When No One Says Hello

As i recently posted, it’s been kind of rough lately. I didn’t get into details in my last post- but, in short- my mother had a stroke, my brother (who has cancer) hasn’t been doing well. I have had several home projects going on, and this weekend my 3 year old ‘expensive’ fridge finally died- which meant having to buy a new one. (Read: all that OT i’ve been doing to pay down debt just went out the window- financially speaking.)

Life happens….But one of the aspects of stress like this can culminate into something i didn’t get into- the psychology, emotions, and the mental part of it . This has multiple components, but i want to discuss one in particular here.

Today was no exception to the stressful rule of the day. You see, i have a confession to make- i haven’t been to the gym since January. And, to be truthful- at some point right before the November/December holiday season, i was already starting to slack off. In my defense, i did begin walking/hiking more regularly. And in my mind this was the self-consolation i used to get by. Internally, i hated myself for not pushing and i was starting to feel like a complete loser, but the everyday stressors had started to compound and that motivation/grit just wasn’t there.

Today was the day I promised myself i would get back to my gym routine. I said all the mantras, took all the prep steps and yes, i got myself out the door . I told myself i only had to do 30 minutes, i didn’t have to go heavy , and my reward would be 10 minutes lying in the tanning bed to start getting a little color back. I told myself it would be good to actually see people i know ( if only casually) and get out of the house for something better than errands for a change. Only, what happened was this…

I arrived at the gym, and put on a good face, even while dreading( basically) “starting over” fitness wise. I knew i had to push past that feeling of weakness. I had all my supplies, headphones charged, no unsightly holes or stains on my clothes, and my hair was even brushed ( you may laugh -but i frequently forget to do this as i am fan of air drying my hair vs. a blow dryer and my daily clothes are..’comfy’—not fashionable).

I walked in , smiled and gave a short wave to the owner at the front desk. Normally he waves or smiles back. Not today. Ok, i thought- moving on. I passed another regular that usually also waves or smiles. They looked at me then turned away with not an ounce of recognition. A personal trainer that i usually exchange a few words with does the same. This happened with a few more people.

Now, I am not a socialite, per-say, at the gym. I rarely ever spend time in conversations.I just wanna get in and get ‘er done. But i do wave, nod and/or smile. So, now, in my mind i am thinking- what the hell? Did someone clone my FB account and send out a nasty message? Maybe i look so battered and unfit already that no one recognizes me ( or wants to). Or MAYBE everyone has other things on their mind today. I tried real hard to go with that.But my mind got stuck on repeat.

But, getting to my point- here’s the difference between me and a certain percentage of the population. Maybe you can relate one way or the other. Many people i know would use this scenario as a precursor to start giving in to negativity- like trying to get out of there as soon as possible( shortening workouts), and/or maybe slacking off slowly as the next few weeks go by. On the surface , they would make all manner of excuses as to why ( none of them really having to do with the real issue)- which is ..wait for it…

a lack of external validation. BOOM.

You read that correctly. We all feel this sometimes. It’s basic human nature. It’s not pretty or something anyone likes to admit to, but I call it as i see it, and if more people were honest about it, they would have to concede that this little bit of insecurity is what leads a LOT of people away from their goals – short term or long. Usually not the first time, but repeated, similar experiences over a period of time. I am not part of that percentage. In fact, situations such as these are actually what drives me. It takes practice, because it’s easier to make excuses. But it’s so, so important – no matter what the situation may be.

Let me explain. When i personally feel as if i am being attacked, rejected, or worse- ignored( as in this instance), it flips an anger switch in my head. My whole set of mantras change from a low-key “it doesn’t matter how long it’s been, it just matters that i’m starting again” and ” it’s healthy to be around people for a little bit” to a loud, resounding “I don’t care if anyone likes me or not, i am doing this” and “I’m just gonna block out everyone, dig in deep, close my eyes and grind”. Instead of caving to my intrinsic need for validation, I validate myself and use my anger/ annoyance to propel myself forward. I finished my work out, tanned and when i got home i had enough of that energy leftover to fuel pre-packing and freezing my lunches for the next week. By the time i was done, i had returned to an even keel. It was as if the whole thing never happened and life was back to normal.

It’s kind of like this- on one part of your kitchen counter you have pasta and a marina sauce. Sure, it’s an edible meal by itself. On the other side you have peppers, garlic and onions. By themselves- not something most would eat . But if you correctly combine the neutral items ( i.e. a situation) with the strong flavored ingredients( anger, frustration, etc.) you can make a dish worth sitting down for. Sometimes this takes a few tries, but if you persist..it’s worth the effort.

No one said hello today, or even smiled at me. But when the day was done, I could smile at myself in the mirror…and it made all the difference.


Rough Day

..week, month, year? Sometimes it feels like that and ..phew…today was one of those for me!

We all have good days and bad. And it doesn’t always take a major incident to experience either. A good day can simply come from counting my blessings and a bad one due to a comment received from a total stranger. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

I haven’t been on here as much as i once was. Part of that is due to just not knowing what to say or having anything i felt like talking about. Part of it is staying busy with projects. But the larger part has been feeling a major disconnect from life and people in general.

In the past few years, we have experienced this on a global level, and a lot of that has trickled down into an ongoing ,even if minor, sense of dis-ease ever since. There has been a disruption in the normal personal and social activities, combined with increased internet use. Naturally this has lead to an upwards trend in disparity and polarity, despite the winding down of the intensity of the pandemic. Some of us lost friends or family, while others watched the world from a screen in fear and shock. It was inevitable that these and other related issues would have long lasting effects.

For me, in addition to other unrelated events, it was a shift of huge proportions. Whereas once i had a very active, daily and sometimes overwhelming social life, my life became isolated – with a circle of only 2 friends- my roommate and my boyfriend.It has remained so ever since, despite the occasional attempt to regain some measure of my previous confidence. There is a part of me that feels completely unable to reach out, connect, and interact with 99% of the world- even those i used to share with daily. This doesn’t bother me every day, and in fact, most days i am happy to be left alone. But today, that feeling of isolation hit me again like a ton of bricks and I hate it!

For one thing, my roommate and best friend now has a girlfriend( whom i absolutely adore) and she has also been working several PT jobs. When she is home, she is usually sleeping, and we rarely get to talk or connect anymore. She has had a few challenging months with health issues and finances as well. I have tried to be supportive and helpful, but most of it is not in my control. This has left me feeling more lost than ever, even while i am deeply happy she has found love. In addition, my boyfriend changed work hours , and we are now on opposite shifts, so we see each other a lot less. I am trying to remedy this by changing my own schedule to being off on a different night when he isnt tired from working all day. But i have fears that despite this, our circadian rhythms will still prevail. Fingers crossed. At any rate, both of these factors have added to my feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

On a positive note, i have accomplished a great deal – home projects and financially. I started back in September by adding an additional shift each week to pay off the debt from my cabin project. My goal is to have that all paid off by October and this will substantially decrease my monthly debt. I’ve done well with paying down other debt ( medical, etc). and am happy with my increased credit score and debt ratio. I have crossed off a few more items on my bucket list as well, and feel encouraged about future endeavors. March is one year of sobriety ( again) and thats also a good thing. I cannot stress enough how important having a clear, unsaturated brain can change ones perspectives and prospects in life. Continued prayers and congrats to my Sober community on here:)

Well, all caught up now.

Sending hugs and love to all.