Realising WHY I want to get better.
New beginnings. Here’s to diary posts, a new website and getting back into the swing of things.
In finally meeting my personal expectations for myself I had set over the years- things that as a kid I thought were lofty impossibilities- I lost a really really important part of myself.
Biography of a nobody day 1. January 1st 2021.
I think I realised where it started. I know in the last 3 years I have faced a lot- from divorce and custody battles to deaths of loved ones and an entire pandemic. But where I started to lose it was when I lost a part of myself- and it is not where you would imagine or that I lost what you would think.
Lots of people say you lose a part of yourself when you lose somebody- and I think that counts just as much when you get divorced. I had so much passion, so many ideas of new beginnings and I was naive. When I got married it was all new, we got a house, we had a kid and everything was so exciting and I always had a fire in me for a new experience- its hard to top your wedding day, but then your first child is born and I think I realised for the first time in my life how breathless true love can make you.
I loved my daughter instantly, more than anything in the world and I still do. My daughter Alex is now 3 and unfortunately for Alex, her mother and I are no longer together. It is unfortunate in some ways for her but I saw it as an opportunity for her to have 2 happy households to live in rather than a single unhappy one.
Every day my little star seems to learn more, and that in itself is its own achievement for me- it makes me soar inside when she puts a new sentence together, says a new word with understanding or solves a new problem.
I realised though, just today, that between the divorce of her mother- and my excitement still at watching Alex grow that the part of me I lost was the competitive side. How does life top having a child?
It is new years day and I look at myself in the mirror and I'm ashamed of how I look- not because I'm comparing myself to anyone else- because I'm comparing me to me from just 3 years ago. I lost my enthusiasm for the new or the better. I have allowed myself to become mediocre to myself, and I have said that I am ok with it because my excitement in life comes from watching my daughter grow and achieve.
What a ridiculous thing to think- why was I thinking that? Well, I wasn't. I haven't been actively thinking that- I think I have just realised I have been doing that. Before you know it you are in your 30s in the worst shape of your life and telling yourself it is just you getting older.
Well, fuck that. I have filled my house with distractions and escapism- which has been all too easy to embrace in 2020. What a fucking year. Don't get me wrong- I haven't been actively unhappy in all other elements of my life/ I have an amazing support network. My family and my friends are fucking incredible. Before the march lockdown - and up until that point, I saw friends and family daily.
I'm getting lost in my thoughts here.
I realised, in the shower, at 2 pm on January the 1st 2021 that the thing that I lost that has had its most drastic effect on me physically and mentally is my competitive side. I had just got out of bed as was playing Zelda until I fell asleep downstairs in the early hours last night/this morning.
I have always been competitive with friends and family- because I have always felt I was the underdog. I have 5 brothers- 2 older, who I have had an internal competition to surpass in career. I felt I had achieved that (ridiculous I know) when I had the families biggest wedding so far (over 2 days) and a wedding in Hong-Kong too for the in-laws. It was awesome. I also started to out-earn them (Or on par at least) and finally got myself out of debt. Divorce has put me STRAIGHT back in- along with a few k on tattoos to make myself feel better about it all.
I had an internal competition with friends- I was the shortest, least attractive and least smart of the group in our school years. At least that's how I felt. I had the feeling I brought the humour to the group and there's always a least attractive member of a group (if yours doesn't have one it is probably you).
In our friendship group in school, only 2 others (Plus me) didn't go to uni- so I needed to show that my choice to not do that wasn't a waste. After a few years of floundering between shit jobs and my little talent or passion in them, I found engineering. It may not be the most glamorous job- but I understood it, and there is a lot of potential for progression. You can be a proud engineer, I felt.
I started earning really well, I got taller, I got married, I had a kid and I got strong and fit. Somewhere in there, I found a passion for reading and writing as well, so I would say I became more intelligent on top of it all. Competition with friends was going well.
Finally, and by far the most importantly I had an internal competition with myself- which really is what all of the other forms were about. I wanted to never look back and say I hadn't tried my best to experience all that was available- or wasn't. I wanted to be better every day- whether physically, mentally, socially or financially. It didn't matter/ I would strive for improvement. It has taken on many forms in my spare time over the years: from trying to write books, to competing at rock climbing, to working on some films (and even dancing!). I stopped drinking in my early twenties, I have never smoked and I ate much healthier. I am still partial to turkey dinosaurs... who isn't. Always I would see how well I could do- push it as far as I could- then either keep at it or find something new to dedicate myself to.
Somewhere in finally meeting my personal expectations for myself that I set over the years, things that as a kid from the countryside in the middle of nowhere thought were lofty impossibilities, I lost a really really important part of myself. I NEED that competition. I need to strive to be better or I start to give up trying. I can tell this has happened, and I have realised dangerously late in the day because I have been signed off work for the first time in my life. Even my boss knew that something in me had gone and that I am currently not myself/ I have lost all effort for performance at work. I don't exercise, this is that worst shape I have EVER been in, and to put it plainly: I am not happy.
I am extremely happy with life, in general. I love my daughter, my family, my friends, my job, my house, my car and various other things. But I don't love me. I barely like me at the minute, and that is making me unhappy. I'm not saying I ever particularly loved myself (and I would like to think my friends could attest to this) but I was certainly fond of myself. Proud of my traits, my achievements and what I brought into the world or put out into it. I'm just not at the moment. I haven't been for quite a while I realise. I think this is the most dangerous thing to lack (for me, anyway). It has taken me to dark times inside that I can only liken to the moment when I had to fight for my shared custody and the demons in my head were telling me that I would never see my little girl again. 50/50 shared custody- a week on week off is what we finally settled on and the weeks without her are hard, but the weeks with her are INCREDIBLE. I nearly lost all of myself then, fighting for Alex. And what came out of that situation was someone who had nightmares of loss. Lacked sleep, lacked most of what made me me.
Well, anyway, without getting too far off track again. I'm laying on my bed bow at 3:30 pm writing this on my phone. I'm not giving up anymore/ I'm going to set goals. Impossible goals. I'm going to get fit and like how I look. I'm going to work hard again in my career and surpass whatever role I have assigned myself to. I'm going to win. And I'm going to enjoy the challenge. The hard fucking work it's going to take to drag me out of this fucking nightmare inside I have allowed myself to live.
This dark and grey amalgamation of laziness, lack of caring and escapism from personal responsibility for myself inside is going to die. I'm going to kill it. Find happiness with myself and MY life.
Lets fucking do this.
I'm going to start by getting off this bed.
I'm not going pick up the switch and play Zelda, I'm going to paint some of the amazing canvas I got for Christmas and then before I touch a console- I'm going to exercise. And whilst I need small bits of evidence so I can see my improvement. If I can't see the evidence of other improvements in the short term/ at least I will have that.
Luckily... I finished most of the chocolate in the house yesterday.
I think really what I just realised that it's not about how we change or get better- and fuck I have looked so hard for a how. That is why no one can tell you how to get better. It's about why. Why do I want to be happy? Why do I want to be fit? Why do I want to do well in my job?
I think I know why now. It is what I had forgotten. It's not just providing for my daughter and being able to afford things or look good. I want to like myself. Be proud of me. And finally- I want to be able to fucking live with myself.