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Tag Archives: health

There is something that has been wiggling around in the back of my mind for a while now. It’s relevant to the spirit of this blog, if not the usual content, so I’m putting it here. Please indulge me as I wax philosophical.

You may have picked up from reading my work that I am a taaaaad bit narcissistic, but not in the traditional sense. I do not think I am beautiful to behold. Hell, I don’t think I’m even remotely close to attractive. I find myself to be decidedly bland, probably because I likely have a very skewed definition of what it means to be a handsome man. No matter how many people tell me I am handsome or athletic or insert compliment here, all I see are flaws. Ask anyone who’s seen me–I’m nowhere close to what Men’s Health would have you believe a man is supposed to look like, no matter how much I wish I were. Maybe that’s why I sympathize so deeply with the body positivity movement.

But those flaws drive me to constantly strive to better myself. They are the reason I spend hours powerlifting, wailing on the heavy bag, flipping those tires. I am never satisfied, so I work harder. I don’t care what trainers and doctors tell me–I am not where I need to be. There is a handsome man in there somewhere. I just have to chisel away the body fat to find him.

Man. That’s a hard thing to admit.

I describe myself differently here than in my prose, because I acknowledge that my perception is deeply flawed. It’s not a healthy outlook, but there it is. I know I am strong, and fit, and active. But I hold myself to an unrealistic ideal that I don’t hold for any other human being, anywhere in the world. I want more from myself. I want that beach body, damn it.

That said, I really, really hate body shaming.

Look, I know that no normal person is going to say, “Body shaming? Why, that’s just keen!” I would like to believe that the majority of us are going to hear that phrase and respond with appropriate levels of disgust and sympathy. No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable in their own skin by another person. Ever. That shit isn’t cool. And hopefully, on some level, most of us believe that.

None of the women in my life–that is to say, Tina and Ashley–are slender. But they are *fit*. Tina is a runner and outdoor enthusiast. Ashley is an all-around athlete and yogini. They have curvature, and softness to them, but they are hard where their hobbies require them to be. They do not go out of their way in pursuit of the elusive beach body, but still they are beautiful women. I’m not sure they would be considered “plus-size”, but even if they would, that would not be a bad thing, because they are both fucking *hot*, just in very different ways.

Point is, it doesn’t much matter to me what a person weighs. It shouldn’t really matter to anyone except ourselves. I feel bad for people who see themselves the way I do, because it’s a pretty unhappy way to live sometimes. I wish more people would find comfort in themselves rather than the ridiculous expectations set by Western media and marketing. But at the same time, I suspect that even those who are active in the body positivity movement still have moments of discomfort, when they look in the mirror and think, “If I could just shed another five pounds…” We are driven to outperform other people. It’s what all animals do. We compete, we mate, we produce offspring that will compete with our competitors’ offspring. Civilization may permit us to overcome some of that nature, but I doubt it will ever be fully removed from the human condition.

Hmm. I didn’t so much share my thoughts as I did ejaculate words into a formless puddle on my keyboard. But this was never intended to go anywhere. It’s just something I’ve been chewing on lately. So many women I’ve talked to have told me how unhappy they are with their appearance, how self-conscious they are about their image, when, damn it, there is *no reason* for them to feel that way. Tina and Ashley included. Then they tell me, “I wish I looked like you,” and I am dumbstruck, because I legitimately don’t see it.

Anyhow, enough of this meandering little monologue. To all the ladies and gentlemen that read this blog–you are beautiful/handsome exactly as you are. Should we ever meet in person, I’ll be happy to prove it.

Working on another memory now. It’s one I’ve been holding onto for a while, so I’m not sure if or when I’ll be putting it up. Maybe soon. Until then, friends.

I am thirty years old.

Obviously, turning 30 isn’t that big a deal.  At least, it shouldn’t be.  A day before the event, I was 29 years old.  A day later, I was 30.  It’s really a meaningless distinction, made viable only by the human tendency to sort and categorize everything we see, including ourselves.  When you really think about it, age is only useful in a legal sense, and after the major youth milestones of 16 (driving), 18 (voting/military eligibility), and 21 (drinkingWOOHOO), everything else pretty much becomes pointless.

Turning 30 means nothing at all.

And yet, it means everything in the world.

I am thirty years old.

The events surrounding my 30th birthday were… eventful.  That’s putting it mildly, rest assured, but the full gritty details are unimportant.  In summary, I partied my ass off, harder than I have in years.  I drank half a bottle of tequila, a bottle of SoCo, a bottle of Bailey’s (with my coffee), and six or seven Coronas; smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes; played pool with a bunch of random strangers; discussed philosophy, biology, history, and art in three different languages; fucked a Polish woman in the parking lot of an unknown apartment complex; and watched the sunrise on my 10,958th day of life.

It was, as I said, eventful.

But the knowledge that I am now 30 was constantly hanging over my head.  I was dreading it, until the day of, when I had something of an epiphany.

It’s common knowledge that we, as humans, have a poor conception of time.  We always think we’re going to live forever.  Even when we finally realize that we, us, me, you, are going to someday end, we can’t fathom 30 years in the future.  Not even 10.  So we always think we have more time.  Until, suddenly, as though magically, we don’t.  You always hear people talk about what they want to do with their lives, from people in their 30s, or 40s, or 50s.  Then you hear about what they’re going to do with their retirement.  Then… all they want to talk about are the things they didn’t do.

My epiphany was, that person is going to be me someday.

Not anytime soon, mind you.  But statistically speaking, I’m approaching the halfway point of my life.  I don’t say this bitterly, or with anything resembling sadness.  I accept it as mathematical truth.

But that doesn’t mean I have to take it lying down.

On my birthday, as I sat on a concrete bench in front of a friend’s condo, reeking of cigarettes and ethanol and Polish infidelity, watching my 10,958th sunrise, I decided that I want to experience another 10,958 sunrises, through the best eyes and body I am capable of producing.

To that end, I have begun something of an experiment.  I’m already fairly particular about the things I put in my mouth (*giggle*), but I confess to drinking and smoking more than I should, and my exercise regimen has diminished since I became a career scientist and educator.  I’m still lean, but I’ve become more broad than I was in most of the memories I’ve shared here, and I’m sure my body could use a break from the punishment I dish out on a regular basis.

So, for the next 60 days, I have decided to engage in “clean living”.

I have completely cut smoking, and I gave away every bit of booze in my house to friends and neighbors.  My pantry is now stocked with almost no pre-packaged foods, save for a few cans of tuna and multigrain WheatThins (for my grown-up lunchables!).  I eat five times a day, 300 to 400 calories per meal, and consume no more than 1800 calories per day, at a calories-from ratio of 20% fat, 30% carbs, and 50% protein.  And no matter how exhausted I may be at the end of my day, by God, I go to the gym, for hot ashtanga or vinyasa yoga, martial arts, and running.  Or I go in the wee hours of the morning and perform my Sun Salutations to the actual sun.

Week one of this new resolution is drawing to a close, and I must confess that I already feel better.  The lack of empty calories from beer is surprisingly rewarding, in a whole-body manner, and just a few days without cigarettes makes a big difference for my yoga.  Not to mention that doing yoga every day, instead of once or twice a week, leaves me feeling more invigorated and energized.

Finally, I’m sure some of you are wondering, what about the other things you need to change.  The elephant in the room.  The point of this blog.  I’m sad to report that Ashley has relapsed into asexuality, and my urges, which had been somewhat lessened by her increased attentions, have intensified.  I’ve been good.  Well, not good, but I’ve managed to exert greater self-control than usual.  Unfortunately, Ashley’s return to form has left me feeling empty, and the girl at my yoga class is so incredibly flexible….

Yeah, anyway.

Afraid I don’t have much more time to write at the moment.  I have an evening class to attend with the aforementioned yoga girl.  I hope this finds you all happy, healthy, and well, dear readers.  Expect more from me in the near future.