Hard to believe it, but this blog (yes, I still hate that word) is three months old today. I'm astounded that I've managed to be such an intrepid author, but even more, that all of you have been such undaunted readers. Thank you - though I would likely write regardless - it means a great deal to me to have your support, and to, so often - because of the comments and emails I receive - see my scribbles through your eyes.
There are people who read these little slices of brilliance everyday from whom I wouldn't have expected a second glance (much less a 'save to favorites'). There are people who read this that I don't even know. It's humbling, and it makes me feel a sense of responsibility - not just to keep posting, but to measure my words well. Yes, measure, not censor. Perish that thought! It's about weight and balance, not about hiding.
I've been re-thinking one of my (many) conversations with Timothy the other day. Timothy doesn't like to read, and initially had to be dragged to the Black Ink Pad, kicking and screaming, by Tom. He still doesn't read it every day, but occasionally when we're talking, it'll remind him that he has a lot of catching up to do. Such was the case on Saturday. He clicked on the link and started perusing back a couple of weeks, and I said, "Oh man... you are going to have questions for me. Just read and call me back."
So he did. His first words, punctuated by some manly sniffles (because real men cry), were, "I love you." His second phrase was, "You are beautiful." We went over some of the points I'd made in different posts, laughed about some (he loved the imagery of me donning fishnet stockings and giving blowjobs on the docks for extra cash), and dissected some of the thoughts behind my ramblings.
T-man, I know you're going to read this post eventually (*smirk*), so I hope you don't mind me sharing all this. (Hey, at least it'll prove that you've read it! *raspberry*) But, all too often my post-posting conversations are fodder for a future post. Such is the case herein.
T said something like (going off of my shabby memory here - I have the retention span of a ferret on three espressos), "I believe in so much of what you say. It's so true. Why can't I live my life like that? There's so much I want to change and do, but I go to work, and I come home, and nothing is ever different! I need to meet new people. I need to get outside myself, but every day it's just the same shit all over again." It's ironic to me that Timothy seems to want to raise himself to my standards, because he's one of those people whose standards I admire and strive for. The 'no one can make you feel anything' line has become part of my mantra.
Timothy and I can (and do) say anything and everything to each other. It's a no holds barred relationship, and I really like that. There are three people in this world (none of them blood relatives) who would merely have to call me and say, "Get here now." And I'd drop everything and leave, no questions asked. He's one of them. I say this, not because I'm trying to foster a Timothy Love Fest, but because I want you to understand the integrity of the guy, and the depth of what we share as friends.
Anyway, to go back to his response, the bit about wanting and needing to change. In "coaching" him, for lack of a better word, I started thinking in terms of a step program. So, here it is (yes, all this verbose rambling has a point): The Gypsy 10-Step Exact Change Paradigm
1) Make a list of the things you want to change. It doesn't matter how big or small they are, and it doesn't matter what order it's in.
2) Choose one thing, and only one thing, off that list every week and begin to work toward changing it. Example: I want to ride my bike. Start by riding only 15 minutes a day. Make it a habit. (Sound familiar?)
3) Attitude, attitude, attidude. If you believe it, you can do it. Make it so. Cliché, yes, but truth. Even if you come across a day when you don't want to follow that goal, do it anyway. Force yourself.
4) Talk about it (even better, write about it if you can). Letting others know your goals keeps you honest, and it'll keep your enthusiasm level up. My sis is a marathon runner and every conversation has elements to it of what she's doing to train, or runs shes done. While at times I've thought, "God, that's all she ever talks about!" I've come to realize that it's part of what keeps her going when she'd rather curl up on the sofa and read.
5) Forgive yourself. You're human (curses, I know... how did we ever end up with such a plight?!). Shit happens. Your journey is not going to be perfect. You'll want to give up.
6) Don't give up. Keep going. As Rilke said, "no feeling is final." Physical, mental, spiritual. Growth involves pain. But, as David says when he finishes a particularly brutal workout, "I hurt, but I hurt less than if I didn't do it at all." John used to have a poster that read, "Nothing hurts worse than doing nothing."
7) Expect greatness. Don't be reluctant to be proud of yourself for even the small accomplishments. I once saw an interview with Olympic runner, Carl Lewis. He was asked about "failing" to win a race and how he would analyze his failure in terms of future races. He gave the interviewer a dry glance and said, "I don't look back and ask myself what I could have done. I look forward and ask myself what I can do."
8) Failure is not an option. Stumbling is expected - it's part of our lack of perfection as humans. It's called working toward a goal for good reason. You're going to fuck up (ask anyone who's ever been on a diet). It's ok. Just see it, see the way around it, and move forward.
9) Begin another goal. Yep, right in the middle of working on the one you chose. I find that many of the things I want to change about myself go hand in hand. Often, it's almost easier to meld one goal into another, having already made strides toward changing the first one. Example: I wanted to lose weight. My first goal was to change my thought patterns and habits that centered around food consumption. My second goal was to get exercise so I'd feel better and be more limber (getting old sucks, that's why). The two goals work together to whittle me down to the weight I want to be at.
10) Recognition. In realizing that you want to change, you're already half way there. It's an old AA standard, but it works. It's called enlightenment. Give yourself 'props' for wanting to be a better you. That's what it's all about, my friend.
Write to me, or call me. I want to know how it goes - *grin* - see step #4.
"Oh, I'm newly calibrated
All shiny and clean
I'm your recent adaptation
Time to redefine me
Let the word out, I've got to get out
Oh, I'm feeling better now
Break the news out, I've got to get out
Yeah, I'm feeling better now
The world's done shakin' me
World's done shakin' me
World's done shakin' me down"
~Collective Soul, Better Now