What I gave up

Like I wrote in my last post...to lose weight, you reason must be stronger than why you want to keep it..
It's a serious decision that our society lauds, yet undermines continuously.
When I decided to lose weight, I had to give up the notion that what I weighed was harmless..and that it hurt only me.
Looking back on the years I spent tired, in pain, ashamed of how I looked, frustrated and defeated.
You can't live like that and not have it affect everyone and everything around you.

I could honestly cry.
If I believed in doing that.
Which I don't.
The only thing worse than the time I wasted in that particular state..
Would be to spend more time wishing it hadn't happened.
I gave up floating along.
Letting life happen, but not fully participating.

I gave up the comfort of food.
Now I have to feel emotions, past and present...
And learn how to feel, deal and express them.

I gave up the comfort of magical thinking.
I think every fat.person has truly believed at one point or another that someday, they were  going to find the magic pill or the right food combination..they would wake up one day and love exercise...and all that weight would melt away.
It's never going to happen like that..
Weight loss, like everything, is a day in and day out commitment to living a disciplined existence where serious work and effort is rewarded.
I learned that respect is earned..
And it starts with treating yourself with respect...
Self esteem is a natural outgrowth of effort and achievement.
To feel better I had to take steps and do better.
And finally..I gave up the victim card.
I accepted that every aspect of my life from the time I reached adulthood to now was a product of my choices, decisions and efforts...or lack thereof.
It's a truly humbling moment.
But until you reach the point where you accept responsibility for your life...you allow the locus of control to remain outside of you. And you will never change anything if you do not accept that you, and only you, have the power to change your life.
The great thing about realising this, is that for every harmful decision made...for every undrawn boundary, every  time you settled or quit...you can, in the next moment, decide something different.
As surely as you can pick up your finger and touch your nose.
You can open your mouth and say no.
Close your mouth at 8 pm to food.
Use your legs to walk away from a toxic relationship.
It's your decision.
I gave up the fantasy that life was happening to me.
And realised I could float, abdicate and die living half a life.
Or I could swim, rule and live, then die knowing I lived every minute.

It was worth it..it's still worth it..and that decision applies to every thing you do.

Chris out.


The essence of achieving lasting change

The essence of change is knowing yourself where you are, envisioning who you want to become..and then charting a course between these two points.

Weight loss gurus tell you it looks like this..

.--------------"eat less"-----------------------"move more"---------------"goal weight".

Problem solved.


I've said before that morbid obesity is usually a symptom of a larger problem.
It can be a shield.
An excuse.
A reason.
A validation.

Your reason to lose the weight has to be bigger than your reason to keep it.
The problem is...
You may not know what the reason for your misuse of food IS, until you begin to lose the weight.
Or how BIG the reason is...
So your wanting to lose the weight has got to be bigger than wanting to look good in a pair of jeans..
For many morbidly obese people..
It isn't even something they can imagine...
Your reason for weight loss is ultimately going to be life altering.
And no one prepares you..
No one.
It is exhilarating.
And frightening..
For me..I couldn't see past two hundred pounds..
I got down to 148 and stalled because I didn't have a reason to continue.i also had overwhelming fear...
My real reason I was fat.
I was afraid of attention from men..
Not a little afraid..
Phobic afraid.
Then life intervened.
I got a job blah blah blah...
Now I have my reason to lose the rest of the weight..and it involved nothing less than finding my life's purpose.
Like a graphic I once saw...your weight loss journey..if it's real change, will not happen in a six month burst of juicing glory..
Or cabbage soup.
Or pills...
It is a long, hard road of learning to use food in its proper context. Learning to cope with emotions...deal with trauma...find your joy and embrace the change.
And that's just the weight loss...
I write this not to discourage anyone..but to encourage someone.
Someone, somewhere...thinks because they've had a setback..it's over.
It's not over...you have learned something essential.
Now move forward.
The essence of change is a continuous process of learning, applying and growing.  
But you have to begin.
So begin.


Mental might

It's all mental.
All of it.
All of life.
From the moment you are born til the day you draw your last.
There is one thing that will propel you, or bury you.
Your mind.
If you can't control your mind, you will never be able to control your life.
My mind was shaped and framed from an early age with two diametrically opposed points of view.
My first shaper was Duane.
My stepfather.
A man shaped by his abusive upbringing.
He lacked the fortitude, the wherewithal, or perhaps the innate ability to change.
His inner rage projected itself through total control of our every movement.
A demand that we not speak or laugh.
To how we chewed our food.
To what we were allowed to touch.
He used derogatory nicknames like "stupid"
When he was drunk.
He would terrorise us for hours with a belt.
Snapping it in front our faces to frighten us.
He would whip us by turns.
For hours.

My other shapers were positive.
My mother, until the abuse started, would read to me...books.
The bible.
She taught me to read at the age of four.
She worked hard.
And she fought back.
There is plenty she could have done in the midst of the abuse.
But I have come to terms with my abuser, and my moms role in it.
Part of the healing and recovery I have engaged in over the last five years.

Up to the age of six it was solely my mother.
After the age of six it was church.
Which I volunteered for.
One day, I simply asked.
And I went.
There I learned how real fathers were supposed to act.
And what real love should look like.
Who God thought I was...planned and precious.
I didn't know it at the time.
But these positive experiences would become valuable weapons in my fight to become whole.
You may not know it, but you have weapons too.
Somewhere, someone loved you.
Someone supported you.
Even in passing.
They spoke a truth you held on to...
Even amidst the constant barrage of pain and criticism.
Even in your darkest moments.
When you are waging a war in your own mind.
Deep down, you know which voice you want to prevail.
Now to let that person win.
It begins and ends in the mind.

The first step is this. 
 Are you where you want to be.
Are you who you want to be.
If that answer is no...
And you feel as if you have been rowing forever, and getting no where?
You are worn out, as if you've been fighting..but in reality, you haven't moved?
Nothing has changed?
For years? 
Then you have two voices in your head...
And your mental struggle is sapping your energy and your will to improve.
It's time to identify your inner dialogue.
If you have to...write it down.
When is the best time to hear your negative dialogue?
When you are in the midst of struggling to overcome something that has been your hangup for years. 
If it's weight...go to the gym to work out, and then stop and listen to your inner dialogue.  
If you enjoyed a dinner but then feel horrible..listen..write it down.
If you want to hear the part of you that is positive...do something you've a natural talent for, that makes you happy.  Write down that inner voice.
This is the very, very beginning of self awareness.  
To Know what your thinking.
It may seem simple, obvious even.
But when I began to listen to my inner voice. 
I was shocked at the things I told myself.
The shame and derision I buried myself under...for years.
No wonder I was stuck and tired.
So...the first step...
Chris out.


Epiphany!!! I figured out my life's purpose.

For over a year now, I have been bouncing around...trying to figure out what in the hell I want to do.
I wanted to help young girls develope self esteem...that's the beginning of everything.
Then I met many young men who were not given the tools THEY needed to excel.
And I thought...what about them?
Then I thought, you can't help everyone.
 Can you?
Then I thought about the way of the warrior...
How much I believe in life in every breath and living every moment...
And how so many people had simply given up.
Or settled for less...

So, today, as I was marking down items at the store...
And I was talking aloud to myself...
Trying to figure out what it was that I wanted..
I said aloud..
"It is not my job to inquire about your battle..
It is to equip you for the fight."

Out loud.
I didn't even know where it came from....until I thought of the idea of the whole armour of God.
Then I thought of bushidos seven guiding principles.
That is it in a nutshell...
I want to teach people how to fight and win their individual battles!
It doesn't matter what it is!
Because many times..the war we THINK we are fighting is not really the war we are fighting.
It's a battle within the war.
What is important is having the keys to the will to fight.
I have been doing it all my life.
Weight loss was just one fight inside this gigantic struggle.
A small piece of a much larger pie.
But the great thing is...it's all the same fight..
The same steps.
The same mentality!
Now...where do I teach that? 
In self defense class...on a new blog? 
Volunteering with tessa? 
I don't know.
But at least I know what I want to do now.
Chris out.


Sometimes the best thing you can do..

Is tell someone to BLOW IT OUT THEIR ASS!

Just did it, felt great.

so ends this public service announcement.


My Achilles heel

Is my open and honest nature.

This might seem to be something I would have learned earlier in life, right?

Well.. No.
I got married at 19 and raised a family.
We moved a lot and I was never social for many reasons.
Many times, our strengths can be weakness in the hands of the wrong person.
Just like we don't share our truth with people who don't appreciate it...

I need to learn that people will take advantage of my work ethic and need to excel, if they are a dishonest or manipulative person.

Now that I know how to express my feelings...which is 'good'.   I want to move on to the next hurdle...controlling my emotions in certain situations...particularly with people who would use it to manipulate me.
At work in particular.
I have a boss who wants to make money...loads...because she wants a divorce.
So the level at which I had been keeping the store is no longer good enough...she says things meant to push my buttons...
And I didn't pick up on it...I honestly thought I was doing , or must be doing something differently or wrong..though nothing had changed.
She said 'well, just write the cashiers lists of things...too many things...they will stress and work harder."
That's what she had been doing to me.
Because she knew I placed a high priority in being seen as hard working.
I had given a dishonest person ammunition.
In life, you know who you can trust.
Yep. That person...the one person you could tell anything to. Where you buried the body, your most embarrassing moment etc....and it won't be used against you...it will never be mentioned again.
That is the person you can be completely open and honest with.
Or here with you all...we have nothing to gain or lose here...just increased knowledge, and the feeling of not being alone...but with work acquaintances..associates...no.
Now to regain mystery. It will be quite the slog.
But the first genie is already back in the bottle.
Now I know.
Knowledge is the first step.
If there is someone you have given your innermost motivations away to...and they are living at a basic level...this is your opportunity to withdraw and regain leverage.
Those types believe what they see...never give them undo advantage.
Be firm, polite, friendly...but give no personal information...and when they push your buttons, file it under manipulation and focus on winning the encounter.
One day at a time will win it.
Chris out.


The way of the warrior

*quick edit...I don't advocate women staying in physically violent relationships! FLEE..and do it now.  My fight analogy was more an allegory for life..was not clear and I apologise. By fighting, I mean fight for a life free from abuse..And that only happens when you value your personal and physical boundaries and are capable of backing them up. Mentally, physically and spiritually...and for many women financially. Any woman planning to leave needs to have a safe plan. 

They say there are two general reactions to stress.
Fight or flight.
When I was little, and I was picked on...it wasn't in me to run away.
When told I couldn't do something, it made me want to try harder...
And when faced with an aggressive person...I go into full fight mode.
I get that from my mother.
When I asked her what she thought the first time Duane hit her..she said, in my mind I thought "oh, it's on!" Lol.
I never witnessed an episode of abuse where my mom didn't fight back...her mistake was thinking she was going to save him.
So...what I am saying..is that I come by my instinctive fight naturally.
As my mom always said...they may be bigger..they may win...but when we are through they are going to wish they never messed with me.

I have seen many young ladies..and men who's first instinct is flight...and while flight from physical danger can save your bacon...mental or spiritual flight can trap you...
And I have pondered this problem.
How to give someone a fighting spirit...
You can't.
They have to want it.
All you can do is show them how.
The most powerful moment I have had in martial arts was watching a finger lock take a grown man to the ground. The knowledge that it wasn't sheer force, or size that mattered. But ability and knowledge...
That gave me such a feeling of power and freedom from the illusion of fear, that I was never the same again.http://youtu.be/dSces0ikInY
That is a link to the style of defense I will be teaching...that is the finger lock I was shown. 
I think people flee when they have no hope of winning...and stand and fight when they feel strong.  
But sometimes life has beaten you so far down that fighting seems like too much energy...

Sometimes it takes mini victories...setting boundaries, losing a pound, saying no...to begin to get your fight back.  I have been reading two books...my fight/your fight by Ronda rousey. And modern bushido by a dude named bohdi sanders.
I have a few months left before the traing center is up and running and a year or two before I can conceive of training anyone else...now is the time to  research my teaching style, my philosophy, my approach and really study the different resources here in town so that I am locked in on all fronts with what I am trying to accomplish...I'll be writing here a lot more...there is no fruit without relationship...and one person fighting alone will never equal the combined strength of many committed people pulling together. 
Chris out

The past is a rip tide

Hello all...this is the third leg of my journey..
What does that mean...
When I first began this journey...I didn't know it was a journey...
I was just a bebopping along one day, looked up and noticed I was fat...and wanted to get unfat.
So I began.
And from that moment til a few months ago...I thought that getting past my past was the whole deal. The big enchilada....if I could just 'cure' myself and be normal...I would be fine.
I thought the cure was losing weight.
And I did...I knew I was miles out to sea.
I knew I had a long hard swim.
But through grit and determination...I would succeed.
And I did succeed.
And in doing so...dug up a great many painful things that I had to work through.
Yeah me...
But as I got healthier, I realised I had built my entire life on the lie that I was inferior and needed to be fixed, and as a matter of course, had invited attitudes and relationships into my life during a time when I had no real concept of me...
That's a big one...redefining all my relationships...upsetting multiple Apple carts...finding out what I will and won't put up with, what I'm willing to give or give up...seeing if the people who matter most will stick it out. Because I refused to go back....holy shit, right.

I went from a chronically depressed 270 pound house wife to a 145 pound housewife who became a gym rat...who then went to work...because the whole upheaval caused a major marital upset....strained friendships...
I regained 30 pounds in the last three years...because I wasn't working out...on the plus side, I never slipped back into binge eating ....just too many drive throughs because I had no idea how to manage all the things on my plate....from homeschooler to cashier to manager in 9 months.
From wholly dependent to independent...from being afraid to lose my marriage to willing to let it go if it wasn't save able.
And in the process, finding my true voice.
I don't binge anymore.
I don't get the urge.
That is huge for me.
Here is the thing...
This has been a 6 year journey.
In the beginning, I could not conceive this me.
Just the idea of speaking in front of eight year olds, or talking to strange men...would put me in fear...
My past was a rip tide...before I faced every aspect of my life and the mountain of misinformation and lies my entire existence was built on?
I could swim as hard as I wished for the shore...
But I kept being swept further and further out to sea...
In a riptide...you have to swim parallel to get to shore....
Sometimes for quite a ways.
That's how it's been for me...
I would think NOW I CAN SWIM TO SHORE!
But the past was still waiting.
My final hurdle was my unforgiveness...
Keeping me in the rip tide...
I didn't know how to let go because it seemed like he was getting off easy...
Much like jack and rose in titanic...I had a dead corpse lounging around my small bit of ship.
I finally realised that it didn't matter how he "got off"...just so long as he did...cause he was dragging me down.
And then two days ago, I realised that I had a more heightened awareness than a lot of people around me...some people label this a bad thing...'hyperawareness'
I have finally realised that everything is only as bad or good as we give it weight to be...and every experience is a gift or a curse.
You choose.
I choose gift...
I choose to break free from the riptide.
From the dead weight of the past.
Because fuck normal, I want great...

And I am prepared to fight and win great.
Breaking free from the past is only the beginning...healing yourself...only a start.
Now for the life I WANT...not the one I settle for.
What does the me I have built from the ground up want to contribute?
Well, I have already figured that out...I want to help women find what I found. 
And in the process, so completely break the cycle that they, like me, will look back on their former selves and not recognise the person out there on the horizon who had struggled and failed and struggled and failed...because they didn't know that we're caught in a riptide.
I want to teach them that first and foremost, no one has the right to touch them without their consent.
I want to help women who have been stripped of their personhood through violence and abuse..reclaim their bodies, their power and their voice.
That is me.
That is what I am going to do.
Thank you all for all of your support..and I hope you hang around for my third leg.
The defense institute closed last year, but one of the owners is opening a new training center called empower.  (How great is that name?!)
I have already established my eating and exercising..and when the new empower training center opens, I will be there..and so will you guys.
Thanks for listening.
Chris out.


A note to my abusive "father"

As far as notes go...this will be a strange one.
It's a thank you note...not a sarcastic thank you...but a real thank you.
First I want to thank you for inadvertantly leading me to God.
You weren't the only reason...but you were a part of the reason.
I still remember reading in church, that God was a father to the fatherless.
And what more perfect or unblemished father can there be.
Thank you for teaching me patience....every time you yelled, or slapped or beat.
It was out of uncontrollable rage. 
I learned, watching you, how pathetic it looks.
How poisonous it is to a child's soul...
I keep it in mind when my children made mistakes...that it wasnt the end of the world, just a mistake.
It taught me the importance of listening, of seeing someone as a wholly separate person. 
A person who should have the inalienable right to be free of coercion and fear.
That a child is not a thing to be controlled or crushed into submission.
They are to be raised with the knowledge that they are loved and valued and they determine their steps.
 I am simply here to guide and facilitate.
And over the last five years, I have learned that all those things I hold as true in child raising...hold true for me as well.
Your abuse taught me compassion for those who are weak or can't defend themselves...
it also taught me to be silent and observe. 
Because so much that I wanted to express was forbidden.
I also learned in my silence that a truth was a truth whether expressed or not.
And the one thing that angers a coward is truth.
It also scares a coward...
And that's what you were, a coward.
You felt out of control and worthless, and tried to make me feel the same...
And I learned, in my stillness and quiet and my faith, that you could not take the essence of me unless I let you.
And I did not.
I learned I was tough and not easily broken.
Like a little acorn...I kept all my truth and beauty inside...because with  some people (you) and in some places..it isn't safe to sprout.
It's only in the last two years that I learned to let my freak flag fly...with people I cherish and respect.
And finally, when my mother left you...I learned what the spirit felt when it is let out of a cage...
I have learned that my truth isn't less true just because I don't share it with everyone. 
Not every person is worthy.
Your sudden switches in temperament and disposition taught me to 'read a room'...I can spot tension from a dozen paces. 
It made me a keen observer of human behaviour.
Which has probably saved my bacon more times than I can count.
My childhood caused me to read more books on psychological motivation, situational ethics, criminal and violent tendencies and the like...
Had I had a normal childhood, I highly doubt these subjects would have topped my reading list.
But more than all of that, your abuse made me want to stop it in the only way it can be stopped...by never starting. 
By training young women how to think and set boundaries, both physical and mental...
So that abusers run when confronted...because the manipulation and lies don't work straight out of the gate.
So thank you...
For teaching me that fear is bullshit.
It's the wizard behind the curtain..
Whether it's fear of a person, in my case, an ineffectual man-child.
Who can be defeated by pulling back the curtain and exposing him to the light...
A hollow man.
Or a truth unexpressed.
Or an idea that isn't popular.
Or a dream that seems impossible
Fear is bullshit.

Now you have served your full purpose in my life. 
I understand it all..and I would not be who I am now, if not for what I went through then. 
I forgive and forget you.
But, just so you know...
My drive, strength and determination..my inner warrior.
All me baby.
Chris out.


How to make the big decisions

Big title.
This subject is on my mind for reasons I can't fully express..
(Not my marriage...it's better than it has been in years. A subject for another post)
I am speaking of decisions that are incredibly painful...life and death..beginnings and endings.
I speak of decisions that you know SHOULD be made..but aren't being made because someone doesn't want to make the final call.

Because doing so means bearing the weight of the outcome.  
The uncomprehending censure of strangers who have no skin in the game. 
It means being the one with dirty hands because you were the only one with the courage to put a stop to it...call an end to it..start the fight...make the tough calls..fire the person...protect the people. 
It's leadership.  

And for once I am going to give props to my abusive stepfather.
This is a tough story...if you have a sensitive soul or stomach, look away.
When I was about seven or eight...we had a beagle named jack.
He was a great dog, but he was always slipping his chain and running loose...(back in those days...dogs were outside. Period). Well, on this particular day, we were running with jack in the yard...and he went too far..and ran into the road.  Where he was struck by a truck.  
It had crushed his back end and his insides were outside...but being a child..I didn't know that wasn't fixable..I ran inside to get Duane.  He came out and knelt next to that dog and petted him..the dog was yelping....I couldn't hear what Duane said..but he stood up and lit a cigarette and just stood there for a second.  Then he turned and walked back toward the house..all three of us kids started crying, asking..."aren't you going to help?! " 
And I will never forget this, he pointed and said.."GET IN THE HOUSE." 

He said it twice..so we started back for the house, and when we got there, he was coming out with his rifle.  I turned around on the porch..and Duane went up to jack, petted him one last time and then shot him in the head. 
I was so horrified. 
I just stood there...and it was only something I can understand now, as an adult. 

The nearest vet was 40 miles away.  

That dog was suffering. 

 And someone had to fix it.  

Not every decision in life is like that.
But when it is, someone has to take the lead...take the heat.

When everyone knows that something needs to done, but no one does it...there is a decision being made.
Duane could have scraped that dog off the pavement, knowing there was no hope..
to look like the good guy. 
To save himself from having to shoot his favorite (and it was his favorite) hunting dog.
He could have allowed that dog the indignity of a slow, agonising death over forty miles of washboard country roads.  
The dog no doubt dying somewhere along the way.  
That would have been easier.
When there is a painful decision to be made, very often we decide by not deciding.  
It's a strategy that can delay pain, but usually someone has to pay...
for a woman in an abusive relationship..it could be her children...
For a woman who finds a lump in her breast but, puts off seeing the doctor...it is both her, and her family...
for an accountant who sees fraud but doesn't report it, retirees are stripped of their retirement...
for the relatives of the mentally unstable, or drug abusers..
the lack of confrontation can lead to an over dose.  
Or in the case of Adam Lanza..the death of twenty children.  

and for a man and his dog, it's a creature who is unable to ease its own suffering..made to linger and die.

We need more courageous leaders.  
We need more people willing to stand up and take the heat.
Lately I have noticed my deferral...I have been putting off switching jobs.
My original intent was to get enough experience to work at a bank. 
I would rather work with women who are extricating themselves and their children from abusive situations. 
I would like to work for tessa. 
In an administrative assistant capacity.  
I would like to do the nuts and bolts work of referring services, helping these women help themselves.
I would also like to resume my training and teach self defense. 
Neither of which are possible should I continue full time in my current position. 
So I am beginning to learn some skills that I will need to get the job I desire...I need to learn excel, word, and business writing.
  I will disappoint some people when I choose to move on, but it's better than disappointing myself.
Don't decide by not deciding.
Don't drift to the end of your life unfulfilled because of fear of failure, or incurring the displeasure of people who will not even remember your name in five years.

You only have one life with which to make an impact. I don't plan to spend one minute more than is necessary doing something I merely tolerate...when I could be doing something I love.

Chris out.


The importance of praise

Boy...I don't blog much...I think I am developing a pattern though. I blog when I have something to clarify in my own mind...
What has been on my mind lately is this concept of leadership. 
Since becoming a manager I have gone through distinct stages...and as I evolve in my job, I have come to understand the meaning of the phrase "it's lonely at the top. "

Now understand, I am hardly holding a prestigious position. 
I am a full time assistant manager at a dollar store. 
That being said...some things are an across the board proposition.  
Once you are seen to be in a position of responsibility...certain things are no longer allowed...you can't skip facing a problem..in fact, you are called on to solve other people's problems...
And you can have a bad day...you just can't allow it to show...and if you don't really know the exact way to proceed, you'd better work at it till you figure it out. Quitting is not an option...
And finally..and most importantly...when you lead, it's important to not only spot the problem...but to commend the effort. 

I have boss who is excellent at spotting the issues...bad at praising good effort. She is a hard worker..she is fair..but much like me, came up rough. We were both more likely to get a swift boot in the ass than a thank you, or a good job.  
But after going through the last few years...and all that entailed...and coming to realise, through blogging and mental reprogramming, the power of words...the words "great job" or "thank you" can be as motivating as a pay raise...and picking out the one thing NOT done in amongst the plentitude of hard work given by a well intentioned employee will kill any initiative and drive that had previously resided in their soul.  
In short...sometimes it's better to ignore the minor fault and praise the major effort.
This goes for you...your kids..employees..spouses.  
Will nitpicking the small fault Instill a sense of motivation?  
Maybe, in a small minority.
In, I would say, 80 percent of people...it brings forth resentment and apathy...
As dale Carnegie said in his book winning friends etc. if you are going to criticize, begin with honest praise...and end with constructive criticism.  
You'll get more out of yourself and others if people know that their efforts are seen, felt and appreciated.

Chris out.


Kindness is never wasted...except on assholes

Life is a messy conundrum. 
There are all sorts of people in the world.
We should embrace differences..respect others..it makes for a more interesting life.
But sometimes we need to pick up our figurative ball, and go home.
Some people love the sound of their own opinions.  
The only conversation they need, is a good echo chamber..and the only person they respect is themselves...
These people are called narcissists.
True narcissists c annot be healed.
They are clinically ill.
I believe our society fosters low level narcissists.
It can be difficult to distinguish between your clinical narcissist and your narcissist by training and choice.  
The narcissist by choice can only be distinguished by a series of trial and error.
Or one good way is to ask them this question.  
How do you think you can improve? 
A true narcissist is so deep in their own delusion, they won't be able to come up with an answer.  
Your everyday asshole will have one, they just won't be sharing it with you. 
Why all this attention on pucker factor?
Because, I am forty.
I am too old to be dealing with assholes on a personal level.
I am glad I am healed enough to set boundaries and decide who is or is not in my life..because I REFUSE to spend one more minute in the presence of soul suckers. This includes people who believe they are better than everyone....who constantly bitch and moan, and blame others for their self imposed misery. People who go out of their way to belittle and humiliate others who either believe differently or live differently.  
I am filling every last square inch of my life with believers and doers and up lifters. 
I will help those who need it.. And I won't waste time on judging other people's choices or lives. What a waste of time.  
How void and empty it is, and how silly..to believe you are better because you have a higher iq...when you can't even make a friend or keep a relationship. There are all kinds of intelligences and gifts.
How narrow and myopic to whittle it down to recitation of facts and figures.

I have experienced joy without fear twice in the last week.  Pure joy.
For no other reason than that I was alive. That I had spent time with people who accept me and respect me...and my favorite song was playing.
My nickname as a child..that was given to me by my stepfather Duane, was dummy.
I lived in fear that I would never be smart enough...so I picked people who I thought would teach and correct me.  I no longer need that. 
I am not a dummy..I am me...special and talented and flawed...and I see no need to correct that.
Our flaws are what make us interesting and unique. Our acknowledged weakness gives us compassion for the brokenness of others.
I spent so much time trying to fix what wasn't truly broken.  
The broken part was only the shame that came from thinking I had to be perfect to be loved.
When you feel that way...that you need to be fixed...you draw people who think they can fix you...and what kind of person believes they can fix somebody? 
You guessed it.
A narcissist.
Guess what I found out...when you love yourself, warts and all...narcissists either flee..or you will kick them to the curb in quick fashion. 
Because being fixed becomes insulting.
That's my thoughts for the week. 
See you in a few days.
Chris out.


Simple does not mean easy

I don't know if you have ever noticed my web address...
Chris lives simple dot blog spot dot com

Why not live deliberately?

Because, a discovery I made fairly early in life was this...the more complex something was made...the less likely it was to hold true or have integrity.

Ie if you can't explain it in brief...something is wrong...
Liars embellish.
Uncertain people over explain.
People in denial will talk in circles.

There is some half truth, excuse, avoidance...you name it...you strip all the bark off and you'll find the wood...
For instance...what color is the sky?

Blue.  Grey?  It has an answer...
Why doesn't grandma come over anymore?  Or whoever...
I came to discover that the quickest and best way through any situation involved total honesty, and a simple recitation of the facts as they lay before me.
Life was simpler that way..
if you can't be brutally honest with at least yourself...you are going to run into all kinds of problems. 

Or you will deny them so long, they'll run into you.

Simple, however, doesn't mean easy. 
It just means simple.

Married, don't cheat.
Fat? Eat less, move more.
Uneducated, go to school.

Left unsaid are the hurdles or excuses that have been constructed by yourself, circumstances, or other people.
Usually mental.
Sometimes physical.
Sometimes spiritual.

I know a young lady who has made a hash of her life...pregnant young, many poor choices which have lead to run ins with the law...bad home life because of two parents who were immature and self centered...
She came into my office crying one day..she had been sleeping with a married man.  He was using her because she was available.  
She had all sorts of reasons why she was in this relationship...the usual one about a distant wife...gag...loneliness and the idea that this man truly cared for her.  
I then asked her if she really thought he cared for her?   
And she hesitated.
And I said...there you go. 
After listening to the litany of bad choices by both herself and others, it all coalesced into this one thought...I said.. "Hon, at any moment you can stand up and turn around, and turn your whole life around.  You can say to that man..I deserve more than to be treated as a convenience. To your parents who are alcoholic and verbally abusive, that you deserve respect and attention..and to yourself, that you can raise the bar for how you treat yourself and allow others to treat you...from down here, to up here...and never owe anyone a damn explanation. "

She didn't look convinced.

The following week...after once again making the choice to allow this man to use her...he began to blame her for all his problems...she said that's when the light came on...she said she patted him on the shoulder...said," you are right...we are over." He chased after her..attempted an apology.....she didn't explain...because she didn't owe him one...started going to church and is in the process of turning her life around...and it wasn't me saying it...it was her DOING IT.

it really doesn't matter what IT is...the most important thing you can do is pierce the veil of shame(I am sleeping with a married man) get support from a loving and truly caring person (who will tell you the truth but not condemn) and then face the truth with brutal honesty...and begin the process of change.  Was it easy for this young lady to turn from what was her only real (but ultimately fictional)source of comfort? No.
Once she did, she began to regain self respect...she started going to church and building a larger network of friends...making better choices..being a more present mother...she is five weeks in, and still has a very long row to hoe...but she will get there...the steps were clear and simple...but not easy. If you are trying to lose weight...the steps are clear and simple.

Not easy.

You will run into setbacks....
You didn't get where you are without setting up a whole support structure to sustain it. 
It won't be easy to slow, stop and turn around.
The older and more ingrained the habits, attitudes, friends and situations...the more difficult...
Putting it off won't make it easier...starting today avoids additional pain.
Very few things in life worth doing are easy...
But when we are truly honest with ourselves and strip away the bullshit...they are simple concepts.
Hang in there...I know I am...
I am up to five days a week of exercise...plus the five miles I traverse the store each night.
No more drive through, sugar or white flour...simple steps...done daily to reap a long, hard won reward.

Have a great day guys.
Chris out.


How to completely change your life....live in the now.

Today represents a milestone in my life and in the life of my marriage. Today I out earned my husband. Today, I earned 200 dollars more this pay check then he did.. I got a huge bonus based on sales..and for the first time in our marriage, I out earned him.

New readers will find this petty...so, before you comment...scroll through older posts...older readers know why this matters.

Dear friends,  it only took me 14 months.

14 months ago, I had no job experience, no education, nothing.
 Now I earn as much..when I'm not earning more.

I say this for only one reason.
If you are stuck, get unstuck...
Just decide.
Then do it...
You are already scared, hurt, confused and discouraged...
Make it mean something.
I watched castaway last night....and there is a scene where he weaves a rope to hang himself....but he doesn't use it.
Then he gets his courage back.
And he realises he needs to weave rope to put a boat together.. He gets down to the end and realizes he doesn't have enough rope...then he remembers the rope hanging from the tree branch....he retrieves it and uses it to save himself.
It's up to you what you do with the life you have created....with your innate abilities...
There are skills in you, honed from years of dealing with tragedy and pAin that God is waiting to use for your renewal and ultimate success...you just have to see a different purpose for your rope...
You have to believe something different can happen... And that takes a lot of faith... Something I didnt always have. So instead of faith in tomorrow, I placed my faith in the now. I can control now... I can decide to try and keep trying..now. And worry about the rest later...except my little trick is.. There is no later. Later never comes. It's always now. So concern yourself with now...and let later take care of itself.
A noose...
Or freedom...
You decide.
Chris out.