hours pursuing something greater than myself than the problem of too much sleep and not enough to do.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we choose from infinitely many possibilities, some being better than others and yet it’s us to suffer through.  I would much rather suffer for the things I love than suffer for the things I hate. I have a ring now, that fills my finger and reminds me of the choice I make every day to move towards my dream.

The Things Destroying Me.

IMG_7381

The point of this blog is to talk, have a conversation with myself and others about life. Sometimes I worry about this because I live on a line of wanting to show everything and feeling too bashful to explain the subtle nuances that permeate my being that may lie in the far reaches of social taboo.  Slowly I attempt to unravel this as experience give me inspiration to write and press forward.  I guess today is one of those days because my life feels like it’s wrapped like an ouroboros destroying itself while trying to live.

In recent weeks I have reported my progressive tribulations with my inability to work.  My hands have heavy, my eyes refuse to look at screens because they hurt, and from the sudden rise in heartbeat from attempting to open my email I am starting to think some of these symptoms are psychosomatic.  What is the cure to this, I don’t know, but from what I know about most trials in my life, the only way to really become serious about solving a problem is recognizing there is one in the first place.

I feel like I am falling apart, the order I crafted now feels like an inverted tower of Hanoi, building large bases on small foundations wondering when everything will simply topple over and chaos returns. I can’t keep all these balls that I am juggling in my hand, and I have a feeling at any given moment I start messing up and lose one after another. I am starting to forget when things are happening, losing track of tasks I have to do.  That aided with my systems of effort beginning to fail in the heat-drenched summer, I feel powerless to anything except persist.

My time is slipping away right in front of me, and I am letting it.  Under the excuse of needing time to myself, this unstructured period is ruinous for everything I am attempting to do. A push, drive to move forward dissipates in the lack of deadlines and feelings of need. My head is pounding attempting to push forward but the time I sitting in front of my task that sense and ability won’t come. Like calling for a hero but it never arriving I slink back into my chair in attempts to wait it out, maybe just a couple minutes longer and I can finally do it.

I am falling back into the bad habits of yesterday.  This idea that through it all I can find makeshift comfort in the virtual illusion of porn haunts me. This tugging I had no problem overcoming seems now a persistent voice attempting to seduce me into a false serenity built on a growing instability of self.  This force, like most know, is built on a promise of escape and the illusion of intimacy contends with my desire to keep focused and away from what I know harms me.

I feel now dread from the simple act of checking if there anything more to do, waiting for the call of failure in and the black and white textures of an email or text. I dread this failure, but it keeps me still. I try to face it but it overwhelms me, and I don’t know what to do.

I want to slink away, be away from everyone and everything. Just a quiet moment for my thoughts and yet when those times come I can help but surround myself in noise. I want to have control, and I feel like I’m losing it.  I want to just succeed, but all I feel is failure.  Why won’t my body move what I want it to – what I need it to. I feel at the mercy of these things I feel like no control over and powerless to stop.

In all of it I know is two things.

First, I surrender to it, I will fail, fall, and falter.  There are things in life that are bigger than us, stronger than us and to get through them we have to recognize that they have this power.

Second, I have to persist. Strength isn’t gained in a day, and courage isn’t fostered through a peaceful life. I am not strong sometimes, and that’s okay.  Little by little and piece by piece things will get done and time will pass. Things will change and as they do so will I.

I don’t know how this will turn out, but it scares me. Scares me a lot.

Touch The Sky And Fly

IMG_9496 2

My hands won’t move like I want them to, gracing the keys of my keyboard only as a means to waste the empty time I yearn for. These hands of mine can’t seem to catch that little spark of motivation to light my spirit ablaze and free me of this cumbersome dread that seems to linger. A lingering that fills up with self-doubt and feelings of personal failure.  I keep telling myself, I need a day. A day where nothing happens that I am free for a moment of the shackles that bind me to earth.  I feel the weight sitting upon me like chains stacked aloft wishing to be free of this burden. All I can do is climb to the sky in hopes to touch it and be like the birds that fly above. Maybe then I will be able to unburden these weights from me and float free.  My breath feels short, as the mountain I climb peaks are hidden in clouds, the path ahead is treacherous, but I am more afraid the shattered pieces of a broken will than any jagged rocks I may find along the way.

Is it discipline than I lack?  Motivation is a fleeting mistress that only comes by to entice you along the path but is long gone by the time it actually matters.  I need to pursue discipline than, a being that requires energy to fight back the entropy of the continued universe has on my life. With each rising degree the summer heat saps my energy, leaving me with traces of what could have been produced.  Is the answer simply just to decide to do so? Can it be that simple as just to power through? Most of human nature is left to an infinitely complex set of dispositions and experiences, and yet each of us is faced with the simple dichotomous decision of will and won’t. Is that where my problem lies.  I am simply not saying will enough and letting time pass by and chose for me.

Here I sit in the heat of summer surrounded by fans hoping for the night air to finally cool.  Maybe tomorrow rings in my head, a tomorrow of infinite possibilities. I know I can’t wait until then. Everything is given to tomorrow, so much so that tomorrow never comes because it is scared of the work.  What is better than tomorrow but today. If I start working today then we can find a way to inch by inch climb this mountain shrouded in clouds and finally touch the sky.

Flying isn’t the act of merely finding yourself in the air, but working hard enough to keep yourself there.

Animated Change

wallup.netPhoto From: 5 Centimeters per second.

It was the 1980’s, a time of great change in music, movies, and media. You see, up to that point, this small art style coming out of Japan was starting to make headway with western audiences.  An older generation appreciating the art from the 50’s and 60’s huddled together at small expos and cons to collect as much of this foreign delicacy as they could. What they didn’t know is that a few short years this would all change, and change quickly.

The first change came fast, a new popular show called Sailor moon came out with a roar, bringing young girls flocking for more from animators across the sea. It was such a hit that the transition period between the old and the new felt more like a crash than a movement. Gradually as the 90’s pressed on Americans were introduced to a variety of styles, artists, genres, and stories never seen on home TVs.  These pieces of Anime as is was called presented new ideas and spun the idea of exactly what show could be like. Shows that weren’t afraid to tell a story where the hero dies at the end, where the send-off is bittersweet, and you’re forced to think about yourself and the world around you a little bit differently. Masters of their craft illuminate the halls of an art form that continues to shift and changes with each passing year. New stories are being told, new artforms being discovered, and new people finding this glorious cacophony of beautiful minutes shared across millions around the world.

Why am I telling you all this?

I discovered Anime a little over 12 years ago.  One night, sitting quietly in a room watching a marathon of a show I have never seen before got me hooked.  A show about a soul reaper and a boy with the power to see the dead.  It was easy enough to pick up, even read, and that’s saying something from a boy who never read.  It consumed me and held me it’s magical embrace, so when the opportunity arose I went to my first convention and I hadn’t looked back since. It has a staple of my early July, more regular than my schooling and in some way connects me to the craft I grew to love.

This year demarks my tenth year of going to Anime Expo, and something is different this time.  Year after year, as I’ve gotten older a little less comes with me each time enter those grand halls.
Sometimes it’s friends, I’ve seen my fair share move forward and on from the con.
Sometimes it shows, I’ll feel a little more out of touch with what people are excited about.
Recently it’s been the focus,  what everyone seems to want and buy there doesn’t interest me as much anymore.  It could be from the familiarity from many years attending but it all feels repetitive, distant.

It’s a combination of all these things that makes going back a little bit harder each year. This by no means is it a bad convention. It’s a great convention, with some growing pains but people still get excited about all the new and wonderful things they are experiencing. It’s just me, I’m changing, and my relationship to the fandom is different now.  Like an old man coming back to a schoolyard years after he graduated, it’s more reminiscent of times past than times present.  Things have changed, people have changed, places have changed as they should. It has to adapt to the people it’s still serving, long after we make use of it.  But is it my time to graduate, to move forward onto something new? It’s this conflict that weighs heavy in my heart. When I leave, it may not be forever, but if I ever return it will be different, for different reasons and a different me.

This fight with my personal obsolescence hits me because this con is part of me, my childhood and adolescence.  Giving it up means part of me has changed, that young kid inside though always with me is pushing me forward beyond him.  He’s telling me to let go and find my next adventure.  Let go and choose a new path beyond, whatever it may be. Live life with these memories as wings on my back, not as a tether around my neck.

It’s hard to give up and put away these things.  Truthfully, I will always read manga, and watch anime as its part of who I am now. But I have to pursue my next adventure.

Thank you Anime Expo, for all that you are. You helped introduce me to the heroes who showed me how to give it all I got, no matter the odds.

 

Here Again

IMG_2629-2

I’m here again, I find myself here every couple of months, feeling so disconnected from the writing on the page that I must destroy the boundary between it an I.  Compel change from within and grow, so here I am sitting in the acquiescent dark of night hoping to reach something or someone out there. Can you hear me, can you hear my heart.

This break hasn’t really been the break I thought it would be.  That gap in expectation and reality is starting to get to me.  Working, going to school, walking through that hall with all empty classrooms knowing most people aren’t here because they are living their lives outside this campus.

I want to do things, have fun, go out, but I am restricted by the weight of my dream. Working day in and day out feels like I’m running a marathon without mile markers to guide my way. This angel on my shoulder keeps whispering in my ear to keep going, it will all be worth it, driving me closer to what it feels like is a cliff where I shall fall into a pit of stress and despair. Teetering on the edge to see if I’ll break before I even hit bottom.

It’s hard, and at times I don’t believe I can do it. Lists of things are piling up during the time I can’t get to them, to the point where when I finally sit down to work on myself I don’t even know where to start.  It’s daunting because it feels both structured and unstructured at the same time giving me a sense of unbalance. Not being able to settle and move forward as I like. Like being chained to a cage in the jungle, restricted and left out fend for myself in my little spot in the wild.

I think what bothers me most is how quiet it is. The hustle and bustle of the semester is left with this silent summer. These familiar faces I saw daily are ones displaced by scenes of somber emptiness as the campus empties in the wake of the coming heat.  The people I am lucky enough to see are all devoted to their separate causes and tribulations that summer has wrought.

I’m tired, and here I am counting down the days sitting in the space of not having enough energy to work but being too concerned allow myself to relax and get the rest I need.

Things will change, as things do. Time will pass and things will and won’t be done.  I speak out, my insistence because I want to live up the expectations of the man in the mirror, and I pray that one day I see don’t see someone hollow looking back.

It’s a Matter of Choice.

IMG_6221

To accompany this recent reflection on purpose I wanted to stray into the arena of choice because purpose and choice have a strange and strained relationship.

You see, purpose in some ways intends for there a set path before us, one that either is given or is created through hard work and dedication. This purpose, be it predestined or manifested creates a dilemma, if we have the path, how could we stray from it, the forks in the road only highlight the false potential of different choice made and different purpose held. If we have what appears to be this true purpose, the choice though apparent is no more than an exercise in false wills because we would never deviate from the path set out before us.

We like choice, or thinking about having choices. It is a luxury of growing up in our time period. Seemingly limitless sets of possibilities unfurl themselves before us, giving us options and opportunities we never knew we had in the hopes that each one will be taken, all roads followed and new roads paved.  Choice comes with a burden of unknowing.  If there is no destination in sight, our hearts hesitate for we do not want to make the wrong choice. To go down the path that leads us astray and lose our most precious resource, time, to the follies of circumstance or indecision.

It’s hard to balance these things, purpose, and choice because it is a matter of belief in how much autonomy we actually have.  It’s these two things that I fight over regularly.  There is a belief in me, coming from ancestors and culture that anyone can be anything, work towards the dream and accomplish what they put their mind to.  This is juxtaposed with the knowledge that people don’t necessarily do that, some people can’t be singers, artists, powerful businessmen. It’s as if our world has to be asymmetric. If there is a winner, there has to be a loser. If someone gets first place, most likely there a second or third. What happens to those people, it’s ridiculous to say that they simply wanted it less, that in their heart of hearts chose to not go to the top. What of choice then? Is it but a game where the rules are defined by the resources accrued and given from birth.  How far we can go, no more of an option of the great limitations erected by time and self-belief. Is this world just the chaos of people running through this maze hoping to find the center and be happy?

As for purpose, it holds that darker reality to be true.  That some people are meant to not succeed.  It elevates and exasperates, instead of being subjected to the will and desire of power or person whom may hold dominion over us.  It’s hard to stomach, that our lives may not have these paths to follow but are more akin to a track which shows us the world but never lets us deviate to explore it. This can be a freeing feeling though, that your life is always going to some other destination that you are always where you are meant to be.  It allows for us to feel and believe that the problems of today are only a part of the journey and the decisions that are made were suppose to be that way.  Though this disposition usually only works when times are well. The great problem of evil is that everything happens with a purpose and bad things happen to good people with no benefit, at which point should we follow this divine power who seems to act in ways we cannot understand to ends we cannot comprehend. What happens to those who are made to suffer their whole lives, never knowing truth or happiness? What happens when destiny forsakes us and dreams?

The reason that this is so problematic for me is that ideologies clash, but don’t always overlap.  We will always make choices regardless of what fate may have in store for us. As a psychologist, my whole ideology is that I can predict peoples live’s if only I had enough knowledge and data, but with that, it can change the path of those to come after into something better.

Can we really be all that we want to be? I have to believe that perhaps I do have more choice or greater purpose. That in the darkness, it is not the end but a chance to change. A freedom to start anew, be whom I envision for myself, and find my way back home.

Time Slip

IMG_8487

The only wasted experience is one you don’t learn from.

I have been saying that to myself a lot lately, especially because of the constant chiming of “what is your purpose” keeps me thinking in during the quiet moments. It’s summer now, but an adult summer, where the illusion of more free time is in conflict with the persistent regular work schedule.  I have fallen prey to this belief, that since I am back in school, I would reclaim those precious summer moments that I adore.  This has lead to this drop in motivation and drive in the hopes of a chance to breathe from the incredulous amount of work required for this program. So what happens, time slips away from me as I meander through the day, hoping for lightning to strike and feel okay again.

So again, what is my purpose right now? What is it that will fuel me to walk up that hill over and over again like the Sisyphusian task it is.  The drive forward is like a marathon, the road stretches outward, and the mile markers are there but until I get close enough to see finish line my legs will still ache for home.

It feels like a promise from my past to my future self, one I know I will be thankful for keeping but ultimately my present self is doing all the work.  So I find myself, sitting, losing this time because my mind needs a break but needing to push forward to prove that I can do it. That my time here is worthwhile. That at the end of the day I have something to speak for.

That’s harder said than done.  Some mornings I wake up in a daze, as if I have pushed to the end and my mind is empty. I can’t do anything at all because everything just seems too distracting.  I sit in my chair, the empty keyboard taunting me, hoping and praying that my fingers find the key and I can keep moving forward.

I’m slipping through time, losing it as a move forward. I need it though because time is the only thing that will save me from this era of discontent. What will I learn from this, and will it all be worth it?