Becoming ever-so-swoll

I’ve worked out twice.

I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve worked out twice?? You call that swoll?? I’m in the gym every day burning fat and taking names and you wanna tell me you’re swoll??”

Oh, a definition may be in order:

swoll: adjective: slang–strong, buff, athletic, muscular, hyper-masculine flavor of attractive, often used ironically among effeminate men such as myself

So anyway, I’ve worked out twice and I certainly don’t look different but I FEEL different. This isn’t just an emotional change, either. If you squeeze by bicep and feel where the bicep meets the [other muscle group] in my arm there’s like some definition there. You may not believe me but I invite you to coax me (I can get shy about my body builder status) to flex for you sometime and you can feel it!

I like how I said “you can feel it” like it’s a treat or something.

This is the wonder of my body + weights. I notice a difference pretty much right away. I’m sure others feel that way too, but it always surprises me. I still got a gut and love handles and a healthy butt, but the muscle-making process is already going very well. It is so encouraging!

I’ve also lost about .5 pounds. It’s not much, but this may be the first time in months (years?) where I’ve seen the number go down from the last time I weighed myself instead of up. And #180to180 is pretty important to me, but it’s the first 180 I care about more, probably, and that’s the turning my life 180 degrees around part.

I still eat pie. I had biscuits and gravy twice in 12 hours. I’m not some kind of spectacular beacon of health and wellness. But I feel like a more authentic approach at my own speed is way better anyway? Don’t ya think?

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A home improvement project

Cw: tons of body image stuff, weight loss

From being unable to see that my own fly was down (because there’s a gut in the way) to feeling insecure in my relationship even though there is literally no reason to be, I’ve felt pretty bad about myself in the last year. I think weight loss resolutions are a little bit cliché but I must do something.

I strongly believe that weight loss is also an industry, but as I’ve said before, just because I think that doesn’t mean I can outsmart it or somehow live above it when that’s how our society operates: under the assumption that fat = unhealthy and fat = unattractive. I believe this is fucked up and downright incorrect. I feel most “overweight” people are cute, beautiful, handsome, you name it. (And also, attractiveness is enormously overrated in and of itself). And just because I’m considered obese or something, it doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy (from a physical standpoint). I have terrific blood pressure and I am not at risk for diabetes or anything. Mentally of course I’m unwell, but being overweight is only tangentially related. So the health thing is bunk and the unattractive thing is bunk.

But I must recognize that for whatever reason, being overweight is not helping me, and if I can be less overweight, I think a lot of things will improve as a result. For one, I’ll be more active, which helps a whole bunch of things; for another, I’ll be eating a little better/less, which will help me feel a  bit healthier (for example, when you eat greasy fast food for a week or lighter meals for a week, you can feel the difference).

I cannot say enough that I do not judge anyone who considers themselves fat. I think fatphobia is real and I’m a victim of it, both from others and myself. It’s fucked up that we are all under this spell that skinny is the only way to be. Jfc.

All that said, I’ve finally come up with a way to get this project going.

And it’s just that—a project. I think people usually use words like “journey” and I think that’s a valid metaphor, but for me I kind of see it as a project. A home (human vessel) improvement project. What I HAVE been doing is nothing. Nothing is not working. So I’m going to try to do SOMETHING and see if that works.

The goal is to use some knowledge from past experiences with trying to ~be healthier~ but mostly toss everything out. Every single time I’ve tried to be healthier I’ve stopped for some reason, usually after a pretty short time. My hope is to correct that, make this sustainable.

For that reason, I’ve set a tangible goal of being 180 pounds.

A few notes on this: according to my height and gender, I’m supposed to be no more than 165. I think that’s bullshit. If I’m muscly and 180 I’m pumped about that. I don’t need to be SKINNY. I’m okay being a “big guy” if that’s what being 180 means.

I’m not going to share my original weight. If you pay extremely close attention to how much I lose per week when I do share that information, you could probably make an educated guess. But I never ever want to share my weight and make people think that anyone who’s that weight or more is somehow less-than. I do not think that and I do not want to come across that way. I weigh the most I ever have, and I feel bad about myself even though I shouldn’t. That’s all you need to know.

I hope to make this project to becoming 180 pounds as positive as possible. I want to be real with you if I have difficulty, but I also want it to be like “hey this is home improvement” and not “hey I deserve to suffer.” I want to make this about trying a new, good thing for myself. And with a tangible goal, I think that’s possible.

I’ve even come up with a hashtag. So, 180 is a popular number (more than 179, for example), because it’s a common amount of DEGREES. So like, turning 180 degrees is turning around. I want to turn my life around. It’s so obvious. My project is called #180to180. Fuckin’ shit up.

(I’m also going to use the ever-neglected hashtags I created in another life: #BuildingADreamBoat and #BuffAndBeardy)

In the past, I’ve been really excited about the tracking process, where I’ve focused hard on counting calories and recording all my cardio down to the minute. But then I either get distracted by tracking and lose sight of the actual objective, OR I get bored of it and then get bored of exercising as a result.

I think I can do a little tracking but I no longer want that to be a motivator. I want to work out more and go for walks more and open more pickle jars and be more conscious about my eating and see where it takes me. It’s an overall, all-the-time mission that drives this project. I got a number in mind. Let’s do this or w/e.

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On postponing death

When I resurface from my depression for a few hours or a day or something, I try to blog because it shows hey, I’m ok, things are good, and they will continue being good, right? It’s much easier to read a depressed person’s perspective when they can talk about it in the past tense. “I WAS suicidal but I’m good now and here’s how I survived my mind” is a bit easier to stomach than “I don’t think there’s hope for me, and I probably will die from this.”

It’s isolating, because people in my life have offered to talk with me, or they’ve given up evenings to come spend time with me while at my worst. People have let me reach out to them when I’m incorrigible. It’s amazing. But to tell  you exactly how bad it is is probably pretty alarming, and often the one I reach out to ends up feeling uncomfortable–not just because they are untrained in psychology but also because I sound pretty scary.

And I get that. So I sometimes try to water it down a little bit, so I can still get some support but maybe not be such a scary ticking bomb.

Whenever I feel good, I am so relieved because I assume it means I will never feel bad again. It’s actually very similar to how I feel when I’m down. I feel like I’ll never feel good again, even if I KNOW I will, but it sounds impossible.

At the end of 2016, my girlfriend lost someone close to her and this funeral was yesterday. It’s been of utmost importance to me that I show up for that, that I be present, in the moment, fantastically supportive. No matter how my brain is feeling, I must go to this funeral, and I must be there for her and her family. I was able to attend and even though I was kinda sad (other than for the fact it was a sad event), I pushed with all my might to be there for my girlfriend as she is so often there for me.

As a suicidal person, it’s weird to be at a funeral. Every funeral I’ve thought of lately has been one for me. To be in the presence of death and the family who’s lost someone, it puts a different perspective on death. It’s sobering. Just Friday morning I felt like I was choosing between suicide and going to work (Note: going to work has nothing to do with my depression–my job is actually really great. It’s just brought up here because it was the morning of a business day). I literally sat on my bed half-clothed wondering what I should do next.

But then I went to this funeral and suddenly the selfishness of suicide seems laughable. Why would I ever consider doing that? This man we celebrated on Saturday was so accomplished. He lived a full life, climbed mountains (literally), spent a ton of time outdoors, loved his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren to a full extent, making an everlasting impression on them. I only met him once and I’ll never forget him. He asked me some questions since I am dating his granddaughter, and what could have felt interrogating actually felt welcoming. He hugged me goodbye when I left his house.

I feel like I’ve just been postponing my inevitable suicide. That’s how it feels sometimes. And it still comes in waves but I MUST stick around. I must. I keep forgetting but I need to keep re-remembering. It’s not all better and I’m not magically cured. But it’s okay because I can be fueled by the times I feel good again. I can coast for the bad parts, that’s fine, but dying is not an option. There’s nothing like a funeral outside of your imagination to remind you of that.

I’ve been reflecting about this and I think I need to do two things:

  1. Start exercising
  2. Start and continue a large writing project

I’m not going to get into the fat thing in this post, but all I know is that I hate my body and what I’m currently doing (nothing) is not working. Capitalistic industry or not, I guess I just have to live in this society too, and even though I know it’s fucked up, I can’t outsmart it.

As for the writing project, I need to write poems, a book’s worth. I need to write good poems and bad poems and collect them. I want to be able to write something other than poetry but I also don’t want to, so like, w/e.

Thanks.

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