Sunday, September 04, 2011
1. It's idiomatic English, means roughly "without care or regard for consequences".
2. Title of a Blink 182 song.
I went to my saxophone lesson on Tuesday feeling mildly confident. I had practiced quite a bit and felt I had improved some, especially on some of the technical exercises. I don't put much "feeling" into the technical exercises, and I try to play them with precision and perfection. When I started to play, and I saw my teacher shaking his head. I stopped playing. "What?" I asked sheepishly.
"Let's see. I want you play with more--how should I put it--reckless abandon." He then proceeded to play the exercises playfully and song-like. He then had me play along with him, and then he stopped playing while I continued on. I admitted to him that "reckless abandon" is not something that comes naturally to me. "Well, we'll work on it," he assured me.
The thought of doing anything with "reckless abandon" makes me feel a little queasy. I always have a plan, I follow the plan, and I don't attempt something unless I know I can do it right. If I know I will probably do well, I go balls to the wall. If I know I may not do it very well, then I approach with extreme caution. This approach, of course, causes me to hold back from pushing the boundaries and going further with some things. ALISHAB3 left a comment on my "Emptying the Hollowness" blog this week about internal all-or-nothing thinking. She's right, I do struggle with black-and-white thinking a lot. Therefore, everything I do must be done to a T--losing weight, exercising, eating right, playing the saxophone, kickboxing--or it is not worth my while. But I have come to realize that I need to approach some things with reckless abandon in order to move forward.
Image from http://www.dailyfreefonts.com/fonts/info/2
After thinking about it, I realize that I have already thrown caution to the wind and just gone for it at times. Returning to kickboxing was very risky with my knee problem--it could have become acutely injured after starting up again and gotten a lot worse. I was at the point where I figured, "What do I have to lose?" Well, other than my ability to walk, I suppose. I never would have known if I was able to kick again if I hadn't picked up my leg and taken a swing at the heavy bag. I'll never know how playfully I can play my saxophone if I never play without worrying how I sound, rather than how I feel. Sometimes I need to let whatever happens happen.
Image from http://www.printfection.com/funketees
As ALISHAB3 pointed out, we often fall into the rigid all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to weight loss, too. I have gotten significantly better about this, although the thinking still frequently sneaks in. I used to either do a binge right--eating until I was physically incapable of eating anymore--or I was following my food plan correctly. There was no in between. I've lightened up a bit on this thinking, and although I may overeat sometimes, I am not nearly as reckless as I used to be about binging. I talked myself out of a binge this week not by steely willpower, but by genuinely picturing feeling bloated and gross after eating the food, and the day-long food hangover that would have ensued. I didn't do anything to distract myself, I just imagined how gross it would feel to binge and how I would feel ill the next day. I then proceeded to follow my food plan for the rest of the night and forgot about wanting to binge. However, my little brain cells were lying in wait waiting for an excuse to binge. A few days later, after a stressful day at work, I went to Taco Bell and overate. Granted, the binge wasn't as damaging as I thought it would be after tracking it (yes, I did track it) and I didn't go as overboard as I may have in the past, it was still a reckless act. I fall into the thinking mistake that this type of overeating is okay because it is my way of "living freely," but reckless abandonment need not lead to wrecking my goals.
The type of reckless abandon my saxophone teacher was talking about is the type that lets us discover our potential. It is letting go enough and not worrying about the result as much as just going with the process. The process can be fun, challenging, frustrating, hilarious, and freeing all at once. Unfortunately, this type of reckless abandon is not ingrained in my brain. I don't have fun until I am doing something really well. The process of getting good is taxing. Over time, I believe I can uncover how to lead a life of reckless abandon.
Maybe I need to get tricked more into reckless abandonment. As I did my first weight workout of the week, I loaded the barbell to 30 pounds for my shoulder work. I reached failure with that amount on the barbell--I could not have done another rep if I had wanted to. Then, during my second workout doing the same exercises, I noticed that the weight felt more challenging. I figured my arms were worn out from lifting weights and kickboxing. I was still able to complete all of the reps, though. I looked at my barbell and realized that it was loaded with almost 45 pounds, not 30. I was able to work with that weight because I didn't realize how heavy it was, therefore, I wasn't able to talk myself out of it. Even I was surprised at the fact that a significantly lighter weight had actually brought my muscles (and nerves) to failure. I guess my limits will be discovered if I just say, "Screw it," and go with it.
Image from http://www.smbtraining.com/blog/the-elusiv
Perhaps I would benefit from a little more reckless abandonment in my life. I just need to keep in mind the difference between reckless abandon and just plain reckless. I now know that they are not the same thing.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
So the other day I had blogged about a woman who I was deciding whether or not I really want to be friends with anymore ("Emptying the Hollowness" blog post). The woman who had called me a "baby squirrel killer" is pregnant. She is not a super-close friend, but I was excited for her. I had told her a few months ago that I wanted to throw her a baby shower in October, and host it at my house. She was excited about the idea.
A couple of weeks ago she came to me and told me she didn't really want a "traditional" shower, and that she would rather have a "regular" party at her house on the same night instead. She asked if I would still help plan the party, but it felt more obligatory on her part so I wouldn't feel completely shot down. My feelings were a little hurt, but I said okay. Since she has poked fun at my small house before, I get the impression that she doesn't think my house is good enough. The party was actually going to be held outside in my huge garden, including a bonfire in my fire pit. She has not mentioned the party again since. I kind of took her change of plans as a "Thanks, but no thanks," and that she was declining to have me throw her a shower. I was talking to a co-worker friend tonight, and she pointed out that most people would be honored to have someone offer to throw a baby shower. So, I am wondering where to go from here.
I've never thrown a shower for anyone before, so I'm not quite sure what the etiquette here would be. Even if I did still consider her to be a friend, I feel like she turned down my offering to host a baby shower, and therefore I'm not responsible for this party. If she does end up asking me to help plan this party at her house, I am inclined to say, "Since you declined me offering to throw you a shower, you can go ahead and do whatever you want for your party," and not be involved. Is that rude? Am I obligated to help with this party that she is throwing because I offered to host a shower? I feel that she was being a bit ungrateful, and I don't feel inclined to be involved in planning this party.
Opinions? What would my SparkPeeps do?
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
My 1 Year SparkVersary was on August 21st, and I meant to post some resolutions at that time. My SparkVersary was kind of like New Year--a time to reflect and decide what I can do to make the next year even better.
I've talked before about how I had lost 95 pounds on WeightWatchers a few years ago, in 2006. I had lost the weight in less than a year. Yes, I was happy about the weight loss, and I started doing triathlons, which was a major accomplishment, but I had no other concrete proof of my progress. I had my little weight tracker book from WeightWatchers, which would have a smiley face drawn in by the weigher when I had a loss, and nothing when I didn't lose. I had no progress pictures, no blogs, no journals, no reflection of my life beyond the scale. I was probably starting to make some other changes without realizing it, but I didn't have the resources to truly evaluate my life and make changes at that time. I truly thought that losing weight would just solve a lot of my problems by itself...and we all know how well that thought process goes...
I wasn't surprised that I stuck with SparkPeople for a year, but rather, I was shocked by the major life changes that I had made because of SparkPeople. The changes I have made in my mind have paved the way to make changes in my body. I have learned a lot about myself, especially with the wisdom and input from my awesome SparkFriends. Blogging has been especially helpful with processing my thoughts, so prepare to be continuously inundated with posts.
My primary goal by my 2 Year SparkVersary is to reach ONEderland. That means losing about 60 pounds in 1 year. I believe this is a very reasonable goal. I've been thinking over the past week or what else I would like to accomplish by my 2 Year SparkVersary, so I've set some SparkVersary Resolutions:
Lose at least 60 pounds (by August 21st, 2012).
Get my personal trainer certification.
Participate in at least 2 race events (triathlon, duathlon, 5K, 10K...)--I'm already committed to doing the swim leg of a triathlon next summer.
Make any remaining toxic people in my life disappear so I can nurture the real friendships that I have.
Join a saxophone ensemble and start performing.
I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome SparkYear!
Here is my 1 Year SparkVersary blog post--and thank you to all my SparkPeeps who celebrated with me!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
VALERIEMAMA posted an excerpt from the writings of mythologist Joseph Campbell, and the words were very moving. The excerpt is about what makes us truly happy. Here is a snippet:
"What is it that makes you happy?
Stay with it, no matter what people tell you.
This is what is called following your bliss."
You can check out VALERIEMAHA's blog post here:
Monday, August 29, 2011
I found a baby squirrel on Thursday, about an hour before I had to go to work. His eyes weren't open yet, and he was 4-5 weeks old. I looked up in the tree he was under and saw the nest, about 30 feet up. He had fallen to the sidewalk below. He looked to be in good shape, expect that he was covered with fly eggs, hundreds of them. This is a condition called fly strike. Once the eggs start hatching, they start eating the animal they have hatched on. I bathed him immediately and picked off as many of the eggs as possible. I didn't have time to take him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center before I went to work, but with years of wildlife medicine and emergency veterinary skills under my belt from having worked at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, I knew how to care for him in the meantime. I put him in a cardboard box with a T-shirt and took him to work, so I could feed him every 4 hours.
I knew that something had to be done about the remaining fly eggs and that even a couple hatching could be fatal. I had 2 choices: do nothing to prevent the maggots from living and risk him dying by getting eaten by them, or use an off-label drug that I had on hand at home to prevent the maggots from living. One of my veterinary toxicologist colleagues and I researched the drug, and found that it has been used on squirrels before without incident. So, we figured out a dose, and I gave him the medication when I got home from work that night. When I woke up to feed him, I noticed he had a head tilt and was circling to the left. I have seen this thousands of times before, because this is how animals behave when they have head trauma. Head trauma is very common in baby squirrels that have fallen from the nest. He still ate fine, and I took him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I told the tech that I had used the drug on him, but he was acting a bit neurological.
I felt so guilty that I may have harmed this baby squirrel that I had been fighting tears ever since I woke up and saw him with the head tilt. A head tilt is not a sign of toxicity from the drug he was given, nor was he having any other signs of drug toxicity, but I still felt really bad. I told one of my co-workers (who is supposed to be a friend) about the scenario and she told me that she would have done the same thing and used the drug. I felt slightly better knowing that another experienced veterinary professional would have done the same thing. Then, when the overnight tech came in, I was updating her about the squirrel and telling her about the head tilt. From across the room, my supposed friend yelled, "Yeah, nice job, baby squirrel killer!" Of course, she followed this by the reversing agent, "Oh, just kidding," when she saw the look on my face. And then, she proceeded to call me a "squirrel killer" a few more times throughout the night.
Later, I started to ponder what I get out of this friendship. This is a person who I think is a lot of fun and she has the same crass sense of humor that I have. She is very dedicated to animal rescue, a trait that I greatly admire. However, she admits herself that she can't keep a secret, therefore, I never tell her anything that I don't want to be repeated to another person (which would be almost any personal detail). Secondly, she talks about people behind their backs, and then acts like a friend to their face. This is a bold-faced untrustworthy person. Therefore, she doesn't really know me and I don't really know her, because all of our conversations end up being superficial and hollow. Still, I don't actually dislike her, but I need to decide at what capacity I want to allow people like her into my life.
As someone who abhors hollow interactions, I was always very open with everyone who I considered a friend. However, a lot of people will throw something back in your face the moment they get a chance. Sometimes this is done to manipulate, and sometimes it's done just to get a reaction. Sometimes I'm not even sure why people do something like calling someone who is obviously over-sensitive a "squirrel killer." It's not so much that she called me that, but more that I would have expected her to be honest with me in the first place if she really thought that. I will be 33 in a couple of weeks, and I think it's time that I don't have people around me who will say things to try to purposely hurt my feelings. I feel fortunate that I have come to recognize this issue at all, as most of my peer relationships had been shaped by bullying in the past. I had a warped sense of what a "normal" friendship was, and it has only been over the past 2 years or so that I have totally cut people off who are not good for me (then again, who hasn't had these people in their lives?). There are those people who are obviously forced and fake, and those people are fairly easy to avoid. Then are those who seem so genuine, until you start to pay attention to how they talk about and treat other people. Some people are outright malicious, and then there are the people who just may not know any better. In any case, I have become pretty keen on picking up who is genuine and who is not, even before they start talking badly about others or sharing things about others that they shouldn't be sharing.
I know I can be very sensitive, whether it is a crowd, noise, lights, or teasing comments. I have learned that all of my true friends find my over-analyzing over-sensitivity to be a good thing, and they tend to share their problems with me because they know they will get an honest answer. They also know that I will never repeat anything to anyone else. The people who may superficially seem like friends use my sensitivity to get a rise out of me, or perhaps to manipulate. It isn't that I have some sort of expectation of what a friend should be giving to me or what I can gain from a friendship. I just want mutual sharing. I have come to realize that the people I define as friends are those with whom I can share anything, and they can share with me, and we both know that it will stay between us. My friendships have not come to be defined by the amount of time that I spend with the person, but rather by how much we each know our true selves. Not the selves that are put on for public display, but who we really are deep down.
I have learned that I am really not capable (as in physically incapable) of hollow social interactions, so I would rather not talk at all than to force myself to be fake with them. I have now gone to the other extreme--if someone is not a close friend, I really don't speak with them at all. Of course, at work, I may end up having to do some superficial conversations, but I am extremely closed off during these interactions. This is probably why some co-workers think that I have no social life or hobbies (most don't even know about my main hobbies, playing the saxophone and kickboxing). I feel like if I share anything about myself, I have to share everything. This may or may not make any sense, but it is the way I interact with people, so I avoid shallow interactions as much as possible because it drains me to try to think of what not to say. Shallow conversations feel dishonest to me, in a way, because I have to put on such a fake face to interact. It's one thing to have a brief conversation with a co-worker in this manner, but it's another to try to mold a friendship this way.
I thought I had done a pretty clean sweep of the people who I don't want to be close to me, but it seems I may need to empty out some more. I would prefer to find some kind of balance to have some of these people in my life in some capacity, but I'm not really sure how to do it. I am already upfront with people if I think they're being sh**ty, so I can't really become much more honest. It makes me feel a bit cynical to look around my circle of friends and decide who needs to go, and I would say that I don't hate any of these people, either. They can have good traits, and even still be good people overall, but that doesn't always mean they will be a good fit as a friend for me.
"A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same."
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