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The Universe Doesn't Owe You A Thing...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Buckle up, buttercup, time for some words of truth:

Hard as it is to say, the universe doesn't owe you a damn thing.

If something doesn't go your way, if you get the flu, if you get some bad news, if you get a speeding ticket or if a friend's cancer returns with a vengeance, that doesn't mean that you automatically earn gold stars or get a freaking cookie. There's no ledger in the sky that says if you get a hangnail, you're immediately allowed a better parking space at Target -- it just means that the world is turning and that bad news follows good news follows bad news follows good.

It's a cycle, old as time.
Doesn't mean you're special, sugarpop.
On the bright side, it doesn't mean you're cursed, either.
It just means you're a human being, standing atop a spinning rock, hoping to live another day.
Just like everyone else.

When negative sh#t happens, it doesn't entitle you to ANYTHING -- and yet, that's how you respond, EVERY.SINGLE.TIME, and this time? It's been worse than ever.

In the past, you at least *tried* to feign regret at your utterly predictable "uncontrollable" response to not-so-good happenings (read: slacking, eating thoughtlessly, consuming your feelings).

Except that's a lie, isn't it?
You don't eat your feelings, babe.
You *use* your feelings as an excuse to do whatever the hell you want.
(There, I said it.)

That secret inner smile, when you felt the flu coming on? That was like an elementary school snow day for you, wasn't it? Oh, so sad to be ill, but already gleefully planning how you were going to use it to derail your efforts...

This time was different, though, wasn't it? The food didn't taste as good, did it? The couch-surfing proved less enjoyable, the naughtiness not nearly as delicious.
(And never fear, darling girl, you did not gain a conscience -- but quite by accident, you may just have gained some insight this time...)

Because it's never been about the food, has it?
It's not even about the exercise.
It's really always been about FREEDOM.

Freedom to live without boundaries.
Freedom from the pressures of planning workouts and meals.
Freedom from the grind of 5:30AM alarm clocks and bedtime by 11, no excuses.
Freedom to say yes to a beer with a friend after work without planning for it.
Freedom to be selfishly self-destructive (and oh yeah, you know *exactly* what I'm talking about...)

There's so much freedom in carelessness. You crave it, more than cheeseburgers or PopTarts. More than couch-surfing. More than slash fiction featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, or Brad Pitt's hip bones in "Fight Club". You're so in love with carelessness, you'd have it's babies if you could...

You only have yourself to blame. The craving for carelessness, for freedom, for self-destruction has always been a part of you. It's your culture of choice: old-school punk rock, subversive literature, anti-heroes over heroes -- Alex DeLarge over Mr. Darcy, Lisbeth Salander over Joan of Arc, et al.

But it's a craving that may be keeping you from being the person you want to be.

So, how do you kill it, as it relates to your health efforts here, without changing your whole world view?
Conventional methods won't apply. You can't sneak up to it in the night, can't cut off its oxygen or report it to the authorities -- and locking it away, apparently, only makes it more surly. You hope that exposing it to the light here will kill it, but that might be a little too convenient.

Right now, you think that this realization may have brought you partially back to your senses, and you hope to land firmly on the wagon today (now that the flu symptoms have abated and you plan to return to the track tomorrow) -- but if you're truthful with yourself, you know you're still standing on a ledge, just tempting yourself to leap back into entitled ways of thinking.

But remember, girlie, the fact of the matter is that the world doesn't owe you anything.
Not even the freedom to self-destruct.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    TRUTH!!!!!! Awesome blog!
    2094 days ago
    I love this. You are so right about that little smile when you feel yourself getting sick. That little niggle of excitement when you know that you have a "good excuse" to do whatever you want - well said!

    I recently dislocated my shoulder three weeks into an intense workout schedule. I was terrified (not for my shoulder, as this has happened before), but because I know me - and I saw how this could easily be the excuse that makes me "fall off the wagon." Can I keep up healthy eating without the boost of exercise? I was amazed to find out that - yes, I can. I monitored my calories a little more closely than normal and still managed to lose two pounds. Now, a week later, I can finally start working out slowly and get back to where I was before.

    I discovered that the feeling of temptation was missing and was replaced by a fear of losing all that I have gained (or lost) by my new lifestyle. I didn't relish the thought of laziness and junk food because it represented going back to a place I don't want to revisit. I only hope I can remember that same feeling the next time a "good excuse" presents itself.
    2210 days ago
    Love this blog! Especially your writing style! I need to bookmark this and re-read it again when I am having a bad day and am tempted to use that as my excuse! Thanks for posting this! emoticon
    2230 days ago
    Amazingly written and amazingly true! Give yourself a gold star for pointing out the scarlet letters found in excuses. Subscribed! emoticon (as close to a gold star as I could find)
    2251 days ago
  • MEDUSA1977
    I Love this blog, it's the first one here on spark that has really summed up what I've been struggling with for effing years. Every time I start this thing, I start feeling really trapped and controlled because I am giving up my supposed freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted to do.

    This time around it feels different, something clicked for me this time. Maybe because as I get older I'm changing, but I'm realizing that I've been just as chained and controlled to the idea of freedom and being footloose and fancy free and doing what ever the f#$% I want when I want as i was feeling doing all this healthy stuff. For me, I realized that I wanted to be in control of myself, not my friends whims, or the shows, or the 2 am diners, or the crappy or even tasty drinks. But I want to make the choices for myself, so now I do. It's still hard because my friends are still the same way but I just have to better at making my own choices. I still have to "cut loose" every once in a while to feel like I haven't just entered the middle America fray. I still go to shows, still have drinks with friends, and stay out to all hours of the morn, I just pick and choose now when i want to, when it works for me, and if i do something on the spur of the moment I'm prepared to have fun without wrecking all my goals. Everyone in while (like my recent bday) I do whatever i want with abandon but I'm always back it the next day. The weird thing is i kinda feel more free and definitely stronger than I can remember.

    Thank so much for writing this! I thought Iwas alone in feeling this, and by the way it was really well written!

    2251 days ago
    A couple thoughts. One, I have never met a more uptight, joyless group of people than the punk rock crowd, and I say that as a card-carrying member. How you dress, what you listen freedom there, try sporting a pair of penny loafers in 1983, or admitting your love for Hall and Oates (and Darryl Hall is a F***ing soul god, don't let anyone tell you different, seriously), and you'll have seen just how willing they were to embrace your rebelliousness.

    Two, I think that the biggest F*** You a fat girl can give to society is to NOT eat the cupcakes and poptarts that the world puts in front of us, because clearly, we are sad, weak creatures who will succumb to marketing. Society wants me to sit and home and wallow in my fatness and eat, because fat girls are not pretty, and don't have friends, and couldn't possibly be sexy and fun and have active, full lives.

    Three, I love it when you call me "sugarpop"
    2255 days ago
    2255 days ago
    I've reread this blog several times throughout the day. Wow. And Harsh. and True. Oh, how you perfectly peg it. You could have been talking to me. No, you could have been me talking to me. But since you're doing the lecturing, it frees my overly critical mind to shut the heck up for once and just ponder your words. I crave that freedom to "check out," to take a vacation from my adult self (assuming I HAVE an adult self), to tell my inner critic to shut the hell up, because I'm not listening.

    But here's the rub. The only relief I get from that inner critic that makes me rebel so strongly toward "freedom" is when I make choices that make me proud. The more careless I am, the more critical I am and the more carelessness I seek. Calgon, take me away. Maybe I'm out here in left field by myself, but that's where my wandering mind led me from your insightful words.
    2255 days ago
  • CHARITY1973
    Oh, the warm snugly cloak of victimhood! I'm got a closet full.

    The Cloak of Difficult Childhood
    The Cloak of Father died young
    The Cloak of 'Big Boned'
    The Cape of It Just NOT Fair!!!

    I catch myself daily trying one of these guys on. More comfortable than sweat pants and always in my size! My mental dialogue if far worse than my 12 year old's moaning. Thanks goodness she can't see what I think!

    As for what will shift the sh*t...It's been the tap tap tap of the chisel, tiny pieces fall day by day but no magic bullets. The one things that popped into my head when reading your blog was a book I read at Christmas called Choice Theory. It's been very helpful at reminding me that the only person I control is me and that I only have control over my thinking and speaking. I have no control over my physiology or my feelings. Hence I can start to panic, get chest pains, think 'Oh sh*t' and then yell at someone. But I only have conscious control over the thinking and the speaking. I can't make myself never panic and my heart beatings is just obeying the brain as it floods my body with cortisol.

    However we have a fundamental need for freedom (and loving connection, power, fun and survival) and if this isn't allowed (think North Korea or a controlling spouse) we will find unhealthy ways to meet the need (say eating, drinking). What I've taken from these ideas is that there is no power in victimhood. I have to meet my needs. If I don't take charge of meeting my needs (let others control me or expect them to meet my needs) I will meet them in unhealthy and fundamentally unsatisfying ways. The satisfaction of eating donuts (yum!) is never as satisfying as being muddy and sweaty after a mt bike ride.

    I'm now spending time each day as I stand before my closet full of cloaks asking myself if I'm meeting my needs in satisfying ways. And I'm taking little actions to meet them. Like getting a babysitter and going out. Telling my ex that I won't pay for things for the kids that I consider frivolous. Getting muddy (I love mud). Eating foods I love that are also healthy (sweet potato hummus!). Gardening.

    I have a strong need for connection but not such a strong need for power. Ask a man about power and you will see why they act so stupid. Your need for freedom and lack of responsibility seems like a strong need. Get it met in a satisfying way. Absolutely nothing wrong with freedom and carelessness. Check out how advertisers use these needs to sell crap to us!

    Just another thought on freedom however is that conformity is just as rife amongst the vegan-steiner-folk-music crowd as it is amongst the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Real freedom is choosing to be who you really are which might be a stiletto wearing folk musician who lives in LA. There isn't real freedom in conforming to anti-conformity (this from an ex-vegan Green Party member who worked in an ashram).

    And finally Benedict Cumberbatch, mmmmmmmmmm
    2255 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/15/2013 8:49:32 PM
  • NEEDBU66
    This. is. great. Thanks so so much. That whole smile when I feel the flu coming on is just it.

    agree 100.
    2255 days ago
    Very interesting blog. Just the awareness of the issue and motivation may make a difference in som way.
    2255 days ago
    Oh, Sexbobomb... Good stuff here. I'm going to see the Queers in a few weeks and was talking to the hubs about how listening to pop-punk of yore makes me feel like a poser. There is no windows-down-play-it-loud-cigarette
    reak abandon left in my life. Careless freedom isn't whispering my name, it sometimes screams and stomps and demands my attention.... but I don't listen.

    That freedom is illusory. Yeah, it feels square to have to plan meals and workouts and log stuff in. But what's more square- working exercise into your life and eating sensibly or having to test your blood sugar and take pharmaceuticals to regulate body processes? Having to take your pill on time? You know who THE MAN is, don't you.... BIG PHARMA!

    You don't have to kill your craving for carelessness... just adjust your time-frame, maybe rephrase as carefree-ness (horrible rephrasing, whatevs). Big picture, I'll be having more fun if I do right by my body. oh, yeah and sticking it to the man!!!
    2255 days ago
    Thanks for the smack to the back of this sugarpop's head.

    The truth is always appreciated in my world:)

    2255 days ago
    Oh, you are so wrong.

    The universe owes me a laundry list of things a mile long, to include thinner thighs, less junk in my trunk, whiter teeth and silky long blond tresses.

    The only problem is that I keep getting rain checks.


    .•´¸.•´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸..•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`-:¦:
    -:.... ¦:-•: •:*'*:•-:¦:-
    .(¯`v´¯) Keep Spreading the Spark!
    .`•.¸.•´... ¸.
    (¸...•´ (¸.•´

    2255 days ago
    Rebel against the rebellion, eh? Doesn't mean you have to join the squares. Good to acknowledge that they might have a point or two every once in a while, and remember that on the verge of doing something that you're going to regret later.
    2255 days ago
    I love this. And I would say this is most certainly me! Or should I say the old me. The I don't give a damn I'll do whatever I want attitude. But life rewards hard work, planning and consistency. It took me until my late 20s early 30s to realize I'm nothing special. I don't deserve anything. I get what I work for and sometimes not even then. Great blog.
    2255 days ago
    You lost me at Brad Pitt's hip bone. This is Kristi's utter lack of comprehention past that point. Jokin. You make a wonderful point though. Just because you get derailed doesn't mean you are "allowed" to do whatever you want. It doesn't stop the universe from spinning. And the world will not let you eat for free because you worked so hard up to this point. Thanks for this....and the mental image lol.
    2256 days ago
    It's too painful to face the truth, that is why we don't.
    2256 days ago
    This is so well-written and extremely thoughtful. Congrats on connecting the dots on this stuff!
    2256 days ago
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