Health Cannot Be Rooted in Self-Hate

It is not a secret that I am not kind to myself. This is an aspect of my personality that I have been working on throughout the past year. Some days, I am better at it. Other days, I find myself in the center of a hate spiral that has been building for days. One of the things I’ve learned about self-improvement is that it does not occur overnight. You don’t have an epiphany and then everything changes and you never doubt yourself again. I wish that was how it works, but it’s not. It takes time, it takes kindness, and it definitely does not benefit from self-hate.

I have let self-hate drive a large part of my life for a very long time. I have allowed it to convince me that I am not worthy of many things. I have allowed it to convince me that the love of my life, who loves me very much, will eventually run away when he figures out I’m actually not that smart. I have allowed self-hate to permeate every single part of my life and sometimes, it’s shocking when I find it hidden somewhere in my life I thought was safe from my own negative, and often vile, self-talk. Exercising and health are apparently not safe from this self-hate and I witnessed it in myself last week.

There is a woman in Daegu that I have grown to dislike simply because she’s beautiful, thin, and well-liked. This goes against everything in my feminist repertoire. But, it is important that I understand and address what it is so I can move beyond it. But, this woman has been present when I’ve been disgusted with myself– disgusted with how fat I am or how gross I feel. It’s comparable to being back in 9th grade and thinking all of my problems would be solved if I was just thin and pretty like other girls. I compare myself to this person constantly and it’s not healthy. She’s done nothing to me. She’s a perfectly lovely person. But, I have allowed myself to make her the villain and that’s just not fair to her or to me.

I truly grasped the gravity of this situation when, last week, I was running intervals on the treadmill in a gym. I was struggling through one of the last intervals of my workout (which was 40 minutes long, by the way) and instead of giving myself a good inner pep talk about how I can do this, I automatically chastised myself and thought “Well, she could do this. If you did this more, you would look like her.” I finished the interval, but I hated myself. That is not the point of exercise and it is definitely not the kind of health I’m looking for– I don’t want my health to be rooted in hating someone else, or hating myself. That’s not health. That’s punishing myself for not looking like someone else. It’s just another way to tear myself down.

I want to run because it makes me feel good when I’ve done something difficult. I want to run because with every step I take, my heart and legs and body are getting stronger. I don’t want to run to look like someone else or to accomplish what it is to be normally beautiful. I don’t want to push myself through a hard run so I’ll be thin like her or her or her. I want to push myself through a hard run because I want to accomplish things that are hard. I can do hard things.

If my health is rooted in self-hate, then it is not healthy. It is not for me. I want my health to be rooted in a desire to maintain the best lifestyle possible, to keep my brain happy, to keep my lungs open. Using someone else to fill the void of self-hate will not work for me, and I am adding it to the list of things that will no longer stand in my life. I want to be all versions of healthy, not just the outward version. I don’t want to dislike people simply because they’re thin and beautiful as much as I don’t want people to assume I’m a sloth because I’m overweight. My health cannot take shape at the expense of hating myself, or someone else. It won’t sustain itself.

I had a great week this week after the treadmill incident, after I saw what could happen to me if I allowed that kind of mindset to build and grown into a monster. I was gentler with myself. I danced in my kitchen to The Fitness Marshall’s sweat set. I won trivia with my team. I played the best game of soccer I’ve ever played– proof I am improving mentally and physically. I’ve enjoyed the autumn sunshine walking to work. I ran 5k on Saturday. On Sunday, I got up early, hangover free, and hiked a mountain.

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I’ve been, for the most part, feeding my body with good foods. I’ve been seeking creative outlets. I’ve been keeping up with my bullet journal and it has helped so much. I’ve been planning with Rob for the future. Rob and I cleaned the hell out of our apartment. I didn’t drink all week. I’ve been trying to look forward at things I can change and control instead of obsessing over the past– over things I ate, runs I didn’t do, or anything else I can find to dismantle my progress. I have control over the future. I can change and grow and bloom and break free of the bullshit chains I’ve placed on myself. I am not weak. I am not a person who hates others because of their appearance. I refuse to be that person. I refuse to be molded and hardened by a society that wants to tear people down because of how they don’t feel or look or think. I won’t.

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If yesterday showed me one thing, one great thing, it is that I am fucking capable of anything, even if it feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m on fire. The only person who can stop me is me and I will not be stopped.

Have a great week, y’all.

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The Blur of October: Starting Over

img_3419Hey, y’all. It’s been a hot second and a half, but I figured it’s about time to write an update about how my life is going, well or otherwise. It hasn’t been going well, but being honest has always been one of my main tenants for keeping a weight loss blog, or an emotional blog. Since September, my life has been kind of a clusteruck whirlwind, and while I am tempted to be angry with myself for how far I’ve allowed myself to backslide, self-love is probably the most important in times of disappointment.

In the middle of September, I took a two week trip to Kentucky to see my family and to experience Kentucky as it turned to fall. Unfortunately for me, it stayed fuckall hot while I was there, but being in Kentucky was simply amazing. I ate all of the food, drank all of the craft beer, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with my friends. I managed to keep away from cigarettes, I ran a couple of times, but at the end of the trip, I rolled my ankle at a restaurant and put myself out of running commission for well over a week. It was then I sort of knew that I was probably out of the running for the Ulsan Half Marathon, which was my ultimate goal.

By the way, that race was yesterday and I didn’t run it.

After I got back, I had a much harder time of adjusting to Korea again than I had before. I didn’t sleep well; when I slept, it was either from 2:00am-3:30am or from 11am-3:30pm. I was living on sleeping pills, I was extremely depressed, and I started feeling like I was going crazy. October was a hard month for me, but in addition, October is also a party month here. Every single weekend, there was some sort of shenanigan happening– birthdays, award ceremonies, weddings. You name it, October had it. Before I get into the logistics of October, and my feelings throughout the month, I want to preface this with a statement: October was fun. I spent time with the greatest friends in the world and a lot of good, lovely things were part of my life in October.

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But, instead of counteracting my depression with exercise and eating well, I allowed myself to totally abandon my goals and slip into a place that has proven very hard to escape. Instead of exercising, eating well, and confronting my issues, I turned back to one of my old habits, which was drinking my issues away. I ran less than 5 times in the month of October. I ate bullshit. I drank Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays.I had gone 90 days without a cigarette and in a moment of self-destruction, I caved and had one. I spent a lot of October hating myself, and, as a consequence, my depression, and the side effects, got worse.

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I couldn’t focus. I shied away from my closest people. I tried to keep my problems in my head instead of allowing my friends around me in, to comfort me. I couldn’t find justification for how I felt. Wasn’t I happy? Didn’t I have everything? But, depression doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t show up when things are going poorly and disappear when things are going my way.

I spent October feeling like a fat failure but without any sort of gumption to change or fix the way I was acting or living. I had reached a point of not giving a flying fuck about myself again. A lot of my unhappiness was in the notion that I wasn’t running my half, I had a cigarette, I drank too much, and I punished myself. I punished myself by mentally letting go and fully engaging in the hate cycle and when I had enough, I was so determined to get through it on my own that I didn’t trust my closest people to help me through it. I live in a vicious world of high standards and a low threshold of self forgiveness.

After many conversations with my best friends, and after many evenings spent listless, I am starting to drag myself, albeit kicking and screaming, out of this dark place. I started keeping track of my bullet journal again. I’ve started making food in my house again. I’ve started sleeping at regular intervals again, communicating again, and tonight, I ran again. It was hard.

It was so tempting afterward,  after 2.2 miles felt terrible and like death, and I had run almost 7 miles before America, to tear into myself, to tear myself down with venom and rage because I was not what I was 2 months ago. But, I didn’t. One of my main focus points in the next few weeks, is to gently and calmly start reconstructing my schedule. Slowly, but surely, putting the pieces back into place where I know I will be the most successful. I am not a punching bag for myself; I would not tolerate the kind of toxic behavior I force myself to endure, from myself, from someone else.

It’s time to rebuild, even if it is grueling and hard. It’s time to take care of myself, even when the desire to collapse is at its strongest. It’s also time to love myself with a kind of ferocity I’ve never had before and realize now, more than ever, that my weight does not define who I am. A bad run does not make me a failure. Eating a carbohydrate does not mean that I am weak. I am not a perfect person, I am insanely flawed, and for fuck’s sake, that’s okay.

October, you were rough on me. You were fun, drunk, and an absolute blur. But, it’s time to take up the reigns of self-care and get back to it.

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November, show me what you got.

 

 

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.