I’ve Let Myself Down

I guess that title potentially says it all, no?  In my previous post, I went on and on about whether or not I could be happy while at the same time being lonely.  While I was able to answer yes to that question, I started questioning other aspects of who I am today versus who I was yesterday.  I mentioned that I had gone through a rather dark period in my life.  (If we want a timeline, I will say August of 1999-October of 2008.)  Now, it wasn’t all dark and gloomy, and a lot of work was done during that time to make things better for myself.  Ultimately, moving into my apartment in 2008 was the return to happiness for me, however, since that time I have managed to lose my way a bit in regards to certain aspects of my general state of being and I am trying desperately to get back that motivation I had found for myself during my dark period to bring my life back to its peak potential.

I know I am being rather obscure here, so let me start being specific.  The one overwhelming aspect of my life that I feel I have lost my way with is my physical well being/appearance.  While I can’t change my general features, I feel this is one aspect of my life I can and should have control over.  Given I haven’t posted any pictures of myself here, let me give you the rundown and I will then explain why I am unhappy.

I’m not a short man, nor am I very tall.  I stand about 5’9″, which I have come to accept as average.  I have a full head of hair, although it is safe to say it is thinner now than it was ten years ago.  There were not many men on my mother’s side of the family when I was growing up, but I believe most of them maintained their hair until the very end.  They possibly also died young, so I suppose if I were to go bald in exchange for a longer life, I would be ok with that, but if I can have both a long life and my hair I will take them.  I don’t have any abnormal amount of hair in places it shouldn’t be, but I am certainly not going to be asked to pose for any Abercrombie and Fitch ads without my shirt on any day soon.  I am not skinny, nor am I fat.  While I am not pleased with my current form, others tell me I am fine.  That’s easy for others to say.  Where we start to lose points is on skin tone.  I am pale like the night is long.  It wouldn’t bother me so much were it not for the freckles.  Now, some people say freckles are cute.  Sure.  On an eight year old girl.  I was born with them and never gave them much thought until it was pointed out to me that I had many more than most people.  They are most prominent on my arms, so I guess I can’t complain too much, but it is one of those features that, while not horribly disfiguring, still causes self-confidence issues.   Now, in addition to the hue of  my skin, it tends to get incredibly dry in the winter and irritated in the summer.  I am convinced I should have been born in some Scandanavian country where it never gets too hot or too cold.  Someday, maybe after I retire, I will move to San Diego and be relieved of these problems.  In any case, I struggle with cracked skin that bleeds and causes me intense pain in my fingertips all winter long, only to be greeted with itchy, blotchy skin when the humidity of the summer arrives.  I have tried various lotions only to find, while they may moisturize my skin, the tend to cause more irritation.  I am convinced my skin builds up an immunity to the lotions after about five weeks.

I wear glasses, which, I suppose if I were ten I would have to deal with the four eyes comments, but since I did not start wearing glasses until a year ago, they don’t really bother me one way or the other.  People wear glasses.  I don’t know if that makes us more or less attractive, but whatever.  Sometimes I think i probably should have had braces as a kid, but my mother always said she could not afford them and I certainly did not want them as a young child, so my teeth are not all neatly lined up, but I don’t have an overbite or anything like that and I brush and all that stuff, so I can’t complain too much in that department.

Now let’s get into why I am displeased with myself.  Some time a few years back, the employees of McDonald’s and I had a competition.  We played our own version of the Biggest Loser contest, in which we weighed in every week to see if we were losing weight, and in the end (I believe it was over the course of 4-6 months.) I won.  I did not win because I was some big cow who lost a ton of weight, rather I went from about 180 lbs. (too much for a guy 5’9″) to 150 lbs. (maybe a tad frail)  I did this by being extremely motivated to win and also because as a kid I had been teased about being pudgy.  In high school, I dropped below 150 lbs (ok, in retrospect, not the way to make the varsity basketball team) and I swore to myself I would never be out of shape again.  It was during that dark period of my life (where beer was introduced to my diet) that I got up to 180, but like I said, a lot of hard work and determination got me to where I wanted to be.  I was in what I considered to be great shape, although my mother kept telling me I was too skinny.  I had well defined arms, strong legs, and you could see my abs.  I was no male model, but I was happy.  Then some things happened.

As I said, I came out of my funk around the time I moved into my apartment.  The problem with this was that, in addition to my change in schedule, it was much easier for me to skip going to the gym.  I started ordering dinner instead of cooking and it turns out Domino’s is not very healthy. I found myself quickly regressing to the bad habits I had developed while living at college for a year.  If I wanted ice cream, I bought ice cream, if I wanted cookies, I bought cookies.  During the Biggest Loser competition, I had sworn off snacks, but the surge of independence I felt when I moved into my appartment lead me to too many unhealthy eating choices.  It wouldn’t have been so bad were it not for the fact I went from going to the gym four or five days a week to only going sporadically at best.  I went from being that 25 year old gym rat who could get away with wearing tight fitting tank tops because I had the torso for it to being that 30 year old guy desperately trying to hide the pot belly under a loose fitting t-shirt.  Now, I am writing this after spending an hour doing a cardio workout, but it was the first time going to the gym in a week for me.  I used to lift weights, and while I was not entering any strong man competitions, I could hold my own.  Lately, I simply don’t have the energy or desire to lift weights.  I tell myself if I can at least make it two or three times a week for a cardio workout I will be ok, but in truth, I would like to get back to lifting again.

So what’s the point of all this?  Well, despite my promise to myself that I would never be out of shape again, I am just that.  Now I could easily say that I am not overwight, I am not horribly disfigured, and I still have my hair and all my extremities.  I should be happy with that.  But I can also say it’s not that hard to go to the gym for an hour every other day or so.  It’s not that hard to eat something healthy instead of fried chicken patties every other night.  It’s not that hard to go for a walk on a nice day instead of watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Netflix.  Sure, I always say that I have so many things that I want to do, I often end up doing nothing, but I have to get past this.  I have to stop making excuses if I want to be the person I want to be.  I’ve tried to tell myself, like the old Nike slogan, Just Do It, and sometimes I do, but other times, I just can’t bring myself to do what I need to do.  I really would like to be back in shape by this summer, and I know so many other people say things like this at the beginning of the new year, and we all tend to give up a few days or weeks into it.  I really have no excuse for not going to the gym on Monday, Wendesday, and Saturday, as I have quite a bit of free time on these days, but will I be able to?  I went today, which is a start I suppose.  Can I keep it up?

When I look in the mirror, I see a reflection of myself I am not always happy with, and it involves more than just my physical appearance, but if I want to make the changes necessary to be the person I want to be, I have to do it on my own.  No one else is going to push me to go to the gym.  Now, the gym is only one piece of the puzzle, but it’s safe to say no one else is going to motivate me in regards to any other aspect of my life either, so I need to get my ass in gear and start taking command of who I am.  Wish me luck.

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~ by James on February 11, 2012.

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