- The Inside Scoop by Michael Stahl – Narratively: Local stories, boldly told
- The United Sades of America | Hussein Ibish | The Baffler
- Sven Birkerts – The art of attention
- The Curse of Reading and Forgetting : The New Yorker
- Billy Joel on Not Working and Not Giving Up Drinking – NYTimes.com
Month: May 2013
Changes take time. No matter how deep my desire to be ‘better’ I need to learn to be patient.
And I am.
Changes don’t have to be sweeping. Small steps towards a goal make progress easier than trying to leap large boulders in a single bound. I should enjoy the process as much as the achievements.
And I am.
Changes aren’t always obvious. In the whirl of data I can collect about me – my weight, my body measurements, my eating habits, the number of steps I take each day, how far I cycle on my bike, how long I sleep – I need to trust my instincts more and enjoy the change, not the data.
And I am.
Changes don’t always stick. This is not a failure. This is life. The tricky bit is remembering to be patient, to enjoy the process, to trust myself and not seek validation in numbers. If I can do that, then maybe I can stick with this when my enthusiasm wanes. Maybe then I will have the resolve to continue this change when my current mood dissolves. I will strive for that.
And I am.
And if I ‘fail’. I will remember that life is more than this. That I am happy and loved.
And I am.
… and for the purposes of this post, I’ll play ‘the ugly’ (shut it at the back!).
We were out and about last weekend and enjoyed a fun-filled evening at Cabaresque, a cabaret/burlesque show organised by some friends. It’s all for charity and as most of the audience and acts, know each other, it’s a great laugh (although I feel sorry for the two comedians as they probably got some very specific heckles they won’t have had to deal with in the past!).
Part way through there is a raffle, and this year we won two prizes! I also went up to collect a third on behalf of someone who couldn’t really walk in her shoes… so most of the audience, and the host, thought I’d won three times. So when it turned out that there had been a slight mistake and one of the prizes we’d won actually contained something that was meant as a separate prize, I ended up getting a bit of stick from the audience.
All good natured fun, and the night ended up raising just over £1000! Brilliant stuff.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night, a few drinks, a lot of laughs, a singalong and burlesque (and boylesque) dancing. Aces!
That extra prize we won was nipple tassles, the audience quickly caught on and started demanding that I put them on and model them.
A few minutes before, bearing in mind I’d had some dutch courage and I’m a pretty loud outgoing guy (on the surface), I’d hammed it up a bit whilst collecting the prize.
So how would they know that, especially at the moment, I’m very conscious of my body and that there was no way in hell I was taking my shirt off, obviously they had no idea.
I’m glad I didn’t let it spoil my night, even though it could’ve.
However, it did highlight that, no matter how much I try and laugh it off, that my current state of mind on my body image isn’t in a good place.
I am taking steps, small ones, to changing it but I’m finding it much harder than it was last year when I seemed to fall into a healthier lifestyle (both exercise and food) much more easily.
What’s especially annoying is that, contrary to last year, I’ve fewer distractions, fewer ‘life events’ happening and in almost every other aspect of my life things are going well (fantastically well!) so that leaves me pondering why, when I should have more energy to deal with this, I’m still not able to get a proper handle on it.
Things are, slowly and steadily, starting to change. I’m consciously trying to be relaxed about it, trying to be measured and accept whatever happens. I think that’s spilling out into other areas of my life as well. I feel much more relaxed about other things, the usual stress triggers don’t seem to be pushing the same buttons any more.
It’s never good when someone else highlights something you already have marked down as a flaw or, in my case, as a failure. But I’m putting that behind me and moving on.
On Facebook, I am listed as being in an ‘Open Relationship’ with Kirsty. It’s something we are still figuring out, and it may change in the future. I’ve had some brief conversations with friends and family but really, what does it mean?
Ultimately, that’s a question I can’t yet answer and, knowing that relationships evolve I’m not sure I ever will. However, I’m lucky enough to know some people involved in a polyamorous relationship and they, and other people in similar circumstances, are writing some fascinating posts.
The series is called Poly Means Many (http://www.polymeansmany.com/) and is picking apart the misconceptions and misunderstandings around what these relationships are about.
Since my divorce, the whole concept of what a relationship means to me has changed (I guess it was changing whilst I was in that relationship but I didn’t recognise it at the time). One aspect of a polyamorous relationship which, and this is the best way I can describe it, just ‘feels’ right and sits well with me, is that, simply, it’s not monogamy. The notion that one person, one relationship is going to meet every need, every desire, and every circumstantial want just seems a bit weird.
Don’t get me wrong, I know many people who are monogamous and seem happy to be so. I know that for many years it was all I needed but equally, when I started challenging my own feelings about my relationship it was then I realised that something, somewhere, was lacking. It wasn’t so much the feeling of missing out, just that something wasn’t right.
When Kirsty and I first got together, she too was out of a long term relationship and it was her that first broached the topic of trying an open, polyamorous relationship. We talked about it at some length (and still do), and as we have a similar mindset on how it could work for us, we decided to be open (pardon the pun) to opportunities.
Note that I said it ‘could’ work for us, as we are still at the ‘dipping our toes in the water’ stage but, as we are both aware that communication and honesty is the key to any good relationship (both very hard things to get right all the time) then we are both happy that time will tell. Whatever happens, we will talk it through and figure out what to do.
In the meantime, we are absorbing information, processing our own thoughts and emotions, and talking about it all. We’ve both seen other people, and are both happy that a lot of this falls into the category of “we will see”. There are further opportunities that opening this door brings, as some of the people who are also happily non-monogamous are also willing to reject other traditional boundaries or labels.
In that sense, a polyamorous relationship is no harder, or easier, than a monogamous one. If anything, having to confront some things before entering an open relationship has made us stronger. We are aware of some of the pitfalls, and that too has made us stronger, both individually and collectively.
Is it all win-win?
We will see.
Warning: My main focus at the moment is my health/weight. Read on at your own risk.
The transition from guilt to excuse is a quick one for me.
When I feel a bit flat, or bored, or just tired (mostly the latter) I get lazy and my good intentions falter, my standards drop. I slob around, let my flat get messy and adopt a ‘who gives a shit’ attitude. It’s not very nice.
This mood usually ends up with a few nights of high-fat, high-calorie, takeaway dinners.
I know I shouldn’t do this. I know I shouldn’t eat what I do, I’m very very aware of that, and in that respect I’m no different to anyone else who isn’t happy with their weight. I’m very aware of everything I eat. All the time.
On days where I’m determined and my willpower reserves are high, it’s not an issue but it’s still there. That quick, instant, thought of ‘should I eat this?’ never really goes away, how could it? Weight loss isn’t instant and I’ve never lost enough to NOT have some form of beer belly, so I have a constant reminder right here in front of me (currently wedged up against the desk). Every single day.
Every. Single. Day.
It’s a constant battle, trying to suppress or ignore the voice in my head that tells me I’m hungry when I’m not, or that I need chocolate, or pizza, when I don’t.
And those times, those ohh too frequent times, when I succumb? The voice changes to that of a gently scolding parent, admonishing me, making me feel guilty.
Quickly followed by the excuse… tomorrow I’ll be better.
But tomorrow isn’t better, not often enough at least.
That said, sometimes things click into place. Last year it was better for a while, but then it slipped away, as my willpower reserves were depleted (my new job was the largest impact on this by far, but that’s just another excuse, isn’t it).
So for the last 6 months I’ve been guilty.
Caught between knowing I need to change, knowing I need to do something, to be better, and yet completely unable to do much about it.
Guilty as charged.
But guilt is not a motivator, not for me, so on Friday last week when my Doctor suggested, after telling me that I needed to lose weight, that I should “go home, feel guilty and come back in six weeks with some weight loss” … well I was speechless.
I took to Twitter to voice my disbelief.
@gordon : late to the game on this one (sorry!) but that’s a shit GP (no surprise). Use that as “fuck you” motivation?
— Lyle (@LyleD4D) May 11, 2013
It took me (with a lot of help from Kirsty) until late Saturday evening to even feel up to cracking a smile, and it’s only today that I’m finally coming round to the view offered by Lyle.
I will go back to the doctor’s in six weeks.
I will stand on the scales and he will see weight loss.
And, silently, I will mouth the words, fuck you.
Fuck you Doctor.
Fuck you guilt.