Day 2 and Day 3

Noooo! I already failed the writing portion of the personal history challenge I gave myself!

But, I digress. I am resuming today, and will catch up tomorrow. No excuses.

To recap, day 1 of eternity went well. Day 2 and day 3 also went well. I’ve been able to maintain the willpower and resolve to stick to my daily goals. I haven’t cheated on my diet and I’ve stuck to my exercise plan designed for faster run times. The only difference is that I moved the sprints I was planning on doing today to yesterday, because the weather was perfect and today and tomorrow might be a little dreary. So I did weights this morning before work and this evening I will do a treadmill run, probably followed by the elliptical machine. Oh, and of course, the walks I take while I’m at work. Thanks, FitBit, for keeping track of my steps!

I may post more later. The good news is that exercise and diet are both going well, my boyfriend and coworkers are on board, and I haven’t had any cravings! Yet.

On a more serious note, is it possible to be addicted to food? I will explore this concept more at a later date. 

For now, I leave you with an inspirational quote: “Food is the most abused anxiety drug; exercise is the most under utilized antidepressant.”

Auf wiedersehen!

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The First Day of Eternity

And a good evening to you, too. In my absence,  I’ve had much time to think. I’ve thought about where I want my life to go, about compromising with my significant other on such decisions, about growing together, about goals that we can set and accomplish. I’ve been wanting to renew my commitment to write daily. Not just work on my novel, but to post in this blog. The idea behind this blog was to document and analyze history, both old and new, as well as to serve as a platform for some creative writing. Today, I am beginning a project to write about my personal history (kind of). Today, I am writing the first post regarding a personal goal set, with the intention of creating a new entry each day. Today, 1 May, 2017, is the first day of eternity.

Let me begin. I’m fat. And I’m not THAT fat, really, but one of my jobs requires me to be less fat than I am. So, I must lose weight. I’ve been struggling with weight gain over the last several years, and as many people know, it is harder to lose weight than to gain it. The first part of this personal goal is to lose 20 pounds by July 1st. I’ve been told that some scientists somewhere determined that healthy weight loss is between 1 and 3 pounds per week, so 20 pounds by July 1st doesn’t seem too far-fetched. But I HAVE to stay strict and committed to the diet I started today. Diets. It’s like a dirty word that fills me with fear and loathing. However, my diet isn’t that bad. It’s designed to be low sugar and low grain-based carbohydrate. I’ve been doing some research about grains, and apparently they’re quite bad for humans. Anecdotal evidence has convinced me that I need to do something drastic like stop eating bread and pasta except maybe once in a blue moon. The people I know who have tried it lost a lot of weight in a pretty short amount of time, and that’s exactly what I need to do. As far as food, today went very well. I didn’t cheat once.

The second part of my goal is to be able to run 2 miles in 20 minutes or less. That may seem silly to some people, but trust me, it’s necessary. I get a physical fitness test once a year, or more often, if I will be attending certain types of training. I have one such training event coming up this summer, and I need to be better at my 2 mile run. I made a plan for myself. I do P90X videos in the mornings 4 days a week. 3 days a week, I run on the treadmill for 2 miles, and each week, I increase the speed by .1 mile per hour. For example, today was a treadmill day, and I started at 5.5 miles per hour. Next week, I will increase the speed to 5.6 miles per hour. Does anyone else despise running on the treadmill? It gets boring and it’s difficult to focus. But, there are some beneficial things about it. The primary benefit is training your body at a consistent pace, which will teach you how to pace yourself should you ever need to. Another benefit to treadmill running is that it allows you to work on efficient form and movement, which will ultimately help you improve your stamina and your VO2 max. A third benefit, and a very important one, is that it helps you build mental discipline and focus. Many people struggle with running, and they come up with all kinds of excuses for why they WANT to do it more often, but they CAN’T because stuff that’s arbitrary to your success. What they don’t realize is that running is much more mental than physical. If you can effectively train your mind to have the self-discipline to keep going, then you’ll be running marathons in no time! Personally, my problem has never been distance; it’s always been speed.

Anyway, 1 day a week I will also do hill sprints. Those are a great way to improve VO2 max. It’s like weightlifting for your heart! Another 1 day a week will be regular old sprints on a track, or whatever area I can find that I can separate into intervals. Again, this works stamina and VO2 max. Then, once a week, probably on Saturdays when my boyfriend is sleeping, I will work in a long run. And maybe Sundays we’ll do a long walk, hike, ruck march, or other similar activity together.

Today, I accomplished these smaller goals that I set out to do. The key is to do it every day. Then, maintain that for at least two months. Having tackled a weight loss and running speed problem before, I know I’m capable of doing it again. The real challenge is going to be maintaining and building strong mental discipline, until it becomes a habit.

Today is the first day of the rest my life, and I am lucky that my boyfriend is joining me on this journey. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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The Space Between

I woke. Another night terror, momentarily stuck between the dream in my mind and the reality of a silent night. A dark night. As I regained proper conciousness, I realized my cheeks and nose were damp. The rest of me was damp from cold sweat, but it shortly became clear that I was crying.

His face was clear. I swung my feet over the edge of the bed, sitting up, needing to pee. I needed to gain my orientation and allow my eyesight to adjust. It was so dark. So dark, I considered that my eyes might not be open and I was still stuck in my mind. Using my sense of touch and familiarity with my surroundings, I stood and carefully made my way to the bathroom. My vertigo in the thick oppressive darkness and that ice cold feeling of dread in my gut made it clear I would unlikely be able to fall back asleep. Damn the insomnia.

I fumbled a bit in the bathroom, hoping I didn’t make an unintentional mess. I was the only one there, however (or was I?), so I brushed it off as a matter to be addressed in daylight. His face. That one night, also dark, but not like tonight…that…THAT night. There were too many of those. It lingered there in my head like a malignant tumor, stubborn, persistent.

My stomach released a loud growl, and it occurred to me that I’d fallen asleep without eating. Perhaps a midnight snack would calm me; just a little reason restored is all I wanted. I made my way in the darkness to the kitchen, stumbling once or twice over things on the floor. My poor feet. They’d taken many beatings over the years. It was an open floor plan, and the refrigerator was next to the back door. A sliding glass door. I was paranoid about how easily broken into it could be. I kept it locked and blocked and covered by long heavy drapes. Of course, there was always a stash of ammunition and a gun hidden somewhere (that’s only for me to know).

I opened the refrigerator, and was momentarily blinded by the sudden illumination. It cast an eery eminating glow over the island, to the living room area. Shadows came to life, the imaginary imps inside them dancing and shifting away from the light. It highlighted my nearly naked body. I looked at myself for a moment. Not too shabby, objectively speaking. And that prickling sensation, the heightened awareness, the ghost of adrenaline came over me. His face, his yelling. I pushed it aside for a moment and stared into the fridge. There was hardly anything there. Some condiments. Some dips. Some leftovers and side dishes. I grabbed the hummus, shut the refrigerator, and was blinded again by the sudden dark.

Making my way to a corner of the living room area, I found that small plug-in light I hardly ever used. It was so dark. Once I found the socket and plugged it in, the gentle light drifted out, reaching enough of the space so I could see my cabinets. I went back to the kitchen and opened the one in which I kept all my dry snacks, finding the pita chips and pulling them to the counter. I had a momentary lapse. I stood there staring at the pita chips and hummus, but I wasn’t seeing them. His face kept creeping into the forefront of my conciousness. Sweat, dirt, hateful tears, blood, carbon, all mixing together.

The pita chip bag crinkled as I opened it. I reached in slowly and extracted a chip. I popped the lid off the hummus and dipped the chip into it. I brought it to my mouth, tasting the salt and flour and chickpeas and garlic. My saliva glands immediately began excreting. Delicious. Repeat. Methodical, precise, habitual. The routine I’d developed from countless sleepless nights that resulted in 2 a.m. forays into the kitchen. Food was comfort, but not during the day. There wasn’t time in the day.

His face. Those psychotic eyes peering out from the gunk caked on his face, like a trapped animal. I had him cornered. I continued to feed myself, the habit, unthinking. His face was sucking me into the pit. It was dark that night, but it was alive. I had him cornered. He was screaming at me, his teeth, though dirty and worn, glared out of his face in the beam of my light. I felt the heat pressing on me, the stench of sweat and blood and carbon and rot hung in the air. He was screaming, yelling, but disarmed…halfway literally. His blood leaked out into the dirt, coagulating. In the crunch of a pita chip, I felt the anger, the focus, the fear, of that night. Adrenaline coursed through me like the penetrating rays of a nuclear explosion. He was losing blood rapidly. What remained of his body shook with the struggle of trying to stay alive. I knew what I had to do. I raised my weapon. I focused. Methodical, precise, habitual, right between the eyes. It was sudden, but quick, and anticlimactic. Not like the movies. It was never like the movies. The shot rang in my ears, amidst the rest of the chaotic noise around me and inside my head. He was screaming at me, and then…then, he was just gone.

The next crunch snapped me back. That cold stone in my gut felt as though it had grown. It began to subside as I became again aware of the soft light washing over the rooms just enough for me to see a bit in the oppressive darkness. It was such a dark night. I looked down at my mostly naked body again. The scars glared out of my skin like lightning in the night. So many of them. A rather extensive network of them. The guilt ate at me still, despite the damage inflicted upon me.

Suddenly that ice cold feeling of dread descended over me, making me catch my breath, making me stop mid-chew. There was someone here. Someone who didn’t belong here. Unwelcome. Methodical, precise, habitual, I reached into a drawer in the island and removed the Sig .357, ensured it was loaded, and steadied myself. But where was he?

As though he could read my thoughts, a pale bloodied face floated slowly into view from the corner. His face. His eyes glared out at me, his teeth bared in a horrible smile. The hole between his eyes oozed, a little dark target. Again. Focus. How was this possible? The lesson was always that even the right decisions in war are often wrong.

His face began laughing. Laughing at me. He knew, and I knew. Even in his death, he knew that he’d won. And I knew that he’d won. In my mind I was panicking. This can’t be real. Yet when I closed my eyes and opened them again, his pale bloody face remained. He slowly came closer, reaching out with one damaged hand, and the other half of his severed arm. I prayed. I asked for help. I called out to my brothers. As I backed into the living room area, his apparition following me, the face of one brother floated up in the darkness. He said nothing. He did nothing.

I pleaded, I begged. I backed up into an ottoman, falling over it. The panic was taking over, finding its way in through sleep deprivation. The guilt was eating me alive. His pale bloody face and outstretched arms crept ever closer, laughing horrifically.

I woke. It was a night terror. That’s what the doctor calls them. As I came to, I became aware of the soft gray light coming through the windows. It must have been about 0630. My breathing slowed. I wiped the tears from my eyes. I looked around. I was on the floor next to the ottoman. I saw the .357 laying near the couch. Upon further inspection, I realized it had been fired within the last day. The dread was upon me, but not as cold. These days, I find it hard to distinguish what’s real anymore.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-no-three/

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Into the Forest

I was lost. But, this is not to say I was afraid. I found myself in a grove teeming with old souls and memories. The atmosphere was thick with peace and sadness, wisdom and truth, and even a touch of joy. The burning sky of dusk broke through the canopy, setting branches and blades of grass alight. There was a sublime magical glow emanating from the deep green and black.

I could see it, but with more than just my eyes. My soul could see it. My soul saw and felt all the life pulsating all around me in exquisite detail: the strange color and movements of snails and slugs; the fluttering intentions of moths; the fleeting gleam of fireflies; the deep emerald grass taking its time; the old trees in subtle shades listening and whispering.

I was lost in the magic and whimsical wisdom. And those eyes. A pair of beautiful blue eyes reflected to me. They were deep as the ocean, old as oaks yet infused with youth and vigor, tired and yet still full of fight. But more than that, I could see clearly in those eyes a kind of melancholy that is only an affliction of old souls like mine, and a spark of hope peeking out from behind it. They were curious eyes, and I suspected they hid a capability that for so long I thought was myth.

It startled me the moment I realized those eyes were not disembodied; they were not a part of a soul long gone but imprinted in this spot. He slowly crept out from the darkness of the grove, this corporeal man. I did not know at the time, but he had seen himself in me just as I had seen myself in him. We stood, two old souls in the same strange wonderland, reflections of each other; like two sides of a mirror.

I knew I would love him. I was terrified, but I knew I would love him. And I knew he would love me. Love. Such a versatile word. There are different kinds of love, and the greatest deepest one of all I thought was an imaginary state of being; until I faced my other broken half, and knew that we would love each other.

He let down his wall before I did. He knew what we were, and he knew he must show me before I could stop being afraid. He took my hand gently and pulled me close to him.

“Our future is already written, my love,” he whispered softly in my ear. I knew he would keep me safe. I knew he scouted the path before I got there. We were two broken pieces, but he found me, and now we were whole. He gripped my hand firmly, and into the grove we went. Finally, we both knew that kind of love so elusive that fairy tales had been built around it.

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Perhaps T.S. Eliot Was Right

sunset

 

In exploring revelations about love and all it’s complexities, a certain sense of urgency emerged some time ago. Juxtaposed with my experiences in dealing with death and grief, I couldn’t help but think of the rather impassive nature of death itself. In many societies, people have grown up thinking that death and dying are highly intense, frequently epic and preferably heroic; but I have found this not to be so. It is the grief and sorrow felt by survivors, as they tell stories and remember the deceased, that gives a person’s death the face of Shakespearean tragedy (okay, I might be exaggerating a bit there) and turns their death into a highly emotional, intense affair. But, really, many a death are quite unremarkable, even quiet. There is usually no big production; even when death is instant, the person usually just ceases to be alive. Frequently, death is longer process: the person fades away as the sun sets in the western sky. I thought of the end of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men: “This is the way the world ends; this is the way the world ends; this is the way the world ends; Not with a bang but a whimper.” But, even in this quiet, tense scene I present below, death cannot kill the love people feel for each other. Love endures beyond the grave, beyond the veil, beyond the shadows of the setting sun. Without further ado, I give you my fifty words:

Diamond-peaked waves crashed gently. The sky was an explosive array of colors, the sun calmly sinking beyond the horizon. He turned to me and asked, “It was always you and me, wasn’t it?” I replied, “You are my one. To the end of the world.” Tightly, he gripped my hand.

It’s about me, and someone I love very deeply. To the end of the world! 🙂

Auf Wiedersehen,

Sid

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Beautiful Sunset: My Favorite Time of Day

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I couldn’t resist. I used the run to contemplate various situations in life. Sunset has always been my favorite time of day, and as I finished my run, I looked to the sky and saw this. The evening was full of energy, and I felt tired, but good. Sometimes a little natural beauty is all one needs to be momentarily lifted up.
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Krieg!

Attack the Masses, Front Line Assembly

In truth, I’ve had a rough go of it lately. This track always motivates me.

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My Heart is Broken, but I Love Him Anyway

I’ve been working on this song for a bit, and I finally took the time to complete it. I’m thinking metal; mostly because no one would ever suspect it’s a love song unless they actually looked up the lyrics 🙂

 

CSH (This One’s for You)

Some day, something will kill you,

one way or another; so fuck it,

let’s have another.

The elated beautiful moments you

and I, we spend together,

can be so fleeting that, maybe, it’s

better we just sleep forever,

basking in our brilliant dreams,

escaping the irrelevant minutiae that

makes us scream;

Life is nothing more than an expertly

concocted lie,

a farce to distract the masses from

the realization that in the end,

all beauty, and light, and love, will die.

 

[x1]

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly see

that behind your cluttered lens

always was the truth of me?

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly hear

all the things I told you

about love and death and fear?

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly know

how deeply you were loved by me

and how I tried to tell you so?

 

And in some faraway fantasy,

I’m loving you with secret urgency,

I’m sitting on a warm beach

watching the brilliant spectacular sunset

Listening to the peaceful beckoning waves

crashing on the shore.

Through your glistening eyes I reach

out with my heart so you don’t forget,

and talking to souls I never got

the candid opportunity to before.

Though, my stomach’s still not right;

Think I’ll skip dinner tonight.

Perhaps a glass (a cask?) of wine instead

to quiet the voices of the dead…

 

[x2]

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly see

that behind your cluttered lens

always was the truth of me?

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly hear

all the things I told you

about love and death and fear?

If I died tomorrow,

would you suddenly know

how deeply you were loved by me

and how I tried to tell you so?

 

…I am considering adding a third verse, just to round it out a bit. I’ve not yet convinced myself. Anyone care to weight in?

 

Bis Spaeter,

Sid

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Introverts are aloof nerds

Introversion: I am one of those.

61 Musings

aloof2This is the eighth in a weekly series debunking myths about introverts.  (See last week’s post.)  The basis of the 10 week series is the article written by Carl King.  I will show his thinking, add mine and then encourage all of you to contribute your thoughts on the subject.

Don’t know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert?  Take Susan Cain’s quiz.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.

Carl:  Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Chris:  I am more likely to be accused of being a snob than of being aloof, I think.  Here’s the hard part about speaking to this myth, which will be an…

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As I concluded my work out for the day, I stayed long enough to watch the sunset. I contemplated the complexity of life. Or, perhaps our lives only seem complex because of our own convoluted and confusing rules we made for ourselves. Or maybe we are still, as a society and a culture, unable to handle our own deep and layered emotional capacities. But, inherent to understanding emotions is first understanding that emotions are irrational; my heart is broken, yet it is still so full of love (CSH, I hope you will understand one day that I’ve never felt a love like this for any other person).

That is not to say I don’t love others. But, my heart is broken, and I don’t know how much more it can handle. Why do we make things so much more complex than necessary?

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