Dual Identity

As a child, I would play this game with my friends where I had a twin brother named Kevin. He was the cooler, slightly older brother, by twelve minutes, and he was liked. I’m not saying that I wasn’t liked, but Kevin seemed to give me a safe place as not to get hurt.

I was a sensitive child and was easy to make cry. Not only that, but I was easily pushed around, and I would get beat up, even by the girls. It was looked at as a sign of weakness, and would add on to the humiliation that I had already been enduring. At this time of my life, I was seven and this was the first time I had ever really felt that dreaded sense of loneliness, and the first thoughts of taking my own life.

I can’t remember if it was before this or just some time after that I started to pretend that I had a twin, but he felt like he was the best parts of me, and non of the parts that people seemed to focus on. He never manifested at school though, and living on a military base, there where biases about enlisted children, being one myself, on a base full of officers.

I never realized that classism was one of the first factors of discrimination that I ever faced. Oh and the fact that I was over weight contributed to others forms of bullying(I find writing about this gives me a reflection of things I never realized). Yet, being a target of bullying followed me pretty much my whole life.

When we moved away from Okinawa, Kevin kind of disappeared. I don’t know if it was that I thought that a new place, new beginnings mentality was in place, but I was willing to see where things would progress. On to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I got the nick name Okie, but coming from where I had been, I felt that it was something that I was being made fun of, and I didn’t like it. I was sensitive, and being on the defensive was always something I came up to know.

I had been in Rapid City for about a year when I was rejected by my crush, and being a kid, I was careless on my bike and with that I got into an accident and almost died. I had broken multiple bones, and suffered from severe head trauma. I was in a coma for about three weeks because of it.

Now, this is where things are unclear, because I don’t remember things very well from this time, but I don’t know if I was just being inattentive, or if I had another suicidal thought, but this accident changed me. I became a different person due to the trauma I suffered. My parents basically compared it to going from the “light side” to the “dark side of the force.” All humor aside, I became a far more cynical person. My humor had gotten different, and I reacted differently to things.

Now when someone suffers from a head injury, processing emotions and empathy become more difficult, and can at times be lacking(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mouse-man/201001/traumatic-brain-injury-leads-problems-emotional-processing). At the time I didn’t understand, but as I’ve recently seen my mom go through the same thing, I’ve been enlightened by this. 

Lacking the emotional reactions, explain quite a  bit as I’ve had troubles when it’s come to my own kids getting hurt at times. I’ve gotten better about it over the years, but now I understand my lack of reaction to these events.

So, I worked hard to get through my injuries, and I had to relearn to do basic things, like going to the bathroom, I also had struggled to learn how to do class work because I would process things slower. I also had to relearn to walk as I broke my pelvis in two spots, and took a chunk out of my femur bone.

I had viewed my life as I was still quite unpopular, and I struggled, because all I had ever done my whole life was wanting to fit in. One summer, a friend suggested that I tell a little lie to help gain confidence, and I basically reinvented “Kevin”, only this time it was my story. I told one little lie and it helped, then I told another, and after a while I got popular, and too be honest, high school at the time felt good to be on top, but I really didn’t like who I became, and how I treated the people who really did care about me the most.

After high school, we moved to California, and I decided that I was going to be who I was and that honesty was the best policy. The funny thing was, that I had become the best of myself, and my alter ego. That’s who I am today, and with the events that have sculpted my life, I’m just getting better every day.

This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

See the Stage, Hear the Critics

It’s funny, because I just did a podcast about this very subject tonight, as well as a few unexpected things in the process.

I’ve been asked about the backlash of sharing my mental health struggles, and how I deal with those things. I also get asked if I’m ever afraid of how being so open about them could negatively affect my livelihood, and how I would react to that as well. The simplest way to start, is to say that I started to share my story and struggles in hopes that it would save a life. That’s where it all started, and I had the duel purpose of helping me sort out myself.

People don’t like to talk about mental health issues; it’s not something that people can see, usually, and honestly, it’s not something that people who don’t deal with it can understand. Yes, I’m aware that having come out and say that I’ve had a few suicidal episodes, that it has opened Pandora’s Box, and yes I understand that it can, and does bring some harsh judgement with it. Truth be told, I’ve yet to deal with someone who’s actually had something negative to my face about it. Is it because we live in a world with mature adults, full of understanding? No. Could they be afraid to talk to me about it because they think I could go crazy on them? That I can’t answer.

I do notice that there are people in the professional world, who seem to lack a bit of maturity when dealing with a co-worker, like at Wal-Mart, and I remember observing the same when I worked at Kmart, so before anybody thinks that I’m mentioning specific people, I’m not. I also notice that there are few that actually have the courage to say something to somebody’s face. Society doesn’t tend to like one-on-one confrontation. In a way I guess that could be a survivalist way to go about the day, because you never know who’s having that one bad day that could turn into something far worse.

Back to the story at hand; yes, I’m aware that I opened Pandora’s Box, and to be honest I’m glad that I’m open about it. It’s given me such a wheel to start a dialogue with people who are afraid to speak up about their struggles with depression, and the other uncomfortable emotions that can go with that. I know that people tend to focus on the negative, but my story isn’t about where I was, it’s about how I survived. That’s one thing I think people should try to understand about me, I survived.

People have said that they’ve thought about taking their own lives before, and I know that it isn’t uncommon to have that glimmer even for a moment, and not taking that away from anybody struggling with those thoughts, it becomes a different story when it’s been reoccurring since I was seven. I survived, and I’m better than I was. So, I have no shame in the choice to be open about it, and I never will, again.

I had someone confide to me on messenger one time and tell me that it was nice to know that going through those grueling times I came out on top, and it had inspired them to seek the help they needed. There it was, the reward I got for writing about it, and talking openly about it, someone had sought the help they needed. That is exactly the reason I do what I do. People copy and paste on Facebook about doing buddy checks to know who they could talk to, or to show that they are an option. I stopped copying and pasting, and simply replay, that is why I do what I do. Those friends who I respond too already know what the CK Project is about, some of them where there while I was in the bad spots.

This is more than a copy and paste to me. By the time I was a year into my absence of work, seven people that I knew, or knew someone I was associated with had killed themselves. People will never know how bad I felt knowing this, I had distant family members pass this way, people I liked, and I felt worse because I had thought that way. This is why I do what I do, because I saved someone from over dosing on pills, and I was able to help talk them down and get them the help they needed. I felt like Superman. I felt like the figures I had looked up to my entire life, the characters who had helped me build the strong ethic and moral code that I live by. I saved a life that day.

Sure people are critical, and they think that I should keep my “issues” silent, but why would I ever do that when I saved a life? Can the critics honestly say that? Can they say they chose to listen and help someone off the ledge of the building that could have costed someone their very essence in this world? This is why I do what I do. This is a purpose that I honestly feel I was put on this Earth for. I’m here to help and inspire people, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the better part of eight years now. That way when I saved the first person from making a bad decision.

Everything else came along as I grew and evolved, even when I had my break down, all that ever did was make me stronger in the end. It took that period at “rock bottom” to help me develop what I needed to be motivated, and take initiative to find out who I truly was. While I don’t have the powers of a comic book hero, my gift is that I’m wiling to stand up and be brave enough to reach out a hand in friendship and guidance. Being someone who’s gone through hell and come out the other side, has given me a bit of insight and understanding on the struggles in life.

I think it’s human nature to be self destructive, and it takes so much work to get out of that habit. So, I’ll stand here and say it as loud as possible, I’m Chris Keeling, and I’m a survivor of having self hatred and self destructive tendencies. How can I help?

Twenty Pounds Worth of Plastic

So, on May fourth was my seventeen month check up, and I had dropped another one and a half pounds since the last time I personally checked. So that put me at 265, and I was excited. My hard work continues to pay off, it’s just not as fast at it once was. Though the numbers continue to help motivate me to keep going.

Things have happened that kept me from getting to this blog started on May sixth.

While I was there the subject of skin removal had come up by the doctor, and he told me that removing stomach skin would take off an additional twenty pounds. This was exciting, but at the same time anxious news. While the idea of losing my extra skin sounds great from the vanity point of view, doing my observation on the weight loss support groups has shown me that the procedure has a a painful recovery time.

The recovery time is six weeks from what I gather, and that would mean that another six weeks of my life would be put on hold. While that doesn’t sound that bad considering the ultimate pay off, it still puts a tinge of nervousness on me. I know that I will go through it, as I plan on continuing to the final parts of this weight loss process, and I know that I still have about six months, if not more, to decide when I’ll get it done.

Continuing on the subject of my weight loss journey, I was on Instagram last week, and I saw on the West Medical page that yours truly was the transformation Tuesday for them. I was in shock, but I do remember telling them that they could use me as an example, especially since I seem to be doing my journey the right way. I needed up checking it out on Twitter as well, and I tweeted them and asked them if I could get on a billboard once I reached my goal weight.

To me, that just gives the CK Project that much more legitimacy, and it shows that my hard work is paying off. Hard work, that doesn’t always come easy. There are times I want to quit, and give up on everything. There are times that I still feel like I’m at 429. I was told just yesterday that it should take about seven years for me to get out of that mind set. In the end, I know that I have this, even if it’s a struggle at times.

Now to the point of why this blog has taken so long to get out: I’ve been mentally at a spot that I haven’t felt comfortable about where the pressures in life have been coming from. I’ve felt in adequate, and I can’t really pin point the source of why I’ve been feeling that way.

The last two weekends, my sleep schedule has been shit. I haven’t been able to shut my mind off, and it’s been difficult not thinking about everything under the moon. I hope that the steps that I’ve taken to forward myself professionally works out the way I would like. I’ve had to take a step back and look at all the factors in my life, and formulate a five year plan. So far, it’s too early to see those results, as it’s just starting.

The strange part about my decision was that it was never apart of the over scheme for my life, and I said that I never would take that leap. God, things really have changed for me over the last year and a half. So much has happened that has been unexpected, and here I am, finding a different passion, and connection to life. This journey continues to take me places that I find surprise me, and the choices that I make.

For the last thoughts on this blog today is that I started a challenge that I found on Tumblr, while I’m in someone’s challenge there, I reached out on my various social media pages, and posted a fun challenge called The No Zero Day May challenge. The challenge consists of doing some sort of physical activity everyday during the month of May, no rest. You can do a light walk, as a rest day, but the challenge is to keep it going all month.

The awesome part is that I have three people that I personally know taking this challenge, and I’m excited to see their results everyday. My friend Terry has taken this challenge and is kicking so much ass, and his results are making me proud. He’s been my friend for over twenty-years and I’ve seen his health go down hill, that to hear that his weight is dropping and his blood sugar numbers are going down, is a gift unto itself.

I can’t believe that we’re already almost half way through the year already. It’s crazy to see how things are going so fast. I’m not ready for my oldest to graduate next month, and then become a legal adult. Anyway, this is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Running With Fifteen Seconds To Go

The unknown is something that can be scary, and with the fact that I’ve come a long way since the last time I had to do a run for work, the fat person inside of me kept telling me that I couldn’t do it. Everyone kept telling me that I could in fact make the run because I had been keeping active, walking ten-thousand steps a day. Also the fact that I’ve lost so much weight and I’m in better shape than I have been since high school. Everyone was saying that I could do it….

As much as I’ve grown over the last five years, and the bounds over the last couple, I still have so much to do. I appreciate the support that I get, and even with my-self doubt, it sometimes takes a perspective that I won’t normally get. I was told that no matter what happened, I already got further than I had before, and I should be proud of what I accomplished. That was the right thing that I needed to hear, and to that individual, thank you so much. It did help get me out of my head.

I have a great support system, and to be honest, I’ve got an amazing group of friends that I get to call my co-workers. It wasn’t always the feeling I got, but I can say that I’ve learned just how amazing some of those people are. To those people who were there to run and support me, thank you. You helped get me to the end, even when I wanted to give up.

So now the question is where do I go from here? What’s the next step in my evolution process? I know that I’m going for a promotion, which could get me about $10,000 more per year. This will help me for so many things that I’ve got going on in my life right now, meaning three brands, paying off debts, bettering my family’s situation. It only makes since that I take that next step.

So, if we do the mental check list, so far I’ve gone and done a huge over haul of my mental health, and I’ve also done an over haul of my physical health. It only makes sense that I work on improving the professional side of things. I feel that with the whole self improvement concept, that would be the next step. Going for a promotion will also put me on an unlikely career path, but I’m coming up with a game plan and I think that this will be a step in the right direction while I fix the rest of my life.

Motivation is the only way to accomplish everything in life. Since the surgery, I’ve slowly become more and more motivate to do things. It’s strange to realize how much more I motivated I am about obtaining my goals in life. I can’t believe that I ever tried to settle for the “safe” path, and not continue on to grab for a greater glory.

I get that people suggesting going the “safe” path generally mean well, but at the same time, in hindsight, I wonder why they never decided to pursue their dreams? Is it because they are afraid to take the risks necessary to fulfill their dreams? The old cliche, “nothing worth doing is ever easy,” remains true.

While I don’t talk about my career directly, it’s just a job that pays the bills. Now what I do for a living everybody knows; I’m a motivational personality, a filmmaker, and professional geek. If it wasn’t for me following my passions, I wouldn’t be alive today. These things are what literally saved my life.

So, how does this all attribute to my weight loss journey? How does this apply to mental health? That’s simple, everything I do, tends to be interlinked with each other. Physically, if you feel better, than your mental state tends to follow. I was surprised at what kind of changes the surgery brought to my mental state. I’m a changed person. People who’ve only known me for about a year, have mentioned how different I am, and I continue to evolve.

The weight loss journey has introduced me to a community of like minded individuals, and I love the support we all have for each other. I met this one person who I’ve been following on Twitter for the last several months go from about 240 pounds, and she weighed-in last week at just under 200. It was exciting to see her video reaction at the news. I was proud, and I feel like a cheer leader with watching her and her enthusiasm that she presents everyday as she takes that step forward. Cabi, if you do get to read this, well done. I’m glad that I get to experience you journey with you.

With that being said, tomorrow I get to go to my next weigh-in with the doctor, and we are going into day four of our No Zero Day May challenge. The challenge is for whoever participates in the challenge to have at least thirty-minutes of activity everyday for the whole month of may. I got this challenge off  Tumblr and I presented it to my various social medias. I’ve gotten participation from people on Facebook, and I’ve been reached out too on Twitter as well. We are trying this as our first group challenge, and we are going to see how well it goes. If it runs smoothly, I will have more challenges going, and I’ll offer some sort of prize in the future, and hopefully it will motivate people to participate more.

This is the Director and that’s a wrap.

 

Uncharted Territory!

As I write this, I’m in total awe at the fact that did a weigh-in today and saw 266.5. I had to have my personal trainer double check for me because I can’t seem to process these numbers anymore.

I’m living in a surreal time of my weight loss journey. I wonder does this happen to anybody else? I’ve always been good with math, yet the numbers on the scale look foreign to me. It’s taking longer to process if I really did lose the weight, or if I gained, even if the numbers did go down. It’s strange and exciting to see numbers that I’ve never seen before and the reward of knowing that I’m that much closer to my goals are just that much more fulfilling.

I’m always asked how do I feel? As I’ve said several times before, physically I feel great, but it’s so much more than just the physical. Mentally, I’m more on point than I have ever been. I haven’t had a sever depressed episode since about the time of my recovery of having the gastric sleeve done. I’ve heard people suffer from a depressed state in later years for one reason or another, like the skin is hanging too loose, or that the weight has been gained back.  I wonder if some people just can’t remember why they had the surgery in the first place? I know that when I made the decision to get the sleeve, that it was going to be a life change. I knew that I was going to have to change several of the fundamentals of my personal belief system to succeed.

Part of succeeding was to learn how to get out of my own head about things. I was well enough versed in my own mind to know that I had to be willing to accept the changes that needed to happen when it came to food. I knew that I couldn’t use food as a drug to get me through the tough times that I would face in the future. I’ll be the first to admit that there were times that I didn’t think I was going to be strong enough to make it, and I had to battle that in my mind for a long time as well.

The first hurdle that I had to over come was the concept of not eating and drinking at the same time. Yes, I realize that I sometimes still do, but nowhere near the amount I used to, and if I get too carried away, then I’m the first to feel the regret of my choices. Surprisingly, I thought this was the biggest choice that I had to make.

The second choice, which you would think would be the first is accepting that food wasn’t the answer to everything. Using it as a drug to cope with various situations in life wasn’t as hard as I thought. I’ll admit to also occasionally grabbing a snack, even if I don’t need it, but then I catch myself afterward to remind me not to do it again. I see that old habits try to sneak back in at times, at least I’m more aware of myself than I was before.

Getting back to the point at hand, I’m in a place in my journey that I can’t seem to comprehend. It feels so good to know that I’ve gotten to a place that I don’t even remember seeing 266 on any weight scale while in school. It’s amazing to know that my hard work as paid off, as I’ve seen and compared my blood results from the past two physicals that I’ve had done, and the numbers are so different. Life is so exciting, and I wish all my problems where that easy.

If you ask anyone who’s been successful in the weight loss surgery department, they’ll tell you that it was the best decision in their lives. If you ask them what triggered them to do that, you might get similar answers. Mine was I got to a point that I was afraid that I’d get so bad that I would never be able to come back from it. The fear of death is a big motivator. This kind of change is good, and don’t let anyone tell you that getting weight loss surgery is “taking the easy way out”. There’s a reason it’s called a tool, and that’s just to get you jump started on a new path to help lose the weight, and I’ll only give the surgery for about eighty pounds of my weight loss. I know for a fact that my success is from the fact that I bust my ass and put the work in.

Putting the work in hasn’t just paid off in the weight loss department, but mentally it has affected me too. It’s given me a focus that doesn’t allow me to get depressed like I used too, plus it’s motivated others, which in turn seems to keep me motivated to do more. The comments from people seeing me walk around and telling me that it’s been a topic at where they work, makes me feel pretty good.

Another aspect with everything I’m doing with my weight loss has made me a better person. I’m being told that a change in the way I present myself is noticeable. I’ve noticed that I’ve become a better friend, a better husband, and a better father. I find that I’ve become more passionate about life, and the things that I do. I get excited to share all the deeds that I’m currently obtaining in life with my co-workers. I find confidence in how I interact with people, and I no longer apologize for who I am.

I’ve always had a strong personality, and I often say that I’m hard to forget. While some of the things I say can appear that I’m a bit conceded and I have an ego. I don’t feel that I have to say sorry for who I am. This is what makes me the person I am. I’m happy to help people, and show them a way to a better self, if only they give me the chance to provide that guidance. The best part is that people are noticing that I’m going somewhere, and that I’m always willing to take them along on this journey. This is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Connecting Flights on The Weight Loss Journey

Sometimes, we get wonder what it is that puts us on this earth and wonder what’s our purpose here? For as long as I remember, I’ve always wanted to entertain, and make people happy. As I got older and matured, I was fascinated with the idea of causing different emotions by my performances. There was something that was always intoxicating about the power of influence.

I’ve also always wanted to help people, sometimes that ended up being a fault, because not everyone wants help, and they’d throw it in my face, or take advantage of my good graces. So, I’ve become cautious over the years because of it. The expression of experience is the best teacher is very true, almost unfortunate to a fault at times. I’ve had a lot of lessons taught to me because of this.

Sometimes, these lessons come in unexpected ways, and lessons that I wouldn’t expect happened. I had a time where I felt like I stopped growing and learning, and it caused me to be unsatisfied. In all honesty, I would love for Luckey Bom Films to be the thing that takes me where I want to go in life, but I think the divine plan is to have The CK Project is where I’m truly going to make my mark in this world, which is just as worthy to be an end goal.

This has been an incredible journey so far, and I’ve met some of the most inspiring and beautiful people by taking this journey, by sharing, and supporting others who are trying to be more healthy. I think one of the most interesting things about the weight loss journey is that there are many ways to get there, and there is no one right way to get to the ultimate goal. I think that those who lose the weight without weight loss surgery is awe inspiring. That’s not to take away from those of us who had the surgery because it takes just as much work to lose the weight, the surgery is just the “tool” to help get the jump start on the journey.

Being involved with the weight loss community, especially for those who had the surgery. I’ve had networked with all these people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and these people inspire me to do better. The voyage has made us a type of family, bonded by the fact that we share similar experiences. For some of us, the weight was gained because of depression, and that’s why we appreciate what the journey has done for us. These beautiful souls still have  doubts that they’ll make it through the process. Hell, I have days that I think I won’t make it, and another commonality I see is that there are times we all view ourselves as the heaviest version of ourselves, and I’ve discovered that is something that doesn’t ever really seem to leave.

I’ve seen some people give up on the journey as they felt that they’ve lost all the weight they will ever, and sometimes that brings part, if not all the weight back for others. As long as people find their happiness, then I’m happy for them because it’s important to be happy. I still remember what it’s like to not be happy with myself, and the rage that came with it. I just know that I’m not ready to stop, until  I get to the ultimate goal.

I think the biggest motivator for me is the fact that I’m in competition with myself. I’m pushed by the numbers that I see, because I feel that in the least, I should be able to hit the bare minimum, and yes, I’ve not had motivation to get even the minimum some days. Having those lazy days is what makes us human, and I’m not ashamed. I remember making excusing as to why I wasn’t doing something, and again there are days that I find myself doing that, but at least it isn’t the end of the world. In that end, I do keep pushing myself to do better, and find ways to grow, even in ways I never expected.

Even if the weight loss journey has established me in a community, it’s even more amazing how much it’s effected the rest of my life. I find losing the weight and having a better self-image, has lead me to being a better parent, and husband. It’s helped me better in my creative endeavors as well. That motivation has shown me what I’m capable of doing, and I want to see how far I can take it.

To those whom I am in communications with in the weight loss journey category, I want to say thank you for the words of encouragement. I’ve enjoyed watching you in your successes and I feel blessed to be able to add to your support system. Nobody should have to go through something like this by themselves. There should be nothing but support and encouragement, because it’s the fertilizer that helps with personal growth. It’s a shame we live in a world where more people want to be “trolls” and tear other people down.

On a final thought: live, love, and speak your truth. Don’t ever falter from who you are, because that’s the bravest thing anyone can do. With that, I’m the Director, and that’s a wrap.

2019 Con Walk

Wonder Con 2019; the time for nerding out and checking out all the cool things that the geek community has to offer. It’s the time of year, that dressing up doesn’t seem so strange, and being surrounded by so many like minded people is a beautiful thing. With that, it’s also the time of year that I get so many steps in. The step total came out to 133,795, which also breaks down to 59.09 miles. To be fair, we went down the day before the convention started, and left the day after it was over. At that though, holy shit that’s so much real estate traveled.

To be fair, the pace is casual as you peruse the different booths, and see what items they have to sell. Many of them items are nostalgic as they have toys from when the convention goer was a child. Personally, I’m always excited for The Masters of the Universe, and Star Wars toys that takes me back to my youth, when things seemed much more simpler. Then if there are panels that interest you, the option to sit in and listen to the topics being discussed gives you that chance to sit down and relax.

The food and drink options aren’t always ideal, especially for someone who has dietary limitations. Though the coffee is good, but the paper straws are kind of shitty. I found that we had issues finding Autumn food, since she’s a vegetarian and drinks for little Chris since he doesn’t drink soda, and water isn’t something he feels he can drink all day. I make the best of what I can, and mostly I don’t finish whatever I bought because it’s too much for me.

While this was a three-day event, the rest of the time was spent at the Disneyland parks. The biggest thing about going there was to feel how I fit in the various areas. The first one, was the turn styles; at my biggest, I would have to walk-in sideways and it would be a snug fit still. This time, I had so much space that all I had to do was walk forward. One thing that is good about Disney is that the rides have always been a bit more accommodating for the larger stature, and there was very few rides that I was unsure I would be secured safely on. Now, I don’t have to feel that way, and I went places I hadn’t been for a long time.

The downside to going to conventions and theme parks are the crowds, and that goes with depending on the day. We’ve been to these things on days that hardly anyone was there, and then we’ve been to them on days, usually Saturdays, where there’s barely any room to move. That can sometimes put a damper on the kind of activity you’re trying to do.

Another bonus to going to places like Disney and conventions is that it keeps the mind busy. I know that helps me get the stats that I’m trying to reach during the day, and the distraction doesn’t make it seem like work, and that’s a way to keep pushing forward.

Now, since losing all this weight, I’ve noticed that I don’t take as many breaks as I used too, and I don’t get winded. It was apparent that my hard charger type motivation didn’t sit well with at least one kid during the time. So, I defiantly need to keep that in mind the next time we do something like that. I pushed myself and I thought that was the important lesson of the trip. I also got to tell a group of people my story and I appreciate that they took the time and had the patience to listen to what I had to say.

Over all it was a good weekend, I got to spend it with my children, and enjoy the things that we love. I’m not a fan of the ailment that is called, “convention crud,” as it has seemed to take almost everyone in my household out for a bit. I did notice that after the long days, I was usually one of the first one’s out when we got back to the motel room. Waking up in the morning, I was recovered like a champ, which is something I’ve been doing since I’ve been working out regularly for the last year.

With that being said, what kind of conventions interest you? Did you realize that you could still hit your goals while being on a vacation? I know that I defiantly want to go to more cons in a year.

Everyone, have a good night and be good to each other, this is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Two Years And Change

I put this picture here as a reminder of where I’ve been, and where I’m going.

I would be lying if I said that I’m okay with the before picture. I mean looking at what I was, there comes a certain dose of reality that is hard to swallow. How could I have ever let things get that bad? I mean I knew I was heavy, but the reality is that I never thought it got that bad.

I look at that before picture and I know why it was that way. You could see all the negativity, the fear, the fact that I still didn’t care if I died or not. I carried that with me for a long time. It’s funny to look back on the past and get the sense of how foreign all of that was. How would that person back then, react to the person now?

I know that if I could talk to that past version of myself, I would tell him not to worry, life gets better, and that things are going to happen very unexpectedly. I would tell him that he’s going to feel better physically, and that everyone is going to constantly ask if he feels better. I would tell him that mentally, he’s never experienced something so profound, and things will lead to living the best life ever.

It’s been a journey that has built character. It hasn’t been easy and there have been times that I wanted to give up. In the beginning there were times that I didn’t feel that it was going to be worth it. The hard work and struggle that I would have to endure. The self doubt that would creep into my mind.

The truth is that I still have days that I still feel like I’m 429 pounds. There are days I feel disgusted with my own body, and that I’ve blown all that hard work. I’ve also been told by others that there are times that they feel the same way, even if they’ve lost a huge amount of weight. I wonder if it ever leaves us mentally?

With all that weight, came a feeling of self loathing. I hated myself, and what I represented. I didn’t care, hell I actually still wanted to die. I was slowly killing myself, and I had to find that one thing to turn myself around. I know there are aspects of my job that I would walk away from a day of work and thought that I was going to die during my shift, and walking, feeling the pain in my knees was the worst. I hated feeling like I was falling apart.

That was the turning point I think. I was walking up some steps and my knees started to hurt, and I became clumsy. I would start to trip when I walked. Something, somewhere clicked in myself and I was ready for a change. That was when I decided to make the call.

I think another fact that contributed to the decision was that I was on the last leg of my bachelor’s program at school, and I wanted to see where my professional life was going to go. I find it funny that my professional life has driven me in different directions and that it has contributed to both braking me down, and me finding myself.

When I look back at that time in my life, I had no direction, and now my focus is on things that I never really concerned myself before. I feel accomplished with the fact that I’m always trying to go forward now, and improving myself for a better future. That’s where I am mentally, and I couldn’t be happier. I know that the journey is just as important as the end.

I’m glad I got the help that I needed to get myself in a better mind set, and I recommend that if anyone else starts to feel hopeless find someone to help you get through it. Professional help is the best place to go, and it’s a shame that people look at mental health as a taboo subject. I’ve noticed a movement of people becoming “woke” about this and other subjects as of the last several years, which is a plus. It’s a shame that we’ve come so far, yet we still have that much farther to go for full acceptance. Why does society have to come across like a bunch of animals in so many circumstances?

I know I’ve mentioned before about the amazing support system I have, but to take that one step further, most of the most important people in my life have, or continue to support and nurture me in my growth. These people are more important than they will probably ever realize, and if they’re not sure who they are, I’m going to be telling them soon enough.

While this blog has taken me a few days to write, it’s given me a bit of time to reflect and realize that while the last five years have been about growth, most of it has actually happened with in the last two years. My decision not to be a victim to my own self-loathing was the first part of that bigger step.

I will continue to provide the audience with insight and content from all aspects of my life. I hope that people continue to reach out, either for advice, or because they find inspiration in the things I do. With that, this is the director, and that’s a wrap.

 

Goals

This week, turned into something quite amazing with the amount of progress that’s been made this week. The things I set out to do a few years ago are starting to pay off.

Just like anything else in life, you should strive to achieve your goals. As my readers know, I have a film production company, and with that I’m excited to announce that we have moved onto pre-production for our next feature. Unexpected Side Trip has been something we’ve been working towards getting out of development since last year. It’s going to be the first time we work on a thriller. To be honest, this wasn’t really somewhere I ever thought I was going to go as a storyteller.

I had the realization yesterday that every project I’ve done has taught me a valuable lesson. When we started out doing brief thirty-second clips it was more of getting familiar with the operations, but when we finally progressed to do Appreciate What You’ve Got(2017) we learned what it was like to actually do a production. It was a huge learning experience since we’d never casted actors, and I never actually ran a crew before. It was the first time getting our feet wet in doing films.

Nash Gray(2017) was the first time I creatively collaborated with someone on a story. I did and will always appreciate my friend Ed Smith for giving me some wonderful characters to work with, and I thank him for taking up the mantel of Nash Gray. The biggest lesson I took way from this was learning what an actual production felt like. We worked on filming for a month, and far less of the duties actually fell on me as I had Celeste come in and be the cinematographer. The fact that she had experience in that department, allowed me to be a director, and that was my sole role. It was refreshing, and it reassured me that being a director was what I was meant to do. Dealing with a bigger crew, more locations, and a bigger cast presented its own sets of challenges, and it was fun to have had sets built to help complete the movie at hand.

The Reunion(2019) was by far the easiest of all the shoots. For one thing, I was blessed to have casted two actors who were very professional, and in an environment that favored the most laid back experience ever. It ended up being a script that I based off of one one of my creative writing assignments, and was fun to play around with. The lesson that I had with this project was more about using post effects in Adobe After Effects. While learning a complex program, which I have still yet to even crack the surface, I was able to start a basic animated title sequence, and add effects to the footage itself.

Now we’re pushing through with Unexpected Side Trip and with everything I have planned, I foresee the lesson is going to come in the form of distribution. Getting this out to festivals has always been the main goal since I adapted this from one of Ed’s short stories. We had gotten our location scouting done over the weekend, and I was able to take my son out to meet our contacts and teach him a bit about how to be professional in meetings like this.

Besides doing the film thing, I’ve also been spending time working on the other brands that I’ve created. The Geekultural Experience is getting ready to go to Wonder Con at the end of this week, and we are getting business cards to take and present while we’re out there. It’s exciting because at it is the third and final brand that we started, we’ve got logos designed and being worked on, and looking at what kind of merchandise we’d like to put it on. Pod casting has become the latest part of this brand, and we’re still feeling our way around, and we hope that it will gain more listeners as we go.

Speaking of merchandise, the daddy of all the brands, The CK Project is looking at getting some t-shirts and leggings to be released soon, plus we’re also looking at getting coffee mugs produced as well. I’m so excited as this has brought another level of creativity to my life, and I’ve already had people speak to me of their level of interest in such things. We also started a pod cast, which seems to have been received very well so far, and I’ve got people whom are wanting to get more involved with some of the subject matter that gets presented.

In the end this is all still a very new work in progress, and I can’t wait to see where it all takes me, and my family with the growth that’s been going on. Between all that, and my workouts, I achieved something that I never was sure I would be able too: Not have to deal with depression. I know that’s kind of weird to say, but keeping myself so busy has been the best way to stay away from the negative thoughts. I’ve been focusing more on the weight loss aspect because I don’t feel insecure about things like I used too. I know that it’s still there, just not popping up like it used too.

If you read this, and decide you’d like to know more about what we do, or have something you’d like to hear or see discussed, please feel free to drop a line.

This is the director and that’s a wrap.

The One-Sixty Point

So, I stepped on the scale the other day to do my weigh-in update, and I was fully clothed and I couldn’t process the number of 271.2 pounds. For a minute I couldn’t think about if I had lost or gained weight. I replaced the batteries because they were low, and took off my shoes to check in again and saw 269.9. I even checked it three more times. Yep, I lost more weight, six pounds as a matter of fact. It was strange that I couldn’t fathom the thought that I had lost that much in such a short amount of time.

Even more craziness is the fact that I haven’t been this weight since we first moved to California in 1997. It’s like I finally shedded off all the stress weight that had haunted me from the last nineteen years. Could this be part of the next part of a new phase for my life? My depression has been under better control than ever before, and life is taking off in unexpected directions.

I’m in a pants size that I hadn’t been in since high school, and that’s even more incredible. I find that funny that as I’ve lost weight, the places that I’ve lost inches and changed shape in areas that I wasn’t quite expecting. I guess that’s why twenty-two years ago, things hung on me different than they do now. Different movements, exercises, it’s crazy. Though I think it’s far different now, because experience has given me a different look at being disciplined  in life, and how my values have changed.

Today things are different because I’ve found the path in life that I wanted to take. I mean I knew at a young age that I wanted to eventually be a father. Yes, it’s not been easy, especially since my eldest child is way too much like me, and we’ve often times butted heads because of it. I never regretted having children, and they are everything to me. I love them, even the one who isn’t my blood, she’s a great kid, even if we struggle with some of her experiences in her early childhood. I’m not sure the want of kids because I was raised an only child, I do wonder if that could be why?

I think the decisions to becoming a filmmaker, and in turn a blogger, and then a podcaster was the focus I needed in order to embrace that which made me, who I was, both good and bad. I’ve added the layers to help become the person I am.

Becoming a director and to tell stories was given because it was a skill that I ended up developing when I was younger and telling stories. It’s the outlet I always needed, as I’ve been involved in various forms of entertainment since I was in grade school. Writing was something that I discovered that I enjoy as well.

Dealing with depression and viewing others experiences, and losses had lead me to blog about my struggles, as a means to help express myself, and always had the hope that others would find some sort of enlightenment from it. I’ll admit that wasn’t the only motivation to blog. The other reason was that I wanted to become a better writer, and apply that to my scripts. So far, I think that it’s come along quite aways. Again, I have no regrets in that decision.

I had the idea of becoming a podcaster for a while. It was always one of those ideas that I had in the back of my mind and we had toyed with it a couple of times before we found a solution that would work for us to present our material. As we go along, we’ll get better and develop better techniques. Again, hosting has been an idea that I wanted to do.

160 pounds down, and it feels that life is just really starting to take off. It motivates me to get more done. Life is getting better, and I’m always glad that people have taken to joining me on this journey. It really gives me a sense of validation, and I have a few who have been more than vocal about the changes they see. The praises are more than humbling, and it drives me to do even better.

I had no real direction, and I had to find a point to start to put my life back together. If you ever feel that way, the first thing I would suggest is take a long hard look at yourself, and ask the question, “why do I feel this way?” It’s not always an easy answer, and sometimes it ends up being a bitter pill to swallow when the answer smacks you in the face, but don’t deny it. It’s easy to be in denial about oneself, I’ve been there a few times, at least. If you can get over the ego, and the pride, you will grow. I think that self improvement is the only way to better themselves. The key to find myself was to invest in myself, and it’s gotten so much better.

With that, this is the director, and that’s a wrap.