Be True

"Be true to yourself."

Her voice still echoes in my head when I least expect it to as though some deep crag of my brain released its hold on the memory at just the right, or wrong, moment.

She told me to be true to myself. She also told me to grow up to be the person she wanted me to become. She also told me that you can't save the world so I should stop trying.


In another world I know exactly who I am so that I can be true to me. Every choice I make is straight-forward because I know my goals and my unflinching morals. Everything I do is chosen in a way to be true to the vision I have of who I am and how I want the world to conform around me. It's simple. It's true.

In this world things are muddied. Yes, I know who I am a bit better than I did in the past because I walked at least several hundred miles to figure it out, all the while fighting off the urge to just lay down and die. And sure, the people in my life now make it easier for me to be the person that I love. But who is the true me?

Is the true me the very overweight man who loves food, travels the world in search of their local cuisine, and doesn't particularly care about getting healthy? Or is the true me the man inside that breaks out every now and then, watching what he eats and getting in shape? The first man is happy except when he's thinking about how out of shape he is, the second man is happy except when he's thinking about all the food he loves that he can't eat.

Is the true me the man I am when I'm on my testosterone treatment? Or is the true me the man I am without the gel I slather on myself each morning to raise my testosterone to normal levels? The first man is sexual, more driven, and not as easily depressed. The second man is calmer, less angry with the world and more forgiving.

Maybe I'm the me who rises at 6 AM every morning. Maybe I'm the one who gets up only after 10 AM because I went to bed at 3. Maybe I'm the guy who cleans each room and keeps the kitchen spotless, or maybe I'm the guy who is more likely to leave the kitchen a mess and only semi-tidies a room or two every couple of days.

Or maybe it's much more complicated than that.

Maybe I'm every single one of those men, somehow. An amalgam of the flaws and strengths that meld and change on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. Maybe I'm more than the parts that make up the whole.

Maybe there is no true me.

And maybe that's okay.

Step By Step, Day By Day

One foot ahead of the other. That was how I moved.

The pack on my back weighed over one-hundred pounds, and I weighed easily three times that amount.

Twenty miles a day over the course of a ten to twelve hour day.

Left foot. Right foot. Left foot.

One step after another. One foot, then the next, moving bit-by-bit. Not measuring in miles, really, rather measuring in footsteps. One. One more. One after that. One. One more. One more again. Counting by ones, up to one, every time.

Pick a spot in the distance. That's where I would rest, once I got there. That's where I would sit down. Not until I get to there but once I got there I'd rest as much as I needed, until I was ready to move again.

Step. By. Step.

Resting, singing quietly to myself, in a world devoid of anyone or anything else. Cars went by but didn't draw my notice unless they honked or stopped to offer me a ride. Otherwise they simply didn't exist; they were outside of what mattered.

The steps mattered. Getting back up from a rest mattered. Getting to the next resting point mattered. Nothing else. When I was hungry, I ate. I stepped and I ate. Step, bite, chew. Step, bite, chew.

Bit. By. Bit.

I didn't want to die anymore but I didn't know how to live. Until I figured that out, I would walk. Maybe each step got me closer to figuring it out. Only one way to find out.




Rebuilding From Broken

There are many ways to start over.

You can do what I did: Walk away from everything, begin fresh, leaving everything behind that you don't want in your life and gathering new influences. This, I think, should be only the most desperate and final of moves, however, as you are essentially killing off yourself so that you can emerge anew.

You can do what I'm doing: Take a bad thing and turn it into a good thing.

I just had to have surgery for a hernia. The past month or two I've been pretty much a waste of space, having only enough energy to keep the 20 month old toddler alive and the house standing. I've been in pain; every move an exercise in not wincing or showing off how much it really hurt.

And now that hernia's been cut out. The only pain is the incision from the surgery itself.

While I was in pain I walked away from the things that were too hard; the exercise fell to the wayside, the cleaning of the house became a "nice thing" rather than a "goal." I turned off my HabitRPG account that held me accountable every day for the things I said that I would do.

But I did all of this knowing that I could rebuild, once the surgery was over.

And it's over.

Now is the time to reevaluate who I want to be and who I want to become. What's important to me? What's important to the other people in my life, the people I care about? What's feasible?

Especially that; what's feasible?

Because it's easy for me to say that I'm going to launch back into the fitness routine I had started a few months ago. Crunches and push-ups daily, with jumping jacks and running in place. I'd be lying my ass off if I said it though; there's no way this cut in my gut would allow me to handle any of that.

I have to move slowly to put myself back together. I hate moving slowly, even when it's the only way that works.

First, I turn my HabitRPG account back on. I gather a few daily to dos that I can do, like cleaning the living room and keeping the dishes clean. I read books more, write some reviews that I didn't have energy to write before, when I was hurting. It's amazing how pain clouds the mind as much as how much it just hurts the body.

Slowly I'm coming back together.

Ever so slowly.




My Exercise, My Weakness

My arms are sore, but it's a good hurt.

My back hurts, but not like it did before.

My legs throb, and I like it.

I'm doing an exercise program where I start out doing very, very small things. Push ups against the wall, for example, or sitting in a chair lifting my legs straight up in front of me. As I get better at those very, very small things I "level up" to very small things. From very small things we go to small things, then medium things, then big things!

Big things, even medium things, may very easily be a couple years away. I've been out of shape for all of my adult life; undoing that lifetime of not doing the things to get me in better shape is going to take a while.

I know I've talked about fitness a lot before. I've made grand promises about how much I wanted to get done and all the change I saw coming in the future. Time and time again I've started out all "Rah, rah, rah!" Time and time again I've failed.

Here's the thing:

I've been doing these exercises for over two months now. This isn't the blush of a new love, we've been seeing each other for a couple months now and I'm still happy.

I can even see some changes happening in my arms and legs. Small changes, to be sure, but changes! More changes than I've seen in the past.

It feels good, even if it hurts a little.

That's Not Funny

I'd already had a rough day. I was feeling anti-social but couldn't turn away our friends for game night since I'd done that already, several times. A dozen is several, right? They'd be hurt if I turned them away yet again. On top of that, Lois, my 19 month old adorable little girl, was sick. I'd been just grumpy all day and wanted nothing more than to sit in a chair and grump while playing online or maybe working around the house.

Game night was over, now. It had gone about as I expected with the mood I had been in and I was feeling even more annoyed at the world around me. All I wanted was to go to bed, sleep until the next morning, and start a new day fresh and maybe in a good mood.

Lois cried. She sneezed. She coughed. She was miserable. The poor girl couldn't breathe well and she was miserable. She made sure we knew it. All night. All. Night.

It was about three in the morning. My amazing Laura, the woman I love, had gotten up several times in the night in place of me, knowing I had had a miserable day and trying to make my night better. I got up too because it's a partnership and because I knew she needed sleep. We were both miserable. We were all miserable.

Lois was crying, coughing, and sneezing. We gave her some medicine to make her feel better. The coughing stopped after a while. The crying abated after a long while. The sneezing.

The sneezing.

At three in the morning, maybe four, I woke up to a strange sound. I listened carefully.


I quirked an eyebrow. Something was weird about that.


I shook my head. There was definitely a question mark on that sneeze.


I looked at Laura who was also awake. We were both frustrated, tired, and miserable but we both shook our heads and started laughing. We couldn't help it.

The medicine had worked: She wasn't sneezing. She was standing at the edge of her crib nearest the door, looking out, saying "Ah-ah-ah-choo" as loud as she could, just to get our attention.

My daughter is trouble. We're in so much trouble.


I'm not who I used to be.

I'm not extremely different from who I used to be but at the same time I'm completely different.

You see, I killed myself.

I was supposed to die. That was the plan. I was supposed to leave for the west coast without any money in my pocket and with nothing more than what I could carry on my back, then I was supposed to disappear in the Washington mountains and wilderness in the middle of January, eventually found by a random passerby.

"Natural causes."

I had to make sure it was natural causes. Frozen to death; stupidity on my part. Not suicide. I couldn't do that to my friends. It'd be easier if I just died, not by my own hand but by my own intention.

Turns out I didn't actually die. Sorry if I spoiled the story for you.

Instead, I found myself meeting person after person who cared. Who helped me make it to the next stop in my journey. I moved forward and when I looked up at the sky at night I huddled deep into my (gifted) down sleeping bag to stay warm while the air was negative ten degrees. I struggled to stay alive. I realized I didn't want to die.

I had given away everything I owned. Moved away from everyone I knew. Got away from the source of the pain. I didn't want to die.

All I had to do was kill off everything I used to be.

I killed myself.

And I came to life.

It's nice to meet you again. I'm Jeremiah. The real me. Finally.

LJ Idol Season 9

Since I've triumphantly returned to LiveJournal on the same day that LJ Idol opened up for a new season, I've decided that I should have some fun with it and re-enter the contest for the third time ever. Hopefully this time I'll do better than the season where I ended up bowing out after the third or fourth entry because I missed the deadline for the second time around.

I look forward to the season!

New Things Are New

I don't write here much anymore. I have two other blogs I use much more, one of which is a personal blog, the other is for my life as a father, and one or two more than that that I use infrequently as well. I've drifted away from LiveJournal, as have so many others.

Still, for some reason this feels like it belongs here.

I'm improving myself. For the first time in a long time I've put things on my to do lists and actually followed through with them for more than just a few days.

I'm getting stronger. Slowly. I'm learning more ASL. Slowly. I'm learning how to play guitar and keyboard. Slowly. Ever so slowly.

And I think that's the key; moving slowly.

The exercises I'm doing are ridiculously low end. I laugh at myself forgetting tired doing them but I do get tired and I do them anyway. I'm doing wall-push-ups, door frame vertical pull-ups, simple leg raises, crunches, chair-seated knee raises. No weights except what my body brings into it and nothing that I can only do one or two of; I do 50 wall-push-ups, 60 of the vertical pull-ups, etc.

And it's working. It shouldn't be; the exercises are such that even the lowliest of wimps would laugh at me, but it is working. I can see definition where there never has been any. I can feel the exercises getting slightly easier as I near the next goal so that I can move to the next step (counter-top push-ups at an angle, for example) and it's amazing.

I'm doing the same thing with keyboard, learning the simplest of chords right now before I jump any further into it.

Guitar I've taken a different approach and I play Rocksmith for an hour or two every day but that's gamifying it which also works for me, just in a different way. Still, even there I'm moving slowly and putting it down the moment I get frustrated, then I'll come back to it later when it's fun again.

My old approach, "go big or go home?" That didn't ever work for me even a little bit. I'd give up quickly or just plain fail.

Now, it's slow and steady.

Let's see if I finish this race, let alone win it.

Mad Skills (or "Why I Stopped Being Scared and Learned to Love the Balm")

For Christmas, Laura thoughtfully bought me a portable art studio, something I didn't realize I wanted. I've been drawing at least a little bit every day, trying new techniques, styles, and mediums. I've found out important things about my drawing skills. Important things like "I have very few art skills."

And that's okay.

I remind myself constantly during the drawings that it's okay to suck; I give myself permission to be bad at art. Sometimes I will actively say to myself "No, that's okay. You can suck. Move on to the next step." And sometimes, when I'm following a tutorial that I realize is way beyond my skill limit, I give myself permission to stop before I get too frustrated.

I've lacked that in my life. If I've given up on something it's been out of frustration. I've always felt that I'm not good enough when I start a new skill (whether it be art, fitness, learning to spin poi, or any hundreds of other things), get frustrated very quickly, and then when I "take a break" it's actually just me stopping, quitting, leaving it behind. Which sucks.

Now, I give myself permission to suck, which means that I don't feel bad when what's on paper doesn't match what's in my head. It will, some day.

Let's Play "Make Believe"

Let's pretend that I'm the 7th richest person in the United States. I was reading today about trying to put huge amounts of money into perspective and I want to play that game. This could get extremely long, so forgive me. I may even use a very rare lj-cut at some point.

Right now, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the 7th richest person in the US, 13th richest in the world with a $27 billion net worth. Let's pretend all of that is liquid for a moment and that none of it is or can be used to make even more money. I now have $27 billion just sitting there, waiting to be spent. What could I do with it?

Well, for starters my favorite vehicle is the BMW Z3. That's about $18,000. It's not a super-luxury car that's going to cost millions of dollars but it's a fun little car that I could definitely enjoy. And hey, if I wanted to switch it out for a different one every month for the rest of my life that would only cost me about $10 million over the course of the rest of my life.

That's a different BMW Z3, purchased every month for the next 50 years for only .03% of my net worth.

Okay, so I have a car now. What about a house?

Well, I don't need much. 10,000 sq feet? A reasonable price would be $200 per square foot for some of the nicer areas of the United States, all the way down to $60 per square foot but let's go on the high end. My 10,000 sq foot "humble" home would cost me $2,000,000. If I want to build it from scratch let's up that to $4,000,000. Let's say $6,000,000 after I furnish it. Reasonable?


Now, I get bored pretty quickly so I'll probably need to build myself a new house every 2 years or so. 25 new homes, $6,000,000 each (because who wants to move the furniture from the previous homes? That's such a hassle! We'll just buy new furniture.). $150 million over the course of 50 years and in the end I have 25 10,000 sq ft houses, fully furnished.

I now have spent $160 million dollars over the course of 50 years. That is 0.6% of my net worth.

Let's get big, then. Let's go really big.

Let's buy an island. That's big, right?

Collapse )

Here's what we end up with:

$13.5 Billion in Charitable Contributions
6 Caribbean Islands
A new home every 2 years
A new car every month for the rest of my life
A Yale education
Extremely fine dining for every meal for the rest of my life (personal chef/professional kitchen at my whim)
$1 billion left for my daughter when I die
New clothes every day for me and everyone in my family
My own private jet, probably several
Every video game ever made
Every movie on DVD
A full, high-end security detail to protect me and my family for the rest of my life
The realization that if it costs less than $10,000,000 the money doesn't even matter a little bit
For example:

  • Personal trainer

  • Fresh flowers delivered daily

  • Fully funding any kickstarter that catches my fancy

  • Lois' education

  • Live-in maid service

  • Buying land for every LARP I enjoy

  • and way more