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If anyone else said the things to me that I say to myself, I’d punch them.

If anyone came to me with stories of how they denegrade themselves this way, I would make it my mission to lift them up and show them compassion and radical love.

But when I do it to myself, there is a twisted sense that I have this coming. That I am exhibit A of how our culture is failing, getting more and more unhealthy, and for many of us, it is inexcusable. I have had no medical problems, no struggles, no factors to make it hard for me to be healthy. So my sins are worse than everyone else’s. I’m a privileged man, my real problems are non-existent.  People like me are the problem. We’re well-lampooned by characters like Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin. The fat American blowhard who, in any logical universe, would not have a beautiful wife and family, and a job, but if there was cosmic justice, I’d be abandoned by friends and family for being completely and totally useless.

Again, if I ever heard someone express this to me, I would do everything in my power to reverse that nonsense. But in my head: it’s all true.

So as I approach the weekend, it’s not Christmas I’m thinking of. It’s a gathering of old friends. It’s people I have known for years, but many of them, I do not see face to face very often. Some, it will have been since this gathering a year ago that we were last in the same room. And while I can’t wait to see them, I don’t want anyone to see me. I’d rather be invisible and just get to spy on this party, seeing what everyone has been up to.

Why am I so worked up? Same story as I’ve been living for years. I don’t want them to see how fat I am. It’s worse now. See now, I’m this guy who has been doing triathlons for three years now, running, writing about food and health. I’m allegedly making an effort. But then when I walk in any room, a logical person would take one look at me and say “um, no. He is clearly full of it. Well there’s no surprise. Andy being a hypocritical blowhard.” Established: 1991. (I was a blowhard in high school, but I didn’t really come into my own as an insufferable know-it-all until freshman year of college. It’s common.)

Now the truth is, I don’t really think so lowly of any of my friends, that I actually believe any of them have this thought. This thought, is all in my head. It’s my imposing. It’s the voice of self on self violence. The truth is, these people would be happy to see me, and glad I’m still alive. I think. That stupid voice in my head is loud after all. I constantly worry that really, people secretly roll their eyes when they know I’m coming and put on a nice face to tolerate me, but that my past tendencies to be a real pain in the ass have made most people actually unhappy to see me. What does any psych 101 student know this indicates? Well, it sounds like I am the one who is unhappy to see me. Probably so. I’m not interested in having my picture taken with anyone, including my kids. I can’t handle the simple wisdom in this post that I cavalierly dismiss as merely a photographer drumming up business. – I hope no one dies for a while, for many reasons, but one I must admit is that I am embarrassed that I can’t button the jacket on my black suit anymore. The one I bought last year.

I just don’t want to talk about any of it. I want to act as if none of this happened. I don’t have a blog or podcast, I have no plans for Ironman. I should scrape those ridiculous stickers off my car. Maybe some day when I get this right, when I’ve actually met a goal: then we can talk about it. Along the way, I’m just blowing smoke. At least as long as I am regressing, it certainly feels that way.

What’s the point? I don’t know. I guess I wanted to compete with Time Cube for craziest website. I promised long ago that this blog would be unedited inasmuch as I wouldn’t white wash this journey. (Now I hate myself for using that cliched word. Journey. Really?) – But I pledged that this blog would be worth reading, as a warts-and-all account of one guy who just isn’t satisfied with the status quo he built for himself. Maybe I should be satisfied with it. I’ve discovered recently how poorly I deal with disappointment when I dare to get some ambition in me. I can’t go into details, but let’s just say: not well. Ambition is for people who have way thicker skin than I do, and talent to match.

If you actually took the time to chart it, and I wouldn’t even take the time to do this myself, but I would bet that if you went through this blog and its 200+ posts, the most negative, meandering or depressing ones can be directly correlated to times when my relationship with food was once again out of whack. It has not been a direct line of progression and improvement. If it was charted, it would resemble a Jack Pollock painting, barely able to find patterns in the choas, and I’m tired of it. Wasn’t I here before? Like 100 times? Didn’t I beat myself up about it then and vow to do better? Do I ever change?

Did I write this exact thing last year? I don’t even want to go back and look. I feel like I am in a Groundhog Day loop, but I’m not getting any better at breaking out of it.

Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year. Maybe my Seasonal Affective Disorder is kicking in. I don’t know. But I did pause while writing this to look at this gallery with my daughter, and I feel a bit better now. I think that series of photos is a remedy for anything depressing.

I’ll be fine. Eventually. And I will go to this gathering, and my long-time friends will remind me why I cherish them as long-time friends. Maybe that’s really what I need. I’ve been trying to be Mr. DIY, but I’ve become the cynical voice of the song I Am a Rock. Well, this rock feels pain, and this island ALWAYS cries.

Thanks to all of you wherever you may be that encourage me. I call you friends too. I may just need time playing Toy Story Wii with the kids. I may just need to hit the trainer more. When the kids are in bed, I’ll rewatch Marc Maron’s Thinky Pain on Netflix. That’s really my issue, paralysis by analysis. I think too much.

Whatever I need, I am going to figure it out. I just wish I had patience, and wish I had it RIGHT NOW.

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2 thoughts on “Taking My Own Counsel Part 43 – Or, I’m Just an Unreasonable Ball of Angst

  1. As someone who has struggled with weight and binge eating, and who still struggles at times, I will say that you’re not alone. Food is probably the toughest addiction to manage because you can’t stop eating, cold turkey. It took me a long time to learn how to deal with my addiction. The number one thing I’ve found that consistently helps is patience and self love. Instead of looking in the mirror and feeling terrible and saying nasty things about my body, I would just say, “I’m working on it” and I’d walk away. The more you can be kind, loving and patient with yourself, as you would be to a friend, then the better you can stay on track. As for the “how to” stuff, breaking the addiction cycle works like any other addiction. You have to be good and ready to do it, like when you wake up after a particularly bad binge, feeling guilty and awful. I did a three-week low-sugar, raw food “cleanse” and it helped me to break my physical addiction to food. After that, I took up running again and dropped the rest of the weight quickly.
    At any rate, it’s SO important that you don’t beat yourself up. It’s the only way that you will be successful on this journey.

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