Thursday, June 21, 2018

June Musings in Triplicate

The Treachery of Images - Rene Magritte (1928-29)
As always, time continues to fly without my apparently noticing, but for once it's not necessarily a bad thing. In just a little over a week, I'll have reached my six-month milestone as far as my decision to improve my health goes. Six months of mindful eating with intermittent fasting. Six months of working out every single weekday without fail. I've lost close to 40 pounds since New Year's Day, so I'm about where I hoped I'd be with my weight loss journey by halfway through the year. I've been building muscle, strength, and stamina. A couple of weeks ago, I also started wearing a latex waist trainer when I work out to help support my abs and encourage my waist to tighten up a little bit -- another little something that's been helping me make steady progress toward my goals.

At this rate, I expect to be very happy with where I'm at by the end of the year. Two years from now, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I'm actually able to look in the mirror without seeing a single thing I don't like about my body composition. That will be absolutely amazing, as I haven't been able to say I like my body in many years. I've never been able to say I'm 100% happy with it, so that's something I'm looking forward to for sure, especially since I'm in my 40's now. I'll take my ego boosts where I can get them.

This is hardly just a vanity thing for me though. Everything that's been going on with my mother over the past year has really changed my attitude toward self-care and fitness. She's taken terrible care of herself pretty much the entire time I've been alive. She's always been as lazy and sedentary as her responsibilities would allow her to be. She's very overweight and has a terrible relationship with food. For a long time, she had just as terrible a relationship with alcohol as well. I honestly always just thought of that as her business until she ran her health into the ground to the point where she couldn't really take care of herself anymore.

I fully realize at this point that her choices didn't just affect her. Her bad choices wound up changing the course of my life as well and not in a good way. I'd be lying if I said I don't feel angry and resentful about that. Those feelings eventually led to my own realization that how I take care of myself actually isn't just my business and no one else's. I realized that if I didn't start caring about my health sooner rather than later, I was eventually going to wind up putting my own loved ones in the same position one day too. I grew up feeling like a burden pretty much just for existing and it's the worst feeling in the world. If working out, drinking less, and eating better can reduce my chances of ever having to feel that way again, then I'm happy to make those changes. 


R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain (June 25, 1956 - June 8, 2018)
In other news, Anthony Bourdain died a couple of weeks ago. He apparently took his own life by hanging himself with the sash from his hotel bathrobe, so... there's that. Like David Bowie and Prince, Tony was one of the few famous people I can truly say was a hero to me, so I was incredibly shocked and saddened by the news of his death.

Despite my own lifelong struggles with depression and suicidal ideation, there is always this extra layer of loss and sadness that comes with hearing someone I admired took their own life. I understand better than anyone why these things happen, but I always have that very selfish feeling of being "left behind" regardless, if that makes any sense. At this point, it still hurts that the world no longer has a Tony in it, but I've also stabilized and started to get used to it.

Like other heroes I've had over the years, I discovered Tony's work at a point in my life when I really needed it. It was the early 2000's. I'd just left my ex-husband, moved from California to Connecticut, and begun my relationship with Seth. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was free to actually be myself and live an honest, transparent life to a degree I never could while I was still with my ex or physically around my family on an everyday basis. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with that life and I eventually chose to focus my energies on my writing (and at one point, also my art).

And just then, along came Tony. He was doing No Reservations on the Travel Channel at the time and it didn't take me long to get hooked on watching him assess all these different locations in that sarcastic, witty way he always had. His voice as a writer and as a television personality seemed very similar to the voice I'd been keeping to myself all those years. I had always thought that voice of mine was "too much" for people to handle. I also felt at the time like I'd wasted the best years of my life on the wrong people, the wrong jobs, and the wrong efforts, so I saw myself as "too old" to make anything much of what I was left with. Tony showed me how wrong I was and I haven't been the same since.

Now he's gone. I never knew him, but I miss him. I miss "traveling" around the world with him to places I'll likely never visit and being introduced to people I doubt I'd even take the time to talk to if I were in the same position. I miss getting excited about seeing new writings, musings, photos, and brilliant ideas from him roll through my social media feeds. However, I remain grateful for the way Tony taught me to see the world, to appreciate food on a completely new level, and to never be anything less than the truest version of myself. I hope that wherever he is now, he knows what a difference he's made for so many that needed to hear exactly what he had to say.


Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
In more positive news, TCM's "Mad About Musicals" course officially started at the beginning of the month and I've been pretty engrossed in that, just as I knew I would be. I've always liked musicals despite not knowing that much about them, so there have been plenty of opportunities for me to learn interesting new things. I've filled in some of the gaps as far as important films I've always wanted to see, but never got around to watching as well.

As a result, my world's been a little brighter and more colorful these past couple of weeks. I haven't really had the time to be active on the TCM forums or on Twitter to the extent I was with the "50 Years of Hitchcock" class last year, but I have made time to watch a ton of the movies covered in the course. In fact, I've actually been watching one most mornings while I work out and complete the rest of my morning routine. Seth and I have been watching quite a few together as well, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays -- "movie nights" with the rest of our class.

As a slight aside, I'm really pretty proud of the time management skills I've developed over the past few years. I always thought I "didn't have time" to work out, or take classes, or really throw myself into learning more about a topic I'm interested in. I've since discovered that it's not so much about making the time as it is learning to make better use of the time you usually just waste without thinking about it. And I've learned that enriching my life and getting the most out of the blessings I do have is something I can do anywhere and under any circumstances. I'm doing my best to remain in that mindset as time continues to march on.