Thursday, May 20, 2021

Outlets For Pain

What do you do to dodge your pain and check out?  What do you do when the things you used to put the wet blanket on your pain were ultimately unhealthy and no longer work? 

Maybe you rock climb, maybe you garden, maybe you seek solace in a pizza box and a beer can.  

I was a wall builder and a food abuser.  Up until my early forties I thought it was working famously. Sure there were other outlets, motorcycles and guns and fishing. Ultimately I just blocked out situations that caused me pain and pushed away anyone that tried to love me or didn't when I thought they should.

Through muchos muchos therapy, I have broken down those walls and let go alot of the unhealthy behaviors I had with food. 

It has left me with having to reestablish some of the relationships with the things I love doing because they mean something different for me now. I do them and remember them like an old friend only now it is a completely different experience.  One I forgot I was missing.

Maybe you play video games, maybe you write computer programs, perhaps a gym rat? Outlet? Compulsion?

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Comfort Zone

The plain Hershey chocolate bar is broken down into its four rows, alternating with two rectangles together and one lone rectangle.  The rows are then broken down in an alternating fashion of one piece, two pieces.  The bar is then partially unwrapped, and two single pieces retrieved for consumption.  Each singular piece is placed under the tongue, in order to melt and provide the best possible user enjoyment.  Only after all the single rectangles have been consumed can the "double" pieces be broken down and eaten in similar fashion.

I know this is the proper way to eat a Hershey bar because I have eaten a lot of them.  A lot. I was under the guise that along with pizza and a few others, the consumption of the plain old Hershey bar was the mental equivalent to "drawing the blinds" on the pain I have in my life.  This false comfort, and it is false, is just treating the symptom not the disease.  

So many times we look to food and our relationship with it as a source of comfort.  But ultimately what ends up being perpetuated is a mechanism for reinforcing shame, and negative feelings towards eating outside ones system of values. 

I used to think that the answers to all my questions and/or the only proper way to distract myself from the irritant of the day was in the inside of a pizza box or the Hershey bar wrapper.  

Sweets are the last hold out for me.  I have broken my relationship with pizza and pop.  I still enjoy them both, but on a level that in no way resembles the bingeing and mass consumption days of yore.  

It is a funny thing the relationships we form with food.  Much has been written about the proper way to eat an Oreo and how to eat a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup.

Are there comfort foods that you have to eat a certain way?  Leave a comment. Maybe you are the person that eats pizza crust first. 

Miked, MMFIC

Saturday, September 5, 2020

License to Ill

 This October will mark eight years since the passing of my father. For those that knew him, he was the life of the party and one of those personalities for which the rules just did not apply. If you ever had the pleasure of an unofficial garage session (which just by being unofficial made it, well, official) then you probably have a story or two to tell. 

My father had many awesome traits, loyal, generous, patience of a saint, just to name a few.  Always willing to take time out of his day to help someone out or show someone how to fix something.  The only payment would be time spent and a bump of Kesslers and a beer.

The more I thought about it the more I realized that I lost something else besides my father and best friend when he passed away. I lost my ability to charmingly pee wherever and whenever I wanted.  

If you must know, one of my father's most endearing qualities was to make urinating anywhere anytime seem normal and completely not out of the ordinary.  Truly a man with the "act like you are supposed to be here and no one will notice" ethos, my father was nothing less than a serial urinator.

I don't want you to think this was spurred on as some sort of creepy behavior.  This was  a skill that was cultivated out of a time where there were many shared beverages combined with an elevated age and most likely a prostate the size of a softball.

Not only did he have the superpower to make it seem normal, he also did it with such a charming nonchalance that also gave everyone else around him artistic license to mark their territory.

I have seen my father piss in parking lots, driveways, along highways, in bushes, between cars, next to porta-shitters, and for the most part I was probably standing next to him.

Even when "caught", he would almost always pull off his hat and with a guilt laden grin "I just had to go!". The judge, jury and executioner almost always turning frown to understanding smile.

Recently I have come to the realization that with the loss of my father and the addition of an amazing and understanding wife that I have let the serial uriniator gene wane just a touch. 

While it is true my knuckles no longer quite reach the ground and I am somehow walking a little more upright I can not help but feel that these are skills that will come back to me as I too reach an age of wisdom and acceptance.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Grande Scheme of Things........

...So I may have forgotten that it takes all kinds.  That even with a common bond as Americans we all have differing opinions and come at things with a little different perspective.  

It seems that with times as the are and uncertainty unfolding right in front of us we find it increasingly hard to remember what to care about.

It doesn't matter to me if you think that this virus was released by China as a way to thin the herd, it doesn't matter to me if you think that this was a plot by the democrats to sway the election, it doesn't matter what conspiracy theory you subscribe to.  What matters to me is how we move forward.  

I sort of see both sides of the coin here but my perspective is changing.  I realize the math is on my side, but still.  I did ride a motorcycle without a helmet, I don't always wear a seat belt. While I will admit that the motorcycle thing was more about me not caring if I lived or died at that particular time in my life, the seat belt thing is more about cars and trucks not being built around someone that's larger than the average bear, but I'm working on that.

I will be the first to admit that I don't want to upset my life because of a menace I can't see.  The thought of wearing a mask to conduct daily business makes the inherent rule breaker in me cringe.  But as I have gotten older I have come to cherish the time spent walking upright a lot more than I used to.  Also, as much as I love a good adventure I am not looking to take a ride in a bed that flips my fat ass over every so often so I don't drown in my own mung. (I used the technical term mung strictly for my late mother's benefit) This leads me wondering why there are points of view contrary to self preservation.  

Wearing a mask is not cool, I get that.  If yours has to have a skull on it or make you look like your smoking a cigar or has some message of protest on it I get it.  I'm frustrated too. But this is unprecedented in my lifetime.  I have never been a part of anything like this, but I want to be there on the other side. I want to see where that leads us. I want Steak-O-Rama's again.  I want to be able to opine via mediums such as this and avenues yet explored.

There has to be some latitude.  I am not talking head in the sand, full blinders engaged, apathy, but maybe we could all agree that this situation is ever changing. Sure you could argue changing for the better, but hardly over.  Mistakes are going to be made.  People are going to make decisions that we are all not going to agree on.  Sure the mainstream news is twenty-five minutes of panic followed up by five minutes of feel good recovery stories. I don't think that in any story (even this one) you ever get the full truth.  We have all seen the school kids in line where the front of the line is told one thing and told to pass it to the person behind them.  By the time it reaches the last person it is about seventy percent of what was first conveyed. My point, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

In the name of your father.....

Its father's day...

For some of you it is about the donation of half.  For others, it is the day set aside to foster a relationship forged in a lifetime.

For me it is about reflection and letting go.  Really letting go of the grief and the the anger I harbor because my parents both passed away to soon.  Anger that they never got to meet my wonderful wife and her family.  I believe they would have meshed quite well.  Grief for the little things, the unannounced pit stop style pissings in my driveway.  The unsolicited yet somehow riveting deep philosophical discussions with my mother.  Questioning her faith, all the while testing it.  Way to immature to understand the difference.

I sometimes find myself locked in reflection, there were so many good times.  There were bad times, but they only reminded us how great the good times are.  

Without knowing it I was surrounded in faith.  I have lost mine of the last couple of years.  I can now see the value.  I am not just talking about your chosen religion I am talking about faith in yourself and faith in the ones that love you that comes along for the ride. 

To often we are hard on ourselves for lives little proclivities and the things that cause us anxiety.  I have learned to forgive myself,  I sometimes forget to do that.  But as faith in myself creeps back in it becomes more apparent.  Faith in ourselves and one another is the glue that holds everything near and dear together.  I forgot about that for a while.  

As I reflect back on my wonderful parents and the lives they created for my brother and I can see the importance of the faith my parents must've had for themselves and each other.  I need to give my self and my wife a little more credit.  My parents too for that matter.  They are after all the one's who paved the way.

So whatever your father's day situation I ask you to consider a little faith, wherever you find it.  Maybe it's right there in a hug, maybe it's just behind the forgiveness, maybe you are lucky enough to clank a glass together and break some bread, doesn't matter just seek out some faith.  It's there if you want it.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!  Enjoy your day.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Life in Marinade....Pronounced Quarantine

To be fair, I was only looking for something to watch this morning where I could "gork out" and do just a little hiding from the anxious times we live in.  There are certain movies I love because of the emotions they stir inside of me or maybe they remind me of a certain time in my life where I was dealing with similar situations.

Here I was on a lazy Sunday morning here in the heartland.  The wind was howling with a force not unlike the he said, she said banter between our current president and those who actually know whats gong on, almost hurricane force.  I was scanning the channels and came upon "The Family Stone".  For those that don't know this is a fabulous movie.  It is in my top 10-15.  It reminds my of Christmas and the passing of my mother. It is a tear jerker for sure.  This movie proved a little to serious for what I was looking for this morning.

Scanning and surfing and scanning and surfing forced my hand to Amazon Prime Video.  In perusing the latest offerings according to "my taste" in movies landed me on "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood".  What could be more innocuous or take less mental agility than Mr. Rogers? I could not have been more wrong.

Let me just start by saying that Tom Hanks is an American Treasure and this movie is fantastic.

I was not, even for one single second, emotionally prepared for what I was about to witness.  This movie was like a years worth of therapy in an hour and a half.  Moreover, Hanks' portrayal of Rogers as the ever patient, although not perfect, sounding board for dealing with the feelings of adolescents everywhere had me thinking of my father.  My father was the most genuinely patient man I have ever known.  There is a scene in the movie where Rogers is spending time with a young boy and his family as part of a Make-A-Wish campaign.  Although my father was always GDI (god damn independent) and never affiliated officially with any group, benevolent or not, he loved nothing more than helping those in need and if someone wanted to learn a skill my dad possessed, well there was just no better teacher, period.

The thing about life that no one wants to talk about is feelings.  How ironic, the one thing we all have in common and most are scared of revealing.  It took me a long time to realize the importance of feelings.  I spent the better part of my lifetime burying them and attempting to dodge them at all costs.  There was a wake of damage both to myself and others I came into contact with.

I have learned that the real power is in the vulnerability and the compassion, not in the exhaustive work that comes with avoidance and becoming a cold callus zombie.

I have said this before, as my super heroes continue to get hip replacements, knee replacements and heart procedures you realize we are all victims of the human condition. It just boils down to time spent. It is no longer about outdoing someone or feeding the ego. It is about enjoying the company you keep and love, and forgiving them for their misgivings. There are no directions here, get the help where you can. Be available in the here and now, this moment, you won't get a second chance.