The Iron Blues

I am so sore. I always keep pretty fit by hiking, or some pushups and situps here and there, but its been about a good 6 months, maybe more, since I’ve been in the gym, lifting heavy things. I fell into the pitfall of missing a day one week, then another the next, and so on. It’s so easy for me to get lazy. When I train, I train hard, but when I stop, I don’t even want to get out of bed.

The first month after quitting the gym feels great! All of my muscles heal and I feel powerful. That great feeling is the most seductive trap. Taking a month off the gym guarantees that I’ll take another. I’m fully aware while I’m slipping into depression that the cure is getting my ass in gear, but still I try any other thing possible to avoid putting in the work. I go through a cycle. First, I begin to get quiet and shy in public. I don’t speak up in class, and I avoid eye contact. After class is over, I immediately B-line it to my car and go home. I get super self conscious and social anxiety kicks in. I hide it well, sort of. People assume that I’m just tired or something but they have no idea that I hate myself inside. I look in the mirror, like really LOOK in the mirror, inches away so that I can stare right into my eyes and I tell myself aloud, “You’re a bitch. Fuck you. I hate you.” Sometimes I’ll even touch my nose to my reflection’s an crunch my eyebrows and stare until my eyes fill with water from not blinking, the blur causing me to look like the monster that I think I am. It gets bad. Then I’ll almost see myself from the third person and see how stupid I look with my face on the mirror in my bathroom. I’ll wipe my eyes, blinking hard, and call myself dumb. This takes place during the second month off the gym.

By the third month, my weight loss will be so embarrassing (I have a super high metabolism) that I’ll ask myself, “What’s the point of even eating and lifting when I can’t keep the weight on?” Justification is the second most seductive trap after the powerful first month feeling. Once convinced, it’s a wrap. I will just whither away slowly, dropping from the hard earned 180 lbs down to the current 165 lbs, wimpy me. I was 205 lbs before my last depressive bout which landed me down to the 170 lb range, but I got back up to 180 before my next wave.

When I was 205 lbs, I felt great. At least I thought I did. I still wasn’t happy with my body because I felt too pudgy. This is how ridiculous I get. I felt pudgy because I could only see 4 of my abs clearly, and the other two were slightly faded. I bulked up to 205 lbs, which is going to put some body fat on, and I was disgusted with myself because I put some body fat on. So then I tried to cut some body fat, which made me lose strength, so I felt weak. Then despair hit. I felt like I was stuck in an impossible loop. Either I’m fat and strong, or skinny and weak. Again, “what’s the point of this?” So I stopped the gym and the depression set in hard. I began to slack in school, and getting out of bed in the morning was a real challenge.

I can only be depressed for so long before I decide that I have to do something about it. That doesn’t mean that I do the right thing about it, it means that I do everything else but the one thing that I know works (gym). These activities usually come in the form of attempting something new that I put down a day later. I’ll pick up any hobby that I think sounds cool. I tried to whittle, buying a new knife and spending a night hacking at a stick from the yard. I’ve tried calligraphy, buying a whole set of calligraphy nibs, ink, etc. I decided that I need a new wardrobe (because my weight loss) and then I donated all of my clothes to friends. I’ve immersed myself in video games, playing for 8-16 hours a day. Netflix binging. Aimless driving trips. It sounds (and looks) like I’m this super busy, super active guy but really, during these meaningless activities (meaningless because I’m only doing them to distract myself from me) I am extremely sad. I would never actually commit suicide, I know this for a fact, but it crosses my mind all the time.

Alas, I reach my bottom, and then I decide to live by the “3 second” rule. I’ve read this rule recently online, but the article just gave a definition to something I’ve been doing for years. The rule basically states that, when you think of something you want to do, you have 3 seconds to act on it so that you can’t convince yourself not to. I apply it to the gym. I say, “I’m going to the gym” and then no matter what I’m doing, I go straight to the gym at that moment (within reason, I don’t skip responsibilities). Once I go one day, It’s a little easier to go the next day, and so on. So here I am, at the time of writing this, feeling better than I have in months, and I’ve gone to the gym 3 days in a row now and I know I’ll go tomorrow too. I’m eating more each day and going to bed at a reasonable hour. One good decision leads to another. I’m at peace right now, and I can’t ever guarantee that it will last forever, but while I’m up, I’m going to breathe, relax, and LIFT!

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The Power of Writing Down Your Goals

I’ve never been the type to keep a calendar. I’ve always just thought of what I needed to do for the day in my head and by the end of the night, I’d lay in bed thinking, “Damn, I was supposed to do ___ today.” Send me to the grocery store without a list, and I can guarantee I would return without an item (probably the main item I went to the store for in the first place).

I admired people who just always seemed to have it. You know, that thing where they seem to constantly be doing something. To me that said, “I have direction.” I’d often ask some of them what their secret was. How do you stay so focused? The majority would tell me, “Write down your goals.” I’d look at them with my skeptical face like, “Seriously? That’s it?”

I gave it my first effort. I wrote in my calendar that comes with my phone what I wanted to accomplish the next day. Just simple things like: Hit the gym, write some of my memoir, laundry, etc. The next day came and I did none of those things.

What happened?

Well, I wrote down my intentions, but I didn’t have the habit to check the calendar that I wrote in. So, I stopped writing in my calendar before I really started. After some time, and meeting more people that I deem successful, and they too tell me, “Write down your goals.” Either there is something to this, or they are all in some sort of club that knows to say this to those at the door, begging to get in.

Attempt 2: I wrote my goals (short term) in my calendar, but this time, I set an alarm in my phone to go off at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time with the reminder, “CHECK YOUR CALENDAR!!!”

I had my first success. I did in fact check my calendar, and I began to get more done than before. I’ve since grown my habit a little more so that I no longer need the alarms to remind me because I naturally check my phone. However, the calendar was great for important upcoming events, and for the upcoming week. However, it wasn’t the best thing for me as far as long term goals go. Although, my short goals are the steps required to achieve the long term, but sometimes it’s nice to remind yourself why you’re doing this. I needed more.

I found a spot on my wall in my bedroom that I know that I look at everyday. The wall that I see each time I get out of bed was guaranteed to cross my vision. I wrote, nice and big, and in plan, neat print, “GOALS.”

This way, the first thing that I see in the morning is my dreams. My phone keeps the everyday process to achieving my goals. This way, whenever I feel lost or unguided, I can just look at my goals and remember why I do what I do. I’m not some super successful writer, and there are many reasons for that, mostly self-sabotage, but the biggest accomplishment that I’ve achieved since writing my goals down is bringing my GPA in college up from a 2.8 to a 3.8, graduating with my Bachelor’s degree Magna Cum Laude, and if everything goes as I plan, in less than 4 months I will have my master’s degree, also Magna Cum Laude. If you have ever known me at any point during my education, that’s a huge accomplishment. I attribute it all to just writing down under my goals, “Bring GPA up to at least a 3.5” and in my daily calendar I’d set reminders like, “11am-12 read for school” or “work on paper” etc.

Now, my new goal reads, “Get published” and my daily goals include writing in this blog.

 

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS!

Doomed to be a writer

I wonder if other writers, famous or not, feel the same as me. I wonder if they wish they were something else besides a writer. I wonder if they fought it, tooth and nail, like I do. No matter how hard I try, I end up back to the pen, or they keyboard in this case but whatever. I have been trying not to be a writer ever since I was a kid.

Have you ever had a calling, but you didn’t want that one? As if life presents opportunities in choices like,
“Would you like to be a doctor?”
“No, not that one, what else you got?”
“How about a lawyer?”
“Hmm…too much school, anything else?”
“How about a writer?”
“Psshh, you were closer with lawyer, next!”

Honestly, you would think that I come from money with how picky I’ve been with my life choices. In case you didn’t pick up on that, I definitely don’t come from money. Yet somehow, I refuse to do the things that I am at least decent at. Ever since elementary school my teachers have told me that writing was my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m with you, I don’t know what they see in my “talent” because I pretty much hate every sentence I jot down. Actually that’s not true, I’ve written some great, albeit meaningless, one liners. For Example:

Picture a room, an American man tied to a chair, beaten up and bloody, clothes tattered, and eyes widened with fear. The African crime boss, finely dressed in a pin striped suit, responds calmly to the tied up man’s pleas for another chance.
“Oh no white man, the time for forgiveness has passed. I shall now rid you of your Earthly burdens. *Picks up gun* Consider this, *Cocks gun* a favor.”

Picture that as a movie scene and it should bring a smirk to your face. If it doesn’t… well fk you, I like that shit.

Anyways, When I tell you that I’ve tried my hardest not to write, I mean it. I’m not that well read, on purpose. I’m not published anywhere, completely for the lack of trying. I don’t believe I’ve ever sent a single writing submission, but believe me, I somehow find the nerve to get bitter about others being published. Right? Who the hell is this guy?

Ready for the kicker? Guess what I’m about to get my master’s degree in. Yup, English. Why? Because within 2 weeks of being honorably discharged from America’s fine Navy, I was enrolled full time in school and they told me that I need a plan, and to pick a major to start. Without thinking I said, “I guess English.” After my associates I figured, well I might as well stick with English for my BA since I have credits towards it. The same thought process followed me through the grad school application. Now I sit, less than 4 months until school is out and I haven’t the slightest clue what to do with myself. I’ve been writing a memoir, or attempting to, over the last few months for my final project in school and other than that, let me tell you the idiot thing that I just got myself into. I started an online business. One of those T shirt selling websites. I’m not judging the idea, and I’ve heard of some people making a living off of it, but for me, man is it a leap. I don’t know anything about Photoshop to make designs to put on shirts. I have one design, of my store logo that I placed on a few different types of shirts and I tried to get some traction through Reddit because I saw someone do that on YouTube. 10 minutes later…I got banned from Reddit with the message calling me, what was the exact word they used in the email? Oh yes, a shithead.

A few hours have passed since then and I’ve been online, searching for any job that isn’t related to writing, or labor, or under 50 grand a year, or requires much experience, or… You get the message. Nothing really stands out to me and whenever I hit these lows, and believe me, I’ve left some supplies down here because of how often I visit, I find that I always end up writing something. As you can see, this is my first blog post, but what you don’t see is that it’s actually not. I’ve had this .com for 6 months or so and I’ve written a few times, but that delete button keeps calling me. So hopefully you have enjoyed this because I’m sure it won’t be long before I don’t, and then decide that I’m not a writer anymore! Fk….I’m doomed to be a writer