Giving Into A Bigger Cause

As I sit here, I’m reflecting on all these past memories that come up on Facebook. I find where I’ve had motivation, and I see where I lacked the insight that would later help to develop the person that I would become. Seeing the first real developmental moments of starting the weight loss process with Weight Watchers in 2011. Seeing how I had started the CK Project as a way to motivate myself, and hold myself accountable. Then to watch it inspire people along the way.

It was an important time in my life, and I wasn’t even sure that it would turn into something more. I always that that the CK Project stood for the Chris Keeling project, hell I originally called in Project Keeling. I knew that I wanted to keep a record of whatever process that I was going through at the time. Little did I know that I would give into negative thoughts, and have a meltdown in which my life would take an unexpected turn.

Two years into trying to become physically better, my mind would shut down, and the CK Project was dead. It was just something that had gone to a back burner, and ignored. As I look back to this dark time period, I realized that I would respond more to negative things, and lunge out in a defensive manner. It came down to a “bring it on” type mentality, and in person, I wasn’t prepared for the things I would have to come to terms with.

I was angry, and at the time I felt rightfully so, because people get mean, nasty, and entitled. I didn’t have a way to vent out the frustrations that would come out of these daily interactions. I would internalize every ounce of negativity, and it would be mirrored back towards my family. Towards myself, I had been stuck in a spot that wasn’t pleasant. I felt trapped, not just professionally, but personally. What made things worse was I wasn’t any good to myself, and I resented being with my partner. We had issues, and it was more because of the fact that I didn’t want to deal with the situation. I just wanted to shut the world out, and be numb. Often times, I think that’s the way people deal with hurt, and trauma, is to go to a place where they attempt not to feel the emotions and pain that comes with these high pressure situations.

It took another major event in life to get my attention and make me realize that I needed to snap out of the dense haze of self loathing. Some people consider it “divine intervention”. This event had caused me to look at myself, and realize what it was that I needed to do to get better. If there is one thing that is difficult to master, it’s taking  a critical look at oneself and looking at one’s flaws.

I needed to prepare myself in ways that I knew had to bring me back to a presence that I hadn’t really been in mentally for a long time. I made decisions to take back my own life, and had to realize that part of my problems where that I didn’t have purpose, and that I needed to learn to react better to the situations in life.

The change was a hard and slow process to go through. I had to learn to not hate myself, and I needed to find that relief of not feeling so trapped. Finding that purpose in life, and how I wanted to be represented to others were the start of my healing.

I’ve always had a good heart and I loved to help people, unfortunately, that’s also lead to a lot of heartache and caution when interacting with others. I find that new relationships that develop often times come with a bit of paranoia when trying to figure out what angle these people are playing. Most often it comes up when it comes to actually needing assistance in some way. Myself and my family have been hurt by this more times then we would care to admit.

Back to the subject at hand; there were so much emotion, and loss that had happened in life that I realized that I needed to do something. I more than ever wanted to share my story in hopes that others wouldn’t feel alone when suffering in depression. I started telling my story, and doing mini-blogs on Facebook, and this time of year is when they all start to appear on my memories. It’s made me realize that everything happens for a reason. The good, and the bad, it’s in the balance that people grow.

Going to school and finding WordPress was a blessing. It was about two-years after I decided that I wanted to talk about my mental health, and it presented me with a platform that I could get my story out to more people. It was easier to spread out in my various platforms of social media as well.

As I started to present this as the new and improved CK Project, it’s funny how it went back full circle and went back to my weight loss journey as well. Seeing that my physical and mental health are very intertwined, has allowed me to connect better with people. It’s allowed me to form more bonds with others, because my story isn’t that uncommon.

It’s strange to think that mental health and obesity are both subjects that are taboo, and how much people judge on  those basis. I even know people who have a dislike for “fat people” while they aren’t exactly small either. Is this another form that goes with mental health? I think that I’ll have to go down that rabbit hole with research at another point in time.

Sometimes people regret the decisions that they’ve made in their past, and often times, “if I could only do it again, I’d do it differently,” are often spoke. If you asked me that same question, my answer would be no. I’ve been through those dark times at various points in my life, do I wish that I knew better than I did? Hell yes, but I wouldn’t change it. I think it took that last time to allow me to get my head right. I needed to get through that rough time, just so I could evolve. I’m better now, I’ve invested in myself, which isn’t something I would have ever done. By investing in myself, I’ve been given the motivation to help others, and I’ve seen what my helping others is doing. I get to watch these people I help, grow, and become better version of themselves.  To me, that’s one of the best gifts that I could think of.

I want to share a conversation I had at work the other day:

I was working with a co-worker, and we got into the conversation about God. I'm by no rights a religious person, but I do have a spiritual belief in a higher power. God, and my personal beliefs don't usually come up, anywhere but we started talking about the Bible. Act 7:48 (God) dwelleth not in temples made with hands.




It got me to thinking that if the body is the temple, and you fix it, and build it strong, is that why we feel better mentally? Or how about the fact that I also feel better spiritually? I know when I go out for my walks, it feels like my meditation. I feel closer to having a conversation with God, or even just the fact that it helps me talk to myself and sort out ideas in my mind.

Life is a puzzle, and I know that I’ll never have everything figured out. All I know is that I was put here to help people. If there’s anything I can do to help, please reach out and I’ll see what I can do. This is the Director, and that’s a wrap.

Alone with My Thoughts

While everything’s going well, there are those days that the negative thoughts cross my mind. I had an issue the other night while being left alone at work. The strange part isn’t that there’s anything wrong, but I started fixating on past decisions, and possible choices that I’m in the process of doing. It was followed by a bit of depression.

On the plus side, self harm was never part of the thought process, but it just made for a slightly rough night. The other part was that it’s caused me to feel a bit off for the weekend, and I’m not completely sure why. That’s one of those problems that comes with depression, you can’t always know what it is that starts an episode.

I guess that part of what has set me off is that fact that I’ve also been feeling a bit on the fat side lately. I know that sounds crazy since I’ve lost so much weight, but it happens sometimes. I was talking to a friend and he said that it could take up to seven years to get out of that mind set.

One of the other issues that has come up is the fact that I’ve seemed to hit a plateau again. I’m very aware that this is all apart of the weight loss process, and that it’s about the ups and downs, yet it still gets a bit discouraging. This however will not stop me from continuing the journey or the progress that I’ve started so long ago.

When I started this blog, it was last weekend; around May twenty-second. It was in the last have of the No Zero Day May challenge, with at least thirty minutes of activity a day. While I haven’t done 10,000 steps everyday, I did manage to get in at least the minimum activity. So much so, that most days I seemed to go beyond the minimum requirements that had be presented as the challenge. I upped my game by attempting to average about five miles a day, and I was mostly successful with that. Within the last few weeks, I had also started doing wall push-ups. Sam, my personal trainer said that doing 100 push-ups a day, in any form would help me get better at it. So, I’ve also been getting those in, and this last week, I added doing about 100 Squats. It’s added a bit more to my working out, and doing those exercises has challenged me.

With all these added activities that I’m doing, I’m really starting to realize how important rest days are. As I got to the latter part of this week, the push-ups and squats were really starting to be a challenge to knock out. So, as this is now the weekend, I’ve decided that aside from doing my steps, I think I’m going to take some rest days, and we’ll start concentrating on making the challenges this month be about continuing getting the 100 reps in a day for five days a week. One of the goals is to actually document what effect these continued reps will be doing to my body. I noticed that doing the push-ups have really started to add a bit more shape and muscle to my arms. I really felt the “burn” in both my back, and my pecs as I would do them, yet I think it is becoming more noticeable in my biceps.

Going through this challenge, I had my long-time friend Terry Bays take up the challenge. He’s dealt with health issues his whole life, and diabetes has been a major factor for the last nine, or ten years. I’m proud of the fact that he took this challenge head on, and has noticed that he’s been feeling better about himself. I am so proud of him. My kids adore him, and would like to have their “uncle” Terry around for a long time.

Getting back to the point I started to make, I think part of why I’ve been feeling the way I have, is the fact that so much is going on in life right now, that it just seems to take more time to process than I have been. Sarah’s  Crohn’s Disease has been keeping her down. My oldest child is about to walk down the aisle with her graduating class, and then a couple weeks after will officially be an adult. Plus, I’ve got two other kids getting ready to embark on the next phase of their adolescent journey of middle school. On top of that, Sarah is also dealing with preparing for empty nest syndrome. I guess it’s hard on her because Autumn is the oldest, and they have a different bond than I do with her.

My philosophy on parenting is this: We are giving the gift to bring life into this world, and the responsibility to raise our offspring to the best of our abilities.  It’s never easy, and there isn’t an instruction manual on how to operate a small person, but we do our best. I think it’s our job to raise these little people to become responsible and functioning adults. I find relieve in knowing that I didn’t fuck up too much as a parent.

Even at my lowest point in life, I loved my kids. Even when I wasn’t the best parent that I could be. That was the time that Sarah had to pick up more of the slack, and in all honesty, she’s the one that gets depend on the most. That’s the way it goes in most families, mom is the glue that keeps things together and running.

With that, 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.

 

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.

 

Stuck In A Box

As I sit here, I find that I’m having a feeling of frustration. It’s a bit windy out and the night shift has me pondering all sorts of crazy things. I feel that I need to find a way to better fill some of my time up. I think that I should start brining my scripts to work on while I’m at work, during my down time. That’s after I do get my 10,000 steps in a night at work. I can’t forget that’s part of the reason I decided to take the night shift at work.

As the weather gets better, I know that I will continue to keep the momentum up. I’m not a fan of the cold wind that presents itself to me when I’m doing the work outside of my box. Losing the weight, I really notice the cold now. Yet it’s nice to be on a shift that I’ve gotten to meet and talk to a different set of people than I’ve been used too.

I think part of what’s been driving me crazy is that I get stuck searching the messengers for people to talk to, or the updates between the social medias. I’m finding late at night, Twitter seems to be the more active late at night than any of the other social medias that I follow.

One of the small reliefs that I’m able to enjoy is a mini vacation at the end of the month, where I’ll be able to go to Wonder Con, and geek  out on all the things I’m passionate about.  For a set of five days, I’ll actually be back on a normal schedule, and be able to sleep next to the wife that I’ve slept next too for most of the last eighteen years. Yeah, the night shift has been rough on most of the family because of my absence at night.

The bright side is that I’m counting down my time, and I’m about three-and-a-half-months until I can switch shifts again. Oh, and someone reached out to me on LinkedIn to discuss a possible job offer too me. I hope that this interaction leads to something amazing, because it would be great to have a new opportunity for professional growth, and it would be even cooler if that job was seeking me out.

Sometimes my box at work gets me to thinking a wide variety of things. As I’ve discussed before I’ve had some dark times at work, and then I sometimes get the feeling of loneliness, but I’ll never revert back to those dark times. Those feelings where the worst, and seeing people with those same kinds of feelings made me feel even worse than I had already felt. Seeing people end their own lives actually made me feel guilty, because I had felt that way. I’m not even sure if that was an appropriate response, but that’s how I felt.

Even in those brief moments in time now days, life has gotten better. Hell, this week marked my one-year since I graduated from Los Angles Film School, and it feels so good to have that accomplishment. If it wasn’t for all the events that happened so long ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Am I where I want to be? Not completely, but I know that I’m heading in the right direction. After releasing The Reunion(2019), last week, and getting the feedback that I did, I’m on the right path. Positive reactions, and being told that I’ve done a good job, and even got asked about specific aspects of the process, has shown where the talent lies.

The avenue of podcasting has been another topic at hand between me and a several people lately. The comments on that have also been surprisingly positive. I’ve always been one to shine when it came to personality and charisma(not my own words, I promise), and I guess this really shows where the talent lies as well.

I’m blessed to have the support system, and they enjoy putting the work in these projects as well. Some of those in my family seem a bit more eager than others, but it’s beautiful that I can share these passions with them, and watch as everyone grows into something more.

Has anyone else ever felt stuck in a box? How do you deal with the feelings that come with it? Where I work, I actually work in a small building that feels like a box, and getting to talk with customers is probably the best part of the job. No, matter what happens to my future, I’ve been lucky enough to make friends both out of co-workers, and customers, and some of those customers have becomes some of my strongest supporters. Hell, one even hooked me up with a place to film Nash Gray(2017). Customer service has always been my strong point in the professional world, and I think most jobs require some sort of customer service, no matter the industry. So, that’s a tip, learn good communications and customer service skills, because both seem to be lacking in the world today.

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

Bad Habits?! Don’t You Come Back

As with anything in life complacently kills. Sometimes we get to a point in our lives that we are comfortable with the way we feel, and things tend to start sliding back into our lives. This is generally true for us who go through the weight loss journey. I’ve seen and know people who have had some form of weight loss surgery, and they’ve gained the weight back. They may not have gained all the weight back, but sometimes they do gain a  good amount of it back.

Let’s look at the fact that us “fat people” go through when loosing weight. It feels good, hell it feels fucking fantastic going from a large weight, being in pain, and hard to breath; to going to fitting in smaller clothes, being pain free, and able to breath without troubles. The troubles that come with this feeling is that sometimes it’s hard to remember that it takes hard work to keep the weight off, and start to take the new body for granted.

That sometimes fills the vanity in us as individuals. Hell there’s a whole industry built upon vanity. Plastic surgeries, make-up, the dietary market.  Gym memberships go up after the holiday’s in preparation for the summers for people to get that “beach body”. Some people feel that once the goal weight is reached, their work is done. I know better since I’ve done the diets, and it’s crazy to see that the hard work has to be continued. That’s the only way to success.

I get baffled that people want to have the good looking body, yet they want to continue with bad eating habits, and an inactive physical life. I’ll admit, that looking better naked is a benefit to my weight loss. It was never the motivation that got me there, however the lady in my life doesn’t complain one bit. Health was the main focus, and while I was getting physically fit, I didn’t realize that my mental state was also getting better.

After everything that I’d gone through in the last several years, it was the surprise that mentally I was changing for he better as well. The food was poisoning my body, and the negative thoughts, the depression, the anxiety. These things were poisoning my mental well being.

When I was coming out of my mental break-down, I started to use positive reinforcement to change the direction of my life. I set out myself to be positive, more for myself than anything else. People around me have also benefited from my positivity, because I’ve been told that it’s brought their moods up  at various times.

It’s amazing to think that once I started to take the journey, it took steps to get the process  going. Finding the creative outlet was the start, giving myself a better hope for a future I wanted was the first step in this long process. It would take a bit of time before I would realize that I needed to physically change as well.

Once I took that path, this was something that I wasn’t counting on fundamentally changing me. I’ve not had any strong bouts of depression since, the six-week recovery process from my surgery. I’ve been stronger than ever, and I constantly push myself to do more activity. I have people come up to me at work and tell me that they watch me do my laps to get my steps in, and it’s a conversation that takes place in their offices. Not only that, but the inspiration I’ve been showing others, makes me feel good.

It takes time to change, it takes time to do things to improve yourself. It’s not surprising when bad habits come back in, because at first you think that it’s only this one time. Then later you give yourself the excuse that you won’t let it come back totally, but another time won’t hurt. That’s when the sense of false security falls in. It was about five or six months after my surgery, when I decided to try a donut. I had been around them for months, but I was able to resist them. This one time I decided why the hell not, that it wouldn’t hurt just to have one donut. I was wrong, and I felt like I was going to die for the next half hour. I don’t even know why the process of it was going through my head. I don’t have any desire to eat donuts, and honestly there are times that I might eat something because it’s there, but I realize it, and I try not to let it happen often.

The success in all of that is the fact that I weighed-in the other day, and I was down 153.7 pounds. It feels amazing, yet unbelievable to see that I’m sitting at 276.2 pounds right now. That means that I have about sixteen pounds to go before I hit my next small goal weight. Now that I’m over fourteen months out from my surgery, the weight isn’t falling off like it used to be, yet I still push and kick ass. With a BMI of thirty-nine-point-six, I’m feeling pretty fit. I know that I have a long ways to go before I get to the weight I want to be, but it still feels good for the success of my hard work. I’m not stopping now, and I don’t plan on stopping ever, because the after effects of the workout is part of what makes me feel better.

Just keep in mind that if at anytime you decide to change your life in any aspect, please, pay closer attention to the things you do, and why you’re doing them. This is the director, and that’s a wrap.

Fill In The Blank, I’m An Addict

As I was sitting here, editing the sound on my short, I needed a break, and so I thought that I would blog. The thing about this blog, is that I had been sitting on this idea for a little while. Plus, life has been going pretty damn good for me, so I haven’t had anything on my mind in particular to say, until the other night.

There are times that life brings up “ghosts of the past”. I never did drugs, and I was never an alcoholic, but I’ve gone through some different spouts of addiction in my own right. I’ve seen people deal with other aspects of addiction, and I’ve observed how it’s affected people.

I used to be addicted to food. It was a way I would find comfort in life, and it was something to help me because of boredom. This later one, has tried to creep back in a bit. I’m also addicted to entertainment. That goes anywhere from video games, to movies, and music. I’m also an addict to attention, in particular that of beautiful women.

Food used to be the answer for everything. I mean if you look at society, it would seem that everything is built around this concept of food being at the center of most social gatherings. We have an over eaters anonymous, to help people who can’t stop eating. You go out to relax with co-workers, and it usually ends up at a bar, or a place for dinner. Family gatherings end up with mass amounts of food, and socializing. Any way, you can see where I’m going here. This is easily an addiction that most people don’t seem to realize, but that’s okay. It’s something that with a little thought, can be pondered on, and acted upon accordingly.

I love movies, music, video games. Hell, it all comes down to the fact that I’m addicted to stories. I use them as a way to escape the realities of what life can sometimes be. I can imagine myself to be something greater than I am through these same stories. Part of the issue that comes with this is procrastination. Probably the single worse enemy of any person who should be more productive in life. I found it kind of ironic that as I get into developing, or working on my own projects, the desire to watch or play, becomes far less than it usually is. I like going to the movie theaters because I like the experiences that it provides.

Now, talking about my addiction to attention, is probably the harder one to talk about. I’ve made some really bad choices when it’s come to the attention that I have sought in the past. Being an only child who would get pick on for being a “lesser class” of person on a military base, had given me the bad attention, and I was always wishing that I could fit in. Getting called “fat” and “ugly” are a few words that. stuck with me. They still affect my decisions at times thirty-years later.

My desire of attention has at times been a blessing. I found at a young age that I had the talent to be a performer. While in grade school I was in choir, and then again in high school. I found an even bigger love for acting. I took some classes when I went to the local community college, and I was hooked. This would eventually lead me to wanting to become a director, and the rest is history.

The thing about performing, or speaking in front of people gets me high. It’s an incredible energy that I just can’t get enough of. Part of it was to feed my ego, and there was another part that I loved about making people feel different ways. I’ve always loved to me people laugh, it’s something I still do today. Yet it was even more powerful when I could grab their full attention, and take them on an “emotional rollercoaster ride” with whatever was in my characters intentions.

This is where I found being a writer and a storyteller is an art. The truth is, I want people to feel a mixture of emotions when they see my movies. I want to make people laugh at one moment, and then cry the next. This is where my addiction has taken me. In the end, I just want people to look at the piece, and talk about how it made them feel. I want to know that there was a discovery of something that made them feel a specific way.

The attention from the people I have found attractive, has gotten me in trouble a few times. I see that this part of the addiction is where I can be self destructive. I’ve womanized, I’ve hurt some really good people because of these actions. While I can never take away what I have done. I realize that I can grow from it. I guess this would be the drug that I’ve been addicted to the most. It’s never easy to mention that it had been a problem, and usually when I can’t figure how to deal with what is going on in my life, I find that this has been where I would turn.

I’m not proud that I’ve been this way, but I’ve settled with my problems, and haven’t had to turn this way in a long time. Finding a purpose in life has given me the meaning that I’d been looking for, and self improvement is becoming the new addiction.

Any addiction can be destructive. It can ruin lives, and relationships. I’ve had friends, and family who’ve had addiction as well. It’s always good to find a way to help those who need to get over their addiction. The biggest thing to remember is that the only way to get over any addiction, is that they have to want the help first. I was at  the point where I wanted the change and needed the help, and that is why I’ve been successful with getting over some of my issues. I hope that if somebody needs helps, they can get the help they need.

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

Grieve For Your Sanity

The world is going to test you. As it were, God is going to test you, if you believe in such things. The ironic part of that is that when you get tested, it’s usually unexpected, and you’ll probably already have a billion and a half things going on as it were already.

Then life also gets in the way, and you sometimes lose the path you tried to set for yourself. I’ve done that a few times. Most recently in fact. With so many things that get thrown at you in life, it’s not hard to lose focus on what’s important. John Lennon said it best in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.” How beautifully true that statement is.

I think that’s part of what makes life both great, and frustrating. You save up to buy something nice, then your car breaks down, so that’s where the money goes. Yes, I’ve been in this situation many times, and it sucks. Yet, there are times, you might back into someone, and find the love of your life. As I look back on life, it’s a remarkable journey.

I never anticipated where having the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy would take me. All I knew was that it was something that was going to help me lose weight, and I wouldn’t hurt as much. The amount of positivity that I’ve received from people, the growth of my mental, and physical wellbeing, has taken me aback. This process has been a sanity check at times as well.

I’m sure the question of if the surgery did so well, why would you have to check your sanity during this positive journey? Well, it’s because there are bumps in every journey. Being a human, with doubts and insecurities, tend to be the biggest hurtle. When you grow up and get told that you weren’t good enough, and you didn’t deserve things; that kind of stuff sticks with you. Being over-weight for so long, and having limited movement, my mind also tells me that I can’t do it. That’s something that reminds me of the cliche, “You’re your own worst enemy.”

This all comes down to keeping yourself in check and remembering that it’s all a mental game, and the things that happen, are only a small portion of your reality, and that the rest is made up of how you react to them. As an example, I have a friend or two, that tend to act like life is out to get them. The truth is after hearing their stories, I look at the situation, and think that it doesn’t usually sound as bad as they make it out to be. Again it’s not always easy to explain, as ego tends to get in people’s way. Just look at the current group of people who are running our country, and you can see the examples of what I mean.

It’s insane to think that life is completely out of our hands to control. To go “religious”, that is why God gave us free will. Keep in mind that whatever does happen, it’s all about trying to keep ourselves in check and mentally prepared.

While it doesn’t always work, attempt to take the time and stand back to reflect on the situation, sometimes that’s all anyone needs. Even if that means that it’s for the next time a similar situation occurs.

I think the most sane thing to do is to continue to grow, to strive to become a better version of the person we are right now. It is so easy to get complacent, and to blame other things or people, then it is too point out our own faults. Those are toxic traits that I’ve seen in people around me. Hell, I’ve learned to see some of those traits in myself. This is something that I’ve been trying to purge out of my own self. I know that I’ve grown, especially over the last five years, but I also realize that there are things that I need to continue to work on.

Things that I didn’t think I could do, have shown me differently. The way I react to some situations, has surprised me, when I’ve been put in the situation. One of my bigger issues is that fact that I’m constantly in self-doubt. This hurtle is something I have a long way to over come. It’s just not the mountain that it once was.

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