For those who know me, they’re aware that I’m a bit mental. I have absolute shit self esteem, a horrible self image, extreme difficulty recognizing any of my accomplishments, impostor syndrome, etc. Although this sounds really awful, it’s actually weird inside my head. I’ll explain.
So, deep down, it’s not that I don’t realize I’ve done something good. I’m not blind or daft, I know a good thing when I see it. The problems I have are how I deal with such things in conversation. For example, if I played a gig with my band, and I performed really well, I’ll know it and feel proud of it. However, were someone to say as much to me, I’d thank them and be ‘meh’ about it. If they were to press, I’d nitpick the shit out of it and explain why it was a crap performance. If it was actually exceptional, I’d say it was pure luck, and I’m normally not that good. I’m shit at taking compliments, but deep down I’m actually able to see their perspective and agree on some level. I just can’t fully acknowledge it. This causes me to be of two minds of things and have weird swings, where I’ll be all “I’m total fucking garbage at this” one minute, and “I’m better than this performance” the next.
Much of this stems from shit that happened when I was growing up. Being told you’re shit at everything, being picked last all the time, being called stupid and ugly by literally everyone around you, it all adds up. The result, and the crux of it I think, is that I learned that my opinion on things relating to myself cannot be trusted, and the opinion of those around me is what matters. This changed when I got older, of course, but by that time I matched my opinions to that of the people in my youth, and thus became my worst enemy. Now, when someone compliments me, I feel that they must be wrong because I’m this monstrous, worthless piece of shit, as evidenced by years of people telling me so. I weigh new information on the scales of the past, and tend to not take any of the counterweights off. Let’s face it, all bullshit aside, I did some horrible things in my life, and acted horribly towards friends and family who didn’t deserve it. On some level, I feel undeserving of both friends and family, and on another level I want people to prove me wrong and argue that I AM worth caring about. Like I said, it’s messy in there.
This all adds to my anxiety and depression. I don’t dare believe that I’m actually worth a damn, since the second someone says anything to the contrary I’ll immediately fall back on old habits. After all, what’s a few years of good things said when put up against decades of bad. A simple, and crushing, example of this has to do with my looks. When I was a kid, other kids and my siblings would say that I looked like the character Rocky from the movie Mask. If you’ve never heard of it, google it. This has been said to me by various people over the course of my entire lifetime. The most recent was a coworker who said it, someone who has no connection to my past whatsoever. Now, regardless of what the amazing Lish has tried to beat into my head, I hear that and can’t help but think that this MUST have relevance, since so many unrelated people made the exact same comparison. When I look in the mirror, that’s what I see. Now, people could tell me the opposite until they were blue in the face, and maybe it’d have a slight effect after a few years, but the second I hear that comparison again it’ll all come crashing back down. It’s a vicious cycle of getting my hopes up, only to be reminded of what I truly am and where I belong.
I say all this because right now, my hopes are up a bit. This is a direct result of my burgeoning fighting career in the SCA. When I started out, I asked a local fighter who was helping me learn if I was where I should be, skill-wise, considering how long I’ve been in armor, or if I was beyond or behind that. I honestly felt like I was doing really well, and thought he might say on par or better. It was a stupid fishing trip where I was trying to find reasons to believe. He said I was behind, and it was kind of a kick in the guts. I don’t blame him for saying it, I asked for his honest opinion and he gave it. I kept at it, though, cuz I wanted the experiences of fighting at Pennsic and in a tourney. Since then, people have been nothing but encouraging. Even though I don’t feel like I’m getting it fast enough or consistently enough, people I respect are helping to keep me aloft. I’ve spoken with veteran fighters who have said flattering and encouraging things about not only my fighting, but my views and actions regarding the virtues of the fighting community, some going so far as to say that I’m far ahead of the game in that respect. Even so, repeating that publicly like this makes me feel like a right arrogant cunt, so full of myself because of what his friends say to him. Don’t get me wrong, my lizard brain tries to write a lot of this stuff off, as I’ve mentioned before. Thoughts like “oh they’re just saying that so I don’t lose heart”, or imagining them saying “he needs these little lies/embellishments every so often because he’s got shit self esteem”, or perhaps thinking that it’s being said so I stay in armor to fill the ranks.
The weird thing is, though, that some of the good talk is starting to stick. It’s growing roots, and it’s a feeling I can’t remember ever feeling before. I doubt everything good, by nature, and feel like it’s just a matter of time before people realize I’m not worth the time and just bail. But this is almost in defiance of that doubt. I wonder what will happen the next time someone tells me I’m garbage at this. I wonder how far down that blow will knock me. Will it be to the ground? To my knees? Will I just take it and still stand? Or can I hope to dodge or block the shot and come back swinging? I can’t say for sure, but the effect this community has had on me is really starting to take shape. An example would be the Unbelts Facebook group. I was made an admin of the group before the creator left (he got knighted, so no longer an unbelt), mainly cuz I’m online all day and was very active in the group. I had a short discussion with the other admins, who told me that as an admin of the group, people will likely see me as being in a leadership role of sorts, even though that’s not the case in real life. Upon hearing this, my first thought was “I don’t belong in that role, maybe that’s what they’re getting at. I’ll give them the out”. I asked whether they think there is someone else more suited to that position, since who the fuck am I to be in such a role. I said I didn’t want to overstep my bounds. Instead of taking me up on that, they responded by saying I’m not overstepping, and should anyone say something like “who the fuck does this guy think he is”, they’d respond with “that’s Fearghus, the admin, and he’s our dude”. I can’t begin to explain what that felt like. It’s weird being made to feel like I belong in such a community, truly belong. I’ve never really felt that. Even with my music, I’ve always felt like the community outsider. Not quite in, but not quite out, just sorta there and easily dismissed without any loss. Now I don’t just feel like I fit in, I feel like my presence is wanted and welcomed. Whether people actually feel that way, or if I’m just reading too far into it with a hopeful heart, who the fuck knows.
In truth, I’m not fishing with this post. I’m not looking for further affirmation, or confirmation of the hopes I have, mostly because I feel as though a response to a fishing expedition is not exactly credible, since it was requested. It holds less weight. Still, I have hopes that this will be something that helps me change. Something that gives me the helping hand up so I can finally get past this barrier I’ve stood behind for so long. My only fear with that is whether I will be even more of an arrogant ass were I to actually believe in myself. After all, the line between arrogance and self awareness is pretty thin, and tends to be elusive as fuck for me. I guess we’ll see with time.
In my youth, I don’t think I ever really considered the concept of honor deeply or meaningfully. As such, I did much that would make me a rather dishonorable person. Over the years, however, I’ve thought quite a bit about it, and I’ve tried my hardest to walk the path of honor as much as possible. I’ve read books on chivalry and bushido, adapting it as best I could to fit the modern age. This has proven difficult for me, as my initial reactions tend to be quite less than honorable, but it’s something I’m working on.
My personal path to honor involves always trying to do the right thing by others, thinking and meditating on the most reasonable and right thing to do in situations, and live my life with humility, understanding, and patience. The best part about all this is that when I’m actually able to do it, the feeling is amazing. Things also tend to work out better when I act more honorably. Still, though, I’m not sure when I’ll truly be a person that I would call a truly honorable person, if ever. I have many moments of weakness, anger, and foolishness that plague me and set me back. Also, I suffer from terrible hindsight, and that sets me back far enough to ensure that I may likely never get there.
There are things I have done, and things I have said, which I can never fully forgive myself for. I look back in shame at these things, and whenever I feel like I may be making solid progress towards my goal, these are what set me back to where I was. There are some people close to me, and in my family, whom I have always desired a deeper relationship with, which can never happen due to my past actions. It pains me, in profound ways and with abyssal depth, to know that I can never make it right. Sometimes my actions come with permanent consequences, and those shine like new scars on my face. They are there whenever I look in the mirror, and are still painful to the touch. These will not go away, they will endure for as long as I will, and for all my talk about honor and doing the right thing, they will forever be a reminder of my shame and failure. In a way, they do serve a positive purpose. They keep me humble, though often cause me wounds as well. Though it’s not entirely rational, I tend to think I deserve none of the good in my life because of the sins of my past. Sins not against any sort of deity, which would be odd since I’m an atheist, but sins against others, and sins against myself. I don’t feel that I should be forgiven for such things, and I have great difficulty judging myself solely on the man I am at this moment, and not the entire picture.
So I’m stuck with sort of a conundrum. Can one such as me, who has so much red in their ledger from years past and from recent memory, be thought of as a truly honorable person? Could I ever be deserving of such praise when I’ve done so much damage in my lifetime, often to people I truly love? Do I even deserve forgiveness for such things? I’ve meditated on this much in the past few years, and the best I can come up with is this: Were I speaking to someone else, and this was their story, I’d be able to see them as honorable and respectable, both regardless and because of their past. If they were that way while also having a tainted past, I’d say it even more so since they had to overcome a proclivity to act without honor. However, I know my past firsthand. I know that there are things that others can never truly forgive me for, that I can never truly forgive myself for, and that have prevented me and others from having more meaningful relationships regardless of whether I was forgiven or not. Because of this, I’d feel that I would be a hypocrite to ever think myself capable of being an honorable person. I will forever strive to be the best I can be, but I fear that the darkness in my past will always prevent me from deserving praise or to be thought highly of by others. I fear the scars will always prevent me from seeing my face as anything but a collection of sins and mistakes.
Following yesterday’s revelation about fighting, I developed a wicked case of the poor me’s. There’s actually a phenomenon called the poor me syndrome, however that’s more of a thing manipulators do to get what they want, and people exhibiting that behavior tend to blame life or others for treating them unjustly. I don’t feel like anyone or anything is treating me unjustly, I just have shitty self esteem and seem to feel that wallowing in misery is my “place”, so I keep myself in it. Now, if you read this far I feel you deserve a disclaimer. Pretty much this whole post is gonna be me whining and complaining about shit, so if you’re among the 99% of people who actually have better things to do, then you can safely bail now. For those 1% peoples, buckle up.
Yesterday I found out that yet another thing I’m trying is not going well for me, and I’m not where I should be skill-wise. I’ve been trying, and giving it my all at practices, but it’s just not enough and my progression is very slow. For most people, I assume, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. Can’t be good at everything, right? For me, it’s another reminder that I’m not actually “good” at anything. I’ve tried things time and again, and nothing ever comes naturally to me. For most things, I plateau pretty quickly and never really get any better. Examples: I’ve been a gamer for over 30 years, and I still suck at it. It’s not from lack of practice, it’s from lack of skill. Skating, I’m OK for the most part, but even after skating for over 20 years I’m still lacking in ways that I really shouldn’t, and again it’s not from lack of practice. Even the field in which I work, I feel like I’m OK, but nowhere near where I should be with the years under my belt. Fact is, I’m a Jack of many trades, and mediocre at best.
For the remainder of the day yesterday, I walked around with my guts in knots. Being pretty much shit at everything is kinda punishing, and doesn’t really help in the self esteem and self image departments. For me, I feel that being good at things increases my self worth, or rather it would. Anyway, this is what led me to spiral once again into the chasm of the poor me’s. It all just reinforces what was told to me throughout my youth by pretty much everyone around me. I’m not good enough, smart enough, strong enough…basically, I’m not enough. I’ve been fighting against that stigma my entire life, so having it reaffirmed is a kick in the dick. Not that I blame the messenger, especially since I’m the one that asked their opinion, I just wasn’t prepared for how strongly it affected me.
Last night I sat down with the Lish and talked about these feelings, and I’m glad I did, cuz I’ve been a total fucktard about all of this. These feelings of mine all stem from me wanting to stand out, to be admired for my skill at something, because in my warped mind the only thing that makes me worth a damn is to be thought highly of by others. My own opinion of myself holds little weight, since I did have a healthy opinion of myself at one point and had it soundly beat out of me throughout my childhood. Still, a part of me deep down feels as though I should be more, so I keep searching for things that I can do well. Currently the only talent I have is music, and by that I mean being able to sing cover songs. It certainly didn’t come easily, and I plateau’d a long time ago, but it’s enough that I’m fair at it. She reminded me of this, and of what she’s been going through the past few years. For those not in the know, the Lish plays roller derby. When she started, she was one of the worst on her team, and none of it came easily to her. However, she stuck to it and fought for it. She went every week, pushed herself through soul-crushing practices, read up on it, and did everything in her power to get better. And she did! Now here we are three years later, and she’s awesome! Easily as good a skater as I am, if not better. She told me that I can’t compare myself to those around me. Everyone progresses at a different pace. I responded to this by stating that I understand that, but when I’m on the lower end of the spectrum it hurts and is kinda demoralizing, so she told me to quit. This is when the pride kicks in. No, I don’t just quit without really trying. So that left me at an impasse, and with things to ponder.
I meditated on this for awhile, and discovered that the real problem goes all the way back to grade school. I have the irrational fear that I’ll plateau early, and thus be a profoundly shitty fighter, and be mocked for it. I’d become a laughing stock, and considering I’m in a fighting household with some of the best fighters in the East, I’d be an embarrassment not only to myself, but to my household as well, and the thought of that pains me. Yes, it’s irrational and I’m overthinking, I’m well aware. But that doesn’t change the fact that these feelings legitimately happen. They can’t be stopped, only dealt with.
So the real question is this: If I DO plateau early, and end up being a pretty crappy fighter, do I stay with it or pass my gear on to someone who may take to it much more easily. The answer, at the moment, is “I don’t know”. What I do know is that the Lish was 100% right with what she said. I just started, I need to give myself more of a chance, and convincing myself early on that I’m complete garbage and don’t belong creates a self fulfilling prophecy that will surely come to pass. Hobbies like fighting, whether it be martial arts or SCA heavy list, are not just physical. The mental aspects can make or break even the most physically gifted. Get it in your head that you’re worthless, and you’ll never be anything but that because you’ve made up your mind. Strive to be positive, fight for what you want, and be the inspiration to others that my Lish is to me. She got beat down again and again, and continued to fight for what she wanted and she fucking did it. She earned her place doing something that did NOT come easily, and I can do the same. I was there pushing her to keep at it, telling her similar things that she’s now telling me. If for no other reason, I owe it to myself to do the same and not be a hypocritical little punk. So I’ll fight. Whether I succeed or fail, I’ll push and push until I get where I want to be. If some day I decide to step back, I can do so with a clear conscience and know that I gave it my all, and nobody can honestly say I didn’t have enough heart for it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go watch Rudy…
I haven’t posted a fighting practice blurb in awhile, and there are reasons for this. Well, not just reasons why I haven’t posted about that, but also reasons why I haven’t been posting much in general. I spoke to a dear friend who writes fantastically well, and realize a criticism I had regarding one of her recent pieces was perhaps more projection than anything else. As such, it’s time to strip down and give a look into what I’ve been going through the past year or so.
WARNING!!! This entire blog post is basically just me ranting about shit and complaining. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, then you might wanna pass on this one.
First off, the search for a new home. You might remember that I had quite a difficult time last year. I had to say goodbye to the home we started our family in. Even now, while writing this, I feel that churning in my guts about the whole thing. We finally closed on the sale (which was a profound debacle), and months later I drove by. This just happened to be the day the new owners demolished the house. I saw what was my home, full of memories, laughter, and love, broken and being carted away in dump trucks. The big and beautiful old trees were also taken down. I was momentarily paralyzed by the sight, with many emotions vying for dominance within me, like pack animals choosing a new leader. I drove away feeling devastated, and have had to make peace with the thought that I could never pass by the house again and see triggers of beautiful memories ever again.
At the same time, we began the hunt for a new home. In short, this entire process was absolutely brutal. On the plus side, we had a fantastic realtor, one who went above and beyond to help us find a new home. Still, the whole thing was a gorram mess. Over the past year we saw literally dozens of houses, and placed bids on a few, only for that to ultimately fall through in spectacular fashion. We did, however, finally find a place a few months back, and we moved in last week. We’re still in the process of clearing out everything from the rental, and are trying to balance that with unpacking enough stuff to both live more comfortably while also making room for more shit. Meanwhile, the entire process is just punishing. It feels as though no matter how much work I put into unpacking, very little gets done and we’re still drowning in chaos, at least from my perspective. Once we’re mostly settled, I’ll have to jump in and do it again when I move my wife’s mom out of her house and in with us, which will be a whole other bag of challenges.
At some point within the last year, we also found out that our eldest dog, Sophie, has liver cancer. She’s got weak back legs, a weak bladder, is blind in one eye and stone deaf. We’re not sure how much time we have left with her, and are trying to keep her as comfortable as we can. For me, it’s frustrating and I’m stuck with a lot of anger that I don’t know what to do with. I’m gonna lose my friend soon, my sweet little monster, and there’s fuck all I can do to stop that. The entire thing is like being on extended death watch, where every time I see her asleep in her crate or on the couch, I wonder if this is it…
Next, we add on financial fears. Fears that I somehow miscalculated and we’re in too deep with the house we bought. We won’t know for certain until maybe 6 months from now, but that doesn’t stop me from freaking out about it. As it is, we do have some money for renovations for the house, and there’s stuff we absolutely MUST do within the next year or so. As such, I’m gonna be saying goodbye to my beautiful Victoria (my 1968 Ford Fairlane 500 fastback). Having a classic car is something I’ve always wanted, and I’ve had her for most of Peanutty’s life now. That being said, she needs work done, and I just don’t have the loot to make that happen. I also don’t need another money pit hobby, especially when all I really get out of it is the joy of driving such a wonderful piece of historical beauty and American muscle around. Selling her would get us halfway to a bathroom remodel, which is much more desperately needed than cruising around in the car. Besides, I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore, and nowadays I look less like a cool young metalhead cruising around in a badass car, like the older brother in Phantasm, and more like some pathetic old fucker pretending he’s still cool while going through some sort of midlife crisis.
Now back to the SCA fighting stuff. A few weeks back, the knuckles on my right hand started to really hurt. I figured it was just a padding issue, as well as the result of being a sissy with no physical strength in any part of my body. So I dealt with it. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago this past Monday, and my hand was INSANELY bad after practice. I decided to take some time off fighting to allow it to heal. It’s mostly there, but I still get a twinge if I clench my fist. Now, though, I’m getting all sorts of other pains, and at this stage in the game it’s increasingly hard to compare what should be investigated vs what is just me being older. I see so many people start fighting at various stages in their lives, and none seem to end up with the discomfort I have. I’m sure it has much to do with my lack of fitness, and the fact that physical activity NEVER came naturally to me. I understood that going in, but it still bums me out a little when I don’t see myself improving as I should. Those teaching me have been really good, and very patient and giving of their time, for which I’m eternally thankful. Still, I don’t think it will last, and I would never blame them for stepping away. I know the frustration of spending time to teach someone who just doesn’t get it, and isn’t meant for it. So if you’re one of my teachers, no worries. When you need to step away, please do so with a clear conscience. I’m just thankful to have had the time with you.
Now I know what you’re thinking (I really don’t), why not just talk about these issue with friends and whatnot. Well, that’s another problem for me. Not a new one, per se, but one that’s gone on for ages. I have difficulty with friendships. I tend to get close and drift away from people over time, and the only one I’ve ever been consistently close to is my wife. All others either rub me the wrong way, don’t reciprocate the same level of friendship, or just aren’t trustworthy enough for me to invest in. I have MAJOR trust issues, some of which grew from a self-esteem deficiency and others that were the result of being burned too often and too deeply to ever move past. It’s brutal. Sometimes I’ll be close with someone for years at a time, only for them to do something that goes against the very fabric I’m woven from, at which time I need to check out. Other times it’s just people being a little shitty because of their own issues, which they may or may not even be aware of. These times I’ll take a step back and take it as someone who needs space. Occasionally I’ll ask what’s up, if it’s something totally out of character, but usually it’s just a trait that just bumped up a level, so I step back and let things settle, lest I confront it and end up losing a friendship over saying something stupid or out of line. I also know that I tend to rub people the wrong way a LOT, but I’m actually not aware when I do it most times. I don’t know if people would rather not confront me about it for risk of a friendship ending fight, or if they think I’m well aware of what I’m doing and don’t give a fuck. Truth is, I DO give a fuck. I actually try to live my life by a code of honor, and do right by other people, so if I have a shitty habit that hurts people, FUCKING TELL ME! I know it sounds hypocritical given that I mentioned earlier that I tend to back away, but in all honesty I do bring up shitty behavior when people do it. What they do with that information is another story. I’m not gonna beat a dead horse here…
I’m sure there are other little things that pile onto this mound of crazy, but if I listed all of them this would be far longer and you’d either bail out of boredom, or drag yourself to the end, at which time you’d be praying for the sweet merciful release of death…or maybe some comfort tacos or something. Mmmm, tacos…
As you probably remember from last year, we’re in the process of moving (yes, still…). We’re living in a rental, and we close on the sale of our old house tomorrow. Last night we had our final farewell to our first true home, and it was completely fucking brutal. What makes it worse than just selling our home is the fact that we can NEVER see it again. The new owners will be demolishing the house and building a whole new one on the property. The home we lived in, loved in, laughed in, cried in, started our family in, partied in, etc will be completely erased from existence, only to be seen again in pictures and video from our time spent there.
Many of you already know that I’m an extremely sentimental person. As such, this is incredibly painful for me. You see, this is the third place the Lish and I have lived since we got married. The first was a one bedroom co-op that we lived in for 3 years, and the second was a small house we lived in for about a year before moving into this one. About a year after we got married, I developed a horrible panic/anxiety disorder. I was really bad for a few years, going to therapy once or sometimes twice a week, taking medication, etc. We were really in flux, and there were some truly dark times where shit was REALLY bad. By the time we were moving into this house, we were hitting the tail end of it. I finished working out my shit, and we started to rebuild. We hit our stride here, settled in, and started our family.
This was a house of firsts. We had our children here, raised them for a few years here, and watched as they hit their milestones here. We sat on the back porch while the kids played and just talked about anything and everything. We had amazing parties with our incredible group of friends. We adopted Sully, and said farewell to him. There were BBQs and birthdays, Christmas and Easter. I started my arcade hobby there, and built my side business there. We went there before we even moved in, with close friends and my mother in law, to read the latest Harry Potter book when it first came out. I spent some awesome times with a good friend remodeling our kitchen after I got laid off. It was the only thing that kept me sane during a really rough time. I remember sitting on our sky chair on the porch every weekend morning in the summer while I had my coffee. There were thunderstorms spent on that porch too, watching the rain fall and the lightning with the kids.
But these are all just memories, right? What makes that different that childhood memories, or memories of the apartment? Well, I’ll tell you. The difference is that this was actually the first TRUE home I’ve ever had. It was mine. I felt safe here, I felt like I belonged here, and I truly felt like I was loved and wanted. I made this place my own, and it really was the only real home I feel that I ever had. I’m absolutely devastated that we had to leave this beautiful place. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and it wouldn’t work in our family’s best interests going forward, but that doesn’t change what it was to me. At this point, I can’t imagine any future house taking its place in my heart. Sure, I’ll have another home, and perhaps in ten years time I’ll be singing a different tune, but for right now I feel homeless in a way. I think a part of me dies with that house, a part that will likely never heal. It’s as if I’m losing a beloved family member, only to relive our time together through these small windows to the past and the memories they conjure. It hurts more than my words could possibly express, and I know quite a few words.
Last night, after the Lish and the kids left, I decided to have one last fire in the amazingly beautiful fireplace and video tape it. As it turned out, this was much more painful than I thought it’d be. I was lonely, I was broken, I was devastated. I was grieving at the bedside of a dear loved one while they slowly succumbed to sickness in front of my eyes. I wanted to stay until the fire burned down to mere embers, but I couldn’t do it. The pain for me was far too much, and I ended up putting out the fire and going back to the rental.
Now I can imagine some people will read this and think I’m just some sappy melodramatic bitch, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. The reality is that this is literally how I felt at the time, and how I feel now. Like I said, I’m deeply sentimental, and I tend to live in the past, so I have a shitty habit of focusing on what I’ve lost and not living in the moment or looking to the future. I dwell on things. I know I shouldn’t, and I try not to, but for me it’s not that easy. I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard (haiyoooo). I think it would’ve been easier if the new owners didn’t demo the house. I’ve have loved to show them her beauty, how to care for her, and teach them about all over her little idiosyncrasies. Still, I’m sure that in five or ten years time I’ll be able to look back with love and fondness, and not with longing and despair. I guess only time will tell. Still, I say this to her. Goodbye my very dear friend. We shared much together, and you will live on in our hearts and the hearts of our children (who had a VERY difficult and emotional time saying goodbye). You’ll always mean the world to us, because you were there to provide everything we needed to start our family and grow it right and true. We love you now, and always will, and we truly do wish things had worked out differently. Goodbye…
A little over a month ago, I swung by an internet radio studio to hang out with a good friend of mine while he did his radio show. During the show, he brought out a scale for him and another guy there to weigh themselves. Apparently, they were having a weight loss competition where they weigh in each week. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to step on the scale. I regretted this immediately, of course.
As it turns out, over the course of just a few months, I had gained 20 lbs. I’m not really the type of person to obsess over my weight for the most part, nor am I someone who always looks in the mirror. As someone with a slight case of body dysmorphic disorder, I try to avoid any chance to actually look at myself, since what I see and what actually is are apparently two very different things according to pretty much everyone I’ve asked over the years. Considering all this, my sudden weight gain came as a bit of a shock.
I’m not really sure why it hit me the way it did, but I got this overwhelmingly shitty feeling in my gut and just couldn’t shake it. All of my current insecurities about my physical condition flooded in, and soon I was drowning in my own inadequacies. I’m now overweight, out of shape, and physically weak. This is kind of a first for me when it comes to two of those. I’ve always been thin or average, and usually kept in fair shape. The clock has been ticking, though, and time is having its fun with me. As for the other bit, I’ve never been a strong guy. I have virtually no upper body strength, and never had any before either. Mostly I’ve learned to use my entire body to accomplish tasks most other dudes could do with one hand, while drinking a beer with the other. I’ve dealt with quite a fair share of shaming and ribbing about this my entire life, so it’s always been a sore spot. Problem is, it’s always been very difficult for me to build bulk muscle. I’ve done weight training before, and my body just doesn’t seem to give a damn about strength. Now, though, this is becoming more of a problem.
After the show, I decided I was gonna try doing something about it. I downloaded an app on my phone called Sworkit, and started working out. I’m just doing cardio, and the app basically chooses an exercise at random, like Star Jumps (aka the bane of my existence) or burpees (an exercise designed by Hitler and the devil). You do that for 30 seconds, and then switch to another exercise. After 5 in a row, you get a 30 second break. I started out doing just 10-15 minutes, and realized rather quickly that I’m a sad, sorry, sack of shit. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without taking short breathers during some of the sets because I either couldn’t catch my breath, or because the pain in my muscles prevented me from going any further. By the end I found myself praying for a burglar to rush in and knock me unconscious. This is why I started
leaving the front door open learning to pace myself when I was working out. Eventually I was able to make it to 30 minutes, though I still have to take short pauses and feel dead at the end of it. This was the point I contracted the plague that was going around, and stopped for about 3 weeks.
Now, enter in my coworker who goes around trying to convince everyone to do Tough Mudder with him each year. This time someone asked him if he was doing it this year, and he said he wasn’t because he had nobody to go with. I’m not sure where the stupid idea came from, but for some ungodly reason I told him I’d go with him and I signed up. Since then, I’ve been reading articles on what kind of shape someone has to be in so they can do this, and I’ve come to the realization that I’m pretty much fucked. This thing sounds brutal for someone who rarely makes 5000 steps a day, let alone be in the condition required for this to happen.
I started hitting Sworkit again, but yesterday hit a wall. After about 21 minutes, my phone died, and I was never so happy about that. I was WIPED. I couldn’t eat, I felt dizzy, I was really shaky, and overall felt like I was gonna pass out. I went to lay down for a bit, and after some time I began to feel better. While I was laying there, though, I came to a realization that I apparently knew but didn’t wanna face. I fucking HATE working out. HATE IT! It’s not the whole being physical thing, and it’s not the pushing myself to the limit part. It’s what I’m actually doing. Whenever the app says Star Jumps, I wanna go to the voice actor’s house and punch her in the face because it’s fucking miserable. I used to rollerblade a lot, like 14 miles a day every day, and that I love doing. Even though it’s brutal and hard to do that these days, I love it, but I don’t live in an area where I can do that right now. I used to do martial arts, and loved that, even though it was physically punishing. But regular workouts suck ass. Part of the reason is because I’m in awful shape and can barely fucking do it without needing an EMT on standby. Part of the reason is because I lack the physical strength to do more than a few of certain exercises, like diamond pushups. And, best I can figure, part of the reason is that it’s just not fun whatsoever. Skating is fun. Martial arts is fun. Just Star Jumps and Push-Ups? No, that’s boring as fuck.
While I was ruminating on all this, the Lish came in to talk to me. I told her how I was feeling, and she said she felt very much the same way when she started working out at the gym. She said she hated it, and felt weak, incompetent, and miserable for quite awhile. After some time, though, she began to love it. Now she goes 4 days a week, and works out at home the other 3 days. She’s in killer shape, and blows me away in endurance. Occasionally she’ll do Sworkit with me, and she’s just a non-stop juggernaut through it all. Anyways, she told me that I’m just being too impatient and hard on myself, and that this will all get better in time. I guess part of my problem is that I don’t see much of a difference right away, and that frustrates me. I feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over, and just not getting any better. I really don’t wanna be the guy at the end of Tough Mudder who’s barely dragging himself along, only to collapse at the end and require medical attention. I also don’t wanna be incapable of pulling myself up over an obstacle or something like that, so strength training is a necessity now too. I’m just as bad at that as I am at cardio. I know a lot of what’s driving me through all this is my own self loathing. I hate myself, I hate the shape I’m in, I hate that I let myself get this way, and I hate that I’m finding it so difficult to progress. It’s so frustrating and infuriating. The problem with using my anger as fuel here is that, with such slow progress, all I end up with is more anger. Soon that evolves into being depressed about my current situation, and then all I wanna do is cancel my registration, say fuck it (preferably out loud), and just accept that I’m a bag of shit who’ll be out of shape the rest of his life.
What’s stopping me? Well, the answer is both simple, confusing, and complicated. Pride. I’d be willing to bet that people with depression don’t usually care about such a thing, but sometimes I can be a very contradictory dude. I try like hell to preserve some semblance of pride and honor, and I can’t bring myself to quit this yet. I know it’d be a huge regret in my life, and I’d look back on these years when I’m older and likely sick, and wonder if keeping with it would’ve let me live a longer, fuller life. I can’t handle the thought of that kind of regret, so for now I’m still gonna try. I still utterly hate everything about this right now, but I can’t bring myself to throw in the towel, if for no other reason than not wanting to deal with the shame that will come with it. I’ll try and post a few more times before the run, which is in late July, and I’ll include my progress. Hopefully there is some…
There’s an app coming out soon called Peeple. Best way to think of this is to call it Yelp for people. You rate individuals with this app, and can also leave reviews about them as well. While some may think this is great, and it’ll lead to people either feeling empowered and affirmed, or feeling good about the constructive criticisms for self betterment, I tend to be far less optimistic. Perhaps it’s because I’m an asshole. No, it’s cool, I can admit it, I really am an asshole. While this knowledge is no surprise to me, and even though I freely admit it, that doesn’t mean it would make me feel affirmed or empowered to read other people going off about how much of a jerk I am. Confused? I’ll explain.
I tend to come off a certain way to people. I say horrible things, create awkward situations, and am generally a jerk. Aside from that, however, I try to be helpful, supportive, and caring. I know, it sounds weird. My problem, at least the way I see it, is that I have impulse control issues. Truth be told, I feel that I’m actually a good person deep down, but I can’t help myself from saying and doing horrible things. All area the result of the childhood I had, and the mark some shit from back then left on me. Yes, I’ve been to therapy, and it did help. Believe it or not, I was WAY worse before. Some things, however, are too deeply rooted to be dealt with, aside from a lobotomy. So yes, I know I’m an asshole, and I’m aware that it prevents me from being who I could’ve been, but it’s not something I’ve been able to resolve. It gives me grief, and keeps old wounds fresh, and the LAST fucking thing I need is for people to have an open forum to publicly shame me. That won’t help me, or make me feel great, and it won’t help the kids in school whose peers will do the same for stupid petty reasons. This WILL be an avenue for bullying, I guarantee it.
See, more people deal with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, impostor syndrome, and other disorders on a daily basis. These aren’t simple things to cope with, and they make every day a fight. I am one of those people. I fight an unending war inside every day, and seldom does an hour go by where I don’t hate myself or feel worthless and shitty for one reason or another. Now I’ll basically have a wikipedia page with a comments section, where I’ll have a mix of nice comments (those written by the Lish) and awful comments (those written by most others). What makes this even worse, you ask? Employment. That’s right, see, you can’t opt out of being rated and reviewed, and it’s all public information, so potential employers can also look you up and see what kind of person other people think you are. Shit like this will become a staple of background checks. Also, how do you think gay or trans people will fare, especially when they’re in school? The bullying of them is bad enough on Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat. Do we really need a more permanent avenue?
While on the surface, the Polyanna folks running this shit may feel this is a great idea, I don’t share the sentiment. Sure, there will be people who will be uplifted by what their close friends and family may write about them, but this is the real world. For anyone considered “different” or “weird”, this is a nightmare of an idea. I was ridiculed enough throughout my entire life to make me honestly feel like a worthless and terrible person, regardless of any achievements or encouragement or affirmations of the opposite by those around me. I doubt I’ll ever feel differently, even though the logical part of my brain can see that sometimes it’s completely unwarranted. If this was a thing when I was a kid, things may have gone a very different path, and I can see that it would’ve been far worse. Who knows, perhaps this will be a wonderful thing, full of sunshine and rainbows and other cool goody goody shit. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, a paranoia brought on by my cynicism, a cynicism born from years of being put down and treated like shit. It’s certainly a possibility, but I honestly doubt it…
When this atrocity does launch, if you want, send me your name and I’ll post a phenomenal review of you, about how you saved babies and kittens and old people from a burning ship on the ocean, and swam them all to safety while formulating a cure for cancer and writing a hit pop song.