Memories From the Balcony – From Fed Up to Stand Up

Sure, I’ve been fed up before.
I’ve sworn off things and gone right back to them the next day. I admit it, I have my struggles with change.
I have my bouts the same as anyone else does. I’ve been at the intersection of doubt and hopeless. While standing at the crossroads of my life, I had to come to a decision. Decisions are like deadlines.
They kind of suck . . .
I had to make a change; but more, I had to make a choice to change. I had to give myself the permission to continue, to follow through, to make the moves necessary to create the change and lastly, I had to give myself the permission to look away from my usual patterns. Otherwise, I’d have been stuck in more of the same.
Know what I mean?

At first, everything is strange.
Your typical “go-to” ideas and your usual plans are not the plans that work for you anymore.
You made some changes and now here’s the tough part . . .
Now, you’ll have to stick with it.

This means undergoing a serious and personal alteration,. This means changing patterns and behaviors. This means we have to pay attention to our details and notice our patterned lifestyle. But more than just notice this, we have to create the change and form new patterns and new behaviors. This means people, places and things need to change as well because these things can lead us to triggers that return us back to old ways or default settings.
Not every day is going to be perfect. Then again, I am a fan of the saying that we strive for progress, not perfection.
I am a fan of this because progress is perfection.
Perfection is not an accident. Our habits and lifestyle take time to build and create; therefore, it takes time to break this down and set up a new plan of living.
They call this change . . .
Next, you start to wonder if this is even worth it. You start to wonder if you can make it. You start to wonder because, let’s face it, comfort is comfortable and discomfort is uncomfortable.
It’s not easy to train yourself to think or react differently.
It’s not easy to change your nutrition, your relationships, your job or your personal being.
It’s not like you don’t want the change. You do.
You just don’t want to suffer.
You don’t want the difficulty.
Most people wish they could push a button and everything would just change.
(That’s why pills are so popular right now . . . just take this and let the meds do the work for you.)

Stepping away from anything can be tough.
Stepping away from people or stepping away from old habits and stepping away from an unrewarding lifestyle can be more difficult than we’ve anticipated.

We teach ourselves how to live and how to endure. We even teach ourselves how to appreciate the discomforts which bring us comfort because while I agree – some habits lead us to discomfort; at least we understand them. At least we know the rules of interaction. We understand the why’s, the how’s, the what’s and the where’s. Even if this leads us to uncomfortable outcomes, at least we understand this, At least we know what to expect.

Change comes with a new face.
This means the unknown and the uncertain.
This means the mind has to work around assumptions and uncertain predictions because, in fairness, we just don’t know what to predict anymore.
That’s the bitch about change.

I don’t know what my catalyst was.
I’m not sure if this came to me out of a moment of realization. Or, did this become a case because I was tired of the same old process.
I’m not sure what made the light turn on in my head. I really don’t know how this happened.
But out of nowhere, I found myself looking around.
I was looking at my life.
I saw “me” for the first time. I saw my reflection.
In fact, I saw a photograph and thought to myself, “Who the hell is that’ and that’s when I realized – that was me!

I am aware that the mental and the emotional can overlap and impact our physical health.
(and vice-versa)
I am aware that self-neglect can overcome self-care and that our personal neglect is not the problem.
Not at all.
This is only a symptom. 
This is a personal rejection that states:
I am not happy.
I do not like this.
I want more!

By the way –
No one should ever see themselves in the mirror and regret their own reflection.
No one should ever see a photograph of themselves and think, “who the hell is that?” only to realize, “Holy shit!! That’s me.”
No one should lose sight of themselves yet this happens all the time.
People, places and things . . .
Habits and rituals, routines and predictable turns, and outcomes . . .
This becomes our pattern of living.

These are the elements of our lives that make an impact on how we think, how we feel, who we are and who we become.
Make no mistake about this. This involves our chemistry and our personal synergy.
There is a special math to this.
Learning new math can be a bitch sometimes – especially when we don’t add up.

I had to make a serious choice to reject the old mottos.
I had to reject the old notions of who I was.
But more, I had to step away from my understood routines.
I had to improve my physical surroundings to change my emotional connections.
Maybe there was a moment here; maybe there was an epiphany. Maybe something clicked and maybe this was enough because once I saw the truth about myself, I knew that I could never “unsee” it again.

There was a time when I was downtown, somewhere near SoHo, I believe.
I was out with a group of my so-called friends.
They were laughing about their “top-shelf” lives.
They were laughing at what seemed to be the same jokes and bragging about the same things.
I watched the people who I had known as they sipped their drinks and flashed their plastic little lives as if they were strangers to me. I watched them flash their fake existence as if to brag about how far they’ve come.

I remember looking at the people who I had known for quite some time and thinking to myself, “Who the hell are these people?”
“What the hell am I doing here?”
“Why am I here?”
Better yet, “Why am I still here now?”
This is a great start to a better level of awareness; however, the best start is the action it takes to spark the change and to get up . . . and walk away.

I can remember breaking away from the crowd and experiencing a moment of relief.
I didn’t have to listen to the back and forth ribbing or the interactive sarcasm that went on at other people’s expense.
I didn’t have to pose or stand a certain way.
I didn’t have to pretend anymore or “act” like I felt comfortable.
I didn’t have to be image conscious or worry about saying the wrong thing or leaving an opening for me to be in line for the next round of insults.

I remember the sound of the establishment and the look of the so-called rich.
Everything was top-shelf and top of the line.
More to the point, everything around me was as real as a superficial smile, deep as a puddle and shallow like vapid plan of human existence.
None of this was for me, at least not anymore.

I suppose I wondered if anyone would notice that I was gone.
I wondered if anyone would call to see if I’d come back. 
The real change comes when you’re not looking back, but only forward.
I learned this.
Sometimes, I had to learn this the hard way.

I know there is an interactive chemistry of the crowd.
I believe that there are some who need to breathe out so others can breathe in.
The codependent nature of life works this way.
I believe in the position of the crowd; but more, I believed that whatever my position was, I simply didn’t want this anymore. 
Thus, I came to the most powerful realization of all.
Nothing changes unless I change it for myself.

I can say this happened with friendships and intimate relationships.
I can say this happened with jobs and careers. I can say that, at some point, your mind and body collect themselves and in no uncertain terms, you come to this moment of awareness.
You just can’t take it anymore. You can’t hold your tongue anymore.
You can’t ignore the warning signs and you can’t ignore the bullshit which you used to brush off.

Sometimes, we outgrow ourselves.
Sometimes, we outgrow our jobs and our surroundings.
Sometimes, we want more.
We want something different.
We want a better life and a better future.
More than anything, we want to see a better reflection in the mirror.
Certainly, we want to see ourselves in the big picture and think,
“Yeah, that’s me!”

It’s not easy to pick up and change.
It’s not easy to maneuver between the triggers of people, places and things.
And fear – well, fear is the biggest most crippling bitch of them all.

I keep going back to that saying I heard the other week.
“A year from now, you’ll wish that you started today.”

It’s true,
In fact, this is true about a lot of things.

But I get it.
Everything is strange, at first.
Everything is new and new things can be uncomfortable.
But being uncomfortable doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.

No, this just means the plans are in action. This means the changes are working.
Our job is to learn how to work around the changes; to evolve and to endure the process without quitting, wavering or giving into temporary distractions like our personal disorders and doubt.

I’ve dropped nearly 40 lbs since the start of this journal.
I’ve made changes to my diet.
I’ve had to learn to navigate my way and maneuver around the triggers which come with people, places and things.

I want more. I want better for myself.
I want to improve the physical to improve the mental and emotional
(and vice-versa).

I know that the work has to be ongoing but the same as this moment here between us, this is not a chore for me – the writing, I mean. No, this is the most freeing part of my day because I can come here, write my thoughts, create a plan, think, feel and then once I hit the send button – I put this out into the atmosphere where the universe takes over. 

I’m getting better.
One day at a time.
Is this still new to me?
Is this still strange?
The answer is yes.

That’s the thing about routines.
You have to keep them going until they become the new normal.
This way, if I ever revert or return back to my default settings, I won’t ever backslide so far that I go back to where I was.

Improve one step on a daily basis.
Before you know it, you’ll have gone around the world.
You’ll move to the point where you’ll turn around . . .
and you’ll hardly recognize the person you used to be. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.