Thursday, December 29, 2011
Ever since I reread and posted that little 2.5-year old blog (in my previous blog), I've been re-reading it and thinking about something in my attitude there.
I have always hated housework. As I say there, chores feel never-ending and devoid of a reward. Oh, sure, it's clean for a little while, but without constant vigilance and work, it won't be long.
But, I also lived in an apartment for four years with only the bare minimum being done to keep it clean. I saw firsthand the difference between trying to clean a year's worth of crud versus cleaning something weekly with a lot less effort. There's a huge difference between having to wash three pans, a couple bowls, a plate, and utensils ... and having an overfull sink, more to the side, and having to scrounge for and wash something just to use it.
In the last couple years, I taught myself to wash everything as soon as I was finished with it. No more empty cups littering my desk. It would take me 30 seconds to walk to the sink, 15 to wash, and 5 to stick it in the dishwasher to dry. Less than a minute?
What was the alternative scenario before I started doing that? First cup on my desk, emptied, shoved off out of my way. Second cup similar, third, fourth. In a couple days, not much room on my desk and at least one of those cups smells funny. Scoop all the cups and put them in the sink. Add water to soak. More cups on the desk, more added to the sink pushing the others out of the way. Maybe pour out the foul water and add more. Repeat until we're out of cups and the sink is too full and smells off. Get infuriated that no one cleans up after themselves, empty all cups and shove to the side on the counter, wash one and use it. Take that one and wash it each time I want something to drink, "ignoring" the growing mess by the sink. Eventually get so enraged I wash it all, lay down rules we all knew I wouldn't live by and therefore wouldn't enforce, and grab a clean cup to take back to my desk.
Even worse, a much more despised chore ... cleaning the toilet. It's shameful to admit, but that thing went months, maybe even a year plus, without more than the nasty task of wiping the seat before using (oy, DS ...) or unclogging. Yes, vile and nasty.
When I finally buckled down and CLEANED the whole bathroom, guess what? No magic cure chemicals could get that toilet looking as clean as it did originally. Scouring helped, but also abraded that shiny finish. There was damage from letting it go so long. There were impossible stains to remove. In fact, the amount of work involved made me want to quit cleaning, give up and just let it stay a mess. But doing that would just mean there were more impossible stains the next time.
I learned from that (eventually). There IS reason to bother doing a chore immediately, even if that room, dish, or other task will simply need doing again soon enough.
It's less work (appeals to my LAZY side). A cup rinsed and washed immediately upon being emptied takes seconds. A cup left sitting around may have to soak, may stink, or may just take a bit of scrubbing. More work!
It's less daunting. Carrying a cup to the sink and washing it is simple and can be done without much thought. Walking to a sink full of cups and confronting that they need to be washed and convincing myself to stand and do that ... takes real self-discipline and is a time-consuming chore. My mind is also quite capable of saying "It's not that bad yet" or "Leave them for later" or just ... not-seeing.
But I think what suddenly jumped out at me right now, why I kept rereading this so many times, is that it's not just about chores.
So much of what I thought through related to chores applies just as well to weight, whether gaining, losing, or maintaining. My body is the apartment in which I live, until such time as it falls apart completely. I have no choice to move to a new apartment in this life.
I know I don't like the current condition of my body. I've definitely run it down a good bit. It's badly cluttered, no matter that I can see others that are in worse condition. There's stains and ground in dust, so many signs of disrepair.
To get it back into good condition will take two things. One is the deep-cleaning, the hard work of fixing it up. The other is the chores, the constant tasks that should always be done to keep it from getting messier while I'm doing the deep-cleaning.
The basic chores are fitness and food and water.
The deep cleaning is addressing the physical (injuries, illness, generally overworked organs and weak muscles and bones), emotional (dissatisfactions, fears), and mental (food addictions, eating as comfort, eating as reward) aspects.
Sometimes the deep cleaning has to be done before the basic chores can be done. If we're too physically ill, eating quality food has to be used by our body to repair before it can be used to help us lose fat.
Sometimes the deep cleaning can be pushed aside until later. An emotional eater might succeed for now by clearing their house of all temptations. But eventually the deep cleaning must be done. If it isn't, then the basic can only slow or cover up the real mess.
And just like trying to get an entire house clean, it's possible to make it livably clean, where we're okay with having company over ... and still not have deeply cleaned things that are out of sight, out of mind. Which ties in well with why some have such a horrible time with maintenance after they've gotten to a goal weight. There's still emotional and mental deep cleaning to do, without which those messes eventually spill over and undo all the work of the basic chores.
So here I find myself. The basic chores have been mostly easy to get myself to do. They're small, they're easy as long as I don't let myself procrastinate or make excuses.
But the deep cleaning ... I dread it and I think I'm still avoiding some of it. I ~KNOW~ I'm still avoiding some of it. I have this thing in my head right now that I'm older and very set in my ways, so I'm not going to get into a romantic relationship. Don't need one, don't want one. Really ... I'm hiding. I know I have issues with trust. Big issues. I have no idea how to deep clean that, so I've closed and locked the door to the disaster area of an attic that's in, and am calling the house cleaner.
I may scour the rest of the house clean, but unless I unlock and open that door at some point, the roof may eventually cave in. And then what good will my basic chores do?
End of another long ramble and a silly realization. I've said before that I'm not visual. But, DANG, I definitely love me some analogies. I don't consider analogies to be perfect, but I love when they draw me along to realizations.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
So, in joining up with a group on Google+ and working toward the goal of actively writing, I dug up an "old" wordpress blog account I created in mid-2009. I have no memory of writing this particular blog, and yet in some ways the ideas and thoughts lingered in my mind for a long time and I could have written it a few months ago just as easily. I haven't edited a single word of it.
Laziness is easy, obviously. Chores take physical effort, burn time that could be used elsewhere, and have no lasting reward. That last is my excuse. Clean a room and it will unclean itself. Whether kids, myself, dust in general … it doesn’t matter because it will go back to being dirty.
Finding the minimal work necessary to accomplish a task. Leaving goals alone because achieving them would require actual focus and effort. Laziness.
Can I overcome this lethargy I’ve infected my life with? I don’t really know. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve decided I’m going to get my act together. Nor the first time I’ve written or said or acted like I was trying to break out of the rut. But that rut stays there and smooth as butter I’m back in it.
Trick this time is I’m not going to tell anyone. I’m doing this 100% for me and by me. Fail and I’m no different on the outside than I’ve ever been. Succeed and I get attention I don’t want (a story for another day) but I get somewhere.
And that’s the first step. Figuring out where somewhere is. Dreams at 17 are flash fantasies with little hardened reality. And somewhere after that I quit dreaming. I’d want and get, want and not get, but not dream and plan and work and achieve. I don’t want cheesy goals. Yes I want to weight 75-100 pounds less. That’s not going to change. But that’s not the goal. It’s a dumb, measurable goal that every obese person has. And success at that goal is as bad as cleaning a room, temporary and always trying to undo itself.
So, not-so-lazy thoughts will start with finding goals that aren’t so transitory … or goals where the reward = work.
Now I'll have to go see if my Xanga one is still around and what is there, too.
Editing to add this comment - this would have been just before I tackled my finances, so I actually did pick something and start making change at that point. I didn't touch weight, but I did find a free site run by Quicken called Mint.com on which I started tracking every dollar in and dollar out. Even that took me several months before I realized ways in which I was being dishonest with myself (getting cash back at grocery stores and counting it as "groceries" while spending it on fast food or non-food non-essentials). All that work built me up and prepared me for working on my health.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
One of the three blog topics I’ve been thinking on has to do with the language of self-hate. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I’ll let you decide that.
Today I read is this quote from the Dalai Lama (I’ve mentioned before that I have him circled on Google+ for the wisdom of what he says):
== We are all, by nature, clearly oriented toward the basic human values of love and compassion. We all prefer the love of others to their hatred. We all prefer others’ generosity to meanness. And who is there among us who does not prefer tolerance, respect and forgiveness of our failings to bigotry, disrespect, and resentment? ==
Then I read a very good point in a AWWESOME’s blog – a key theme in the motivational stories of so many who have lost considerable amounts of weight: self-love. ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_
Another inspiration on this was a blog from FAIRYPARADISE earlier this month on recognizing Negative Self Talk. ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
And finally, especially with the holidays, but not limited to them, some blogs get filled with words like:
* Sabotaged myself
* Never going to get it right
* Shouldn’t even bother trying
There’s a lot of language of self-hate. As FAIRYPARADISE recognized, we’d be horrified if someone else addressed us that way. If our mothers taught us well, we would NEVER say something like that to another person. Yet internalized many of us have a voice like that. And worse? Too often we listen to it.
“You have no self-control.” “You just don’t have the will-power others have.” “Go ahead and quit. That’s all you do well.” “You might do okay for a while, but you’ll never get through this without screwing up.” “You’re not worth it.” “No one cares about you.”
Sometimes they’re repeats of the words of adults around us growing up. Sometimes they’re filled with the cruel barbs of other children or adults. Sometimes there is no obvious source. On and on like a broken record; the tune might be different, but the words do come through loud and clear. And being a part of our mind, we know which words hurt the most – and the voice will use those most liberally.
So, it’s definitely a problem at times. But, more importantly, what can we do about it?
As I said in my reply to AWWESOME’s blog (sorry if it’s not visible to everyone):
== Sometimes we have to act with love for ourselves BEFORE we feel that way - and let the feeling come in time. ==
Ever heard that if you put a smile on your face, you’ll soon be feeling more cheerful? Or the phrase “Dress for success”?
Those recommendations about writing positive affirmations and reading them to yourself in a mirror? No, people who do that do NOT start out with a lot of self-love. Those positive phrases may sound like lies, may sound trite, may be as grating as that super-happy, super-cheerful person on a cold, rainy morning when we want to mope.
Seriously, though, why do we let those reactions to talking positively to ourselves turn us away? Why don’t we have negative reactions to all the self-hate we can spew that make us not want to say those things to ourselves?
One of the recommendations I’d found when looking for an answer to dealing with negative self talk was to learn to say “No.” or “That’s rude.” Literally take what we just said to ourself and refuse to accept it.
Imagine answering internal self-hate with something like this (and following it with a positive action):
“No, I am not doomed to repeat past failures. In fact, thanks for the warning that I was about to do so. Now I’ll do something different.”
ACT like we love ourselves, ACT toward ourselves the way we imagine unconditional love would be, and even if you’re not totally in self-love on this journey, at least lose the self-hate. (Act and ACT well; not like you want to be caught out faking it.)
The only people out there who MAYBE deserve to focus such internal venom at themselves are psychotic criminals ... and they can’t because they are insane and think what they do and have done is right. You are NOT a psychotic criminal. And if your internal voice pipes up saying you are? Tell it Blue said you’re not and Blue knows better.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I actually have three different blog topics that have been running through my head for a few days now ... and there's no way my brain will let me write any tonight. My own fault. Was trying to get familiar with a little computer game I was playing with my bestest friend. That's not so bad.
Losing track of time and playing until something like 5 am; that's bad. Worse, being an hour ahead of me, best friend is up at that point and texts, so I didn't even "nap" until around 7:30 am.
And then I pushed myself to get up to go do some various things, such as pick up my paycheck from Friday and deposit. Oh ... yeah ... I'm not the only one on a "holiday". Buses are on Holiday schedule, so every hour instead of every 30 minutes for the one that gets closest. Get to the office, get the check, and realize ... duh ... the bank's closed anyway. (I go in and cash them usually.)
I did walk from office to bank, then to Barnes & Noble to see if they had any cookbooks on Microwaving for One. (Sadly, no, every book they had listed is out of print except for one only available to e-readers. O_O ) Briefly considered looking for The Spark, but did NOT want to stand in the Diet section hunting and wanted to get back to walking.
Walked from there to the light rail station to head home. That walking got me 1.63 miles in the first half of the day. Then this evening I wanted to try another mile pushing for that 15:00 minute mark. I've got a nice little 2 block section that measures out at 0.5 mile, so I set off doing the first 0.25 at an 18 min/mile pace, then pushed. Hit 15:10 at one mile, then did the last 0.25 at an 18 min/mile pace to cool down.
Not bad, especially given: 1) Several times during that walk I felt like I'd let myself slow down and pushed my pace again, 2) my muscles are feeling generally achey, and 3) heart and breathing were definitely not a strain. I actually want to work more on form, which I think will benefit my speed more than just pushing. (Oh, and no, the achey isn't illness - it's other.)
Gak, was going to just post a little short blip to post today ...
This is my inability to "make a long story short".
Good night Sparkers!
Monday, December 26, 2011
Today was pretty busy unexpectedly. I set off in the morning to attend the mass at which my daughter's youth choir was singing. It's a pleasure to get to listen to her in the group, even if I feel kind of odd man out in the pews.
We left there to head to another church, the one in which she was baptized and that her grandmother has gone to. Reason? She had purchased a cross necklace and wanted it blessed before gifting it.
That done, we went for food (Subway sandwiches) then back to my place. Get there, and my bestest friend wants some time online - so for a couple hours I played a game with him as my daughter browsed on my old computer. She then searched up how long it would take to ride out to where her brother works, a coffee shop called "It's a Grind". He's been talking up a Tea Latte Press that she really wanted to try.
Away we go, getting off at the stop she understood it to be. Nope, no such coffee shop. Hmmmm...
Luckily, I had my laptop with me, and with a little quick free wifi from a little nearby restaurant, we were back on the bus heading for his place. Asked the bus driver and turns out he knew EXACTLY where it was and even graciously dropped us off right outside rather than having us walk back from the stop.
She loved the drink. We talked a bit with him as he worked, then headed back. The mass I'd attended was actually one they'd filled in for another choir group that was out of town mostly - and they had their own youth mass in the evening. We said goodbye as she got off there and I continued home.
Then more online time with bestest friend.
Scurrying to get food tracked, walking alone and with daughter tracked, read blogs, post in teams, etc. And now it's a mere 10 minutes to midnight.
Feels like I got nothing done today, and if measured by productive stuff, maybe I didn't. But I spent the majority of the day enjoying time with daughter and friend and even got to see my son again. I call that well-spent.
Good night (or even welcome to a new day for those further around this world than I)!
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