Category Archives: Personal

Hey Karen!

We all have nicknames for our neighbors, ones we often substitute even when we know their names. After work I came out on the balcony to let the cat roam.

The sourpuss lady on the end exited her apartment. I waved and said, “Hello Karen,” before catching myself.

Oops!
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Here & Now

Roaring rivulets of running rain follow their path into the storm drain

The cooler air cracks and sparks with thunder and lightning

The chilly August air feels alien in comparison to days past

I don’t know where the water might go, and I don’t need to

It always finds a way

Holiness is knowing your ignorance and being aware of your limited imagination

Things follow their own path and nature takes its course

Were we able to allow ourselves to do the same…

We bring our past along like treasured baggage

We think it defines us when in reality it confines us

You can’t live the day until it arrives and you survive it

And perhaps it will put a smile on our faces, both the rain and this realization

As we run our races, barreling towards our own finish line

No matter where the water goes or where we shall end

This day is new

You should be too

X
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3 a.m. Adventure

I woke up slightly after midnight this morning and stayed up.

It wasn’t that the man standing there with his small bicycle outside the convenience store looked dangerous. His clothes were nice and he had a small backpack behind him. I watched to see as he approached someone who parked in front of the store. The woman exited her vehicle. Although I could not hear what was said her body language communicated that she was very uncomfortable. The man continued saying something to her and his body language wasn’t nice. As the woman walked hastily into the store, I exited my vehicle and darted in behind her. When I came out, his body language was off to me. He spoke quickly and the way he talked in combination with his body language made me uncomfortable.

That’s rare for me. I love convenience store interactions! Since I’m both weird and often unpredictable, it’s a great way to meet people. Even if they are weirder than I am.

I took two steps back and asked him to please stop as he of course he walked toward me.

I think he’s unaccustomed to people being direct. He took a step forward and I held my left hand up.

“Why you got to be like that?” he asked me.

“It’s barely 3:00 a.m. If you need money for something urgent, I would more than likely help you. But I saw you make the woman going in uncomfortable. Don’t do that.”

“Eff you,” he said and took another very small step towards me.

I laughed, even though I didn’t want to.

“Three things,” I began. “There are cameras literally everywhere. Second, you have no idea who has a concealed carry permit on them or a gun without one. Finally do I look like I’m in shape. Or do I seem nervous? I think it’s time for you to stop hanging out in front of convenience stores. And I hope whatever is going on in your life gets better. I really do. But this is going to end badly for someone because you’re making people uncomfortable and people are not quite sure what you’re up to. Fear causes a lot of needless reactions, the least of which is people calling the police.”

“It’s not a crime to talk to people,” he replied.

“Loitering is. Unless you have demonstrable evidence that you’re conducting business inside the store, someone is going to call the police and you’ll have to explain it to them.”

He stood there a second and I did wonder if he was going to threaten me or lunge at me.

So I ignored him and turned to walk to my car. I half-expected a hand on my shoulder. When I opened the door and sat down inside my car, he was already peddling away furiously on his small bicycle.

The convenience store I went to is one of the nicest, safest, most brightly lit ones in the area. It is immeasurably better than Wild Bills over on Garland. That place is a magnet for crazy. That’s probably why I like it.

I’m certainly no badass and I have yet to implement the new self-defense moves I learned last year. I rely on the fact that all but a very small percentage of people are either good-natured or have enough sense not to threaten other people. The biggest danger to me is still pepperoni or potato chips.

A very small sliver of me would like to know what I would have done had the man reacted differently. That little piece of Bobby Dean in me makes me nervous!

X
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No, I Am Not

I had a real belly laugh earlier.

I went outside in the afternoon to sweep the parking lot below my apartment. I do this frequently to ensure that anything that blows off my landing doesn’t become someone else’s problem. If everyone did this, it would solve a lot of the messes that accumulate in the world.

I talked to one of my newer neighbors quite a bit. He was convinced I am gay. I think he thinks his gaydar is broken now! Everything from my car color choice to my art projects, to my glasses, and the way I dress. He also took the time to complain that he hates that I took my massive fence project down. He said that it reveals a lot about the person who tried to complain, something that was coincidental, given that someone else told me the same thing today about an entirely different situation. I told him the landlord tried to take back the request a couple of hours after asking me to do so.

Just because I like to be personal, I’ve never had a gay experience or been the least bit interested in the same sex. I am so glad I came out of my violent, racist, and prejudiced childhood without those attitudes of judgment toward people who are gay. Even when the same sex hit on me, I just smiled and explained and went about my day. Anyone brave enough to express their interest, much less in this seemingly growing era of backlash prejudice, deserves grace for being who they are. Sexuality is complicated enough without the added burden of falling outside the alleged norm. Almost everyone I know is trapped in their own personal cocoon of concealment and worry about their perceived sexuality and behavior. I’ve never understood why some people are so obsessed with other people’s sexuality. Except to gossip! Gossip is the exception – one that everyone claims they don’t do.

Although it’s not directly related, if you find someone you like, tell them. It doesn’t have to be awkward. It probably will be, though, because rejection is about as welcome as a spider in one’s shoe in the morning. From experience, I learned the hard way that you should NOT use a bullhorn to tell them. Or shout it out in church.

While talking to my neighbor, I was reminded of how small the world is and how interconnected we are. Because he knows a few people I know. And some of them have secrets, secrets that belong to them to keep private or to live openly. But I wish the world were filled with grace. Not acceptance… because that belies that people different from us must be accepted. They don’t need to be accepted. They need to be who they are without our individual judgments or perceptions affecting how they live their lives. Unless we’re having a laugh about the absurdity of individuals and their choices. I love it when people snark about me, as long as they are creative.

So if you see me driving around in my little blue cotton candy car, I’m not going to give you my number. I won’t go to Applebee’s with you either for a cocktail and hot wings. Unless you’re buying, of course.

Love, X

PS That’s a crescent wrench above my thumb. I keep one magnetized on each side of my metal door. It looks like a floating key. The “Sadboy” t-shirt I’m wearing, the one I splotched deliberately with paint, it’s the most comfortable shirt I’ve ever owned.
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There Is No Secret

This is a piece of motivation. Nadine, if you’re reading this, imagine that I’m an expert and not the goofball you know.

Stress will never disappear from your life. Neither will the obstacles that frequently jump up and surprise you. You’ll always be tired at times and not want to prepare delicious food that feeds your body. You’ll always be tempted to stop at some place quick and delicious on the way home. Given the certainty of those variables, you’ll have to come up with incremental changes. They won’t feel natural at the beginning. Nothing does. Continuity and comfort work for us. But they also work against us when we’re motivated to do something different.

If you want to eat less or eat more healthy so that you’ll look better, embrace it. Anyone who tries to discount the vanity and self-esteem aspect of looking better is fighting human nature. If you think you look better, you will almost always feel better. It will translate to energy and optimism. If you want to eat differently just to be more healthy, that can be amazing too. We all know that the food we eat is the fuel that helps our body protect itself. It’s equally important to know that you can do everything perfectly and still have illnesses and unexpected calamity. As we get older, all of us are forced to confront that.

Everyone who tries something new eventually hits the wall of the reluctance curve. You won’t see as much progress as you would like. Or you will have days where you fail. It will feel like those days of failure far outweigh any progress you’ve made. It’s not true. You have to exercise that muscle of habit. If you do things incrementally, over time, even with days of failure, you’re improving yourself and your habits. There will be days when you will drink an entire bottle of wine and probably eat half a cheesecake too. But over time, you will see that there are simple ways to eat a whole lot of food and be happy with them. It does require you think and plan ahead so that you’re not creating obstacles. Chances are if you’re smart enough and motivated enough to make such a change, you will be able to do it. It will be easy to point the finger at the people around you, because Lord knows they’re going to be eating entire pepperoni pizzas and ice cream while you are choosing better options. At the same time, there are times when you should go crazy and a pizza with them. Because life is short and food is delicious.

Try not to start habits that you cannot do for the rest of your life. Because once you start them and have some success, if those habits fall to the wayside, you’ll start eating unhealthy and put the weight back on. Diet and nutrition is pure mathematics. You have to eat fewer calories than you burn long term. It’s not so much about the individual days as it is the arc of your progress. It’s one of the reasons I advise people to not weigh themselves more than once a week or once a month.

For most of us, if you don’t have underlying medical conditions, no matter how bitter the truth is, most of us can hit an ideal weight simply by changing what we eat. Our bodies have developed over thousands of years to survive. Exercise has its own benefits, ones that overlap into other areas of your life. But you do not have to do any exercise changes to achieve your goal weight. You have to swallow the truth that your weight is nothing more than putting more calories in your body then you are burning. No matter how many calories you burn through exercise, the physical truth is that the overwhelming majority of your weight is diet and daily activity. I can’t stress enough that I am not saying don’t exercise or go to the gym if that benefits you. I am saying that we only have a certain number of hours in a day. If you can achieve your goal without using those precious hours in ways you don’t enjoy, then try to wrap your head around the fact that you can do it without activity that doesn’t bring you joy.

If you don’t have any medical conditions, you can be the way you want to be.

Read the last sentence as many times as it takes to believe it.

Will it be hard for you to eat differently? That depends on how you use your intelligence to learn new ways of eating and stick with them.

Choose your hard.

When we don’t choose, we are pushing the consequences to our future. We still have to deal with them.

You can do it. But everything hinges on you making the decision to invest in yourself.

If you’re happy with the way you look and especially so if you’re mostly healthy, embrace it. Don’t try to lose what you see as extra pounds. You can be happy with that if you have a happy outlook. If it is about your appearance, find someone who loves you. That kind of adoration is transformative for your self-esteem. It becomes easier to see yourself as they do, even if you are plagued by self-doubt.

Whatever your goal is, do not attempt to go from 0 to 60. Incremental changes are best. You can experiment as you go and find the things that work for you and skip the ones you don’t. That is what we’re supposed to do in life. We often skip the second half and forget to remove the things from our life that detracts from it.

Don’t bother with spending money on supplements or anything you have to pay for. It can all be done with delicious food that you like. In this modern age, we have more variety than we ever have. Take advantage of it and use your intelligence.

People ask me what the secret is. The secret is… There is no secret. Simplicity in your life and simplicity in your diet. Eat fewer calories than you burn and live a good life.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you’re starting. No one changes until they do. No matter how you got to where you are or the way you are, it took a lot of years of habits to get there. If we thought things could not be changed, it would be a horrible cynical world.

Love, X
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though the sky is blue

Because I’d been boiling myself off and on on the landing and baking in the sun, I turned the AC to 70. Because my AC and heat had to be completely replaced, given that it was from 1976, the new unit is incredibly powerful; its loud sound is relaxing. Güino decided to slumber in my office chair. He’s wandered the landing and the lower floor today several times. Instead of bothering him, I rolled him a foot away and pulled my red rocking chair up to the desk. It felt like I needed to write a couple of hundred words. A few thousand words later, all of it expunged from me in a single burst, I sat looking at the prism hanging outside through the slats of the window blinds. My metal front door is over 170 degrees again. I thought of all the energy reaching us from our nearest star, the sun. We only receive a sliver of its output. It provides enough energy in the form of light to power the entire world – if we’d let it. I think the same is true for each of us. Most of us have the gift of massive kinetic and potential energy inside us. It’s in our nature. Somehow, we allow our lesser forces to override our natural tendency toward power and movement. In my case, I’ve been busy. Being busy or productive isn’t always the best use of my time. It negates introspection and examining the things I’ve said and done with sufficient scrutiny. Life flicks by on lightning skates. It’s easy to live superficially, and sometimes this ease lulls us into thinking it is the preferable way. It’s not. A moment of thought, especially one of gratitude or appreciation, becomes twice as memorable when considered after the fact. Those thousands of words that poured effortlessly from my fingers as I sat here in the zone? They are some of the best words I’ve ever written. I feel it in my bones, the ones that now creak a little as they realize how long I’ve abused them.

Here:

though the sky is blue, you look to the ground out of caution
caution saves, but it also reduces
though the world is a palette of individuals, you seek understanding by viewing them through your own filter
though the world shall never spin according to your whim, you waste your
allotted moments by wishing it not to be so
the pond will fill if you hurl enough stones into it, though it will take years
your life will fill if you stop looking toward what lies behind you and spend your hours subtracting and adding according to your desires
the sky is blue, just for you
and for me
if we but let it be

X
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Bona Fide

I’ve written that the worst feeling in the world is knowing you are the villain. Or at least the one who has hurt someone, regardless of one’s intentions. In one’s head, you don’t think or plan in a straight line. The water starts out warm and then begins to boil. It’s easy to get into that mindset wherein you begin to believe that there is no resolution; hopelessness is often the result. Emotion, doubt, and undesired consequences merge into a mass of something that seems infinite.

“On a long enough timeline, everyone is going to be an asshole.” – X

I’ve learned again and again that my intentions are meaningless when compared to the consequences, much in the way that love is diluted when you observe behavior versus intentions. If love is indeed a verb, then it follows that consequences are the fruit of intentions.

I tapered off Lexapro by going through three reduced cycles and finally just tossing the remainder. This website might sanction me again for discussing it. (Which I still shake my head about, though it was a year ago.) It was a huge help for months; now, it lies on me to practice what I supposedly learned. For run-of-the-mill idiots like me, such medications don’t add value after an indeterminate time. My doctor’s office helped my decision along by being profit-oriented rather than patient-focused. I’m used to it. And maybe, in this case, it is for the best. Everything seems inevitable after the fact precisely because it happened that way. But as adults, we know that isn’t true, even if we cling to the comfortable idea of inevitability.

Real villains and narcissists don’t worry about whether they are villains or narcissists. But just because I’m not bona fide does not mean that I am not quite often an asshole.

I yield to the truth when I’m able to recognize it.

Discomfort. Doubt.

Ignoring it doesn’t erase it.

I yield.

PS I’m okay! I just like to write and share what’s in my head. Attempting to control how it’s interpreted is a fool’s errand.

Love, X
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