Welcome To Club 100

So for the start of today’s blog, I’m going to educate the populace on what I had done and some of the facts about the procedure. According to the brochure at the doctor’s office, produced by Covidien the technical name for the gastric sleeve that I’ve been talking about over the last two months is the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or partial gastrectomy. The procedure takes the cutting out of two-thirds of the stomach to make the stomach into a part of tube, or to make it look like a “sleeve”. This procedure also removes the part that produces a hormone called Ghrelin, which is the chemical that controls the cravings for being hungry.

At my highest weight, I was weighing in at 429.9 lbs. and at a hight of five-foot-ten, that put me at a body mass index of 61.7. The requirement is to have a BMI of 35, and I was well above that. I was on the cusp of having bad cholesterol, high blood pressure, and quite frankly, I was a prisoner in my own body(I’m sure I’ve said this a couple of times). heaviest

This was what I looked like at my heaviest. The worst part of all of this weight was when I would try to actually exercise, I would hurt. I had bruised my foot on a walk, my knees hurt, and it was just the most difficult thing when I moved. I truly felt that I was trapped in my own body and there wasn’t anything that I felt I could do to help me loose the weight. I was scared that I was going to put myself into an early grave.

I was doing well before I had my breakdown at work in 2013. I was on Weight Watchers and I had lost fifty-six pounds. 2 years after weight watchers

I was feeling good at the time, I felt free and with more energy, but then depression took over, and I gained it all back and then some. It was a rough time in my life, and my mind wasn’t right. I felt like I was the most worthless thing and I wanted to die. That actually followed me even when I was able to go back to work.

When I decided to go back to school in 2014, I was trying to change my life around. I didn’t realize for about the first year of school in what I was doing, and it took until about another half-year before I realized that what I needed in life was a better outlook on what life could and would end up being for me.

The first thing I did do, again without realizing the potential of what would come, was I decided that I would be a beacon of positivity. When I left work, there was negative people everywhere and it really helped to bring me down. The decision of being positive wasn’t for anybody else, except myself. I didn’t want to continue to feel worthless, and the new outlook helped me be a better person, not only with myself, but for other’s as well. That is something I continue to, and will continue to do for the rest of my life.

Finding that creative outlet was the best thing for me, I’ve been able to put forward the thoughts and revelations into something tangible, and that’s where things like this blog come in at. It seems like I’m in a constant state of thought, even when it’s at the worst times, like when I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes, it’s that state of restlessness  that helps some of my better ideas come out.

So, bringing this to a more present time period, when I got introduced to the idea of setting up a WordPress website, I decided that I would use the platform to blog. I figured that it would be a good way to share my experience, and hope that the words would find someone who might need to know that there’s other’s who have gone through the same kinds of issues they have, and that there is someone they could reach out too. I also fond it therapeutic for when I go through some of my emotional times. Though I suffer from depression, I don’t look at it as a weakness, but as a strength because I’ve survived the darkest of times. I’ve survived several times throughout my adult life. Now I’m here to help other’s who don’t know if they will make it, or if they just need some support and to be aware that things will get better.

With in the last year, the awareness that I’ve come across was that things were going to get better for me as I worked hard to finish school. I knew that I was setting myself and my family up for better things in life. I’ve been determined to make the best of life. As the months got closer to the end of my schooling, I was more determined to get done, and put what I earned to good use. I’ve been networking and planting the seeds for this better future.

Feb 3 stats

This is from my Pacer app. I went to my two month post operation check up and I weighed in at 360 lbs. It’s been a while there, and since it was out of town, I was determined to explore the city and get my 10,000 steps in today. I’ve got farther than I thought I would, and I’m glad that I have something to help record my progress. I think the most effective part is the fact that I’m obsessed with numbers, and this is a great way to keep track of the movements from my walks.

As I was walking with my wife downtown Lancaster, a thought came too me that I had never considered before- I invested in myself. Wow! I never considered something like that. Sure I’m going to have student loans, and the high cost of my weight loss surgery, but I had invested in myself. Physically, and mentally, I spent the money to help me find myself, and I’ve brought so many people with me for the ride. It took the surgery to help me not feel trapped anymore, and I want to keep pushing to get better. Then the school has helped me find the person that I was meant to be.

I think that’s the secret for people to be successful, and happy…invest in yourself, because the only person who’s going to take care of you in this life is you. You can only grow if you push yourself. That’s a thought to contemplate.

This is the director, Chris Keeling, I’m about seventy pounds lighter, and that’s a wrap.

2018….New You? New Me?

So today marks the first day of the year 2018. As I was on Facebook this past few days, I saw all these posts about how people couldn’t wait until 2017 was over and the kind of shit storm the year had been. Then I read about how people were going to better themselves with the New Year and the resolution that would come with it. People were going to quit smoking, treat others nicer, exercise more, etc…

This is all well and good, but most New Year resolutions don’t last, so I present a challenge to anyone who wants to make a life change. Why do it on the New Year? Why say that this is a new year and a new chapter? The truth is if you had a shitty year last year, then your mind is already set for another shitty year this year. Measures of time, it just keeps going, people get older, life goes on. Here’s the challenge: Start now! It doesn’t have to take a new year to start changing those habits. If you want a better year, learn how to get your mind in the right way of thinking, so that the negative doesn’t affect you the way it has for so long. You want to be healthy? Start by talking to a dietician to help you eat correctly, don’t leave the holiday’s as an excuse to gorge out on food.

Now, I can hear some of the muttered voices going, what about you Chris? What are you changing in the new year? What business of yours is it that we do a new year’s resolution or not? For that I have a response too: It really isn’t my business, but because I care for those in my life, I want to see success. As for the changes that I’m going to make in the new year, hate to say it, but I’ve been doing these changes for the last three years, and it didn’t take a new year to mark those changes. The fruits have really started to show up in the last few months. For me, it’s about the long game.

I got my degree in the mail last month from school, so looking for a better job is a priority on that list. I had the Vertical Sleeve Gastronomy done on the eleventh of December so my weight loss goals are well on the way. I’ve been networking and getting to know people so that I can get other projects of mine underway. The beautiful part is…..I didn’t have to wait until the ball dropped for me to decide to make life changes.

Sure there was a time that I settled for whatever was going to happen for me and it took my depression to get that swift kick in the ass for me to be motivated to do something to better my situation. I did it, and I haven’t looked back. Sure there are times that I wanted to quit, there were times that I just wanted to give up, and go back to the place that I knew I was going to be safe, but that is no longer the case. I want to have better things for my life, and playing it safe isn’t the way to go.

Sometimes you need to put yourself out there and take those risks to help you grow as a person. Shit happens and life is unfair, so to counter act that, you have to come up with the mindset that some of that shit isn’t so bad. I find myself staying positive, and not always because other people necessarily need it, but for myself. Yes, it helps to be positive for others, and that is a service I do provide, but it helps me keep it together, nine times out of ten.

Some of the negative things that happened within the last month, I decided were just mere bumps in the road. I had a health scare that put me in the emergency room after my surgery, was a bump. The loss of our pet of fifteen years, a mere bump. Life has been good to me over all and I can’t let the negative define how my life goes.

If you find this post negative, or that you feel that I’m on the attack….that was never my intention. I want to see you succeed, I want to see you have a great life. Follow your passions, be happy, that is what I want. This is the director and that’s a wrap.

Too Much Passion? Keep It Up

So, people like to be entertained, and there are many forms to be entertained by. Watching movies, playing music, making costumes….even pretending to be living in medieval times, and being a knight. That’s why we have hobbies, that is why we do the things we do. We like to pass time, with our hobbies, that’s what gives us relief, that’s what brings us back to our centers. We live to pursue our passions, or at least we should.

So, what happens when it doesn’t become fun anymore? Do we try and find a way to rekindle that passion(hey, I was out of the superhero thing for many years, egad!), or do we force ourselves to continue when we are clearly burnt out on that passion? What becomes of that passion when someone clearly wants something, but isn’t willing to work for it? What happens when you find people of the like mind, and their burn out starts to make it less enjoyable to you?

Look, hobbies are just that hobbies. Some people feel an obligation to continue on a hobby because that’s all they know. Look, if you are burnout, just quit, nobody’s going to stop you, and if you’re unhappy or in denial about change, then stop. Don’t bring a cloud down on people who want to enjoy what is there for the hobby, just because you can’t except yourself leaving that hobby. Then you push people back, and politic the shit out of it so that other’s are as miserable as you are. There was a time that you had a passion for these hobbies and now it’s like you have a cross to bare, just stop. All it does is seem to make you an asshole because you can’t except change.

I digress, I got a bit off course for a minute there. I have a passion for life, and I have a passion that covers a vast amount of different things in my life. I’ll admit that I’m finding my limits in some of those areas, but at the same time, I can take a moment and reset my mind, because I am passionate about those things. Quite frankly, I don’t want to lose those passions because it makes me who I am. I’m passionate about comics and superheroes. This world is shitty enough as it is with trolls trying to take other’s down because I think it’s funny or that they want to change the status quo in a negative way. People would rather watch you fall and spit on you, than to help you up and push you to succeed.

I’m passionate about geeky things, and I don’t have to share the specific subject that someone else is passionate about, to get excited to watch the fire when someone talks about how awesome frisbee golf is. I love the passion that people share when they talk about professional wrestling. I was there too, once, and I kind of got out of it, because I found it getting too stale, but God damn, I like watching my boy pretend that he’s John Cena, and his reactions to watching Raw or Smackdown. I like when my girls get all excited about Monster High and the new dolls that come out.

Passion is the only thing that should motivate us in life. If you’re passionate about making money and shopping, than you should be fired to do what it is that helps you get there. I’ve been a slave working jobs to make some money just to survive and support my family. I know what it’s like not to like going to work because there’s no passion there. I’m fortunate enough that I like the people I deal with on a regular basis to keep me going. Yes, this has been a very motivated blog this time, not only to vent my own frustrations with the world, but because this is something that I need to remind myself of as well.

Please, if you ever feel that the passion is gone, and the hobby doesn’t really interest you anymore, just stop. Let the other people continue to enjoy it until they stop having that passion. There’s no need to drag other people down into your misery with you.

This is the director and I’m calling this blog a wrap.

Who Brought the Fire and Brimstone to the BBQ?

Normally, I try to keep things positive, sometimes serious, most of the time I try to bring the humor, but I’ve had things weighing heavy on me as of late. With that some thoughts that haven’t been so good, have been crossing my mind, so I think that I want to get these thoughts out, and let you decide.

Nobody is perfect, except one man, Jesus Christ. I know not everyone believes in him, and I can respect that, but he also brings a beacon of hope to so many people in this world. The scriptures talk about angels and demons at least a couple of times, so that’s where the lead off comes in….

Demon’s come in many shapes and sizes. Maybe an unhealthy addiction to food, I’ve been there…several times over. I’ve used food to cope with my feelings of inadequacy. I’ve used it to drown my depression. I’ve gained so much weight because of certain events that have gone on in my life, but I realize that food isn’t the answer. I’m trapped in several sizes too big, and that’s my fault. I don’t body shame anyone, because I know what it’s like to be teased about being over weight, Yes, I’ve gotten the side eye in judgement as well. No, you’re not cleaver, and yes making comments about being fat makes you an asshole, but there are some with genuine concern in their voice. The first time weight was a real issue of concern was in 2011. I got bit by a bug at work, and I went to get it checked. I was around 394 lbs at the time.

I did really well getting the weight off, I joined Weight Watchers  and I was working out several times a week. By the time I was done, I had lost 56 lbs. Man I was so proud of myself, I felt better, I looked better, and I moved better. They say exercise helps relieve stress, and I’m not sure if that was what was going on. I slept better, but it didn’t stop my depression from causing a melt down at work. I ended up taking 17 months off of work because of it. I didn’t want to deal with the world…food comforted me, and I gained all that weight and then some back. My therapist stated that he thought that my weight gain might have been a form of me trying to slowly kill myself. He was right, I wasn’t dealing with things in the proper light. I was making preparations of a life outside of the job I was suspended from, and I didn’t expect to go back….

I started working out this week, as I’m trying to gain my life back, and I will…just slower than before. I’ve got a bright future ahead of me and I can’t wait to reach that point.

Back to the subjects of demons, I’ve seen alcohol ruin a young person’s life. I’ve seen drugs ruin someone’s life. I’m blessed to have never had to deal with these myself, but I’ve family that has. I hope that the have or can find the help they need to over come that.

One of the demons that I’ve been dealing with is anger, I’ve gone a bit over board with it a few times, and I can’t take back the hurt it has done, but I’m working on it, because it needs to go away. It peaked with my ex and her father. I was so angry for so long that I was a ball of rage for the longest time. The worst part is that we tend to say the mean and nasty things when we are angriest. Some times, they may be more true than one would want to admit, the hurt remains, and I see the scars in the people who I’ve personally hurt.

I’ve been on both sides of the wall for various demons, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m cautious about judging anyone about whatever might have gone on. So, I think that everyone should hear the whole story before condemning someone. I know that I’ve been on the wrong side of accusations before. Just some food for thought.

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


Messed Up Parenting, and Experience is a Bitch!

Some people try to be a perfect parent…. I mean it should be easy right? Television and movies make it look…almost too easy.  I think the most interesting experience is raising yourself, also called the parents curse.  Remember when mom and dad said, your child is going to be just like you?  Yeah, it’s happened, and it is frustrating.  All we can do is try our best to raise our children with love and care, and then get told we’re wrong, just to be proven right….later.

I’m not a perfect parent, and although it’s a learning process, the best we can do is try and do our best, and hope that we didn’t fuck up enough in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I might miss times when they were younger and innocent, but I feel the best goal is to raise decent people and hope they succeed in the world.  That’s all a parent can actually hope for.

So, I think I’m funny, and I thought having little people with my sense of humor would be hilarious, instead I realized that I raised assholes. Not that they are the kind to steal lunch money or beat someone up, but they mess with people. The sad part is that as a parent, I feel guilty of the fact that it is kind of funny, but at the same time it make me reflect on the kind of person I am. Sadly, the kind of sense of humor I have, does make me an asshole. At least I’m somewhat likable, then there’s the grey area of as you get to know me, is that humor worth it?

I want my kids to grow up and realize that I love them with all my heart, and though I’ve made mistakes, I hope they know that I’ve always wanted what was best for them. Sometimes, I don’t think people appreciate what family they have. I for one, don’t seem to have the best relationship with most of my family. I get along with my parent’s just fine, but I have a very different perspective on life then my cousin’s and grandparents do. I guess that makes me a black sheep, but I’m not afraid to be different.

The hardest part about being a parent is watching another version of you growing up before your eyes. The same depression, the same frustrations, and with things different with today’s society.  You can’t give the advice that got you through those tough times of bullies, and self loathing. You want to help, you want to make it better, but nothing you do is right, and in the end, you just can’t seem to relate.

This brings the most frustrating part of being a parent to light, the child knows everything, and the parent doesn’t. God, I remember when I knew everything and when I was invincible. To be able to have that mindset again, but then you gain the wisdom of not knowing everything and pride be damned, you’re not always right.

“No  child, I don’t say this to make you feel bad, or stupid,” “I do this to enlighten you, because I care, because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I made.”  That’s all anyone can do, be there for their children, and support them. At some point, you can’t protect them forever. All you can do is give them tools to work with and hope that it’s enough to get them through this cold and cruel world.

Sometime remind them that you love your child, but also remind them that the world has no love for them.  While you’ve protected them, warn them that the world isn’t there for their protection. This place is ugly, and all you can do is try and be that piece of beauty in this place.

For my children: Autumn, Christopher, and Lily, I love you and hope that I’ve taught you something that you can use as a torch to light the way.  You are good children, and I’ll always support you.

This is the Director and that is a wrap.

Sixteen Years and How the Hell Is This Working?!?

So, yesterday was my sixteenth year being married to Sarah, and instead of the usual love note of how great I think she is, I think I’m going to reflect on the experience on how I survived the same person putting up with my mischievous ways. I hope this shows a how our bond works, and helps show others that it’s possible to do.

First on the list is communication, yes it’s cliche, but it’s also the truest fact in making anything work.  If you’re not going to talk about what bothers you, then how’s it going to get fixed?  All the bottled up feelings do is cause bitterness, and that’s not positive progress.  Honest communication is the only way to go.  If you don’t like something, say it. If you do like something also say it.  Too many people are negative in this world as it is.  Showing your partner that you appreciate the things they do, is a great way to say I love you.

Secondly, have a sense of humor. I realize this might sound strange to some people, but laughter is the best medicine and a great way to enjoy each others company.  Sarah will say that it’s my fault that she has all the laugh lines on her face, but I guess that’s what you get when you marry someone with a strong sense of humor.  Besides laughing’s always a fun time.

Third in this list is sex.  There is a bond between a couple who enjoy the physical contact that they share.  I’m not going into the science, but there are plenty of articles about the benefits in sex.  Yes, it feels good, and yes, it does help you relax, but it’s always great to bring you and your partner back together as one, maybe that’s why orgasm’s also referred as the big O? One, orgasm…something to ponder.

Now it gets to the more tricky parts of a union.  You’re going to fight, and do it many times throughout your journey, that’s just a fact, people have opinions, and sometimes those opinions are assholes about it.  At some point if you look at the arguments, you realize that most of the time, their over petty little things, but they do generate the most heat.  It’s the bigger fights that get concerning.  I know that there have been times that I’ve wanted to call it quits, but if you can endure the rough times, you can make it.

When being in a relationship as  long as I have, you really do get to know the person, and in my case, I know my wife, inside and out. Sad part is that isn’t even a cliche or a joke.  We went through some rough pregnancies together and I’ve seen her insides.  Ultra sounds, X-rays, you name it, and I’ve seen it.  I’m thankful that we made it through those times, and have two great children. They are a pain in the ass, but I love them regardless.

Speaking of children, this will move on to the next point.  You have a partnership, either marriage, civil, domestic, etc… and some times you have kids. When child rearing, you really need to be on the same page, or total chaos. Mom says no, dad says yes, then you have kids swinging from the ceiling fan in total anarchy.  Really, get on the same page, then the kids don’t get away with their evil ways, which also doesn’t lead by to my point from two paragraphs ago, about fighting.  And yes, there will be plenty arguments about the kids along the way.

A convenience that should be on the list of things you should have, two bathrooms.  I know that not everyone has that, as we don’t currently, but I live with three girls, and with my son and I, dude, we could use that extra bathroom.  With bathrooms, people also start to see the less pleasant habits of the partner.  The tooth paste being squeezed from the middle(you monster), hair in the sink, clothes strung everywhere, the list can go on.  I’ve learned to leave the toilet seat down after I’m done, as not to get into an argument.  It makes life easier to give that one to her that way.

I hope you’re finding things insightful, or at least entertaining so far, because there is so much more to talk about, like responsibility.  When you have a relationship, mine being close to seventeen years together, you learn that the best way to work is to help each other. Build your partner up, support their passions, in the end they chose you to spend their lives with. I don’t know how the hell this woman, who is beautiful, supportive, caring, strong, and talented, would ever pick up this average, egotistical, loud, foul mouthed person to want to stick around for such a long amount of time.  She builds me up, and supports my crazy ideas.  I try to support her, but I faulter in my own arrogance.  I do try to support her. She like photography, and wants to do that for the rest of her life, and I try to support that.

The other ugly truth, nothing is equal.  Truth is, she has physical things that calls on her demand, remember the rough pregnancies?  They took a toll.  I have mental illness that also takes special demands.  Then we have kids that have their needs as well.  So nothing is equal, and you have to just except that.  Cliche- mother is care taker and father is disciplinarian. Where’s the equality in that? Mother stays home and takes care of the kids, and father works, where’s the equality in that?  Just except that having a relationship and family isn’t something that ends up being equal.  Sure there are times that the dynamic changes a little, but in my family, mom is needed for everything, and dad is the protector.

One more thing, that I forgot to mention earlier- if you find someone that you might want to possibly start a life with, don’t rush the family part.  Sarah and I got together, and Autumn wasn’t that far behind, so almost our whole relationship has been as parents. I wouldn’t change it, and to be honest, I’ve got the most awesome parents who’ve given us the chance to have time so that we can just be a couple. So, spend time being a couple, learn each other, see if that’s who you truly want to spend the rest of your life with. Once children come into play, everything changes. I know couples who rushed into the family part, and as the kids have grown up and moved out of the house, the parents don’t know how to be a couple.  That’s why communication, honesty, knowing that person is important for a successful relationship. While children are a blessing, they become the main focus while they are young, and sometimes people forget how to be a couple.

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


Finding Experience

About five years ago, I was invited to a local writers club meeting by my father’s co-worker.  It was a day during December and the club was having a guess speaker, Ted Lange(imdb.com). Ted’s most known for his character on The Love Boat(1977), as the friendly bartender Issac Washington, and I really paid attention to what he said.  He was funny and personable, but his message was that he became a writer to give himself work.  He said that it was hard for a black man to break into the business and that’s why he became a writer.

I took that to heart, and as I write this tonight, I keep thinking that everything that I’ve been doing for the last several months, and more so now since my last months classes, is that I’m creating that experience.  I’m starting to grasp the concept of marketing myself on social media,  I’m learning programs that I will need to have experience in to get jobs in the field that I want to get work in.  So, that’s my advice to anybody frustrated in searching for work, or getting experience.  It might take time, but find a way to do it yourself.  We live in  world that doesn’t want to give most people a hand, and that’s why reading books, researching, and doing are the keys to getting the success that you want.

I remember not that long ago, that was my thought process, “how am I going to get another job without the experience they’re looking for?”  It’s a scary thought, but as I’ve grown in knowledge and determination,  I’ve discovered that there are ways too find a way to learn those skills.  A good start is looking online for classes, or workshops for gaining that knowledge.  Another thing is too look at the local employment agency.  They should be able to point you in the right direction.

I’m adventuring into the world of owning my own business, and I’m blessed with the people who are involved with the process. They will keep me grounded, and we work well together.  The scary part is that I know that there will be failure along the way, but that’s the other way to gain experience.  As I’ve seen stated in books, magazines, and various other places, failure is a teacher, and if you keep failing, you learn how to not fail as bad.  It’s also a great way to teach you what works and doesn’t work.

The best thing to do is be cautious, but don’t be afraid to succeed, and don’t let failure stop you either.  We as people tend to be our own harshest critics, and in general, we also get in the way of our own success.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I messed up something because I got into my own head, and had self doubts.  That’s why we tend to sabotage ourselves.

The other thing I have to say about this is do what makes you happy.  As cliche as it is, there is a reason for that.  I listened to everybody else for so long and I was miserable for doing what I was “supposed” to do and it almost cost me my life.  Wouldn’t you rather feel happy about chasing your dreams then be stuck in the same spot in life?  Yes, I won’t lie, it would be much easier to just do what I love and not be concerned about anything else, but I have a family to provide for, but I was given the motivation to prepare for a different life when opportunity came and gave me the chance to go for something I had want to do for most of my adult life, and most of my life in some way that, evolved into wanting to make movies.  Remember that survival is the most necessary part, but going for the dream is important too.  While it might seem crazy, the skills that I’m learning in film school, are things that I can apply to the “safe” jobs as well.  So there is a back up plan in place, and it would still involve what I want to do in life.

I will leave a final note before this thought train leaves the station:  Be kind to each other, there are too many negative energies out there wanting to bring you down.  they want people to be down on their levels and can’t stand other people’s success.  Don’t add to that problem.  Try to be positive, and keep that mentality.  If you wake up and look in the mirror in the morning, tell yourself that you’ll have a good day.  Positive affirmations work far better than I ever thought, and it generally keeps me going in a positive direction.


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