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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A rather futile entry, but there you go.

Fragile moments of temporary vulnerability, parting like curtains in a dark room. On the bus ride home after work today, packed in tight with other droopy bodies, a gangly, pale, red-eyed man got on with his companion, a woman so thin and pale that she was not much more than a whisper. "We don't have any bus fare; she just got out of the hospital and we had to get medication" he said to the driver in a plain-spoken but steady voice. No entitlement or arrogance, but definitely a tone that expressed that he was dealing with troubles far greater than regular conventions could even touch. The bus driver had him pass through quietly, and the pair unsteadily made their way together and sat right across from me. She was thin like a bird, and I could see on her wrist that she still had her hospital identification and a Medic Alert bracelet. She was so thin that I have no idea how she was even standing, let alone out in public on a crowded bus.

The woman leaned against the gangly man with her delicate hand resting on his lap and I could see that she was resting as much as she could, even in this public place, and that she was going moment by moment finding refuge where she could. I don't know if this man was her husband or friend, but it was clear that he was a total support to her and that she needed it. I felt like I wished I could do anything to help -- offer them something from the bag of groceries crowding around my feet, a bus ticket, something, anything, but for the brief moment that my eyes met theirs it was clear that they just wanted privacy and distance from the loud world around them. To address them would likely have been an intrusion.

So much to say about unspeakable, heartbreaking things that I have seen, sad and also joyful and beautiful, but these are things that I can't write away tonight. Suffice it to say that sometimes I'm reminded that we are so fragile and broken at different times in our lives. The illusion of "us" and "them" is pretty much just that: an illusion. Everybody hurts. We should be gentle and kind. Whoever those people are, my heart goes out to them in whatever limited way, and I hope they will be okay, whatever they are going through.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I get knocked down, but I get up again

I went back to the gym this morning after about a 9 week slump. I've already been through the entire self-hatred cycle about that so I'm not going to even bother picking that apart in this entry. Need to look forward, only forward.

I will say, however, that I see a fine line between finding momentum and getting frantic about exercise, and I was getting a bit frantic, methinks. Whatever the reasons (over-ambition, self-defeating patterns, perfectionism, simple laziness), I stopped exercising, and man, did I feel it. Anxiety and inertia crept in like mold and I started to feel immobilized and raw.

Sometimes it takes my anxiety and depression to grow intrusive enough to make my skin actually hurt before I listen to it. When it gets like that, my thoughts ring loudly in my head like bad electric guitar feedback, distorting my perceptions and taking up way too much bandwidth. I can't concentrate. I feel  hollow. It takes me to darker places, and with the summer just around the corner, it's that much more conspicuous.

But no beating myself up about it. Back to the gym I went for the pure medicine of it.

Happily, I found today that I have not gained any weight, and in fact, am at the exact same weight that I was 9 weeks ago when I last went to the gym.

I'm aiming to lose 10% of my total weight by fall (just to give myself some parameters). My plan is to break up exercise throughout the day to keep the happy chemicals level in the morning, afternoon, and after dinner, and beyond that, it's all about being flexible, mobile, and a bit more energetic. I'm willing to give a little bit of energy to see where that kind of kickstart will take me over the next year. Not gung-ho, not all about the resolution -- just about the momentum, for now.