an addendum

I hope you know that you’ve given me the courage to change. I hope you know that who you are is who you choose to be, and that whispers behind your back don’t define you. You are the only one who gets to decide what you will be remembered for.” -Taylor Swift, foreword to 1989

It’s a great day for me. I got something I’ve wanted for a long time, and while it’s nothing exceptionally expensive or crazy, my parents got me a record player for Christmas. Since I’m working so much this holiday season as I prepare for a flight and vacation to Texas to see Killer, I made the executive decision that we would have Christmas early when we actually had time to spend in each other’s company. I opened the record player, and it didn’t really click at first. I plugged the thing in, and I put in one of the records I received with it…and that’s when it hit me. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. This overarching sense of calm and peace washed over me. I’m sure my mom got a photo of the smile on my face. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it’s her favorite photo of me in years.

If playing some vinyl in a record player was so important to me, then why did I never strike up the nerve to purchase it for myself? Honestly, I think part of me couldn’t buy it. Part of me felt like that if I was buying a record player for myself, I was deeming my life at a good place and that everything was okay. Since I’ve learned far too well that I can’t make those calls anymore, I wouldn’t buy it for myself. I think I’ve been at conflict with myself for a such a long time, part of me was scared to say “everything is okay, see?” I needed that external validation that my life was doing okay. Yes, I’ve got parents that care about me. Yes, I’ve got a job. Yes, I’ve got an incredible group of friends and Killer girlfriend. BUT I didn’t want to just say everything was fine and dandy. Part of me refused to label life like that.

I had several theories as to why the record player made me silently cry happy tears. Part of it is back to simpler time before everything of the last few years. Those golden months after I graduated college in which the plan I had (which is still a bullshit plan, regardless) was going to be my life for a few years and get me on the right path. Part of it was daydreams I’ve had about listening to records with Killer and just soaking it all up. Part of it is just the certain song playing was randomly picked, because I just put the stylus down and let it go. In the end, it helped refresh me in a stretch of work that spans seven days and around eighty hours of actual work. It refocused me.

Broneal and I both suffer from a disease that has symptoms like lack of motivation and a clear apprehension from being in one place too long. I say that because the two of us have had to keep the other in check for years when it comes to staying focused on the task at hand. I have to say, I haven’t been able to with work lately. It’s been dragging me down some, and I have been moving forward as best I can. The record player allowed me to escape a little bit, and I know it will help with my sanity. I’m hearing these gentle whispers from other places to work (potentially) and trying to please every friend I have. I needed this. But in a weird twisted way, after asking for independence for years, I was resolved to being reliant on someone else to, for lack of a better term, appraise my life and determine whether I deserved this luxury that absolute magic for my soul.

So what does that lovely Taylor Swift quote have to do with it? Yes, I do enjoy her music quite a bit, for from a literary standpoint, I reading what other people write about their lives. I know she has help writing her songs from time to time, but much of her music isn’t much more than musical blog posts. I get a glimpse into someone’s life who’s only a month apart from me in age but in a far, far different place in life. My damn need for external validation, which is luckily dwindling as the months go by, has me continually evaluating who I am to the outside. I was reading through the assorted notes and lyrics of her new album when I spotted that foreword. This is the last paragraph, basically the last few sentences before her signature.

Photo Dec 21, 12 15 11 AM

I really don’t know why I needed to see another person write that. Maybe I’m just as much at fault for looking to celebrities for some guidance to my life, but those lines spoke to me again. It helped reaffirm my choices over the past few years to move forward as I can with peace in myself and my choices. I know who I am. We all undertake some revisionist history when we look back at our lives, and I have to admit I’m just as guilty as the next guy. I can tell you I was one of the more popular people in high school, but I know that you could ask some people and they hated me for the reasons I WAS popular. I can tell you I was well-known in college, but that neglects that I was really quite alone for parts of time there due to my own choice. I can tell you that I had a lot of friends and was associated with many different kinds of people throughout my life, but that carefully forgets I had very few close friends. I spent my life trying to please everyone and be the glue…when all I wanted was to just fit in.

Far too often, I used to let the minority opinion rule my actions. It’s been a nice change of pace to not let that affect me (as much). It was awesome to see this decision reaffirmed by someone who lives with negative press all the time as a celebrity and has their dirty laundry aired regularly. I feel for her and emphasize because of this. It’s crazy what a song or letter can do, isn’t it?

Ah, anyway, I feel incredible. Just four more days until Christmas. I can’t wait, can you? Please just listen to the great song I posted (the one I teared up listening to the vinyl) and enjoy your Sunday. You guys rock, you know?

-G

Categories: exposition, my life | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

too busy to catch a breath

At some point, working three jobs, starting a relationship (even if long-distance), having a social life, and trying a major lifestyle change is bound to start hitting a wall. Things get sacrificed as I begin to weigh what is most important in life for me. One thing I learned from therapy was about cutting things I didn’t need and focus on me. I was a people pleaser for so long that it constantly took a toll on me that I neglected to add up for years. We long to be these great beings of selflessness and virtue while having it all, but how often have we ever seen someone of humanity rise up to have all of that without serious sacrifice? I’m not trying to get philosophical, but even the best of us have had some drawbacks. We all find that moment in which we realize that we can’t have it all, so we decide what is best of us and go from there.

I cut out some social engagements to focus more on building up a budding relationship. It’s the best decision I made, because in just a few short weeks, I’ll be visiting somewhere out west for the first time as I hang out with someone who is pretty freaking awesome. Some might cut me down for choices, but I couldn’t really care at this point. I still stay in touch with those who mean something to me (albeit poorly sometimes), and that’s what matters. After all, life is fleeting, and we should just strive to be spectacular in our own ways.

For far too long, I imprisoned myself to what everyone else wanted. People who have read the blog see the evidence of this in my life. I almost acted like a marionette for far too long. The expectations weighed on me. These unnecessary social cues and standards continued to control and direct my movements even as I began to see that there was a multitude of choices ahead for my life that I never considered. I always wanted to leave Georgia and work in other careers than what eighteen-year-old me thought was going to be the plan.

National politics and living in DC…neither of which sound appealing or have for the last few years. Meanwhile, I have set those goals that I eventually want to achieve. It’s all so far from the guy who was voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school. As a species, we all tend to rewrite history for ourselves, but I was unable to get past that yoke for a long time. I felt pressured to fulfill that. It’s taken me a while to understand that it wasn’t meant to be the most successful or the highest earning….it’s succeeding in YOUR goals. My fellow students then saw that, even if we were all a bunch of teenagers voting on senior superlatives.

So what has been a goal? Weight loss and getting into shape lately. No, I’m not trying to become an Adonis, but I do want to feel good about how I look. After a little over a month, I’ve knocked 25 pounds off through some hard work. I still have about eighty to go (yes, that’s a lot), but I know I can make it at this point.

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I’m running ahead of schedule, and it’s great. I was running faster, but there was a rough week where I got a bit sick. I’ve been instituting caloric deficiencies every day, making sure I get enough to stay healthy, but I’m cutting enough to make sure I continue to drop weight. I consider this a success. I consider this a great step in the right direction. This is great for me, and I believe that it’s the kind of thing that lets me realize I can get motivated and succeed in my goals.

Just remember…

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I have that on me now to remember that I can’t get lost in a dream world or a land of missed chances. Every thing has gotten to me this point, partially because I no longer forget to live! Just relax and let the music play, like the intro track off J. Cole’s new album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Just be free, people…and you’ll start being more at ease. I know I have :).

-G

Categories: my life, exposition, sub 200 | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

appearance

As someone that works in an industry that demands a pristine and polished appearance, it’s almost humorous how little I can care what some people think of me. I tend to be this quandary in that regards, because I am intensely worried about some aspects of my perception, yet I could care less in other places. Here I am, wearing a suit again because the job demands it, but most recognize that while I put together fantastic combinations for myself and my customers, I’m much much happier in soccer shorts and a t-shirt, walking around barefoot if I can help it.

Does this affect my appearance? While I am maintaining a growing beard and always bathe, does my body language and lack of desire to be in the suit hurt my case? I’d love to say that I’m just worrying for nothing, but it clearly affects me. If you were to walk in my store yesterday, I easily had the most experience of anyone in that store who was working (the boss is away on vacation). That being said, my disregard to wear my suit jacket didn’t help my case, as people routinely went towards the clean-shaven employees who had their suit jackets on. It’s hilarious to me to see them defer to me for decisions and advice from time to time, because I can tell I’m being considered slovenly for not wearing my suit jacket and growing a beard compared to my clean-shaven compatriots.

Plus, I’m bigger. I’m at my highest weight again. That cycle just keeps kicking my ass. It’s a self-control and motivation issue that I’ve struggled with for years, and I tie part of that into my depression. That all being said, I’m finally not letting it define me. I’ve been working out consistently for the first time in ages, and it feels great. I know that my smaller and more fit coworkers are considered more knowledgeable when their suits fit perfectly and mine are a little snug/ill-fitting. Hence, I’m getting there. My very, very bold claim was that I will lose 100 pounds in the next two years. I honestly believe I can do it. Heck, if I lose 70, I’ll be happy as well. I just need to do this for me. It’s a body image thing, and it helps the perception of people who see me.

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So I’m doing this. I have to take better control of my appearance and how people view me. As much as we all want to live and say that we don’t care what people say about us, I’m trying to work in an industry that is directly tied into your appearance on a daily basis. I’ll get some swagger back also when I don’t feel like I look terrible. Plus, Killer is gonna get mad at this post for saying I look bad. Haha!

-G

Categories: my life, sub 200, work | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

new leaves and all that

Well, I never saw THIS coming. Seriously, after all this time of complaining and bitching, I finally shut up and listened to Broneal. For those of you who have been on this journey with me over the last few years, you’ve seen me really go in waves over dating and all that. I can honestly say that I was broken-hearted and angry and all that. I gave up though. I finally gave up and stopped worrying about EVERYTHING. Broneal was yelling about it. I needed to just go live life. If you all remember, I very clearly proclaimed that and began to just live life. I left where I was working and all that. I made a choice that basically saved my life. Anyone who has seen me before and after can just tell that I’me more easy-going. Well why? What’s so amazing though?

Y’all…I MET SOMEONE!!!!! 

(no, that’s not us)

She’s perfect. Seriously. Intelligent, hilarious, bigger soccer fan than me, drop dead gorgeous…everything I’ve always wanted, plus a lot more I didn’t even know I ever wanted. When you meet somebody that’s like you in so many ways but challenges you to make the most of yourself, you know that’s someone you want in your life. That’s all I will say on the matter beyond she literally walked into my life out of absolutely nowhere (Yes Broneal, you were right again). As for Killer, she’s amazing, and I know she’s probably blushing reading this. Sorry babe, I had to!!!!

Anyway, I’ll stop waxing about this girl, and I’ll move forward towards something a little more pertinent in terms of writing. I have been offered a spot to write for one of my friend’s blogs!!! She has an incredible blog, and I am super excited to write sports pieces for her. Make It Work Molly has a fantastic variety blog, and I am super excited to be writing pieces for her. It’s a chance to reach a new audience! Maybe, some of you guys will become faithful readers of hers and her featured contributors, and I can only hope some of hers come here! Welcome (in advance)! You can visit her blog here!

Thus, this awesome girl and a chance to write for a new blog…NICE. I’ll be back soon, peeps!

-G

Categories: my life, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

a difficult decision

Hello again, everyone. It’s been a while! I won’t lie and say that everything has been kosher in my life lately, but I’m not going to complain. Instead, I’m going to catch everyone up with where I stand at the moment. This might be the first post in over 65 days, but it doesn’t mean I stopped living!

First of all, the most recent drastic change that truly emphasizes that the more things change, they do actually stay the same. Ending back up somewhere to work where I swore I would never go back is definitely a weird place to be in. You think you’ve left a world, and then, you find yourself going back out of necessity. It’s not the ideal situation, but I did what was best for me and went back with almost demands and just certain limits that wouldn’t cause me to go insane like last time around. It helped that I have been able to go back into a crew where I’m with people who are actually a joy to work with most of the time. That being said, this is a step forward, not one backwards in my opinion. When you’re welcomed back and then given a chance to show you’ve still got it, there’s obviously room to grow.

The first response from many people, and my parents are a part of that, was “Was the summer a waste?” It took a while to really weigh it all, because I had to make sure I wasn’t discounting anything that I’ve been a part of. I turned down salary for a chance to chase my dreams to an extent. I found an incredible group of friends to add to the people I see on a regular basis. All in all, I focused more on me, and that experience cannot be understated. I have friends across the US that I would have never been able to have if I was working 80 hours a week all summer.

I think it’s a fair trade. After all, when you’ve had such an incredible victory like I have had lately, then you’re definitely able to look back and judge accordingly. You faithful readers know that I’m very, very hard on myself. For me to say I’ve been doing well, you know it’s the truth. For those who I’ll refer to as the Groupme Gang, they’ve seen me grow a very large amount.

Hence, as we move forward into the fall, I’ve been able to develop some great things in my life. Opportunities, relationships, and everything. It’s all working. For that, I can’t wait for the future. Who knows? Hell, I’ve actually been working out too… Depression might be something you never fully escape, but you sure as heck can put it in remission.

You all are awesome! I thank all of you for sticking with me on this journey.

-G

Categories: exposition, my life, relationships, work | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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