Tag Archives: introspection

A “Wow!” moment

I’ve just written on a younger cousin’s Facebook wall to say that I’m here if she needs me because, clearly, I’d missed something important that was going on due to my own angst. I told her that I’ve adopted a new motto: Strength above all! However, a second part of that motto has taken shape. The whole thing is: “Strength above all! Family above all else!”

I believe in that motto wholeheartedly. That is not to say that I won’t or shouldn’t have bad days, they are inevitable. What it does say is that I will push forward and through those bad days to get to the other side. I may take a little time along the way to get angry or upset, but in the end, I will prevail.

I look back on the obstacles I’ve had to face to reach this age and they are many. I can lay here in bed and recite my tale of woe as well as the next person. I can also bet that my tale would trump that of most people. However, wallowing in it, unless answers may come from doing so, is pointless. It is in my nature to examine inconsistencies and information voids from all angles because I need answers before I can let go and move on. Nevertheless, the goal is to move on. It is when I feel trapped with no way out of the pain–physical or emotional or both–that I engage in self-harm or self-destruction.

People will do inhuman, inhumane, unspeakably cruel things to other people. Much of the time, it is simply for the perpetrator’s amusement. At other times, the perp plays with other’s lives in front of an audience so that they can feel better about themselves. They are like the sick, twisted individuals who pour flammable liquid on animals, set them on fire and laugh as the poor creature is cooked alive. I wish there was a criminal penalty for intentional infliction of emotional distress but there isn’t. Retribution can only be had through a civil suit because the act of intentional infliction of emotion distress is an intentional tort (i.e. personal injury). In most jurisdictions, even though this is a recognized harm, it usually cannot stand alone. The assertion must be predicated on another, primary assertion.

What recourse do victims/survivors of heinous emotional battery have? Not many. The most important thing is to recognize that what happened was perpetrated by unimaginably cruel “people” who barely deserve to be considered human. In other words, you, the victim/survivor didn’t do anything to deserve what happened.

The second thing that may bring some small comfort is that, at the end of the day, these sick and twisted individuals feel worse about their own lives than you should about yours. They see kindness as a weakness and trust as a way into your soul to wreak havoc, cause as much damage as possible and then get out. Some will then attempt a coup de gras and lay all the blame and responsibility on you! Their warped sense of themselves colors everything they see and touch, often projecting their own beliefs and reactions on to you. The perps lack a greater understanding of the world. Therefore, empathy is, for them, impossible. Looking for empathy in them is a waste of time that could help nurture the goodness inside yourself.

I have been forced to learn that, while there probably is a reason for the perp’s actions and words, you will likely never know it because they don’t know. The only thing that is known is that being cruel to others makes them feel better. It becomes an addiction that can only be “cured” by having someone stand up for themselves and say “No! You will not poison me with your bile.” Better yet, say that in front of the bullies’ friends. They generally run in packs, btw. By doing so they have witnesses and a cheering section to validate their anti-social behavior. Be that as it may, running in a pack can be used to the survivor’s advantage. Standing up and saying “No!” in front of the perp’s audience will most assuredly cause him/her embarrassment and pain. It will cut more deeply than any knife. Furthermore . . . and this is the really important part . . . you will feel better about yourself. You will realize the strength inside of you. It is a scary proposition to stand up for yourself, especially when others are silent and/or are telling you to be silent as well. You must challenge that paradigm to its fullest and shout your resistance against abuse, the perps AND their enablers. I am strong. YOU are strong. Why? Because we are survivors and this is what we do.

I look at myself now and consider what I’ve accomplished in the last decade. Even after three major operations, one of which nearly killed me because I came thisclose to bleeding out and had to be put in a coma for a day so my body could have the strength to heal, I learned to walk again three times. Indeed, I had to re-learn everything about the way my body moves. Worse yet, I had to do battle for myself when I was least able, but I did it, although Mom vehemently disapproved of my method.

I am scheduled for another major operation to repair or replace the prosthetic knee that was put in in 2010. It was supposed to last 10-15 years, possibly even 20 if I was careful, but there is something very wrong with it, most likely because I fall a lot or the benign, but highly aggressive tumors in that knee have returned. My bet is on the latter.

I’ve also absorbed a lot of losses these last five years due to death. I think there’s only so much someone can lose and not lose their own minds. I came very close to trying suicide again but realized my babies need me.

I’m still working out the kinks in my life, but I think I’m going to be OK. Right now. I need to be kind to myself, refrain from unreasonable expectations for myself and remember that I didn’t make anyone hurt or harm me. I did not provoke another’s words or actions, and believe that I am a good person who I deserving of love and respect. If someone uses and abuses me in any way, they have no business in my life. Period. No matter who that person may be.

I. MEAN. BUSINESS!

Let ’em see me sweat

I am in PAIN! I finally made it back to my gym after a 2-1/2 week absence. It was kind of strange because I surpassed my personal bests on all of the equipment. I didn’t hurt then. In fact, I was a little disappointed because I didn’t feel the burn. I’m going to have to continue to find ways to push my body because I need that burn to know that my body is doing what it’s supposed to do: get stronger. It doesn’t matter if it’s cardio or strength, my body needs to improve. It’s improved already, actually. When I wasn’t eating, I noticed that my fatty areas were not as “fatty” as before. I could see more firmness. I also seem to be stronger.

OnX at Anytime Fitness using the leg press

OnX at Anytime Fitness takin’ care of business on the leg press.

There were a couple of things that were new experiences at the gym tonight. I actually sweated. I’m not used to that. Before, no matter how hard I worked, I didn’t sweat that much. Tonight, my heart rate got up to 155 sustained. That’s not too shabby. I also cycled farther than I usually do, 3.17 miles, and cycled for seven minutes more than normal (22 min). I have this thing about whole numbers, especially if there’s a song playing on my iPhone I’m digging as I peddle. For example, right now I’m listening to Eminem’s Lose Yourself. It’s kind of my anthem. If that was up while I was working out on the cycle or the rowing machine, I’d keep going until the song ended. If it happened to end when I was at, let’s say, 2.4 miles, I’d keep going until I hit 2.5 or 3.0 miles. I really get into my music as I work out. I’m actually looking for more hip-hop that I like to use as workout/anthemic music. I think that I’m going to get more Eminem and check out Jay-Z once I get some more available cash. Shh! Don’t tell my lawyer. 😀 Naah, he’s a sweetheart. I’ll pay him first. Right now I’m mixing hip-hop, some classic proto-hip-hop (i.e.. Ohio Players), select R&B (O’Jays and Keisha Cole) and electronica in the form of Portishead. Hey, it works, OK?

Before I forget, I wanted to recommend a set of earbuds that I love. They are made by a company called Skull Candy. I was about to reach the cash register at my local T.J. Maxx when I happened to see a rack of earbuds that looked interesting. I’d really detested the earbuds Apple includes with the iPhone, all iPods and possibly the iPad, although don’t quote me on the last. The Apple earbuds kept falling out of my ears when the new design was specifically supposed to take care of that. They took care of it alright. They made it worse!

I allowed a couple of people to get in line ahead of me because I was enthralled my these earbuds. I believe there were two models: the 50/50 earbuds with mic, (MSRP $49.95), and; the Ink’d 2 with mic (MSRP $19.95-$24.95) model. I purchased the Ink’d 2 model and I have never regretted it. The sound is like a really good mid-range stereo. I’d prefer a bit more bass, but that’s just me. The earbuds come with a hard case and three different sizes of rubber buds. I should also mention that both models come in many different colors. I stuck with basic black and chrome because that was the only color available at that time. The best selection is, of course, at the SkullCandy.com store. The company also offers free shipping on all purchases. Still, I’d compare pricing because there may be better deals out there. It is those earbuds and my iPhone that make my workout infinitely better than it would be without them. Almost everyone at the gym wears some kind of earphones or earbuds. I’m assuming that’s the case with other gyms.

The other thing that happened is that my shoulders hurt. That’s never happened before. I did 20 reps @ 20 lbs. on the pulldown, but that wasn’t challenging enough so I upped the weight to 40 lbs. and did 30 reps. I went from the rowing machine where I spent 23:15 min., burned 145 calories, achieved 51 strokes/minute at #5 resistance. I’m wondering if I worked my shoulders too hard. Doing that many reps on the pull down far surpassed my personal best. However, again, no burn.

The real surprise as far as my workout was the leg press. I did 100 reps @ 40 lbs. and didn’t even feel it. It’s time to increase the weight. Now, what did hurt was my right hip, which is the one with the prosthesis. I used it in addition to my left leg, something I usually don’t do quite as much. Afterwards, I realized that there’s going to come a time when I’m going to need a hip replacement. I’ve heard the recovery from that is easier than the recovery from a knee replacement.

I was on my way out when I saw a gentleman about to use a set of weights on a machine I’d never noticed. It turned out that it’s another type of leg press. We talked for a long time about exercise, our respective careers and our families. When he told me how old he was, I had to do a double-take. I’m well aware that black people age differently than whites, but even I was shocked. I never, ever would have clocked him for his age unless he’d told me. He also offered help and said that he hoped we’d meet again and told me a couple of times when he’s usually around. Fortunately, his hours and my hours overlap. Hmm, I think he was flirting. Best of all, he didn’t give a hot damn about my artificial leg. Yeah, Mama’s still got it. *smirk*

I went to the grocery store before heading to the gym. I had to get a few essentials since I am still fighting anorexia. I am trying to think of food as fuel for my body instead of looking at it as a useless necessity. Since I’m ambivalent about food, I’m trying to get things that I really like but are also somewhat healthy. I got home and made a turkey sandwich. Would you believe that I had to stand up in the kitchen to eat it because the Demonic Duo were poised to steal it at any cost? I learned the hard way that I have to watch them both even as I put one in her crate. I didn’t do that the other day and the youngest slipped in and stole a roast beef sandwich with scarce colby cheese (my favorite) off the table. She’s so little that she looks innocent. She isn’t. If anything, she’s the brains of the operation. Not that her partner in crime is dumb. Indeed, far from it. However, the youngest is sneakier while the older is more like a snatch-and-run thief.

At any rate, I did manage to eat all of the turkey sandwich and I think I had something earlier in the day, too. So, I’m getting better, but I know that I need to eat more. My metabolism is so screwed up it doesn’t know what to do. That’s the other thing that exercise is doing for me: my metabolism is increasing and getting more normal. I seem to get hungry when I exercise regularly. Maybe that’s my body saying that it needs more fuel. Whatever the case, I’ve lost two pounds. I know that a lot of it is water weight because I’ve been very conscious of my liquid intake since I am prone to dehydration.

I’m sure I’ve bored everyone to death about my exercise experiences, but I’m rather proud of myself. In addition, it’s almost like I’m in a bubble when I’m on one of the machines and my earbuds are pumping out a really sick playlist. I’ve found that I can be more introspective while exercising. That helps me solve problems, be more creative and realize that I have feelings that I didn’t know I had. It actually gets pretty deep. I’m going to really try to get in more than two days a week. I want to do three days. When that happens, watch out world, my body will become a weapon of mass destruction that’s about to launch!