Running for Power and Purpose

 I’m not a runner. The only time I enjoy running is when I don’t really think about it. For example, I like to run with my kids when we’re playing, “who can make it to the car first”, which actually happens quite often. But I’m not really thinking about it. I mean, my heart starts pounding, my breathing becomes deeper, the gust of air felt from my body thrusting itself forward is felt, but it’s more about trying to see who can get to the car first. I usually win. Simply, because I have the car keys and the rule is, that to be declared the winner, you have to be in the car first.  

 FYI, I have a car that does not have automatic locks. I guess that is just one of the perks of owning a car with manual locks.  

To run is to have to make a commitment and to make it happen. It requires distance and miles. It requires moving farther and farther away from the starting point, and I really don’t have a lot of time for that. I know people who actually like to run for miles, endurance, speed, and some people just like it to clear their mind. But I actually have discovered that my mind usually turns off around mile numero uno. It turns into me sounding like the annoying little voice in the backseat on a long car ride wondering, “are we there yet?”

There are people who create running playlists and listen to it while they run. I’ve tried that. I end up getting tangled in the cord somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes into the run. Alright, I’m stretching the truth, maybe more like 5 or 10 foot strikes against the pavement. Or even worse; the ear buds don’t stay in, and then the Ipod gets turned off and just ends up in my pocket anyway.    

 Still, it has to be done. I like to keep it short though. No long distances. Tonight I went to the high school track to run. I swear whenever my mind starts to think about running, my body just melts. I was just lying on the couch, relaxing with the phone in my hand, checking my Instagram account, and my mind was literally screaming at me to get up and just go for a run. My body, on the other hand, literally, feels like it is pleading with me; protesting by going limp with just the thought of running. I was just going to do a cardio workout at home, but my mind, apparently, had other plans for me. Apparently, it felt this relentless desire to go outside and run. Odd.  I do have to admit, however, I was feeling pretty pathetic just lying on the couch thinking about doing cardio. Not just that though, it is those damn evil hormones that are getting to me again. My husband is lucky he is visiting his family in St. Martin so he doesn’t have to deal with the wrath of these devious little sidekicks. Ha.

All day long, in the back of my mind, I kept having glimpses of me running down my street or around the highschool track. But before I engaged into some sweat, fat burning work, I decided I should satisfy my cravings by buying my daughter a slice of chocolate cheesecake and my son a double chocolate cookie.

Look, I teach them about balance. I don’t want them to be afraid of food for cripes sake. Anyway, I couldn’t choose which one I’d rather have, so I bought both, and they ate them. They were really good too. I’m just guessing. It was a treat. They enjoyed it, and so did I.  As least I’m assuming that based on the chocolate covered stains that hid my son’s lips and teeth. Mmmm….Chocolate…

 And then reality caught up and hit me in the head…

Once at the high school track; the wind and cool air spent the first few minutes reminding me of how freezing it was outside. It had the feeling of a cool winter day; as though I was going to look up at the sky and catch a snow flake in my eye. I started cursing at myself for forgetting to bring a hat. But, it really wouldn’t have made any sense to drive all the way back home for my hat, since I had already driven to the track, which made me feel silly in the first place. I mean, I just drove right down the street to run around in a giant circle; kind of like a dog chasing its tail.

 I stepped onto the track; made sure my shoes were tied, gave in to the cool air and started with a light walk. I couldn’t help but watch two teenage boys on the field, kicking a soccer ball back and forth to each other, laughing, and enjoying the cool night breeze. I continued my walk once around the track and turned it into a light jog. As I ran, still aware of the teenagers kicking the ball back and forth to each other, my body and mind started to connect. At that point, I couldn’t stop running. I started to run extremely fast until my legs burned, and then I would jog, then run again. This type of cardio, I could handle. Sprinting.

 I lost track of time. There was no music. No cords or ear buds; and as usual, my mind went numb. I focused on my running technique, my force, and speed; time. The lights flickered on as it got a bit darker, and I had suddenly realized that the teenagers were no longer there, I quickly wondered how long they had been gone. Still, I kept moving; feeling every bit of tension in my body dissipating. I finished up with eighty side squats and fifty high knees followed by fifty knee kicks. I could have kept going, but it was extremely dark at that point, the street lamps provided the only light at that point, and the only thing I saw was my shadow. Besides, there was a trail of kid’s voices running alongside the school building and underneath the bleachers, so I figured that it was best to go home.

Tomorrow is another cardio day, and I know that my body will still plead with me not to go, but my body and mind will thank me once I am done. I just have to focus and stay in tune with each muscle in my body as it contracts. There’s no other feeling like being able to feel the energy from my muscles as they work to thrust my body forward; in competition with no one else but myself. Doing cardio doesn’t always have to be about long distance or length of time. If you don’t have time, you could still give it all you got in 15-20 minutes. Just be willing to push yourself as hard and don’t be afraid to let every muscle contract in your body, and let the tension fade.

Music or none at all; it’s your choice. Always.

How to Find Balance and Still be a Bad Ass. Sweat Included.

Being a bad ass is someone who doesn’t necessarily have their shit together, but can find a balance that works for them. What works for me may not work for you. I like a little sweat in my morning coffee, or I should probably say afternoon coffee. I love to go to the gym and “throw some weights around” just because I can. Also, because I’m a girl and I like it when I can walk over to a squat rack and squat the same weight as a man. Shhhh…I probably shouldn’t admit that it’s a teenager in most cases, but hey nonetheless, I’m getting it done. Cardio? I hate it. But I do it because without it; I lack balance.

Sometimes, I even feel invincible in the gym. I feel, well, simply put, like a bad ass. And I’m dripping in sweat. Oh, and I don’t care what in the hell I look like either.

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When you set out to lose weight, it’s either for aesthetic reasons, or you do it because you want to feel better; feel healthier. Most conversations about losing weight have to do with “skinny”. People know they just want to get skinny. I often was told, “I was lucky to be so skinny” there are even websites, hashtags that cater to “skinny” people. In a person’s mind, it’s simple, to be skinny is to be healthy and to carry a bit more weight is to be unhealthy.  That’s not coming from me. That’s coming from what I have read, overheard, and learned over time.

Come on, healthy doesn’t always mean having to be skinny. Being healthy should be more about moderation than appearance. It should mean finding a balance; never overindulging or depriving yourself of what life has to offer.

Once you find a balance, it won’t matter what size you are; you will find comfort that you are giving all of your effort and living life to its fullest.

You are extremely capable of pushing your body to its maximum and even beyond; you just need to gain control of your mind. However, it’s important for you to find what your balance is, and set out to achieve that.

No other person can define your balance.

You will find people out there who are extremely motivated, or you may be sitting here reading this and finding the compulsion to raise your hand slightly and shout eagerly, “That’s me! that’s me!” but it can be unhealthy for anyone to push as far as their mind would allow them to go. That is, if you are not ready.  Be honest with yourself here;  I am. Have you ever seen someone with your height and body frame, and found yourself trying to pinch yourself in an effort to wake up from that horrible “suit” that you feel that you are “wearing”? You tell yourself that you want to look like that? And you will. You can. Just know that it takes time, patience, and besides, I’m a firm believer in the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and yes,  even if it is tanned, looks good with the lights on, and sets your heart racing. You just really don’t know the fight they had to go through, to get to that point, simply because we don’t always get to see the battle wounds.

It’s pretty unrealistic to push yourself too far, too fast,  just to squeeze yourself into someone else’s ideal “picture frame.” You’re unique. After all, you’re you. Hey, I was told that 2 days ago by a very special friend of mine. She said, “Megan, you’re unique, you are one of a kind, and you have to know that there’s a special place for you in this world.” And I believed her. But if you’re not ready, if you don’t allow yourself to warm up, too fast, too soon, turns a burning flame into well, smoke. As the body needs to warm up before you engage in exercise, the mind also has to go through a warm up. It’s not a life or death situation to “be skinny” it is, however, a life or death situation to “be healthy”.

Don’t throw yourself onto a bed of hot coals just because the fire went out.  Start out with the goal to engage in something that encourages healthy behavior and build from that. Don’t go from eating 2500 per day calories to eating 1000 calories per day. That is just going from one extreme to another. That is just your mind challenging you, mocking you, and antagonizing you. Don’t let it. Find a balance to gain control over your own mind.

I strive to find balance every single day. Literally…

Because I suffer from panic and anxiety, in order to control that aspect of my life, I have latched onto the desire to achieve a particular level of being fit and lean. Ripped. Shredded. I strive to be that. I go through periods where I eat a lot to gain muscle and then I burn the fat. It’s a process and it takes time. I also have a lot of control when it comes to my diet simply because it provides me with a balance. As I feel out of control because of the anxiety and panic, I make up for it by sticking to a healthy diet and exercise. It makes me happy. It makes me feel bad ass. But more importantly, above all, it provides me with a sense of balance. Me. No one else. Just me.

I don’t care if my chicken is cold. I don’t have a breakfast, lunch or dinner. I have meals. When someone asks me, what are you eating for dinner. I look at them with a blank stare. Dinner? That seems so long ago. Ancient. Like the term dinner has lost it’s meaning. Yes. Among all of the frozen prepackaged foods in every grocery store across the world.

No I eat. I eat ALL DAY LONG. It’s not ideal for everyone. It works for me. Right now anyway. Does that mean if Suzy doesn’t follow the same schedule, that if she is the one who is asking me about dinner, that she won’t see results? Not at all. Not at all.

I eat cold chicken for breakfast, and I find it amusing when I break out my little sandwich bag of chicken at a wedding, a birthday party, or over dinner with a friend. I find it weird that I crave cottage cheese and oatmeal with a touch of almond butter. I often feel like a drug addict who is trying to hide their addiction, but need a fix and they will make it happen. Yeah. So for me though.  If it’s time to eat; I’m going to make it happen.

Besides, we were born this way anyway. We ate every 2-3 hours when we were babies. Even if you have kids, you know. You know that when a baby is hungry, you better feed that baby. I don’t care if it’s less than 2-3 hours, if the baby is hungry, baby eats; they need that food to grow. So don’t piss the baby off. So yes, I’m like a baby in a way, and I may even cry a little too.
Just being honest.

I do have to check myself every once in awhile and remind myself, that it’s not that serious; I’m not going to break if I eat out with my family. I’m going to be okay if I don’t go to the gym one day. If I skip a workout, my muscles that I’ve worked hard to build aren’t going to disappear over night, or if I log onto Facebook and there’s a set of steel abs across my newsfeed, I didn’t just lose the ultimate opportunity to get a set of those abs because I skipped a workout. I don’t and won’t look like that in one day, regardless if I go to the gym or not. It’s still going to take time. I often get joked with about how many photos I take, oh it’s so funny, but let me tell you, despite what you heard in the past about how the camera makes you look ten pounds heavier, the camera lens is like a trained and skilled eye; it can see a whole hell of a lot more than the naked eye can or is willing to see. So I measure my progress through the photo lens of my Iphone. Nothing special. No top notch photo lens. Lighting makes a difference too. It gives new meaning to “shed some light on the situation” Seriously.

So take it day by day, step by step. Don’t rush into it. Accept the challenge, embrace the journey. It takes time and patience.

Oh and a whole lot of fight with willpower when it comes down to it. You can read about my post as regards to the fight with willpower here: http://wp.me/p3cYS3-1nA  But, before you go, realize  that if you want it; go get it. But only if it’s healthy and done with balance.

And take lots of pictures along the way to document your BAD ASS.

How To Grab Willpower by the Balls

Maybe you have a couple pounds to lose, or even a couple pounds to gain. Maybe you have a goal weight or an ideal body image in your mind. You know what you want, but do you want it bad enough? At first, you will be presented with choices, and from time to time, you will feel a sense of “divide and conquer”; while your body is capable of a lot, your mind will scream at you over and over again trying to defeat you. Your mind will literally try to take control over your body. It will divide and conquer but only if you let it.  

 Willpower is reaching deep within and pulling the last bit of strength you have to make shit happen. Willpower is stronger than you, but not having it will not make you a weak person because it only emphasizes the ability to make a choice. It illustrates how badly you want something, but it doesn’t mean that you are desperate; it only means that you understand the right to choose and understand the cost of what it takes to get what you want and where you need to be. This in no way allows you to step on others to get to where you need to be, it means that you realize that people are willing to step on you and you choose to fight back.

 Willpower creeps up and sometimes brings an entire army to fight against you. You are constantly at odds with willpower whenever you make the choice to become better, do better, live better and be different. The last bit of strength that is hidden deep inside of you does not come easy. You have to be prepared to fight it every single minute. It will try to tear you apart and make you fall down, if you let your guard down. You have to always be mindful that it’s there; lurking and waiting for you to stop to make the choice that you no longer seek the ultimate goal. You begin to think of what you’re doing as a sacrifice.

 The first soldier of willpower in getting to unlock the final bit of strength that you have is Choice.  In order to determine the goal, first you have to fight against the choices that are presented to you. You have to decide what you want and go for it. In order to do so, you will have to defeat another soldier; and that soldier is Sacrifice.

 Once you have made the choice to achieve your goal, you will feel a temporary sense of determination. Your pace is strong, your grip is strong; you are strong. However, you now notice that there are two soldiers standing there, side by side, close enough to be one. Your strength feels threatened. You begin to question your judgment; question your goal; your choice (s).  

 You start to think of it more as an obstacle rather than a goal. You lose focus. And when you lose focus, you lose sight of the goal. So you start to wonder why you are doing this. You will begin to think of how it will affect other people. Your family. Your friends. Your social life. Your personal life.  You start to slow down, quiver even. You panic. You feel uncomfortable. So you stagger. And your mind starts to race with all of the other choices that you can have. How much happier you will be. Because right now you feel miserable. And it’s not worth it. One by one, the soldiers are closing in around you. Right now you think, what is my goal?  Your fears resurface and you react with a fight or flight response. You act quickly, nervously. You’re falling back. It doesn’t matter because now you are in a battle with a reflection of yourself. You start to think that you like yourself just the way you are. You tell yourself, you don’t have to do this. In other words, you start to rationalize choices and soon willpower is winning the battle. After all, it’s you versus willpower, which is a huge army. But you’re not becoming weaker. Because, after all, there are just too many soldiers to fight against, and you are an army of one.

 So you slow down even more. You start to fall back, become more and more distant. Fade away. And no one, no one is there to help you get back up. To fight. You have to do this yourself,  Suddenly you realize that you have to make the first and only move. YOU want it and YOU deserve it because YOU are strong. You are powerful. In fact, you are more powerful than willpower. But you must never look away. You must always be conscientious. You must always know it’s worth it. Worth every single second. Because that’s just how powerful you are. That last bit of strength is worth fighting for; it will make you feel unstoppable. It will give you perseverance. And with that, you can make willpower quiver. But you must always be prepared to make it quiver because it will test you endlessly. You will often stagger with confidence; compare yourself with others, and feel weak. It doesn’t give up. Only you can give up. Only you are presented with choices. And you are the only one who can make the right one.

I want you to make willpower your bitch.

 

 

What Will Happen if you Didn’t Live Life In the Moment?

Can you think of anything? I can…

You can make healthier choices so that you can continue to enjoy all the things that you love, and all of the moments that lie ahead of you..

You can find a balance so that you can wake up and not feel that any time has been wasted; like you’re spending everyday recovering from the night before with a really BAD hangover. You know when you wish that you can forget what happened, or just wish that you already did…You know kinda like that bruise on your leg that you don’t remember how it got there because you had one too many drinks, or the soreness that you feel in your legs from dancing all night long? And then, suddenly, you slowly put the pieces together, and it finally all makes sense. Temporarily. And then just like that, you get zapped back into reality. It hurts. You hurt. You know you had a damn good time, but you are feeling like shit now. You probably should just lie down. Oh wait, here comes your responsibilities. Oh and….LIFE. 

Life is one big hangover. Metaphorically speaking, of course. (Hey, I’ve been there, done that. This one time, I was at a pig roast…oh wait that’s not for this blog..sorry hehe)

Seriously though, that’s how you’re going to feel as you get older.  You’ll be at the bar with a tear in your beer because you’re lonely for your dear (Hank Williams-just changed it up a bit). You’ll have one drink and have to call it a night. And not just because you’ve aged; no it’ll be because you won’t have the mobility, balance, or strength to get down low, or hop up there and shake ‘it’ one more time. Metaphorically. The Point? If you learn how to balance, you could still have a damn good time.

And no. Dancing and drinking isn’t considered cardio. Trust me on this one.

But seriously, you know all of those moments where you sit and reflect on the times that you were able to pull an all-nighter? I’ve had those conversations before. Oh God, I used to be able to stay up all night long, and still go to work the next day. And function too. Remember that? (Or are you there now?)

Whether it was partying, studying, or just talking, whatever it was, you were still able to manage work, school and anything else without batting an eyelid. Today, you feel so tired, so plugged in and overcharged; overused, that the energy just seems to keep going in and out of you, and if you lose even just an hour of sleep, you can’t seem to keep your eyelids open with even the good ole’ clothespin.  Oh… getting older sucks. But staking claim in my pride by striving to continue to learn how to balance family, educate myself, study to become a personal trainer, teach my kids about respect in this crazy technologically advanced, hypersensitive world that we live in, improve or maintain my strength and all means to maintain functionality as I get older, makes me feel ageless. Sure, I’ve pulled the “I feel old” card, but that’s because I’m a parent (and that’s also another story).  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So….I’m often asked, why do I eat like this all of the time. Why do I carry a cooler to a place where there is food readily available?  What the hell am I doing??? People want to know why I’m doing this. Seriously!! People are concerned that may not be living my life to its fullest. (Okay, I admit, I might also be projecting here.)  No. no, I’m pretty sure I’m not! I have had to overcome that along the way, and I still get stares and sneers, but it’s been a journey that has not let me down. At least not yet anyway.

I really, honestly, truly, sincerely think that exercising and selecting healthy choices is underestimated. Sure you got that run on the treadmill where you’re clinging to the rails for dear life, heaving and pouring sweat..you’re bod’s just crying and you hover down lower and lower until you don’t feel anything, and that’s only because the machine has taken over now, but then you go in your fancy little workout wear and go to get some Mickey D’s. Oh yea. I saw you there. I know it. You went there.  Or maybe it’s not Mickey D’s, it’s those leftovers from that tasty little diner down the street from you. Hell, it could even be from that extremely expensive, four-star restaurant. I don’t care. It’s got sodium, calories, all sort of sneak shit up in there. Trying to say, oh it’s only less than 500 calories…oh please..don’t even get me started with that.

I know people who think, “you only live once” I mean come on, they even coined a catchy abbreviation (yolo anyone?) that’s been tossed into song lyrics, tshirts, and out of the mouths of many. (Oh Yea. I did that. I just threw a little modern day slang in there for ya.) Anyhoo, I often hear people say things like, “I could never eat like that”,  “I could never look like that” or “I could never do what you do” Oh stop it. (Blushing) Seriously though, you’d be so damned surprised at what the body is capable of doing once the mind catches up. And that’s the part that’s all up to you. Sure, you don’t have to have a flat stomach, and you can have some jiggle when you wiggle, but making healthier choices isn’t all about aesthetics. Diet and exercise, is the key to give you strength for the moments when you need to get things done, in a shorter period of time, but can’t pull off an all-nighter. It is the answer that will allow you to continue being able to do what you’re doing at this very moment.

It’s no secret that we have no choice but to age. Sure, as it has been proven, we can pay money to achieve a younger, more youthful appearance, but regardless of how much money you throw into looking younger, it’s not going to assist you in getting in and out of car, walking up a flight of stairs, playing with your kids/grandkids, you know, as you get older? It is funny, because as we get older, the rest of the world doesn’t adapt, it becomes newer, more modern and often sleek, and we are pushed into having to adapt to all of it; as quickly as possible too. We allow our food choices to fall by the wayside; to accommodate a much more leisurely and sedentary lifestyle; one that relies on technology, driving our kids to and from sports all while riding in a car, sitting and watching them play. Face it. We are sold on cheap food and it has to be fast.

However, I am a fan of the microwave. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

So….yes. There is so much more to do; to learn, in such a shorter period of time, but it requires very little energy. We don’t need to exercise because we’re not really moving. Face it. We’re not really doing anything that requires good cardiovascular conditioning, you know, things that get our blood pumping, hearts climbing, and we’re more than likely not lifting anything heavy, well beyond a baby. At least not NOW. And yes, I am extremely proud of your attempt and effort to get a little exercise, even if it was just draping over the machine. You still did it. You still had the thought.

Unfortunately, it’s really not the thought that counts. Not this time.

 So as you’re reflecting and realizing that you can’t stay up like you used to, or you feel some aches and pains, or you can’t hold or play with your kids/grandkids like you used to, can’t seem to open that damn jar of pickles without needing someone else to “loosen it up” for you…it’s time to start exercising. Truth is; we overindulge ourselves with food, good times, work, and there is absolutely NO balance. You eat the high calorie, high sodium, high fat diets, and are only compensated with diseases, illness, that eventually make you unhappy and possibly depressed about your appearance. But, still, you go to work, drive your kids to and from their afterschool activities, sometimes even on the weekends, and then,

Have lunch with an old friend,

Have dinner with an old friend

Go out to eat with someone you just met

Eat to support a good cause

Eat to raise money for a good cause

Buy and eat candy for a good cause

And it goes on and on and on….(okay so I just got a little Avett Brothers tune in my head)

The wheels of the car are still moving, but you are at a standstill.

And you may not even realize it.

All that partying and drinking; the cheap; quick and easy food, the social engagements you have to tend to, is not going to help you in the long haul. Your health isn’t going to keep up with you, if you don’t encourage it to. And if you say that you can’t eat like that, look like that, well then just picture what your going to look like in a nursing home when you can’t walk, or even feed yourself. While we all may live once, you also have the option to choose how your going to age; if you don’t start making better choices, you better at least start choosing which nursing home you’re going to.  Make it a good one too. And sure, even if you make better choices as regards to your health, you probably still won’t be able to pull an all-nighter. But you know what? Sleep is part of the equation as well.  That wasn’t always the best plan of action either.

I agree that you work your ass off, and deserve to have a kick ass time; a little “me” time. Hope you have a pension plan in place for when you retire to pay for that  nursing home.  How much are you spending on medications and doctor visits now? A vacation’s worth? Geez. I’m beginning to sound like a health insurance company or something. Or maybe, you’ll have to pay for some staff members to come to your house when you’re unable accomplish even the simplest task? Your kids aren’t going to mow that lawn for you. Doubtful. I mean, I would, but I’m not your kid. Don’t be mad.

I don’t know about you, but I plan to still be able to soak up the sunscreen on a beautiful blue beach with my husband and cooler packed with plenty of healthy food right next to us, and the only thing I’m going to be fighting are the waves rolling in the ocean, but at least I’ll have the leg and calf muscles to walk through all of that sand.

When you lose strength in the body, you also lose strength in the mind. No joke.

Stream of Consciousness

 

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Isn’t it funny how much people change? And in a matter of time, you can resolve to be this horrible, rotten person, but just be so damn beautiful and valuable and not even realize it? We all have been there. Come on. I know I’m not the only one. You know where you’ve done some things in your past, hell, maybe even yesterday, that you weren’t so proud of. That you’re ashamed of even. Things that you question why you made that decision or took that path, only to figure out that you have no real clue, so maybe you were hopeless all along. Or maybe you want to blame it on someone, make someone else carry the weight of that burden, but to no avail, you don’t feel better about yourself. In fact, you just feel worse. It doesn’t matter how you try to justify it, you still feel like crap about it. Is that guilt? Or is that just a path of self destruction that you had no idea you were on, you know because no one was waving any red flags at you along the way. And just like that, you’ve realized how you just kept making one bad decision after another, until you’ve woven together this long thread of insanity. And now you absolutely can’t stand who you have become. You try to move on, but why are those red flags waving at you now? Where were they before? What the hell? Why are you even here?   

 Which brings me to this:

 I had an interesting conversation today with a good friend of mine. I’ve known her since High school, and as expected, time moves whether you want it to or not. We have our families now, marriage, kids, and we live in different states, so we don’t get to see each other (in fact, the last time I saw her was about four years ago, give or take?) Anyway,   we seldom, if at all, have a chance to talk to one another on the phone. Luckily, for technology we are able to stay connected to each other through pictures, a quick hello via instant message, or a comment here and there on a Facebook post. We do, however, talk on the phone, but as I said, life’s quick pace and our own interests more than often leave limited time to actually sit and chat for any length of time.

 Today, however, I was fortunate to have some time, in fact, we both were. We were able to catch up and get a chance to see how time has changed our life; simply because with each passing day, every years that flies by, we’ve grown up a little bit more whether we wanted to or not. And our mindset now, our conversations, are based on experiences and the limited chances we get to reflect on who we are and what made us that way. Well, the word guilt came up. At first, the we, okay I, tossed the word back and forth, because regardless of knowing each other for about twenty years, we have had different experiences, and I guess that includes, having a different perspective of what exactly ‘guilt’ is; whether or not guilt drives us to do certain things; how, if at all, does it challenge us.

 Do we feel guilty and then act out in an aggressive manner?

 Or do we just ‘hate’ the things that we have done and therefore, hate who we’ve become, which in turn, causes us to react on impulse?

 Is guilt and hate for our past the same?

 If we don’t like who we’ve become, then we think we don’t deserve anything better? Or is it that we know that we deserve better, but don’t deserve going after it? Is that guilt?

 However, she was making sense, and I was making sense, we held different opinions, and remember, I said limited time. We could have gone on all night. She claiming that it was because we do things in our past, which causes us to feel ‘shitty’ about ourselves. It sunk in after the fourth or fifth time she said it, and so I retracted my opinion on the term, ‘guilt’, and decided that her perspective carried a bit of weight to it, and maybe there was something else at work, driving us to wrongfully imprison our souls and make us act out.  But now, I sit here and think about it further. What if it is guilt that drives us to do certain things?  Can’t guilt drive us to do better; be better? It doesn’t always have to lead to negative consequences, right?  Claiming that you don’t like yourself, or that you feel shitty about yourself, can be coined as guilt; can’t it? Or maybe she had a point. Maybe guilt and “hating yourself because of things you may have done” are, in fact, completely different. Or maybe, guilt is the right term, but feelings and pain are so loaded to most; they don’t want to attach an abstract meaning to it.

 Defining someone’s behaviors or feelings for them, can be received pretty poorly. Hell, I can even admit to that. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve said or heard, “I/You don’t understand how I feel”.  But truthfully, it is pretty simple. Stop living in the past.  And as I write that, quotes of how everyone has a past, pop up in my mind. If you feel stuck in a place that you don’t really want to be, ask yourself? Why are you there? What is one thing that I can do, or have done that made me different from that person who I was yesterday? Five minutes ago? Maybe you look at your child and validate your reason for being here. Or you just talked to an old friend, like I did and had a meaningful, thoughtful conversation. Or maybe just happen to catch a quick glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize that you are somebody’s everything. You are someone to somebody; someone who doesn’t know your past; doesn’t even care.  Or how about just stop and listen to your heart beat, and let that be enough to validate your reason for being here.  Why should you let your past hold you back and eat you up inside to make you feel like shit about yourself? I’m not preaching about perfection. I am far from that neck of the woods, I’ve done some things I’m not so proud of myself, and I too, think about that on a daily basis.  I wake up with that shit every single day and feel that twinge of hatred for myself, or I hear someone else’s success story, and get an extra dose of insecurity, feeling of worthlessness, self-hatred, and/or depression. You name it. I’m right there with you. I fight those battles in my damn head every single day, but I keep going; I keep fighting. Challenging myself to reclaim my sanity; to be stronger, clearer, better. I go to the gym, bust my ass, and breathe so heavily that my skin starts to cry and I fog up that ole’  rear view mirror. 

 However way you want to describe it; whether or not you agree with the use of the word, “guilt” (Hell, I’ve even had people get offended when I’ve used the word, “regret”),  but those are all abstract words, they don’t really define your soul; your existence; and they shouldn’t determine which direction you should take, or the choices that you make for a better tomorrow, or a better five minutes. We are made up of many facets, not just our past. If you look back, you’ll see, more often than not, the choices that you’ve made simultaneously have caused a response from you. Stop giving away a part of who you could be right now for the person who nestles down deep inside of you. For that person who once was.

 If you could do all the crazy shit and make it through all of that while still breathing, then you have a reason to be here; stop taking that away from yourself. I tell myself that every single night before I close my eyes.