Join the rebellion: be kind!

It’s a phrase that I’m sure that we have all heard at least once in our lives. It’s an idea that goes against what I believe is the height of what humanity should strive for, and it’s something that any decent person struggles with rejecting on a daily basis.

“kindness is a weakness”

The world is designed to make you believe this in the core of your being. I feel, especially in the country where I live, that our empathy has atrophied. Look at how we treat our poor, our wounded and disabled. Look at how hard the poor really have to struggle just to survive in our nation. Look at how we treat those poor unfortunate “others” however they may be defined. Look at them without judgement and discrimination and decide if you feel that it’s fair that they should have to live like that. Imagine yourself in their shoes, keeping in mind their upbringing and background and the fact that they most likely had a different set of opportunities available to them at birth.

The truth is that it’s so much harder to react with kindness in all situations. It’s easier to build a wall and keep out any any person who disagrees with you or may not like you. It’s easier to surround yourself with people who think and talk and act just like you do. It’s easier to not have to think about others and their “other” problems.

Another truth: it’s easier to not grow as a person. It’s easier to not ask yourself uncomfortable questions. It’s easier to see people who disagree with you as “others”. (I know because I saw myself hypocritically falling into this same trap after election night. I had to ask myself some uncomfortable questions. I took some time off social media and came to a conclusion that I can live with.)

My personal goal is to make this my default setting, I want to be the best version of myself that I can. I want to grow and learn and make the world around me a better place just by existing in it. Empathy, kindness and compassion are the three words I want engraved into my soul. I don’t care if other people don’t understand, or think I’m existing with my head in the clouds; at least I can say I tried to better myself and that I tried to make the world around me better.

(I mean, I freaking gave drama llama a Christmas gift just because it would go against my philosophy to exclude him. I could have given my other coworkers their gifts outside of work to avoid this, but I’m not the kind of person to exclude people. Not anymore.)

So, if you are on the same wavelength as me and want to start on this path I have to warn you, it’s very difficult at first. Think of empathy and kindness like a muscle and you are just starting out at the gym. It sucks at first, right? Keep with it though, and you will find it becomes easier and one day you will look at yourself in the mirror and be very pleased with the results.

Blowing out candles doesn’t make yours shine any brighter

I want to do something a bit different with my post today, I know that this blog is supposed to be about “becoming the real me” but I feel like talking about something a bit different today. After all, life isn’t all about introspection and self improvement. For example, sometimes you read a book that burns your soul with the angry fury of 10,000 suns and you just HAVE to talk about it.

Now, I can look past a lot of things when it comes to specifics in a good book. If the author has created interesting characters and world and they want to hand-wave some trickier explanations to magic or ancient mythology OK; I’m along for the ride. However, one thing that will get me to slam on the breaks and pull this car over is when the surrounding characters exist solely to show off how perfect! unique! special! interesting! the main character is.

I was reading a book yesterday where the heroine was shown to be rather self-centered and cruel (or as I’m sure the author intended “motivated and strong”) but it was written to be justified because all the women around her were vapid and ugly. Even the one (and oh god, I do mean one as in only) woman who was described as being intelligent was rightfully tortured by the heroine, because she dared to have ambition that accidentally mucked up Miss Perfects plans. Or, in another example, she specifically mentions having to murder a man who showed her nothing but kindness, and remarks that she couldn’t remember his name. Or let’s talk about how she casually and coldly remarks that a frightened young woman being murdered by a dragon should have been faster, should have gotten away with reflexes faster than a dragon. She should have known better, look at what she was wearing; she was asking for a dragon attack. Did I mention she was blonde? And crying? And weak? And blonde? (Why are blondes always demonized in these types of books? Is there some brunette convention that I missed where we all hate blondes and think they are all sluts who deserve to die?)

This heroine can literally do nothing wrong ever, but that’s OK cause Lessa is going to #makeRuathagreatagain.I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages and it makes me a bit sad that unless I wiki it, I will never know how this story ends. It’s such a shame, becauseĀ  I could feel that magical pull of being lost in a great fantasy world, but I can’t stand weak supporting characters. I cannot stand the Bella Swans of the literary world, who are only found to be so interesting by everyone in the story only because everyone else is a stupid potato.

I also cannot stand needlessly cruel ambition being written as a strength, it sickens me to my core.

(And this is coming from someone who absolutely loved The Stars My Destination, but the difference is that Foyle’s cruelty was not written as something that was supposed to be “good”, The reader was not expected to do mental gymnastics to try and excuse his actions. He was purposefully written to be an unlikable main character that you couldn’t help but root for, and that’s freaking fascinating to me. I could go on about how much I love this book, but that’s getting a bit side-tracked.)

So, yeah. Get outta my face with that weak tea; give me a character who is likable on their own merit. Just like in real life, it’s harder to cultivate an interesting and likable personality, but mocking and dehumanizing others is not an acceptable alternative. Every person has their own story to tell and dreams to achieve, and only weak authors refuseĀ  to acknowledge this.

an update

It’s been awhile. I would apologize or make up some excuse, but let’s be real. My computer crashing was only part of the problem; I stopped updating because of my anxiety.

It’s hard to describe. Maybe you can do me a favor and google Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My fear is that I won’t explain myself well enough, and you the reader will just roll your eyes and make some snide comment about how I “just can’t deal with life” or I’m “just looking for attention”.

Attention is the last thing I want when my anxiety takes over. I want to be left alone, I want to just be in a dark room by myself and cry and scream until my throat is raw and I have no more tears. I want to stare at the ceiling for hours without someone asking me what’s wrong, come on talk to me, tell me what you are thinking about. I want to self medicate and clean the house until everything is perfect because I can at least control that. I don’t want your pity or hugs or awkward “oh, yeah I don’t really believe in people having anxiety, but that does sound like it was pretty bad. Have you tried cutting meat from your diet? Eating more kale? Juicing? Running? No? Yeah, I’m sure if you did all that your anxiety would go away.”

So, I decided to start seeing a therapist. I want to learn new techniques to be more vulnerable and less closed off and judgemental of others. I want to be a kinder person, but it’s so hard when the world feels designed to shut you down. My anxiety tells me to see that and take it for what it is, to only trust the friends you have and not let anyone else in. It’s a constant struggle between who I want to be and what my illness wants to turn me into. I just have to keep telling myself that I did not survive this far to shut down. I have to keep fighting, only this time I have to fight this inner demon called anxiety. Being happy and optimistic is a choice, and it’s one that I want to choose. So, I’ll try to update this blog and my personal diary more often, they both help keep me more accountable to my goals.

Wish me luck.

Pain and failure

I have this theory that the only good thing about pain is that it shows us our potential. I believe that the only limitation in an able bodied human is how much pain they can endure. How many times will you have your heart broken before you stop falling in love? How many times can you fail at the same thing before you leave in bitter resentment? How many times will you try to start a workout routine before you shrug and say “fuck this it’s impossible”?

My trainer and I talked about this a bit during our first sessions. He mentioned that he liked that I showed up on time, ready to work out. He jokingly asked if I’m not originally from the O.C. because he’s not used to people being so punctual and respectful of the time spent. During those weeks he warned me not to get discouraged, that the first weeks are the hardest and if I can get through that I can get through anything. “It’s ok to fail, but it’s not ok to quit.” I laughed and told him “don’t worry, I’m really good at failing. It won’t stop me.” He looked unsure, but I knew I was telling the truth.

Because of pain I know that the frustration of constant failure will not be enough to break me. Because of pain I know how to turn self hatred into a fire that will burn through my weakest moments and leave only the strongest parts of me. Because of pain I know how to build myself up after my ego comes crashing down. Because of pain I am stronger and capable of so much more.

Trying to avoid pain is just as big of a mistake as trying to avoid failure. You can only avoid both if you never try anything.

That will never be me. I made myself a promise that that will never be me again. I will never just let life happen as I sit by and do nothing. I will try and I will fail and I will feel pain.

Good.

I will be so much more because of it.

 

Work in progress

So, one idea I’ve had been thinking about for this blog is how one of my non weight loss goals is becoming my own source of happiness. I feel like lately I’ve fallen in the habit of being so passive towards my life, if good things happen then I’m happy. If sad things happen I’m sad. If nothing happens, I’m either neutral or unhappy. I understand that I can’t be happy 100% of the time, but I can try to not just float on the river of life and let it take me from emotion to emotion.

That’s all well and good, and I had some blog post notes jotted down for this entry but I am not in a good mood. I thought that maybe I should wait until this passes, but I suppose that would be a bit hypocritical of me. I can feel frustration bubbling below my skin and I want to give in to it and not go to the gym. I’m tired, I’m annoyed, and I just want to Netflix and feel sorry for myself. It’s so easy to give up and on days like today it’s so tempting. Like I’ve mentioned in the previous post, it’s not just physical pain associated with weight loss. I already feel so beaten down today and I’m not sure what’s going to burn more; the ache of my underused doughy muscles trying to lift my body off the floor, or my ego as I look at myself red faced and panting in the mirror, still not able to do a single push-up.

So, what’s the solution? To be honest, I’m not really sure. I am going to force myself to go to the gym and maybe that will make me feel good after? I’m hoping that’s the case but if it’s not then after I’ll take a bubble bomb bath and read a book. I won’t let this feeling keep me from doing the things I enjoy. I will take control of my happiness, even if it’s difficult at first.

Day One of The New Normal

I woke up this morning excited to meet the challenges of my new active lifestyle. I had the minutes of my morning routine carefully planned out so that I wouldn’t have to wake up earlier to get in 10 minutes of lunges and squats and how awesome is that? No sacrifice, all gain!

Except, my cats had other plans.

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They refused to budge. Char (the orange one) tried to scratch me as I picked him up from my yoga mat. I was so frustrated, and started to feel the dread of “oh god this is so stupid, of course I can’t even work out in the morning I can’t do this I failed on the first day andimafailureandnevergoingtoloseweight” so I decided that instead of allowing myself to keep going down that negative route, I would do some jumping jacks! Doing something physical took my mind off of how negative I was starting to feel, and had the added bonus of scaring the little mat usurpers of the room! I was only able to do half of the set I wanted before I had to leave for work, but I forced myself to shrug it off with a “it’s better than what I did yesterday, and I can always do more when I get home.”

As part of my new lifestyle I had also planned on doing some exercising on my lunch break. Only, I didn’t take into consideration how awkward it is to do anything in professional work clothes. And how I would probably get some odd looks from the people who eat their lunches at the duck pond. I ended up going to Starbucks and could feel each negative thought washing away my confidence. In desperation, I got out a pen and paper and forced myself to write about things I can do instead of working out during lunch. I can meditate, I can do light yoga, I can read a book or start writing in a journal… it helped me focus my thoughts into what I can do instead of what I’m not able to.

On my way home from work my boyfriend told me that he’s not feeling so well and wanted chicken noodle soup. As I was looking through the soup section I realized how badly I wanted mac and cheese. Just admitting how badly I wanted it was enough to set off the negative self talk again. It was almost too much to stand after having to be strong all day and not giving in to giving up. I was next in line to check out and had to awkwardly leave to put that blue box back. I felt so much shame in that moment, how close I was to caving on the first day. I felt awful, but forced strength and kindness to shout out those mean thoughts. Yes, I want it but no I’m not going to eat it. It doesn’t make me weak for having a craving. I will find something else delicious to eat that won’t make me feel like crap. I deserve to feel good and I will succeed with my goals starting with putting this box back.

For me, losing weight is not just about seeing the numbers going down on a bathroom scale. It’s a battle for my self worth. It’s a fight between the person I’m content with being and the person I could be. The person I want to be. The real me.

 

 

Milly version 2.0

I’ve been going back and forth about wanting to do this, starting a new blog to show off a new and improved me. My first hesitation is who would even care about me losing weight and trying to become healthier? What words can I put on this screen that will attract whatever community/support I’m seeking through this blog? How can I keep a blog that only chronicles my weight loss without losing interest? Is that even what I want to do?

Honestly, I’m still not sure. I am starting this blog without having any short term or long term goals for it (and that goes against every “How to start a blog” website out there. Believe me, I’ve read them all) so I’m just hoping that I find something useful out of this.

I started seeing a personal trainer about a month ago. While I have seen improvements in my overall strength and endurance, I’m very frustrated that I have only lost 3 pounds in that time. My pants fit slightly better, but I still can’t fit into the gorgeous dresses that I bought over a year ago and have literally never been able to wear. (damn you internet and your “hassle free returns” and your web of lies). Every so often I take out those dresses and try them on, hoping that maybe I just imagined not being able to zip up the back of a large dress on my body.

It’s a humbling moment when a size called large can no longer fit around you.

My trainer has told me not to get discouraged and if I want to lose weight faster I should do some cardio every day. So, that’s my plan. My ultimate goal is to lose 30 pounds before my birthday on August 18. I’m taking baby steps to get there, knowing that dramatic cold turkey has never really worked well for me in the past.

I have some other goals that go in with the theme “finding the real me” but I think I’ll save those thoughts for another post.