The first reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership is because I don’t use it anymore. I thought joining a gym closer to home would be convenient, but it wasn’t. I became one of those people I used to talk shit about – paying monthly and not showing up. I decided to stop wasting money and put hundreds back in my pocket.
The second reason why I cancelled is because I don’t weightlift as heavy as I used to. This was the purpose of my gym membership; to play with all the hammer strength machines, barbells and dumbbells until I abused and depleted myself. Now, I can’t step into the gym without lifting heavy. I can no longer control myself, so I don’t go.
I have developed too many muscle imbalances and there are parts of my body that are asymmetrical (according to me). Aside from my muscles who enjoy living their life in a state of contraction, they’re holding onto emotional and physical trauma. The tension I carry must be release from within.
Every time I lift weights, my nags escalate until it’s full-blown inflammation. It affects me in such a way where my body keeps instructing me to listen. Over the years, I have decreased the load, given cardio strength a try and included circuit training with lighter dumbbells/barbells only to go for heavier weights eventually. Therefore, continuing the hurt.
And, my body goals and nature has changed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been heeding the advice of my body.
And I’ve been listening in time to lead me to the third reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership. For the past few months, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction. This dysfunction coupled with my fibroid issue and stress incontinence has pretty much ruined a good part of my life that I’ll leave for another entry probably. Because of these newly found issues, it behooves me to learn how to be gentle with myself in every regard possible.
It’s quite interesting, over the course of the last few years, the theme of my life seems to be about being gentler to myself. My therapist has also helped me to solidify the idea of furthering my compassion for myself. I must be gentle in how I speak to myself, in how I respond to myself, in how I regulate my emotions, in how I treat myself, in how I exercise.
It all points to being gentler and I’m actually refreshed because of it.
You were the one who first broke my heart.
It was because of you I learned to make pain an art.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I never knew I needed love until I ached,
Until I was shaped by every escape.
In kindergarten, I dropped many tears
On the pages of my homework and always
Handed it in without a world of care.
I never knew I needed to be loved until I saw
everyone else’s parents loved them back, in awe.
In awe, I was. In awe I was because I saw.
I carried around anger like my lifeline.
And I never held it against the divine.
And I never questioned if I was good enough.
I was, despite the hefty handcuffs.
I vowed to not be like you in so many ways.
I’ve set blaze to many things under your name.
And I still don’t have a heart the way I ought to.
And I sit facing entrances, never giving my back to a view.
And many of my feelings are dead and sometimes ill-advised.
And it doesn’t matter how I tread, I can’t disguise the chill in my eyes.
And the anger I kept has evaporated nearly now that you’re gone.
Permanence is never permanent, and somehow I found a way to live on.
Your body in the coffin was as real as when I imagined it at twelve.
That was the last time I cried and put my feelings on the bookshelf.
The numbness I contained up until that day released at your wake.
I didn’t understand with every preparation came a new defense,
It’s almost as if everything in life made sense, and yet not at all.
I had someone tell me once, “Fitness isn’t all there is to the world.” And, although, I knew that, I didn’t comprehend what that looked like or how does one practice that kind of lifestyle, until life told me to take a seat with a cast on. It was during this time I learned fitness wasn’t everything in life. Fitness no longer always became the focus for which I identified with. That changed my perspective on everything else, and it also made room for everything else I had to deal with.
I believe fitness has helped me to manage my bipolar for over a decade. The first time I was diagnosed I didn’t want to believe it. I think it’s not uncommon to say that before I was diagnosed, life was better. But, that isn’t necessarily true. I want it to be. However, I understand that the notion of my life being better in the past is most likely stemming from not having the diagnosis in the first place since I can’t unknow what I know. Nevertheless, the moment when fitness became unavailable for me, it was easier to see how difficult it became to stabilize my mood swings and irritability in general.
I used fitness as a crutch for many things like anger, depression and the void. There were times I genuinely enjoyed gym-hopping because I naturally thought it was healthier than barhopping. But, those hourly long sessions five or six times a week at the gym were where I chose to avoid certain life reflections. So, rather than cut myself with a blade or fracture my hand on a solid wall, I would train to injury repeatedly. I was using a different method to continue to hurt myself.
When I couldn’t train for a period, I had to learn to sit with my passions. I had to observe my pain and find times for when I could adjust in healthier ways. I had to find new ways to regulate my recurring moods, triggers and symptoms. This was one of the most difficult things I had to do, despite allowing myself to feel what I feel when they arise. It took a long time for me to realize that not every feeling will remain and not every thought was something I had to believe in. I also didn’t realize in the way I trained my mind and body reflected my pain, avoidance, passion, anger, sadness and loneliness.
I’ve been a queen of silent pain, abuse and trauma. I’ve been cold and brutal many times, not only to myself, but to others as well. Once I started to transition from a masculine approach to more of a feminine one, I learned how to become softer and not have a meltdown. With changing my mindset, from being open to change and flow while being less critical, clarity came along with ease and it reflected in my training styles as a form of better awareness, in and out my fitness, and life itself.
I let my nails grow.
I paint them with the pixie dust that fall from the fairies in my backyard.
I want to speak, but I learned a few things.
If I’m silent like a mouse, my hearing becomes sharper
And I’ll learn better than the mouth who hunts
all at once.
I let my grays grow.
I allow them their passage within my black strands like ornamental streamers
For they retell the wisdom that teaches how darkness beds with the light.
Do you like absence?
It’s where we find ourselves, stark and naked
built like the sacred nature of trees.
The world is beautiful,
but they didn’t tell you this because they wanted to ruin it for you too.
The black magic of which we fight against.
A mashed-up world of thoughts and identities hide in the crisis
Of the bloodstream from all the things you were told, you believed you were not.
How can I tell you the world is beautiful?
We learn to appreciate it late. The wind, water, the rocks,
And the soil are boundless in a way where we can’t measure on earth
’til we leave this place. But, until then, let’s love the world today.
The blood stops short trapped before a hair tie, until I release the bun of tension: post exercise of body-induced drama. This is the captivating magic of night.
The mind works itself into heavy persuasion. The body labors with intense urging. The heart never questions what the goals are or what state of peak condition or overwhelmed fatness I stand in. A sober thought I do entertain is how someone can not understand the significance of body awareness and its dynamism.
I have a passionate addiction to adrenaline and to the exclusive kick of the way my muscles drum within its act of compulsion. The heart skips, skips and skips uninhibited. It beats obsessively and storms out my mouth like an aggressive bird. It ignites the fight and frenzy over the psyche and tissue land of freedom.
I’ve failed many times and am more successful because of every stoppage. And now every weakness is formed into substantial strength and what strength has already been established has now constructed itself into marble and stone.
The focus is better determined than years previous. The focus is better established than the last set and the mind-muscle connection tastes stronger than the last seething rep. I’ve been sucked into a craving that’s unaware of its bounds. I throw my fists into the air to battle and enter new coordination and balance ground.
My chest hovers over the floor, shoulders and triceps contract, hum and weep pushing up 200lbs plus over and over again. The brace of my abdominals is my body’s endless support and savior. Now there’s a surge spreading like a wild forest fire burning each of my hamstring fibers and into every angle and groove of my glutes with a various amount of hip thrust and single-leg pelvic bridges I can muster under time and tension. The inner thigh screams by its own distress signals and fleshly vulnerability. The burn degrees increase and I pull my center deeply to the spine to further the accuracy of the focal point along with the present.
I grimace in pain and drill my teeth into my own mouth. I start to elevate and disappear like smoke. I’m high now and there’s an exit. I’m high and there are no thoughts struggling its way to birth other thoughts. I’m high and suddenly there are no problems in the world. There is no suffering. There is only bliss and light. There is only presence and heaven. There is only the state of pure being.
I don’t want to teach. I don’t want a leech. I don’t want you hanging over my head like a gorgeous chandelier. I don’t want you knowing anything about my severe bipolar gears. I don’t want your arm wrapped around mine. I don’t pine when impermanence is exorbitant and stands like an almighty saint on my shrine.
I don’t want every moment to be bursting of sunrays. I don’t want to use you for every essay. I don’t want your breath around me twenty-four hours a day. I don’t want any part of your happiness or your pity party or blame. I don’t want to share our pains and heavy existential hurricanes. I don’t want to be the “ex” to your exclaim.
I’m not into pacts by blood or marriages and certificates. I’m not into the mothering and the smothering of willingness. I’m not into decreasing my space into a tiny box to suit anyone or anything because I am ubiquitous. I’m not into cuddles that make a person feel connected to humanity. I’m not into systems manufacturing normality. I’m not into turning a blind eye to lesser insanities.
I’m not into him and hers and the chest of drawers. I’m not into sacrificing my time and energy for you and yours. I’m not into folklore when trying to coexist has been known to set across great wars. I’m not into careless tongues that mouth everything undone. I’m not into romantic love and the drug it promises only once you dare to plunge. I’m not into the togetherness of us, but the individuality of one.
God. I apologize to everyone. I haven’t been inspired lately. I write on the side when I can (and I suppose I can put up all my Part 2 postings that were to be continued despite how awful they read?), but it’s hard to feel like I can write something blog-worthy and share it with the rest of you guys. I can only write from the heart or what I’m personally experiencing at the moment so I’ll share some recent events with you’s. How’s that? Thanks for reading!
I’ve been on an interesting ride these last few years when it comes to seeing therapists and psychiatrists. At the age of twelve I was diagnosed with Depression. I had old features, black circles under eyes, razor cuts on my arms and protruding ribs from starving myself at the time to show for it. However, decades later it seemed I’ve graduated a few years ago (2013) because now new psychiatrists and therapists have diagnosed me: Bipolar. This explains all the wicked instant mood swings, triggers that were really landmines and how come many of my relationships as well as friendships have failed.
Of course I debated with these so-called experts about nature and nurture because I’m suspicious of everything and everyone that isn’t me. I debated about all the things that come from my family’s blood and all the things that come from social disease and conditioning. Still, in the center I fought with myself and knew the truth: There were cracks in the instances and in between all these instances is where I was getting worse.
I’d go into subterranean dark places for leisure, fun and to isolate myself from the world. I’d write in essays, poems and prose my suicidal ideations which continued from childhood. I’d meet with a new friend called anxiety again and again and again questioning the past, present and future concerning everything that became (or was) broken. Was I going to make it another day in this physical realm? My other good friend (since I was 5) came knocking hard on my door and I’d go through all my cycles of chronic loneliness, hopelessness and meaninglessness and stare at the bottomless grief that arrives to taint and place a million holes in my mind, spirit and heart.
Those cracks in the instances became clear as well as my past history when I was going through one of my most tragic experiences at the age of 12 – signed over to two mental hospitals for over six months – I was fed medication for the supposed imbalances in my brain. First was Prozac, and then came Lithium. And of course, I didn’t agree with medication being fed to anyone less than 18 years of age, but my mother didn’t share the same views as her 12 year old. I had zero control as any kid does at that age and was subjected to doctor’s tests, special diets, wondering what was love and how did it look like and was it true I wasn’t normal and these two medications would be the cure everybody else was looking for?
Prozac made me hyper – so hyper that cartwheels became my favorite thing to perform. I couldn’t stop! However throughout the day I’d have hallucinations (of what? I don’t remember anymore – but I’m sure I wrote about it in a lost book for the universe to know) and during the night when I closed my eyes to go to sleep I’d have white flashes come over my eyes like strobe lights. And when I finally fell into deep sleep, the nightmares were horrible – once I dreamt of giving birth to a demonic alien baby. (Why would a 12 year old dream of having a baby?)
After the hyperactivity, doctors thought to give me Lithium because my grandmother took it and they had reason to believe it succeeded. (I’m not sure how?) But something tells me this was all a plot for me to lie on their silver platter to undergo a Spinal Tap procedure. Lithium had its own issues and the dosage was higher – I had to take it 3 times a day. With this medication came weekly blood work because mercury and other dangerous things a doctor wouldn’t inform you about were concerns. Then there were countless yeast infections my tiny body couldn’t handle. Lastly, long-term usage meant my kidney and thyroid would be altered, better yet, damaged to a degree in the future.
So every time a current psychiatrist or therapist would bring up the idea of medication to balance the chemicals in my brain – it’s not a wonder why I would say FUCK NO for years on end! But a few months ago before bringing on the New Year, I made one of the biggest decisions of my adult life and figured I’ll try medication to stabilize my moods and prevent sudden manic highs and lowly lows. The reason why I decided to try it is because I’m committed to fixing all aspects of myself.
Then again, who’s to say I need fixing if it’s not someone outside me like a relative, a partner or a societal authoritative figure who keeps claiming there’s something about me I need to fix?
This title will be deceiving to some as there are types of professions that’ll give you the girlfriend experience automatically for their own reasons, but I picked this title because it describes my experience perfectly. See, when your own therapist is trying to give you the girlfriend experience and it doesn’t involve great conversation, an evening gown, a sugar daddy or walking away with an orgasm – you have to question what is going on because some people like myself actually want real therapy.
I’m not looking to sit in somebody’s office and talk about what’s happening throughout my week on a weekly basis. I don’t want to gossip about my life so the therapist could live vicariously through me. I don’t want a girlfriend to laugh with that’s presented as a therapist to have offset conversations about my future with. I don’t want to sit under jarring lights and speak about my opinions or views about my relationship and how does it feel to live with my partner and his two kids.
I don’t want to wait outside the therapist office only to hear loud laughs coming from behind closed doors because I want to KNOW and I want to SEE and I want to HEAR real therapy happen. You know – the kind of therapy that leaves you crying, reflecting and even feeling lost in your own world by the thought-provoking questions and thoughts that should occur.
The truth is I don’t need to share my present or future plans with this therapist. I don’t need the option to have a family therapy session. I don’t need to replace a girl who is a friend because I don’t have any current (real life) girls who are friends anyway. I don’t need my therapy session to be fun or lighthearted. I don’t want to be in a niche I believe my therapist has – some kind of Women’s Club.
So the question is: What do I want from therapy?
I want to stay stuck. I want to stumble. I want my thoughts to dig in their own graves if it means I’ll find a better understanding of myself. I want to cry (if it goes there). I want the therapist to do their job. I want a therapist to put in time and effort by taking real opportunities to intentionally ruin my day with childhood trauma and life-altering questions. I want a therapist who wants to make a difference in every client’s life. I want to walk away from the therapist appointment feeling like I had a great therapy session and not like I had a fucking girlfriend experience. I’m not there to be coddled. I’m there for serious matters.
What I want from therapy is very specific and it has to be because there isn’t any other way to go about it. I have a family history of mental illness. Some behavior is learned, while others are given to me directly by blood. I notice sometimes I’m managing okay, and other times I have to accept that I’m not. I was diagnosed as a twelve year old kid with Depression. Now it seems I graduated to being Bipolar. It is important for me to understand my illness, my blessing and my curse. And it’s super important for me to understand my behaviors and tics and why I switch into two different types of people without any awareness as to when it’s happening.
The point to all this is: I remember clearly telling the lady who performed my evaluation exactly what I want(ed) as well as the first time I met and spoke with my therapist.
My therapist has a good nature about her (at times) despite being very different from me and my own life. Still, I want a good therapist. And I will get a good therapist because I’m not settling for less and because I’m not going to stop searching for one. And as I walk away from the therapist office once again thoughts start to balloon collectively but singularly at once: Why is it every time I’m early to my appointment and lounging in the waiting room I see the same aged clients (late 20’s- early 50’s) strolling out of my therapist’s office? Why are all these women – whether they’re young or old laughing every time they leave the therapist office? And why are all the therapists’ clients’ women?
Now the time has come where I believe I’ve fully given this woman enough of my time. I’m never getting those months back. Of course this is a learning experience for future therapists and future standards I’m going to set right in the beginning of my first therapy session which takes place next week because this bitch doesn’t play. I did my goal: I stuck with a therapist for about 6 months because I’m like most men in the world – I have commitment issues. Nevertheless I learned a lot. Therefore this is where I break up with the girlfriend experience who is my therapist.
Some Final Notes
Some people have a problem with breaking up with people. Fortunately and luckily, I do not. I enjoy it, and frankly – welcome it! I think about how my life has been about one big confrontation. And luckily for me I love confrontations because it says a lot about the kind of person you are (or not). I go on and think about the bases I have to cover in case this therapist decides to fire away questions because she doesn’t like my basic answer which is: There’s something missing in our therapy sessions.
Along with confrontation I think about liberation. Breaking up with a partner, wife, husband, business partner and such can be a fantastic release, even if it hurts initially. I think about the freedom to speaking your mind and expressing what it is you really feel and think about right after moving on and never looking back because if it was good for you, you’ll still be in the relationship or in my case – sitting in a seat across from my therapist who wants to get paid to do half ass work. I’m not wasting my time to get half ass results. If a person isn’t driven for success by giving out quality work then why should I (or any other client) be around?
If the other clients don’t understand this, that’s not my problem, and as is, not every client wants what I want. Some actually want to be coddled. However, I’m leaving this therapist because I have self-love. I wish she understood what it is she’s currently providing by not providing. As a therapist, she should put in time and effort into improving and evolving her client’s lives unless they specified to have a girlfriend experience.