You know when you have something in your head and you seem to see it everywhere?
For me, lately, that's been the idea of stepping up and asking for what you want. I seem to see references to the idea everywhere I go, on TV shows (HIMYM last night with the jacket), articles on reddit, blog posts, conversations with others. And not just asking for what you want, but asking to be included, organizing things yourself, and asking to come along when you see others doing something cool.
I've always avoided this partly out of a sense of humility. Am I asking too much? Am I being impertinent (a cardinal sin!)? What if I'm not wanted? Is there going to be that awkward silence when I ask and everyone looks at each other going "what do we say?" I can still recount for you so many, many times that's happened, and that fucking HURT. Of course there are many times someone has said "sure!" but those stick in the mind of someone with self-esteem issues far less. They don't reinforce the belief system that I'm worthless, you see, so why remember them?
That lack of self-confidence is a big part of it too, of course. It's a big part of so many aspects of my life, sadly.
So what I've relied on in the past is for people to read my mind and know what I want. I feel like I read people pretty well and I assume people do the same. I'm also the type to try to include everyone and so I have a tendency to invite everyone along, to try and bring as many people as possible in, to try and make sure no one feels left out. Not everyone's like that, and people read people differently. Someone could see from a few refusals to hang out on my part that I don't want to, and not that I'm just going through a bit of an introvert phase. When I think someone is cool and want to hang out, I assume they'll ask me when they want to, not that they'll wait for me. They're busy, I'm sure, and I don't wanna bug them.
I think it was a reddit post where someone said "You can't expect people to be psychics." And it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't. And I've been assuming people know what I want, the things I want to do, the people I want to hang out with.
So I'm trying to step up a bit more. Not just in saying "Hey, can I come along?" but saying "Hey, let's hang out." "Hey, come over to my place!" (Seriously, so nice to be able to say that). I'm realizing if I don't do that I will end up a hermit, as there's some part of me that would be very happy just hiding in my house every evening and weekend, and that doesn't really further anything other than saving on cab fare or gas money.
The tough part is that some people will say no still. I'll still get that awkward look from some people when I ask to be included. There will still be people who I'll try to include, and I'll get nothing back from. Developing the thicker skin to handle that is the real challenge. Asking about people, trying to reach out and include them, that's easy. Dealing with rejection is hard.
In other news, sun rises and dogs and cats continue their feud.
So that happened.
And it was good. She's a tad bit hippy, but I'm okay with that.
I was worried about a lot of things. There's a lot of things I love in life that I think a lot of folks would judge, or see as not worthwhile. Twitter. WoW. I'm transitioning to a place where a lot of my best friends are people I've never met, and may never meet, and that's awesome, to me, because almost all of them are awesome.
"I believe that online friends are just as real, if not more so, than regular friends."
Once she said that, I knew I had found a good one.
She agreed that, yes, there was stuff I could work on, and that a lot of my self talk was not good. She understood my wanting to just stay home some nights and weekends and cautioned me against villainizing anyone.
Part of me worries that I need more of a challenging person, but it was the first session. I think right now I need the support. I need someone who will help me on the path I want to be on, not tell me it's the wrong path right off the bat.
"Is it making you happy?"
"Is it hurting you in any way?"
"Well…no, not really."
"Then it's good."
I loved that lack of judgment. That understanding.
She told me something at the end of the session which I can't at all remember. Something positive, something about self-talk. My usual crappy memory fails me. Something she told me to think about, of course. But it's okay. I walked away feeling more aware. I walked away feeling like, hey, maybe I can actually change some of this stuff in my head. Maybe I can really start to turn things around.
I mean, hey, instead of caving and buying the new iPhone cause, I'm sure, this will be the gadget that fixes my life, I've resisted. It may sound like a silly victory, but it is one for me.
I find almost any time I try to put in my two cents about women's issues, I tend to put my foot in my mouth. I seem to always end up arguing some chauvinistic, backward viewpoint that I don't fully agree with. How? I have no idea. I tend to try and play Devil's Advocate in almost any argument, it seems, so I think it comes from that. That and the simple idea that I really, really dislike lumping any one group together, be it men or women.
So here's what I will say. We still have a long way to go on women's issues. The battlefronts may be a bit different now, but they're still there. And these issues are deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche, but that doesn't make them something we should just shrug off.
Read up on it. Watch for it. Do those, and you're already ahead of the game.
I started off the 6Months Project with a bang by getting sick and feeling like crap. Yay!
It hasn't been all bad, because it has given me some time to reflect on myself and to relax a bit, even if I did feel like crap while doing it. I'm hoping to get back to CrossFit next week, though I may scale back my initial 3x/week plan to 2x/week.
Relaxing at home reminded me just how much I enjoy doing exactly that.
I don't so much mean sitting and doing nothing, but hanging out with friends on WoW, having long Skype conversations with special people, or keeping up with Twitter and other things. I may be able to incorporate some gym time, and I'd like to, but those things are important to me, and I want to make sure I'm not sacrificing them.
Around the same time I came across a neat tool, from reddit, for the site Wolfram Alpha. If you go there and search for "weight loss" you get this handy tool, which shows you graphs, time estimates, and all sorts of fun facts on weight loss. For fun, I put in my info, and, just out of curiosity, what I thought was maybe around a doable average caloric intake per day for me. And surprisingly enough, it showed me at my ideal weight in just over a year.
This got me thinking about how I could reach my weight loss goals without dedicating 3 nights a week to the gym. In this same reddit thread, there was someone talking about his own weight loss, and he confirmed one of my worst fears. See, I have always had trouble counting calories, or saying no to delicious foods, without feeling like I'm doing some chore, or depriving myself. I should probably try and frame it a bit better, and I've worked at that, but it's still there. This reddit user said, in his struggle, he'd found you can never not be a fat guy. You can never be one of those people who just doesn't watch what they eat and is okay. Your body isn't built like that, and neither is your mind. It is a constant struggle, he said.
And while I hope he's wrong, it reminded me that I will need more than the gym, and that I will have to find a way to eat sustainably to maintain a healthy weight. So this means watching and changing my diet.
So my 12change for March is to keep up my meditation, keep trying to eat more whole foods, and also document my foods, every day, with LoseIt, starting on Sunday. I'll try to ideally keep my calories per day at around 2000-2200. This may sound high, but realize that a) I'm a guy and b) I'm a big guy. The idea is finding a calorie level I can eat comfortably, without feeling like I'm depriving myself. Maybe reddit guy is right, and I always will feel like I'm depriving myself, but I'd like to try and prove him wrong.
So what do you think, reader? Do people ever get to the point where they can just relax about food, or if you've had to lose a lot of weight, will you always have to watch it?
Long time no see, blog readers.
Bad blogger! I know, I know. I'm bad at this, at keeping up with things. I'm fickle, I change my mind, and lately I haven't had the space or time to write. But I'm endeavouring to change that. Now, as such, there are a few things I wanted to share with you, dear reader.
I, likely like many of you reading this, decided to join the 12 Changes project started by Katherine and Stephany. In short, we're looking at trying to make 12 small life changes over the course of 2012. See how that matches up? I thought you'd like that. The idea is that we're all in this together, all working together to achieve our goals and to support each other. Community support on these things is key. Community accountability is also key.
Now, I'd love to set out my 12 Changes in advance. But, honestly, that makes me less likely to follow them. I have some rough ideas. I'd like to exercise more, to stay in touch and involved better, to save better, get more sleep, and eat better. I'd like to feel better about myself, and in my own self confidence. How I tackle those, though, is what I'm still working on.
For January, I chose to focus on daily meditation. I haven't fully kept up with it, but I continue to try and do a 10 minute meditation every day. Barring that, I try to just find a quiet minute or two to clear my mind, watch my breath. And it's helped. I generally feel more calm and centred, and I find when I'm sitting there, waiting for something to load, I'm less fidgety. I find myself just stopping for a second, closing my eyes and breathing deeply in, holding it for a moment, and then deeply out.
Fun fact? I feel like I have a greater lung capacity than a lot of people. In a lot of these guided meditations they'll be like "breath in…and breath out…" and on their "and" I'm still breathing in. Remnants from my days as a runner, perhaps?
Now, for February, I have a bit of a bigger challenge. I had heard a bit about people calling for Fast Food Free February. While I think this is noble, I can't honestly commit to that. My life is too up and down, and there are too many times where I am randomly stuck with nothing else to eat. Plus, honestly, I don't ever WANT to fully cut out fast food. I love it, occasionally.
My 12 Change for February is to eat more whole foods.
What do I mean by this? Foods that have a limited amount of processing done to them. I will be doing my best to follow some of Michael Pollan's Food Rules on this (a great, quick, easy read, by the way). This doesn't mean raw or vegan, but ideally, more fruits, more vegetables, more salads. Trying to eat things with less than 5 ingredients, and all ingredients I can pronounce. I don't intend to stick to this hard and fast, but the idea is to avoid desserts after dinner, have more fruit as a snack and not looking at a Power Bar as a meal replacement.
The biggest exception I'll make here has to do with grains. I'm not comfortable with the whole Atkins/Primal thing, and since I live in a shared household and am largely cooked for, this isn't really an option anyway. So I will still have bread, but I'll be trying to have less of that, and more whole grain bread. Truthfully, living with my parents will pose a problem in this. They support this, but have no interest in it themselves, so there will continue to be cookies, ice cream, pies and the like around. But I feel stronger these days on that. The sweets don't hold quite the same allure they once did. I'm busier, and spend less time lying, bored in front of the TV, and more time with my friends downing bosses and pwning n00bs. Well, actually, we don't PvP, and tend more to try to help new players and not call them n00bs. But they cook whatever they feel like, and often that means processed, easy food. And since they take offence when I don't want to eat dinner with them, and I can't get home in time and cook for myself in order to eat with them, I basically have to eat what they eat for dinner, or try and have some alternatives ready. Let's just say I will likely be eating a lot of quick salads.
But I think this is doable, and I'm excited to start at it. Feel free and encouraged to check in and see how I'm doing.
This blog is moving
You read that right! I've decided to shift this blog to tomfromhr.com. Why? Well, week11 was initially started after my attempt to lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks, as a kind of idea that the 11th week was the rest of my life. But lately I've been feeling more like I want to consolidate it all under the tomfromhr banner. I tend to be fickle with internet pseudonyms, and that's the one I've stuck with for the longest. Is it perfect? No, but neither am I, so I think it will work.
I'm still figuring out exactly how to do this. If anyone has experience with FTP, WordPress, Thesis and the like please let me know!
Followers of my blog (or Twitter, or Facebook, or any followers in any way) may know I went to a wedding last weekend. I called it the #hallowedding, cause everyone loves a hashtag and it was around Halloween.
As I said before, I love weddings. The professions of love, the families coming together, friends celebrating, all that. It's a unique experience for all, and I was honoured to be invited.
The drive itself was nice. Scenic, pleasant, not too much traffic. I'm definitely glad I took the day off work, as it was nice not having to rush and being able to get there in my own time. I used Siri and a headset to stay in touch with folks and, thankfully, had a friend home for the day as well who was willing to keep me company over the phone when I felt like a bit of human contact. It's funny but, for me, that was the toughest and weirdest part of the drive. I can't really Tweet, or read the news or do much more than listen to static, recorded programs. I suppose I could listen to the radio too, but it's not the norm for me, and I can't really interact with the radio. That loss of interaction was, to me, a bit odd. Hardly the end of the world, though.
After a few hours I came into Perth, Ontario. It's a small town, not far from Ottawa, my nation's capital. A bit more conservative, a bit more quiet than I'm used to, but nice. Took me forever to find the hotel (lots of back and forth as I did). But find it I did, finally!
This weekend I'm heading to a wedding. Okay, I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but still. My friends Patrice and Ted are getting married and I'm stoked to be going.
I'm really a romantic at heart. I love the whole event; not just the pledges of devotion and love, but the friendship and family. The speeches by best friends, parents and loved ones are always touching. I like the modern wedding because, often, it's just a formality. These two have been together for years and years. I'm sure they've made many pledges of their devotion to each other. But this is public; it's done more for the family and friends than anything else.
And legal purposes, of course.
Besides that, it will probably be a bitchin' party. The groom's family has Nova Scotian roots (I believe) and the last time I hung out with their friends it was good times. Matt and Lauren are coming too and, of course, we will have a blast. It's also up in a small town in Ontario, which means a nice hotel room and a cute little town. I am going alone, but I'm okay with that. I'm just looking to have a few drinks and a few laughs, not have any pressure on meeting anyone. I'll find a nice girl somewhere else. Like on Mars.
Either way, keep an eye here and on Twitter and probably on YouTube. I do love documenting these sorts of things.
I occasionally feel like I've missed out on some things in life. Like I missed the class where they told you "this is the appropriate way to show interest in someone as a friend" or "here are a list of things that are inappropriate to say to people" or "today we will demonstrate how to have a normal, everyday conversation." Maybe I was sick a lot in grade school? I don't think I was.
So I'm going to start a series called Tom's Life Lessons.
DISCLAIMER: TOM IS IN NO WAY QUALIFIED TO GIVE LIFE LESSONS
Now that that's over with, here's your simple takeaway for today.
When someone comes in to deliver good news to you about themselves it is best to reference yourself as little as possible. If the person is simply bragging, you may of course draw the conversation back to you, but there are a few occasions where the proper response is only joy for the person and polite, non-invasive questioning, in order to allow this person to talk more about this exciting news they are sharing. Scenarios which fall under these rules are, for example:
- New significant others
- Home purchasing
- New iPhones*
In these scenario it is considered proper to talk little about yourself. You may relay some of your own experiences, and assure the person that this milestone or experience will be exciting and wonderful, but otherwise, let them talk and share. These kinds of things happen rarely, and it is considered proper to allow others to bask in them.
* May only apply to Tom.
I grew up thinking I should take personal responsibility for everything.
I'm not sure when this got imprinted on me, but the idea is that everything that happens around me, and to me, is my fault. Or, at least, that I should take personal responsibility for everything that happens around me. While in general, I think this is a good idea, it's gotten me intro trouble, on occasion. It leads to a very simple and visceral response to anything and everything that happens around me. Someone's reaction to me, and something I do, is entirely my fault. If someone reacts negatively to something I do, it is my fault. If someone thinks I'm stupid, or doesn't agree with a point of mine, it's because I've failed, in some way. If someone gets away with something they shouldn't, it's my fault.
Needless to say, this is a dangerous way of thinking that places a Hell of a lot of responsibility on me.
And yes, as I said, I don't think it's an entirely bad way of thinking, in that I think far too many people think *nothing* is their fault. But I'm not Atlas, and I can't hold the world on my shoulders. I can only do the best I can, and let things happen as they will.
It sounds like a simple thing, but it's something I'm learning, over time.