Monologues

If our inner monologues are saying things that we wouldn’t say to anyone else out loud, what purpose does that serve?

If our inner monologues are reinforcing values and beliefs that aren’t true anymore, why do we still believe them?

If our inner monologues are telling us things that are distorting our view of the world, why do we continue to let them speak?

If circumstances and experiences have changed, then it’s time to change our inner narrative.

Different

Things have been markedly different the last few weeks.  Besides the weather being all over the place, there’s been a significant amount of tumult.  Winter injuries, relationship changes, seasonal depression, social and political news taking their toll – you name it, it’s happened.

The weather finally broke a bit this last week.  A near-tolerable weekend day at about 50 degrees gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve never done before: an oil change on a vehicle I own.  I’d always thought about doing it and dreamed about it, but had never gotten the gumption up to do it.  Got a bunch of tools, got a friend’s help, and got to work.  Never thought it’d be that easy.  No reason to go to a shop for something so simple anymore.  Grabbed a digital rotor measurement caliper, too.  Just need to find the appropriately-sized floor jack and stands and I can start doing my own brakes and rotors too.  Amazing what you can do with a little bit of information off the internet and some warmer temperatures.

Still not ready to talk about the project publicly.  Got a long way to go before it’s ready for prime-time, but I think the wait will be worth it.  Stay tuned.

Injuries this year were an absolute nightmare.  Tweaked both knees at least twice while snowboarding, and I’m fairly sure I’ve damaged the meniscus as well.  Need to get an ultrasound and a physical soon anyway, so I suppose that’s not that big of a deal.  I’ve definitely had to slow down on my training plans though.

Speaking of that specific point, I’ve had to grow into a different mindset as of late.  Since I don’t have anybody to climb indoor sport with where I live, I’ve circled back around to bouldering.  It’s kind of nice to be able to come into the local gym and climb at my own pace again and really work on sequencing, strength, and form.  I’ve missed a lot of it.  But the largest problem has been the fact that I’ve been unable to ramp right back up to the level I was at before I left for Portland, OR earlier this year.  I was climbing indoors at around 5.11+/V5+, and having been out of the gym for almost two-and-a-half months, I’m only really back at a V2/V3 level.  It could also be the change in gyms and the huge change in setting, but I’m definitely not able to climb what I was before.

I’ve had to begin growing into a kind of mindset of realism and acceptance.  I’ve had to accept that I’m not as strong as I was, I’m just as strong as I am right this second.  I’ve had to accept the reality that I only have conscious control of a very small number of things.  I can’t control when a hold is terrible, when a foot is greasy, or when my skin decides to rip–I can only control my reactions to them (and maybe brush the holds off a bit).  I have had to accept that I have injuries, and it’s perfectly fine that I can’t squat what I used to squat, climb what I used to climb, or lift what I used to lift.  I can only put in the effort, and I just have to be happy and okay with that.  All of this has been hard for me to merely be okay with, much less accept.  But, it’s getting better by degrees.

I’ve also largely been taking time away from social media.  I’ve gotten tired of the click-bait shenanigans and partisan shouting matches on both sides.  I’m tired of constantly being deluged with negativity and people screaming at each other.  I’ve gotten to the point to where if I don’t know somebody personally, I’m much less likely to invest emotionally in their story or to try and understand their point of view.  That might sound like I’m closing myself off, but I have to be able to have the energy to be able to give a damn about myself and my situation ahead of anyone else’s.  Especially when I’m still fighting PTSD and depression symptoms every day.

Been tempted to shut it all off.  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, all of it.  Just close it all down and just focus on the relationships and friendships right in front of me.  I figure most of the people that aren’t reaching out to me directly via email, text message, or responding to this blog directly really aren’t interested anyway… so what’s the point of letting someone else make money off of my data and wasting my time clicking “Like”?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  Maybe I’ll do it.  Who knows.

Manhood

I’ve never thought of myself as a “man”.  Not in the sense of gender, but in the sense of title or age.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that up until recently I had always thought of myself as a “boy” or a “guy”–never a man.  To me, that was a title, something that was bestowed or achieved in some great accomplishment or recognition amongst peers.  Marriage, career, property, hobbies, pursuits… something in that cadre of the unobtainable (for me at least).

Or so I thought.

It dawned on me that I didn’t have any recognition or rituals to mark the passing or transformation of the “boy” into the “man” that other people seem to see me as these days.  Much like how some Buddhists seem to believe that enlightenment ebbs-and-flows, I’d had fleeting glimpses of it.  Just enough to give me some kind of idea as to how things could be different.

Just as soon as I’d seen it and recognized it for what it was, it would always fade.

Back into some sort of drama.  Some kind of waking-nightmare.  Something I’d gotten myself entangled with or been sucked into.  I admittedly wallowed in the bleakness of it all, feeling miserable for myself and spreading it to everyone else.

I realize now that though there were no celebrations or rituals to mark that transition, I think I found my own.  No rituals involved, no libations, none of that stuff; just the simple recognition that others see me as a more complete and responsible person now.  That in working so hard to be responsible and take responsibility–that in itself marked the change.

No transits of celestial bodies, no ritual sacrifices, no wild hunts or orgiastic, Dionysian calamities (though, that might have been fun a decade ago)… just a simple set of practices that became not just rote, but embedded in who I am.

I had to find that on my own.  I had to figure out how to fix a car, how to pay bills on time, how to make sense of the world, what my values were, and the kind of person I wanted to be.  I didn’t have a father figure to look to–mine was too busy working his ass off trying to put food on the table and distract himself.

I had to figure all of this out on my own, from my own volition and perseverence.

If that’s not proof of hard work, strife, and growth… then I don’t know what is.