Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ethically Speaking, of course . . .

So, ethics is an interesting proposition. On one hand it’s a code of conduct that is established to help guide a professional through the steps of their life. On the other hand, if rules were never broken, then certain practices that are abhorrent by today’s standards would still be in use. It’s an interesting paradox . . .

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic for the past few weeks. One of the biggest traps that face psychologists (therapists, or really any professional that works closely with another person), is the issue of transference. Transference is when the person seeking the help places their feelings onto the person helping them instead of the one that the feelings belong to. Now, often times, this is a necessary evil for the therapist to get the client to work through some issues (in fact, it’s a cornerstone of psychoanalysis).

The danger lies in the often not talked about “counter-transference” . . . when the therapist projects their feelings back on the client. That’s a line that one NEVER wants to cross. Interestingly enough, there are many professions that also have counter-transference dangers . . . one’s you might not have even thought of . . .

Some that come to mind are teachers, professors, preachers, policeman, doctors, counselors, social workers, prison guards, nurses . . . almost any profession where someone has “power” over someone else, however you define that power.

I’ve now been faced with this “counter-transference” issue three times in my life. Someone with intimate knowledge tries to take a relationship to a level that it shouldn’t be. It’s a bit rattling when someone that is supposed to be a trusted individual crosses the line. I know they are human, and they don’t mean to step over the line, but the reality is that when they do, there’s no going back. That relationship can’t really be healed. You can’t have such intimate, personal knowledge of an individual, violate their trust, and then expect it all to return to normal. It’s just not the way it works.

Sad, really. But as I continue down this journey, I too must be vigilant and watch out for the dangers of “counter-transference” . . . one shouldn’t cruise the population they are helping.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Getting Ripped

Yeah . . . how’s this for an unbelievably embarrassing story. Eric wanted to go to Wichita Saturday night to dance, meet up with some old friends, and just genuinely have a good time. So . . . for lack of any other pressing plans in Topeka on a Saturday night, I took him up on the offer to go. And off on my first adventure to Wichita we went.

Now, being in the mood to get our groove on . . . it can be assumed that we might have had a few adult beverages. I mean . . . who wouldn’t?? Besides, the tunes were playing and the well drinks were on sale.

Now, here’s a good time to explain what I’m like when I go dancing. Since the weight loss . . . I do NOT LIKE to EVER come off the dance floor. If they are playing some awesome tunes (which they were this night!) then I’m gonna dance my booty off. What was cool is that Eric ran into some of his old friends and so there was at any point 4 to 7 of us out on the dance floor basically just singing and having a good ol’ time.

Remember . . . I LOVE to dance until I drop . . . and that was exactly what my goal was going to be. At some point they played a KICKING club mix of Mariah’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” and at that point . . . it was on. And YOU KNOW that Lady Gaga was in heavy rotation. And well . . . I don’t like to come off the floor when Gaga is pumping . . .

So, it was during Poker Face that I happened to have lost my step . . . and . . . well . . . I fell off the dance floor. Remember, I like to dance until I drop. See . . . what had happened was they have these little glass brick features stacked up around the dance floor. Not all over the dance floor, but just in a few places. I happened to have assumed I was in one place, and in reality I was in another, and well . . . I was laid out.

Now, most would have been self conscious and had to run for cover, but not this DIVA. HELL NO! I was bound and determined to finish shaking my thang to “Poker Face” . . . and I did. And that’s when I realized that I was gushing blood from my elbow!!! Yeah . . . something about a few drinks and dancing for a few hours kind of makes you bleed . . . a lot.

So, if you were at the Fantasy Complex in Wichita and saw or heard this screaming queen yelling “Excuse Me, I’m bleeding!” . . . now you know how I got ripped! (and you just thought it was b/c of the drinks!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pretty Face

Well, this is a bit of an unexpected surprise. Originally, I was just going to post the poem I finally have hashed out from a line I wrote down while walking on campus (and I still did, it’s below this brief entry), but on the way home I decided that I’d shave off my goatee. So I did. And something a bit unexpected happened . . .

I like the face I saw that was looking back at me. Kind of cool . . . See, about 4 years ago, I grew my goatee to hide my double (okay, quadruple) chin. Everytime I decided to shave it off, I would look in the mirror and shudder. I hated the site of my big ol’ face and all those chins, so I promptly grew it right back. What’s funny, is that most people here in Topeka know me WITH the facial hair, yet most of the people in Texas know me without it. Dilemma . . . (Side Note – Gracie is partial to the goatee, but not for the reason I cited for growing it. She just likes it on me.)

So, in a way, like so many things in my life, I was hiding behind that goatee. Well, I’m not anymore . . . I think I’m going to attempt to stay clean shaven for awhile . . . This is getting interesting . . .

Here’s that poem that came from the line “Beauty fades, Love remains” that I jotted down while walking from class . . .

“Love Remains”

I know you saw it,
I saw it too.
Strutting on by,
Turning every eye in the room.
Following the steps,
Following the bounce,
Hypnotized by the creation,
The conquest,
The challenge.
Hard to remember,
When beauty fades,
Only love will remain.

I know you lost your breath,
I lost mine too.
The gentle touch
Unleashing lightening thru skin.
Yearning for the look,
Yearning for more,
Infatuated with the possibility
The experience
The night.
Hard to understand,
When beauty fades,
Only love will remain.

I know your body trembled,
Mine trembled too.
The gentle touch of a kiss
Blurring judgment and animal lust
Craving the satisfaction
Craving the desire
Focused on only one thing,
Only on one need,
One act.
Hard to recall,
When beauty fades,
Only love will remain.

I know your heart is alone,
Mine is too.
No loving embrace
Welcoming the dawn of another day.
Hiding from the risk
Hiding from the pain
Missed a true chance
A true experience
A true love.
Only now remembering
Beauty will fade,
And only those with love will remain.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mission Impossible

Warning – this is a bit of a long entry . . . might want to get a cup of coffee and get a bit comfy before reading it. So, got a question for ya . . .

How good are you at flying by the seat of your pants? I’m not the best, and that’s putting it lightly. I love to think that I’m spontaneous . . . but the reality of the situation is that I am a teeny bit of a control freak. So . . . that leads me to today.

My friend Eric is looking for a new dog collar for his precious puppy (and that is said with ZERO sarcasm) Kahlua. Seriously . . . check out the pic . . . she’s just my niece and I’m almost whooped! Now, not any collar will do . . . we are looking for a Pride Rainbow collar. Now, one would think this is easy . . .

But remember one ever so important crucial fact – um, we live in FREAKING KANSAS!! Obviously there is nothing here in Topeka, but even Lawrence turned up dry. So, we decide today that we’re going to go to KC to look for a dog collar. Because I mean . . . KC is a major city in the country and there just HAS to be a store there that sells them.

So, armed with my new trusty GPS (thx Gracie!), whom I like to call Michael . . . (side note – he’s got a very sexy British accent!), Eric’s iPhone, some good music, and a tank full of gas, we embark on our random mission to KC to locate said Dog collar. Now, before we left, we did call a pet store that we were told about to inquire about their selection in doggie fashions, but they did not have one.

They said they could order one and it would be in the store in like 3 weeks . . . but who wants to wait THAT long . . .

Now, at this point, Michael is not really being utilized. But there was not much to fear . . . we didn’t get lost. I mean, you have two fags with an iPhone . . . how much safer could you be? We are able to safely maneuver the roads. We get to KC and decide to run to Sidekicks (side note – gay country bar – how about that name!) b/c Eric says they will know where we can go to get something. So we head there and park and head to the front door. Well . . . it’s locked. They’re not open. Failure. But on the way back to the car, we run into a queen smoking a cigarette behind Buddies . . . and ask him if he’s aware of a place we can head. He politely smiles and says, sure – just go up over there, on Westport Road, and head to Larry’s Cards and Gift Shop.

Sweet! Success! We go two blocks, turn right, and head down Westport . . . and after getting to the 1500 block, we find the address on Eric’s trusty iPhone (see, they are sooo handy!) and realize we need to head back to the 200 block. No problem . . . we turn around and head back . . . until we find the address. One small issue though . . . really more of a side note really . . . or a post script . . . Larry’s is out of business. Failure.

Our next idea is to head to Tootsie’s, b/c it’s a bar that has a nice gift shop in it. We realize we’re just a few blocks from it. We didn’t want to have to pay a cover just to get to the gift shop . . . but I mean, look at how freaking CUTE Kahlua is!!! So we get there, pull into the parking lot . . . and, well . . . it’s closed.

Now, dear readers, this is the part where you probably are thinking that I’m losing my mind and all stressed out . . . but instead – I’m actually having a blast! While driving all over KC, we have been listening to music, chatting about whatever, and just enjoying the adventure. How about that New Year’s Resolution of mine!

So I decide that I’m a bit on the hungry side, so we head to the plaza. Might as well live it up one more time before school kicks in and I’m all study, study, study . . . We do some window shopping and walk by the Sony store (can you say Apple Store knock off?) and eventually the Apple store as well . . . yeah, we went in to both of ‘em. I mean – you got a dork and a geek walking into gadget stores . . . like THAT’S a big surprise or something.

We leave the Apple store and that’s when we smell it. The rich, sweet aroma of . . . MEAT! We are now on a hunt for this establishment that is emitting this heavenly aroma . . . and we walk this way and that way . . . all the while the scent is getting stronger and stronger . . . and then, finally . . . from across the avenue . . . we see it. Fogo de Chao . . . a Brazilian Restaurant . . .

I have one reservation about it – and it’s this – I am concerned that it might be “family style” dining. I do not EVER want to sit at a table full of people I don’t know and hear about their drama, have them ask me probing questions that I don’t want to answer . . . and worst of all . . . have them freaking BREATHE on my food! We decide to stick our heads in to see – b/c after all – that smell is HEAVENLY!

We went in and to our excitement . . . it wasn’t! So down we sat and off to a freaking awesome dining experience we were . . . in a Brazilian Nut Shell . . . The salad bar is freaking amazing (it had salmon that MELTED in your mouth), they bring around 15 kinds of meat that they cut off of skewers for you, and basically you eat as much as you want until you are full. Yeah, it’s all you can eat . . . and it rocks! My personal faves were the Parmesan Encrusted Pork Loin and the Leg of Lamb . . . but really all of it was good.

Never fear my dear Skittles, b/c many of the meats I tasted and then set aside . . . b/c I wanted to try all of them and I only have a little bit of room to eat. I did kind of wish that I didn’t have a lap band until I remembered that I’ve lost like a whole freaking person and am very happy about that . . .

All I will say is that you need to go . . . at least once . . . and experience it.

And here’s the cool part of this whole entry . . . while our mission was a failure, the evening was a success. We had a freaking blast – and we ended it with STARBUCKS!! I got my regular Venti Carmel Light Frappucino and Eric got a White Chocolate Mocha.

Oh, and the collar . . . it’s on order . . .

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making it Happen

Wow, today was a bit of an unexpected emotional release day. After church today, as I’m accustomed to do, I headed to the gym for a workout. Tomorrow I start working out with Sean three times a week until the end of February . . . I’m gonna be sooooooo sore!

I did abs, a 12 min on the elliptical (felt good, hadn’t done that machine in a while), and 10 min on the treadmill for a cool down. I had my heart rate over 150 so didn’t want push too hard. I tend to get light headed . . . but not the point of the entry here.

I took my shower and then weighed myself, and that’s when I looked down and saw that I weighed 315.5 lbs. To think that less than a year ago, I weighed 465.4 lbs is a bit insane. It just hit me on what I’m accomplishing. It’s like all at once I just couldn’t help it, and I cried. It wasn’t a bad cry, but a releasing cry.

So there I was, sitting on a chair in the shower room (thank goodness it’s a private shower room!), with my towel around my waste, crying. I never thought this was ever going to happen. I’m sure over the next year, there will be more times that this is going to happen, and I’m okay with it. Especially if I get over 300 . . .

As I’m sure everyone’s noticed I’ve been a bit emotional as of late anyway, so I guess it’s just gonna be that way for awhile.

Lastly, I’ll point the new section on the right, my “Song on the Soundtrack of my Life” – mainly b/c it’s “Make It Happen” by Mariah Carey. I have been living the chorus of this song for awhile now. If they ever, ever, ever made a lifetime movie about my life, this song would HAVE to be in it.

If you believe in yourself enough and know what you want
You’re gonna make it happen, make it happen.
And if you get down on your knees at night and pray to the lord
He’s gonna make it happen, make it happen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Poem: Flower Petals

Click the image for a full size view. I call it a "picture poem"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Anytime Fitness Story

As many of you know, I regularly work out at Anytime Fitness. Well, I've been asked to write up "My Story" so that others could be motivated by it. I thought since I was doing it there, I'd also post it here. So . . . following is MY Anytime Fitness Story . . .

Before January 2009, my health had been on a steady decline, and the last 5 years it was running down fast. My weight had ballooned to 465 lbs. My cholestrol was off the charts. My blood pressure was 160/100. My blood sugar levels were regularly over 150. I had been hospitalized twice for depression. In short, I wasn't happy, healthy, and I feared that I would die young.

I had turned to food to help me cope with problems. Whether it was my self esteem, not being happy about something at work, my plans getting ruined, etc. -- I would eat something and feel better. As I got bigger, I became more isolated. I didn't really date anyone. I had very few friends, and didn't really do much other than sleep, eat, sit on the couch and watch tv, and work.

Then, after a visit home for Christmas with my family, I had decided to make a change. I was done feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything about it. I weighed almost a QUARTER OF A TON and I was just about done with it. I needed to change my life - and that meant changing how I eat and exercise.

To tackle eating, I went to the doctor and on Feb. 26, 2009, I underwent the lap band procedure. This tool enabled me to control my binge eating and forced me to learn how to eat right. I had to read labels to see what was in the food I was eating, and I had to make good choices about what I ate because I could only eat a small amount.

For exercise, I started walking. After surgery my doctor told me to just walk. So I did. I started by walking around the block at home. Then down to the nearest main avenue six blocks away. On nice days, I took my dog Ragan and walked to the park and played frisbee with him. But I found that I was finding too many excuses still to not follow through with the walking. It was hot, or it was raining, or I was bored walking, or (fill in whatever excuse would work).

So, in April of 2009, my birthday present was to join Anytime Fitness. I needed a place that was open whenever the mood struck me (removed my the club not open excuse), was a half mile from my house (removed my gym to far out of the way excuse), had private showers (removed the being embarrassed to take a shower excuse), and was supportive (removed the everyone is going to make fun of me excuse).

The staff at Anytime Fitness were extremely helpful in offering suggestions on workouts and showed me how to use the various types of equipment. I was able to do certain exercises and routines, and started to lose more weight and feel better about myself.

As time went on, more weight started coming off. I added more exercises to my routines, and started coming more often. This former QUARTER TON COUCH POTATO was well on his way to becoming an official GYM RAT!

For the first time in a long time, I was proud of myself. I was happy at the decisions I was making and exctatic with the results I was seeing. I took pride in the fact that 4 times a week or more, I was going to the gym to work out. It was getting me out of the house, relieving stress, and helping me lose weight quickly.

The strange thing, is that when you become happy with yourself, others begin to change their perceptions of you. All the negative feelings and emotions I was experiencing started to give way to positive ones. I went out with friends more. I visited with family more often. I started dating. I became involved in church. I went back to college to work on a Psychology degree. I became, well, for lack of a better word, busy. AND I LOVE IT! I can't believe that I used to lose my breath walking up a flight of stairs and now I go almost non-stop from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. People tell me I'm now the energizer bunny!

To date, I've lost 148 lbs. Feb 26,2010 is my anniversary date of my surgery, and it's almost unbelievable that I am about to type this next statement -- I have a shot at being under 300 lbs for the first time in over a decade by that date! I have 17 more lbs. to lose. I'm going to start training with Sean of Anytime Fitness three times a week next week, and with some hard work, good eating decisions, and a little luck, when I step on the scales on that day, I will weigh less than 300 lbs.

My story isn't over . . . it's just beginning. I can't wait for the next chapter . . .