Happy 2018. I'm a month late and about a year overdue for a real entry. If anyone is still here, I still think about this blog pretty much every day. Funny how that is. It's on my mind practically all year long. There is a reminder on my phone set for every evening at 8pm to 'draw or write something.' And I let about 365 of those reminders pop up before I finally took its advice. Procrastination is a real thing, guys.

But life taking over is also a real thing, too. So much has happened since the last real entry. 

So recap of 2017, in list format because I procrastinated for so long that it only makes sense to cover such an expansive time in bullet points:
  • Employment. I switched companies and hired a few and fired a few. That was a challenging time emotionally. 
  • I married the lover in a chateau in France. Pictures are on Instagram. If you're curious, however, here's the video. The videographers are so talented and genuine. They recently moved to Los Angeles by way of Italy. I expect them to be in high demand.
  • We bought a house in our favorite city, San Francisco. One of my pet peeves is when people say they live in San Francisco but their mailing address lists a city in the peninsula. Worry not; I ain't one of those people.
  • For the first time in my life, I started working out consistently. And the changes I feel in my mental health and see on my body is astonishing. 
We don't work out in Vietnam. It's just not a thing. My first memory of physical exercise was in second grade, a few years after I had moved to the U.S. On the first day at my new school, the gym teacher made everyone do a pull up. I remember looking at this impossible task and feeling super defeated having never witnessed a human do such a thing. I muttered, "I can't," and the teacher turned red. "We don't say can't in this class!" I felt humiliated as he forced me to try, of course, to no success. My scrawny little arms couldn't lift my body one inch. The rest of my gym memories after that were of torturous one-mile runs where I would come in last, out of breath, with shin splints, and a cramp in my abdominal. I did win a first place Field Day award for a long jump but only because I was the only kid who managed to pull off the correct technique. Why anyone would put themselves through the pain of physical activity for fun was beyond me.

I guess it was pretty traumatic because I avoid physically activity for my entire adult life. As an adult you could say I was a fragile little thing. I was clumsy and could probably be knocked over by a strong gust. I needed help with every heavy thing and moved through the world on my own some times in fear and all of the time feeling very small. 

When I finally started working out it was because of vanity. I wanted to reverse my slowing metabolism. I never cared about being physically strong until my mentality changed and I looked at things that were difficult as challenges, instead. I think that comes with age and maturity. There's a determination in me to prove to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. So I resolved to get stronger, to learn how to do a real push up and maybe one day a pull up. I enrolled in Basecamp last year and would go 4-6 times a week for about a year. Progress was immediate and while it took a full year, this January I finally managed to do a real pushup–with my elbows close to my body and not pointed out to the sides. It's incredible how easier it is to move through the world when you feel marginally stronger. 

After we bought our house and moved in December, Basecamp got too far to be convenient. The only studios around here are yoga studios. So I enrolled with a bit of hesitation. Yoga is bourgeois. It is expensive, full of vegans (no offense) and overflowing with spiritual bullish*t. All the stereotypical things, I thought them all. But the practice took me by surprise. It challenged my perception of myself and forced me to be super uncomfortable in weird poses that I couldn't get right. It taught me to appreciate the process of learning and to be patient with my body and it grew into these poses. On a superficial level I can see my abs coming into fruition. But mentally, I feel so much better.

When I used to have anxiety attacks I would feel such extreme disassociation that I would think whatever I was witnessing was a dream and that the real me was in a coma, dreaming these things; that my mind was trapped in that dream. Now a part of me wonders if my consciousness was trying to tell me something. I wanted to stay asleep so badly that I gave myself panic attacks. I needed to wake up. 

Some people go on sabbaticals, some people are struck by tragedy and have to reassess everything they once deemed important. For me it was the physical utilization of my body, the moving and cranking of rusty levers. Mobility shook out the dust that had accumulated in those dark corners, long left forgotten. It is now that my eyes are finally opening.