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Archive for May, 2011

I have touched on my weight some in past posts but I figured I would talk about it a little more in detail now. I hope that maybe by talking about my weight loss journey I can help people see that anything is possible.

I have been bigger most of my life. I played sports up until high school which helped me from becoming morbidly obese but I was always overweight. When I turned 16 I started at Drug Warehouse and it was about that time that I really blew up for the first time. I was working at a store that sold lots of different candy. Yeah that was not a good situation. By the start of my senior year of high school I weighed about 316 lbs. My best friend Adam asked me to go to new Weight Watchers meeting with him. I went with him and experienced some success pretty quickly. I lost weight but I was doing in the wrong way. I was pretty much starving myself. It was not OK. I ended up losing close to 100 lbs over the course of my senior year but I looked sickly. I remember that someone wrote in my yearbook to eat some candy. They had a point. : )

After graduating I started going to TCC and began dating Amanda not long after that. One of the side effects of a relationship can be becoming comfortable and letting yourself go physically. Because I had not truly followed Weight Watchers and had mainly starved myself I didn’t have good eating habits and over the course of the next few years I gained back the weight I had lost and then some.

It is at this point that I should mention that I have some real body image issues. I have a bad habit of equating my self worth with my size. Not healthy but something I had engrained in me from a young age. I distinctly remember being 13 or 14 and coming out of the bathroom after a shower without a shirt on and my mom making a comment about me having fat rolls. Something like that sticks with you. I mean if your own mom is talking about how bad you look what will the rest of the world think. Because of that memory nobody in my family has seen me without a shirt on since then.

In my relationship with Amanda I continued to struggle with my body image issues. It was a couple of months after we started being intimate that I would even take my shirt off. I guess I thought if I took my shirt off she would run away screaming. I really was stupid but it is amazing how much insecurity will fuck with your head.

Fast forward to January 2009, I am single, living back with mom, weighing in at scale breaking 361.6 lbs and profoundly unhappy with my lot in life. It was then that my friend and now roommate Lisa asked me if I would be interested in going to Weight Watchers with her. Now you will remember that I had went in high school and I had enjoyed in then so I agreed to go with Lisa. Another reason I went was because at that point in my life I felt like there was so much stuff I couldn’t control that I wanted to take charge of the one thing I could control. My body. I went to the meetings every week with Lisa and really followed the program and I began to lose weight. One of my favorite things that is said at Weight Watchers meetings is that Weight Watchers is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. Being healthy is not a temporary thing that one does. It is a daily journey. It helped me out immensely to have Lisa there to keep me motivated. She was always there with encouragement and she truly understood what I was going through because she was on the same journey as me. It was a few months into attending meetings that Lisa wanted to start walking. I was not greatly interested in exercising but I went and turns out it made me feel good to get out there and move. I did the couch to 5k program and jogged my first 5k in September 2009. I have talked about my love of jogging some already and I will talk more about it later I am sure but for now let me just say that becoming active when trying to lose weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It doesn’t have to be jogging. You can walk, bicycle, zumba or any number of other activities. Just find something that you enjoy and if possible find somebody to do that activity with you. You can be each others motivation.

I lost weight quickly in Weight Watchers. Maybe a little more quickly than I should have but I didn’t starve myself. I ate three meals a day and snacked. I ate pretty much the same thing everyday. That isn’t for everyone but it worked for me. I reached my goal weight of 200 lbs in April 2010 and maintained it for 6 weeks to become a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. That is one of my proudest accomplishments. It is now roughly a year later and I have managed to maintain my weight. I fluctuate up and down about five pounds. I have bad days and sometimes bad weeks on the eating front but because I have the tools to live a healthy life I always get back on track and that is what is important.

My body image issues are much improved but I don’t know that I will ever be completely comfortable with my body. I still look in the mirror sometimes and don’t recognize the person staring back at me. It is hard to live as a fat person most of your life and then suddenly be the person that people describe as the tall skinny one. First time that happened was pretty sweet though.

I truly feel like if I can lose the weight that I did then anyone can. It is not easy but it is very possible. I know that it can seem daunting if you have a large amount of weight to lose. I found that it helped for me to break it down into smaller victories. Weight Watchers gives you stars for every 5 lbs lost along with losing  5% and then  10% of your body weight and every 25lbs lost but I took it farther and rewarded myself for every additional 5 and 10% after that as well. That way it felt like I was hitting a goal every few weeks. It helped keep me motivated through the tough times. I believe that I will maintain a healthy weight for the remainder of my life. That is something I would have thought crazy to say 3 years ago. Al most as crazy as saying that I would jog a half-marathon.

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The above quote is by Somerset Maugham. He was a writer in the late 19th and early 20th century. I have never read any of his books, the most famous of which is Of Human Bondage,  I am sad to admit. I just love the quote which is attributed to him. It is something I agree with totally. I love reading. I grew up reading and it is something I continue to enjoy it to this day. I read a wide range of books depending on my mood and I am always looking for something new.

Looking back on the books I liked in my childhood it makes me smile to realize that a majority of them were “old” books even when I was a child. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, and my personal favorite the Boxcar Children. Nancy Drew and Boxcar children books are still in print today but Three Investigators books have sadly faded away with time. If anyone runs across any of them send them my way. One of the coolest things about these books is that today I can give them to my nieces to read. The Boxcar Children is a little above my oldest nieces reading level but having had it read to her she really enjoyed it and I hope that as she grows older she will have a love of reading. I can think of few things that will bring her greater joy.

As I grew older my reading expanded more. I began reading some science fiction and even tried my hand at “classic books”. I am going to be honest. I have never been a greater reader of the classics. I have read some but by no means as many as I should have. I think now being a little older I would enjoy them more. I believe my problem in my younger days is that I always wanted a happy ending in a book. One thing I quickly discovered is there is no guarantee of happiness in classic books. I realize now that to be good a book doesn’t necessarily need a happy ending. As long as the ending doesn’t feel cheap and contrived I am a happy man.

One of the books that I read in high school that stuck with me and remains one of my favorite books is Enders Game written by Orson Scott Card. I am not sure how I ran across it in the library but after reading it I was hooked. There are sequels that are good books in their own right but none of them compare to this book. What drew me to this book about a world where children were trained to win a war against “buggers” and save humanity I still don’t know but it is a book I never tire of reading it. High school is also where I read Harry Potter for the first time. I had made fun of it for years before finally reading it and realizing what I had been missing out on. I read quite a bit more than that in high school but those are the memories that leap out at me. Well that and my decision to read the Canterbury Tales my senior year. I did it but it was one of the most challenging reading experiences I have had. If you are wondering why just google it and see why it is not light reading.

As an adult now my reading is a little more eclectic than it was in high school. Some of my favorite books include the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, The Stand and the Long Walk by Stephen King,  Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series, Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, The complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and many others. I was amused the other day at Target when I was looking at an endcap with “Books for Women” on it and realized I had read about half of them. This was mainly because they had a lot of Jodi Picoult on it which I started reading when I was still in a store and they were being passed around by women I worked with. A majority of her books are good and I own three of them myself. My favorite of her’s that I have read is Nineteen Minutes, a heartbreaking story but a damn good read. I though I would list the last five books I have read because they are all good reads and also illustrate how I tend to jump around a bit.

1. Anatomy of an Execution by David Dow

2. Brisinger by Christopher Paolini

3. Horns by Joe Hill

4. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankel

5. Fer-De-Lance by Rex Stout

I also must confess that I read comics. This is something that embarrassed me for quite a while but I am getting over it mainly because I realize more and more that it is nothing to be ashamed. Writing for comics is usually very good and the art can be spectacular. I think they get a bad name because of all the garbage out there. Many people think comics are for 13 year old boys who want to look at half naked women and there is certainly some of that floating around but more and more there are comics for grown-up men and women. They can tell stories of good v.s evil, allegories for current events, love stories, or a thousand other things. When done right they can be as powerful and moving as a well written novel. Yes there is a great deal of crap out there in comics but to be fair there is a great deal of crap out there in books. Trust me I have read some of it. I really think there is a comic out there for everyone. I would just encourage to put aside your bias and do a little research. You might be surprised. I would also like to recommend a free online comic that I love. It is called Questionable Content, http://www.questionablecontent.net/ . It is a great comic by Jeph Jacques that is updated five days a week and here is what it is about. Straight from the site: What is this “Questionable Content” thing about, anyway?
Questionable Content (or “QC,” as it is frequently abbreviated) is an online comic strip that is ostensibly about romance, indie rock, little robots, and the problems people have. That description truly doesn’t do it justice. It is about life. It is very funny, sometimes sad, and often ridiculous but I love it. I don’t get a majority of the indie rock references but it is not necessary to enjoy the comic.

I hope what people take from this besides that I am a nerd(and loving it) is that reading is fun. It can be an escape from the world and lift you up when you are feeling down. It can expand your horizons and introduce new worlds to you. Please read and after your read something you like recommend it to someone you care about or if it was bad someone you don’t : ) . I am always looking for reading recommendations so feel free to post them under the comments

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I am laying here on the couch of  the apartment alternating between feeling sorry for myself and being mad at myself for feeling sorry for myself. Quite the fun situation. I get down sometimes. Not near as often as I used to but I am only human and life gets the better of me sometimes. It is hard to avoid your insecurities when it is just you and the dog hanging out. Instead of laying here in a pitiful stupor for a while I am going to write about what is running through my mind. Most of it I have touched on in previous posts so this could get a bit repetitive but whatever at this point I don’t care. Without further ado Joel’s insecurities of the day:

1. Job: I finished up the last install of the main roll out today. We have a few acquisition stores that we still have to put new registers in but for the most part the installs are done which means the job I have been doing for the last year is all but done. I will  still have a job but I don’t know for sure what or where that job is going to be. I may be running a new program that the VP of the company wants to start here in Tulsa or I could be working an IT position in Little Rock. Either would be great opportunities. The job in Little Rock would be more up my alley but the job in Tulsa is well it is in Tulsa which is great. The problem right now is nobody will make a damn decision about where they want me. There is a lot going on in the company at the moment but not knowing what I am going to be doing come next month is starting to fuck with my head. I know I should just be thankful to have a job and I truly am but it is not easy at the moment to focus on that.

2. Love: I am attracted to women that are unavailable to me for various reasons. Whether they are already in a relationship or I just know it is a bad idea to date them for a variety of reasons. I know that I am attracted to women that I have no shot with because it easier to avoid heartache that way. I wrote in an earlier post that I am OK most days with being single and that is very true. This just does not happen to be one of those days. The bottom line is nobody truly wants to be alone. Some people are just more OK with it than others. I know I need to get out there more to meet women. About the only times I go out are with my female roommate so people naturally assume we are together. I would like to go do more things but I am not sure where to start and I am still pretty shy when it is just me. I am so sick of being that person who bitches about there situation but does nothing about it. Fuck that. I hereby resolve to do one activity at least every other week that I would not normally do in the course of my day. Maybe I could join a movie club or take a dance class or any number of other things. I am open to suggestions people. As much as I would love to hope that a woman is just going to walk up to me and leap into my arms I get the feeling that it is pretty unlikely.

I am sure I will feel better tomorrow. I sometimes just need to vent. I shouldn’t have to work tomorrow which will be nice and I get to hang out with my best friend who I don’t see enough so it is going to be a good day. I will try to get another blog entry in tomorrow. I promise it will be something more uplifting. I already have a few ideas for it. Night all

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I love my family but there is many times that I don’t like them. I feel many days like I am the only sane one left in the family. I hate that I feel that way but I can’t lie to myself.

I grew up in Beggs, OK which is a small town that had a population of about 1000 growing up. My family life growing up was “normal” and happy. I have a mother, father, and a younger brother. When I was younger my mother worked for Bethhage, a non profit organization that ran assisted living homes for mentally handicapped people, and my father worked for tulsa county doing roadwork. My dad coached my sports teams and was very supportive. We were your average middle class family. I was always closer to my mother growing up. We could sit and talk about most anything. I got along with my father but he was more of an outdoors man like my younger brother was and is.

It was when I was 17 and approaching the end of high school that my family life took a turn towards the strange. Bethhage had closed a few years before and Mom was now on disability due to her bad back and my father was now working as security for a local casino. He had been acting strange for a year or so. I am not sure if he was having a mid life crisis or if he had just gone crazy as my mother claimed later. My brother was 14 and had began dating a girl whose home life made my own life seem like an episode of Leave it to Beaver. She ended up pregnant. I later found out that they were trying to get her pregnant to get her out of her house. Nine months later my beautiful first niece Julie was born.

On August 26th, 2004 I woke up to the sound of my brother cussing my father out. I wish I could say this was a first but sadly it had become increasingly commonplace. I walked out of my room to play peacekeeper which is my family role to find out that the reason my father was being cussed out was that he was leaving my mother. It turns out he was having an affair with a woman he was working with at the casino who was also married. I spoke to my father a couple of times after that but it was strange and he wasn’t the man who I grew up with. We eventually got into a big argument and spoke only sparingly for the next few years. I don’t think my mother has been the same since dad left. Not only has it been hard emotionally but it is a struggle month to month living on disability.

A few years later my brother was dating a different girl than the mother of Julie. He had been dating her for about a year and a half when he got her pregnant. He was 18. Nine months later my second beautiful niece Brooke was born. It was about a year later when I married Amanda and everything I discussed in my previous post happened. I moved back in with Mom in what I thought was a 3 month stop over. I ended up being there for about 15 months. It was a miserable time in my life mainly because of Amanda but also because the situation at home was so bad. Let me lay it out for you. My mother was and is raising my oldest niece Julie because my brother chose not to step up and be a dad. My brother lived next door to my mom in a trailer that I grew up in until I was 13. He was living with his then girlfriend. On the other side was my uncle and his girlfriend. When I came home from work I went into my room and didn’t come out except to eat. Part of the reason was because I was so down I didn’t want to deal with anybody and the other part that whenever I dealt with my family they brought me down. My mother and brother constantly argued and my mom always relied on me to be that support. So basically what happened was even as I am going through the worst time of my life my mother is calling me the only sane one in the family and coming to me with problems that I should not have had to deal with at that point.

Lets flash forward to these days. I live in Tulsa now with and awesome roommate. My mom is still raising my oldest niece. There is a guy living at moms house to help pay the rent. She has had a string of people live there over the past few years to help out with rent. My brother still lives in the trailer next door with his fiance and her son from a previous marriage. The mother of my oldest niece has a son with another man and lives in Tulsa. She stays in touch with the family still. The mother of my youngest niece lives in Missouri and my brother gets Brooke every other weekend. He spends time with her mainly when it is convenient to him. I reconnected with my father a few months before I got married and speak to him a few times a month now. The conversation is strained but I know it means a lot to him so I really try. It feels like I am talking to a stranger in my dealings with my father. It is just strange to have been raised by one man and now be talking to a man who looks the same but acts completely different. My brother has been showing flashes of growing up over the last year. He has struggled over the last 6 or so years to grow up and there have been false starts but I feel like he is finally getting his stuff together. It still bothers me greatly that he is not a bigger part if his children’s lives because I think they should be priority number one. He has always been there for me and has gone out of his way to help me and I love him very much and I do wish we got to spend more time together. I talk to my mom a few times a month as well. I tend to avoid going to see her because every time I see her she spends a majority of the time complaining about her lack of a life or why she is upset over this, that, or the other. Like I stated earlier she says I am the only sane one in the family. I miss my younger days where we could talk for hours and just hang out. Now my time with her just tends to leave me sad. I really think she is depressed. I wish I could do something to her out but I don’t have extra money and I have worked so hard to get my own head on straight that sometimes it is too much for me to try to handle my problems and all of my families.

I feel like I have spent most of this post complaining about my family and reading back over it I suppose I have. I don’t mean to imply that I don’t love my family because I do. I love them completely and would do anything to help them and I know that they feel the same. I just wish they would realize that sometimes all I need from them is to be a son, a brother, a uncle and not a sounding board and mr. fix it for all of their problems.

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I have loved one woman in my life and she loved me. At least she loved me in the best way that she knew how. That relationship did not end the way I hoped it would. That is because I hoped that it would not end. We don’t always get what we want though.

I didn’t date growing up. I was overweight, painfully shy, and emotionally insecure. This is not say that my high school life was miserable. Far from it. I look back upon high school and only have a few memories that I cringe at. I got along with most everyone I just was not what most people would consider dating material. People said valued my friendship too much. That is what people say to you when they don’t want to hurt your feelings. It is nice of them but the bottom line is that rejection hurts. I became so lonely that my junior year of high school that i “dated” a girl for a week. I put dated in parentheses because dating might be overstating what me and this girl had. She was my first kiss. To be honest it was horrible. I had not clue what I was doing and looking back I really don’t think she was exactly bringing the awesome in the kissing game. I had enough decency in me that after a week I broke up with her. She liked me but I had no feelings for her and I refused to drag it out even though I just went back to being lonely.

My senior year of high school I started losing weight. I ended up losing about 100 lbs at that time. Unfortunately I did it the wrong way. I starved myself and did not exercise. That is another conversation though. What i am leading to is that when I was 19 going to Tulsa Community College (TCC), working at Drug Warehouse a girl named Amanda began working at Drug Warehouse. She was 16, very cute and very into me. We hung out some and talked on the phone a bit. She ended up telling me that she had feelings for me. I was not sure what I felt for her but I knew that I was concerned about the age difference. I told her that which left her in tears and things more than a little awkward between us for a time. This happened around May 2004. That summer I took Chem II at TCC. I became friendly with a girl in the class. At the end of the semester I got her phone number and we began talking on the phone. We had great conversations and went out a few times. I formally asked her out at some point in the proceedings. After a week of us actually dating she told me that she thought it was a mistake for us to date but that she wanted to remain friends. I told her that I didn’t think I could do that. I wanted a clean break. Looking back I regret that because I really think we could have been great as friends. It was at this point that I began to wonder if I was ever going to have a relationship last longer then seven days. It seemed like a bad joke at the time.

As 2004 progressed I started hanging out with Amanda again which led to us going to see The Polar Express on November 28th. As we were watching the movie we began holding hands. As I drove her home that night we talked about where we stood. I expressed my concerns about the age difference again but this time I stated that I thought I could get past it. We began dating and it was the happiest time of my life to that point. Things were great with us starting out as they usually are with couples. A few significant things happened over the next few years. I told Amanda I loved her in January 2005. I told her before I really did love her. I told her because that was the next logical step in our relationship. You will note that is a recurring trend in my love life. I did grow to love her eventually but looking back I regret that I confused lust and affection for love. I began gaining weight back as we dated. By the end I had gained back the 100lbs I had lost and then some. We lost our virginity to each other during the course of dating. I am not going to discuss that anymore because it is not really polite to put all the intimate details out there for the world to see and sex is not love so it does not pertain too strongly to this post. Amanda graduated high school and began cosmetology school in Sand Springs. I was still attending school at TCC and hanging in there relatively well.

As our relationship progressed I began to feel like I was running in place. By that I mean I felt like I needed to propose because it seemed like the next logical step. Yes there is that expected progression of things popping up again. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t love her or that I didn’t want to marry her. I am just saying that I think I rushed into proposing because it was expected of me. I proposed to Amanda in Oklahoma City in bricktown. I think I did a pretty good job with it.

We had a long engagement for a couple of reasons. The first was we wanted her to finish cosmetology school so she would have a steady job and the other was I was still in school. It was at about this time that we began to have problems. Amanda began working at St John’s in the laundry service while she was going to school and I went to Oklahoma State University beginning in August 2007 meaning I was in Stillwater all week and worked most of the day Saturday. Amanda began to change and come more into her own as a person while I was drawing into myself. At this point I was very overweight and completely unhappy with myself or my school situation. It was so bad that many times I could not leave the dorm because I felt like people were staring at me. I basically tanked my year at OSU for this reason and because Amanda was my primary focus. More and more she became one of the few things in my life that I was happy with. So what did I do? I decided that I didn’t deserve her and began being an ass to her. I was passive aggressive and hurtful and not at all a person that I want to be. I did this because while I thought I wasn’t good enough for her I also was too much of a coward to break up with her. I guess in the back of my mind I hoped that she would break up with me. She did not unfortunately.

When school let out in May 2008 we began living together in a house we rented near Prattville and near Amanda’s mother. We had set the wedding date for June 7th. Those couple of months before the wedding were great. We were happy and while planning the wedding caused stress Amanda’s mother handled it great. In the back of my mind I was concerned about us getting married because while things were still good at that moment I knew that Amanda had changed from the girl that I fell in love with and I also knew that I had changed. That was inevitable really. We were basically two kids who fell in love and had very naive notions of what love was. In spite of that inkling in my mind that this might be a mistake Amanda and I were married on June 7th 2008 in a beautiful ceremony in Sand Springs. She was gorgeous and we were surrounded by friends and family. We honeymooned in Las Vegas where we had a great time. I remember saying to her on our last night there that I wish we could stay because I didn’t want to go back to the real world.

We struggled starting out married as many couples do. We didn’t combine finances and I made stupid decisions with money. She was working two jobs, one at St. John’s and the other doing hair while I was just working at Drug Warehouse. I didn’t help out with the house like I should. Anyway at the beginning of August Amanda expressed frustration with me and our relationship for the first time. She went and stayed with her mom for a few days while I tried to get my head on straight. She came home and I stepped it up like I should have been from the beginning. What I failed to realize at the time was that she was already done. She wrote me a letter about how she felt like she had missed out on things because we had been dating since she was 16 amongst other things. On August 26th 2008 she send me a TEXT stating that she wasn’t coming home anymore. No lets try to work it out or anything. Not even the decency to tell me in person.

I blamed myself for exclusively for what happened with Amanda and I. I took it all upon myself for a long time. What I have come to realize over time is that what my friends said was true. There are two people in a relationship and that no one person is entirely to blame for the breakdown of a relationship. This seems obvious but it was hard for me to accept for some time. What I now know is that I am to blame for some of our problems. Amanda had legitimate complaints about our relationship. The thing is that by the time she expressed them she was done. Maybe I could have been more aware of my faults but sometimes in a relationship you need a kick in the ass. Nobody is always the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend. Relationships take work and to cut and run is a cowards way out. The truth of the situation is that Amanda was in love with the idea of being married. She wanted to be a princess for a day and then it be all rainbows and sunshine. That is not how it works. Like I stated a relationship is work.  As soon as she came to the realization it was not always easy she split. Plus like she had stated in her letter she had not gone out and partied and did whatever else she felt like she needed to do. I truly think that even had I been an idea husband she would have left at some point. Maybe not so soon but eventually. The pure and simple truth is that even at the age of 20 she was still a girl and not ready to be married.

Our divorce wasn’t finalized until November 2009. That seems like a long time and I guess it is but I refused to pay for the divorce and we were not getting along well at that point. I can’t imagine why. To top all this off I would randomly get texts intended for the guy she was seeing. At least I hope they were intended for him and not just a mean spirited attempt to screw with me. What really pissed me off at the time was that I am 98% certain that she had started seeing the guy before she left me. I never pressed to confirm this because at the time I couldn’t handle it and frankly at this point it doesn’t make any difference. She also kept telling me that she wanted to remain friends. What the hell!!!. How do you date someone and marry them, leave them via text and then still have the nerve to tell them you want to be friends. There is a word to describe that.

Looking back on that time in my life it really seems like a different life. In the couple of years since the breakdown of my marriage I have really grown. I lost 165lbs, paid off most of my debts, and improved my work situation tremendously. I have become a man I can be proud of and respect. I have become a better friend and I know I will be a great boyfriend and eventual husband to a woman. I made mistakes in the past but who hasn’t. I, unlike some people, have learned from my mistakes. I know now that even though I am not perfect I deserve to be loved and be treated with respect. That sounds obvious but it is something I didn’t always think I deserved. I also know that I will never take being in a relationship for granted again.

So where do I stand in my love life at this point. Well I am single and I am OK with that most days. I am not saying I don’t want to be in a relationship because I do. I want to love and be loved but I am not defined by a relationship. I am happy for the most part with where I am in my life and I know that in order for anybody to truly love me I have to love myself first. That is something I had forgotten in the past. In the past two years I have only been on two dates. The first was a blind date and was not the greatest experience. The girl texted throughout the meal which is a pet peeve of mine. The second date was not even really a date. A girl from a store I trained likes me but I don’t have feelings like that for her. I was honest and straight forward with her from the beginning that I enjoyed hanging out with her but I am not interested in dating her. We have gone out a few times and I pay for dinner and she pays for the movie. It works out nicely. I am concerned that she is holding out hope that I will develop feeling for her but I was honest with her and that is all I can do. Beyond that I haven’t been on any other dates. I really need to get out there more. I am shy and awkward when pursuing women which I suppose some women would find attractive. I just haven’t found many of those women. I suppose if I decide I want a girlfriend badly enough I will step up my game. What little game I have.

This post has been the hardest one so far for me to write. It has dealt with the worst time of my life. A time that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through. So why type it? I did it because I did make it through. I made to the light at the end of the figurative tunnel. I am a better and stronger person for what I have been through. It short without the pain and heartbreak I have experienced I would not be able to bring the awesome the way I do now.    🙂

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I ran my first half-marathon this morning in Oklahoma City. It was an experience like no other that I have ever had. It felt like a grand finale to a journey I have been on since January 2009 when I first started losing weight. At that time I could not run 1/8th of a mile. Pathetic but true. As of this morning it is official that I can run 13.1 miles without stopping. Impressive.

The day got off to a bit of a rough start. We got up at 4:50 AM to go to the half-marathon. It started raining as we were driving there plus it was cold. The half-marathon was supposed to start at 6:30 AM but they pushed it to 7:00 AM which didn’t really help that much. Despite these not optimal conditions as I lined up for the run I found myself overwhelmed with emotion. This was completely unexpected but as I waiting for the run to start I began thinking about my journey and where I was and looking out over the crowd in front of me and the OKC skyline and tears came to my eyes. Now ask anyone I am not a person who cries. I keep my emotions in check but for whatever reason this morning it was all a bit much for me.

The race began and I won’t go into much detail on it other than to say I enjoyed the course and felt good throughout and was able to sprint at the end which is pretty sweet. I should also mention that the volunteers were awesome with food and drink as we ran.

Overall it was a great experience and one I would love to repeat. I do want to also thank my friends who came out to support me. It was a rainy, cold, miserable day and yet they were there to support me and I will be forever grateful. Now I am going to do something I make fun of people for. I am going to list my running play list. The music on it is a mix of some of my favorite songs, good running songs and just some random other things.

Joel’s Official OKC half-marathon play list(in the order it played):

1. Power-Kanye West.

2.Meet Virginia(acoustic)-Train

3.Rolling in the Deep-Adele

4. Mr. Brightside- The Killers

5. Chasing Cars-SnowPatrol.

6. A Twist in my Story-Secondhand Serenade.

7. Remembering Sunday-All-Time Low.

8. Audience-Cold War Kids.

9. Mercy-Duffy.

10. Wild at Heart-Gloriana.

11. Always Running out of Time-Motion City Soundtrack.

12.Better Than Revenge-Taylor Swift.

13. Little Miss-Sugarland.

14. Over my Head-The Fray.

15. We Run-Sugarland.

16. Crazy Bitch-Buckcherry.

17. All In-Lifehouse.

18. Gunpowder & Lead-Miranda Lambert.

19. But it’s Better if You Do-Panic at the Disco.

20. Renegade-Styx.

21. Mockingbird-Rob Thomas.

22. Fuckin Perfect-Pink.

23. Pretender- Jane Dear Girls.

24. Paris (Ooh la Lah)-Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

25. Keep Me in Mind-Zac Brown Band.

26. When I Look at You-Miley Cyrus… before you ask yes I am embarrassed that this is on my playlist.

27. L.g Fuad-Motion City Soundtrack.

28. Grand Theft Autumn(acoustic)- Fall Out Boy.

29. S&M-Rihanna.

30. If I Die Young- The Band Perry.

31. Another Day- Rent Soundtrack.

32. Hey, Soul Sister-Train.

33. Whataya Want from Me?(acoustic)-Adam Lambert.

34. Seven Nation Army-The White Stripes.

35. Cocaine Blues-Johnny Cash.

36. Love Left to Lose-Sons of Sylvia.

37. Little Lion Man-Munford and Sons.

38. Weightless(unplugged)-All-Time Low.

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