I Don’t Know What to Call This Blog, But I Don’t Hate Myself Anymore, So That’s Good

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I feel this on a level that I cannot begin to fully articulate, so here it is. Most days, I sort of just feel like a slimy swamp monster, but that may have something to do with the disgusting Daegu weather we’re currently enduring here in South Korea. In case any of you are unfamiliar, Daegu is the HOTTEST FUCKING CITY in South Korea because it sits in a basin surrounded by mountains. Yesterday, it was hotter here than it was in Hanoi, Vietnam, which is, honestly, sort of fucked. I love heat, y’all, and I love the summer, but the past few days in this country have been borderline miserable. I have never been more thankful for an aircon and the money to pay my excruciatingly high electric bill. But, I digress.

The past few weeks have been a true exercise in examining my ridiculous amount of self-doubt and how, surprisingly, it is starting to recede. I am no longer approaching all situations believing I am going to fail or that I will somehow be sub-par at whatever activity I’m engaging in. One of the strange things about the lack of self-doubt now is comprehending just how much was there before it started to disappear. There was a metric fuckton, y’all, and it truly kept me from doing many, many things, like sportsball!

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For those of you late to the “Kara Tries New Things” party, I started playing goalkeeper for the local Gaelic Football team in Daegu and this past weekend was the NAGG (North Asian Gaelic Games) tournament in Seoul. Before the last tournament, I was pants-shitting nervous and the night before this tournament was no different. I wondered why I had chosen to do this, why I was accompanying some incredibly athletes, and why the fuck I ever thought I was good enough to do anything like this for a competitive sports team. Friday night, I remember feeling very torn about my feelings– on the one hand, I had proven myself before, but on the other hand, flukes happen and I was pretty sure that my adequate performance in the previous tournament had been just that– a mistake and a fluke.

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Yet, there I was, eating a kebab at 1:30am in Itaewon, Seoul. I had come. I had committed. I was going to play again. The whole of the next morning, I felt sick. The kebab had sat heavy on my stomach, I didn’t sleep very well as our room did not have air conditioning (refer to the clusterfuck of the summers here in the paragraph above), and I was not feeling confident in my ability. This was only my second tournament and this was, still, the first time I had ever played on a team sport.

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Robert joined me for this tournament and while I know this whole scene isn’t really his style, I am thankful that he was willing to give up most of his weekend to come to Seoul and watch me play sportsball. He carried my football boots for me, he carried my snacks, and he even got me a beer when our final game was over. I am a very lucky woman.

We started playing around 10:40am. We lost our first game to Busan. We lost our second game to Seoul A. I felt like a lot of it was my fault. I conceded goals. I made shitty kickouts. I wasn’t fast enough. I felt like a fucking loser. I felt mad. I was upset I was there and that I had put myself in a position where I knew I would ultimately fail myself and fail my whole fucking team. After the second game, I stewed on myself. I felt agitated, but I tried to get my act together. This wasn’t just about me– this was about a whole team working together and, importantly, having fun. I was ruining the fun for myself by being such an asshole to my own ability. I was THERE. I had shown up. I had made saves. I had made good kickouts. I was doing the best I can.

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At the end of the day, that’s all we can do. We have to do our best. If we are doing our best, if we are trying our hardest to succeed when the world wants us to fail, when we want ourselves to fail, that’s good enough. At least, that’s good enough for me. So, I changed my attitude. I stopped being shitty to myself. Mistakes happen. I am not perfect, and even EPL goalkeepers concede goals sometimes. I dusted myself off. I got back out on the field, and we played three more games.

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photo credit: nana kim @noddingnana

We won our game against Seoul B. Our next game was against the aggressive, talented, and fast Busan, who had already defeated us earlier in the day. If we beat Busan, we went on to face Seoul A in the finals for the championship. If we lost to Busan, we would play Seoul B for third place.

And then it happened. We beat Busan. We were going to the finals.

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photo credit: nana kim @noddingnana

Before I talk about the final match, I need to say something about the women in this picture. No matter how many mistakes I made, no matter how many times I doubted myself, one of them was always there to give me a word of encouragement. I was free to be the silly, vulgar, and crude mess I am without a hint of judgement from any of them. After every single game, one of them said something kind to me and made me feel like I was really part of something special– I felt like I belonged on a team. I didn’t feel like some sort of scrub that stumbled onto a field, even though that’s sort of what I am. Joining Gaelic was worth it for me simply for experiencing the kind of camaraderie that comes with playing together for the same victory. They are all so wonderful, talented, and ferociously fierce. I am honored I’ve shared a field with them twice now. I’m lucky I get to wear a Daegu Fianna jersey.

We lost the final game to Seoul A. We came second. I am so proud.

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Thanks, Daegu Fianna, for being a force of good in my desire to change my life.

After the tournament we went out and partied. Of course.

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I definitely drank way too much wine.

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Robert and I even took the rest of our wine to go.

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We also managed to make it back to Daegu on a train from Seoul at 5:05am. Our friend, Ross, called us “homing pigeons,” because Robert and I have a tendency to do this– we go somewhere, drink too much, decide we don’t want to be there, and try to make it back to our house. This time was successful. Other times have not been so successful.

Lately, I’ve sort of felt like a different person because I don’t hate myself anymore. I walk past mirrors and I do not hate the body I see reflected back at me. I see pictures of myself and instead of seeing all of my flaws, I see the power of my thighs. I see the muscles in my arms. I see a person who is determined to make their life different than it was before. That is who I am now. I like CrossFit. I like challenging myself. I like pushing myself. I like intermittent fasting. I like talking about all of these things because I find them helpful, exciting, and motivating. I don’t hate myself anymore. After 30 years of vile and vicious self-loathing, I am finally breaking free. This weekend, this whole excursion through Gaelic, through CrossFit, through gaining control over my relationship with food, I am shedding the weight of years of self-doubt and disdain. It is a good feeling.

I am learning a lot about myself through this whole journey, physically and emotionally. I am learning that the voice inside my head that tells me I should hate myself is a liar. I am learning that I should be confident, that I am worthy. I am learning that I do not have to be so hard on myself, that everyone makes mistakes. I am learning to not tolerate myy own brand of bullshit and it is just so fucking liberating. It’s only going to get better from here. I am only going to get better.

Be kind to yourselves, y’all.

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photo credit: nana kim @noddingnana
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Resurrection

resurrection: the act of causing something that had ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again, to be used again, etc.

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Hello.

I didn’t think I  would actively touch this blog again. In fact, after reading through older entries, looking at my older pictures in my media library, and really examining the content, I didn’t know if I WANTED to assume the identity of the Heavy Hipster again. She seemed so separate from me, so different from who I am right now as a 29 year old. I started this blog in January of 2011. I was 24 years old. I was a vegetarian/vegan. I had just started running. I was in a completely different relationship. I was in graduate school. I had a dog. I had a huge kitchen in a basement apartment in Richmond, KY. I had a dog. My main goal, at that time, regardless of what I told myself, was getting skinny. I wanted to be skinny. I wanted to be hot. No matter what I read in my older entries, I know my intentions– I wanted to be nice to look at. Then, that life fell apart. The relationship ended. I moved into another apartment in Richmond. I ate fried chicken in Louisiana, ending my 3 years as a vegetarian/vegan. My dog went to live with another family. I graduated. From there, life sort of became a spiral. I stopped running. For lack of a better phrase, I stopped giving a fuck. I eventually moved to South Korea and, as many people know, my life has been shifting and changing as I start to figure out who I *really* am and not who I thought I was. I never thought I would find interest in taking up the banner of The Heavy Hipster once more.

But I have.

While there are a lot of things about my previous blog entries I don’t agree with or identify with anymore, there are still certain aspects of The Heavy Hipster that I still am or want to continue to embody. For example, I was determined and I was so honest about my flaws and my fuck-ups. I wasn’t afraid of strong language or expressing myself, whether it be negative or positive. I wanted to be inspirational. I wanted to change. I tried new foods, new activities. I ran races and pushed myself. I still am or still want to be those things. A few years does not change the core characteristics of me.

So, here’s where I am now. I am currently 29 years old– I just turned 29, actually. I live in Daegu, South Korea and I’ve been here for almost 2 years. I live downtown in a nice apartment with my fantastic partner, Robert. I am an English teacher at a middle school academy and I love my job.  I am an omnivore, but I am trying to eat more ethically. I’m running again and am in the first stages of training for the Ulsan Human Rights Half in November. I’m mostly living on a high fat/protein with low carb diet, but I still love beer as much as I did 5 years ago. I also have an extreme Americano addiction. I want to be healthy, mentally and physically. I’ve realized exercise is just as connected to my mental health as it is my physical health and I am trying to really create good habits when it comes to consistent exercise. I own kettlebells. I own a bike named Maverick. I’m also a lazy asshole when I want to be. I haven’t had a cigarette in over two weeks. I also have a way of getting Reese’s cups and hoarding them in my freezer. I currently have 7 kinds of cheese in  my refrigerator. I may have a problem.

In order to fall in line with the Heavy Hipster Habits of old, I’m going to attempt to tell you about the fuckshit hike I took this weekend and how it’s forced me to think about the bigger picture, regardless of how much I bitched and groaned while it was happening. It is a dear friend’s birthday this weekend, and he wanted to go hiking, so he picked the Gayasan National Park, which is about 45 minutes away from Daegu by car. He and his lovely girlfriend, who is also one of my dear friends, retrieved me from my apartment around 7am. Let me preface this with some cold, hard facts: the night before, I drank 4 or 5 beers and slept maybe 4 hours. I did not eat any breakfast. I had researched the hike, it said it was about 2 hours and 30 minutes and was a low difficulty hike. As a result, I HUGELY underestimated the difficulty of this course and the effort I would have to put in. The website lied. It was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve ever undertaken. It was fucking HARD. And, it took 6.5 hours as we went up one side and came down the other, so we ended up going around 7 miles (11k). We were the red line.

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I had to really push myself yesterday. There were times I wanted to give up and let the bugs take me. There were times I wanted to throw myself off of the mountain in order to avoid the walk back down the other side. But, as it always happens, once  I got to the top of the mountain, I was overwhelmed by the feat I had accomplished and just how damn beautiful it was. We picked one of the hottest days to hike this– Korea released a heat advisory and we had no idea. Although I am sunburnt, my calves are sore as fuck, and I still feel very much destroyed, I am sort of in awe of myself and my continuous endurance. I am about 90% sure I couldn’t have done that hike last year. I’m about 100% sure I couldn’t have done it two years ago. I have changed so fucking much it’s kind of unbelievable sometimes.

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It was hot. It was hard. But, I did it. And I would do it again. I also had some bad ass company to help me along the way when shit got too difficult.

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These two are the titties for real.

Before we went up the mountain, though, we went to Haeinsa Temple, which is one of the coolest places I’ve been in Korea thus far. It houses the Tripitaka Koreana, which is considered a treasure in Korea.

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So, there you have it. The first real installment of the newly-resurrected Heavy Hipster. I appreciate any of you all still reading who have been with me for the past 5 years. What would you like to see more of? Or hear more about? Feel free to leave a comment or message me directly!

Stay Healthy, y’all.