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.