Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apocalypse Running

Man am I sore. I go to a trainer in the morning, and he likes the "fail" technique. That is, he wants to work my muscles until they fail. My muscles don't usually fail though. Usually they are burning so bad I give up, which doesn't dissuade him. He just tells me to get back into it. For example, this morning he had me doing squat sits with my back against the wall, holding 10 of them, then 50 reps. Then I did lunges, again holding 10, 50 reps, then the same thing on the other leg. He's also big on form, so he has me adjust so that it's just as difficult to do as possible. Oh, and then I finish off with a couple hundred crunches. Ha, not really. Just one hundred. This morning I was shaking after the lunges, and the rest of the day my legs and butt hurt. Of course this is what I am paying for. If I wasn't exhausted I'd feel like I was wasting my money. He knows how to motivate me too. He says, "You're a hockey player, aren't you? Aren't you supposed to be tough?" Hockey players have got to be the easiest people to mess with. It doesn't take much to push our buttons.

I told my trainer I wanted to be stronger for hockey, which is true. The stronger my leg, butt, and stomach muscles are, the better and longer I can skate. I also want more upper body strength so it's harder to push me off the puck. Honestly though, my biggest physical goal right now is to lose weight. Me, and like, everyone. I'm completely aggravated by how much weight I've put on in the last couple years. I gained about 5 pounds when I moved to L.A., but that was 4 years ago. When I tore my MCL playing hockey almost 2 years ago, I put on another 10 pounds in the 4 months I couldn't play. Over the next year I put on another 10 pounds. Ugh. Losing wight is so hard. The extra weight feels like my clutter/hoarding problem and all the emotional processing I still have to do. I'm dragging around a bunch of extra stuff that I don't want or need, but letting it go is work. I'm good at hiding the extra weight kind of like how I'm good at seeming like I'm handling the trauma well. It makes life easier, but it can also mean you tolerate things that you know you shouldn't because you're skating by. Not that gaining 25 pounds is really a crisis, but I feel pretty overwhelmed by the swimming in clutter thing and my crazy emotional dream life. I guess dredging through my emotional baggage takes time though. Not to be rushed.

I would like to rush some of these weight loss though. It's frustrating. I feel like a lump. It takes effort just to keep from gaining more, let alone actually losing more than a couple pounds. I'm even considering running. Some people at my work started an L.A. Marathon club. I've been going to their meetings because they talk about fitness, nutrition, and losing weight, but every time someone asks me if I'm running the marathon I say, "NOOOOO." Running for fun is not my thing. I like team sports. That's my thing. I did realized something though. Being able to run long distances would be very helpful in the zombie apocalypse. Of course it depends on what you think zombies would be like. It's the most important debate in modern horror- are zombies fast or slow? Personally, I like the fast zombies. I figure anything that can reanimate flesh would make said flesh pretty bad ass. I do like the slow, relentless, mob style zombies too. That would be where endurance comes in. Really, running would be handy with either. I'm not being facetious. When I was a kid, we didn't even have the internet. We didn't have cell phones. We listened to music on cassette tapes. Screw ups happen every day. Our water is full of prescription drugs, milk is full of hormones, meat is full of diseases. Who knows what could happen? We're a lot closer to zombies than vampires or werewolves. Yeah, I said it. Zombies over vampires. Vampires are cool and all, but zombies are coming. Fiction vs non-fiction. Think about it.

Not that I'm actually planning to run the entire L.A. Marathon next March. I still think the idea of me running 26+ miles is, uh, unlikely. But I'll do some training, and maybe I'll develop a taste for it. Who knows, it might help me lose some weight and feel better. Maybe I can run away from some of my problems.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All the Lamp Lighting You Can Handle

I hadn't had a yard sale in a while, although I guess that is a Pacific Northwest term- here it's a garage sale? It was more like a parking lot sale or a sidewalk sale. I made $200 off crap that was going to Goodwill anyway. I was only able to stomach a yard sale because I had some kind of emotional epiphany right before the anniversary of my brother's death. I was able to let him go. I realized I was holding myself back and holding him back, and while I knew he didn't want me to be paralyzed with grief, it was even more motivating to me that I could be holding him back from moving on to the afterworld.

What I experienced was acceptance, for the first time. Accepting his death made it possible for me to let him go, and then made it possible for me to let a lot more go. I am a borderline hoarder. I discovered recently that I can really relate to the people in those hoarding reality shows on TV. I put a lot of emotions into my stuff, so getting rid of it is not so easy. It involves uncomfortable feelings, feelings that are hard for me to tolerate. But letting go of my brother is helping me let go of all sorts of stuff I've been collecting- clothes, shoes, books, toys, do-dads, yacky wacks, flippity flaps, etc. It's surprisingly time consuming to get rid of stuff though. The yard sale was a good way to clear out a bunch of things, including my brother's snare drum, which I didn't think I'd ever be able to let go of. I am still listing things on eBay and taking regular trips to Goodwill. I have an ungodly amount of papers to go through. There's important papers, uh, important business papers, in there with 100 pounds of other random papers. I keep a lot, especially as a writer, I have tons of slips of paper with ideas for poems, blog posts, stories, etc. I used to really struggle with letting go of things that seemed to represent something about myself. It was like my identity was so shaky I needed physical items to remind me of who I was. Now I look at things and think, that's not me. I don't need it.

I've also been making changes to get away from things I used to include in my identity but don't think really belong there anymore. I dyed my hair red. Having black hair felt like part of who I was, and I had dark hair for a long time, but I still feel like myself with red hair. I also switched hockey teams. I had been on the Blue Lady Kings since I started playing hockey (7 seasons, or 3-1/2 years ago). This season I moved to the Red Lady Kings. And again, still myself! Ultimately I want to clear out everything unnecessary so I can focus on what is important to me.

Also, with the acceptance I started working on the back tattoo piece I have been planning to do for my brother for the last fourteen years. I don't think I could start it until I had reconciled myself to the fact that he was dead. Now there's no turning back- Jeff's death date is tattooed on the back of my neck now. We are still working on the outlining, but it's about half done. The design my tattoo artist came up with is amazing. It is of Lisa and Maggie Simpson (my brother's and my favorite characters from the Simpsons), but the composition really tells a story about losing him. The border is a poem by Lucille Clifton called "Speaking of Loss". I knew that back tattooing was painful, but parts of it have been almost unbearable. It has been the worst physical pain I've ever experienced. My brother's suicide was the worst emotional pain I've ever experienced, so that seems appropriate.