Miscellania

So lately I’ve had some odd things on my mind. And since this is my blog, I’m going to share them, whether you want me to or not. Sadly, they aren’t anything dirty, but they are almost totally unconnected.

One, I keep trying to find ways to exercise at work. For the most part, standing behind a cash register for 8 hours is boring. Really boring. No phone, no reading, no using the internet; the descriptions of the books in our database don’t tell us what they’re about, just page count, publisher, price, and availability. We can do Loss Prevention quizzes, but there are only 60 of them, we can do up to 20 a day, and after you’ve done them all, they repeat. So, exercising is a good way to pass some of the time. And, it’s exercise, so that’s good. It’s behind a cash register, though, so options are limited. But I’ve found some things that are relatively easy to do. First, incline pushups. Not as much gain as pushups on the floor, but it’s something. Our counters have two levels, so it gives a way to advance some, or to ease up on days when I feel sore. Second, doing a plank. Also on an incline, sadly, but the bosses frown on my lying on the floor, because I can’t see customers. Do that for a minute at a time, and it works out the ab muscles pretty effectively. Third, the vertical pull – stand close to the base of a wall, doorframe, or railing – I go with the latter – feet together, hands shoulder width apart, and while holding on, lean back, extending your arms, until your body is angled diagonally backwards. Then pull back in, and repeat. It works back and upper arms, and is a build-up to a pullup. Fourth, triangle pushups – still incline; but basically instead of putting your hands shoulder width apart, you put them close together until your thumbs and forefingers can form a triangle, then do pushups; it works different muscles, so gets a different burn. Finally, calf raises – just lift yourself up on your toes, slowly, as far as you can go, then go back down, and repeat. It’s not a great workout, but it does something, and it can help strengthen the back, which is invaluable for being a register jockey.

On to my next thoughts, which are on faith, and the slowly developing nature of mine. My reading of James Martin’s book (mentioned in a previous post, but for clarity, it is called The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything) has provoked a lot of thought. It’s not exactly an easy topic to get back into, after so long out in the cold. But the way he approaches it is relatively gentle and easygoing, which is helpful to me. One of the things I like about him is that even though he is a Catholic priest, he doesn’t push being a member of an established religion. I like that, because faith is a pretty personal thing for me, and organized religions seems to get in the way. Community is nice, and having people with similar beliefs around can be validating, but the bigger things get, the less personal they become – and then we end up with mega-churches, and theme parks that show dinosaurs living with Adam and Eve, and that just makes me want to beat my head against a wall, or other flat surface. I think that science is right, but I also think there is room for both science and religion; I don’t think scientists are trying to disprove God, I think they’re just trying to figure out how things work. I can respect that, because I do the same thing. I think that any God who is afraid of science – or who has deliberately planted evidence of things that might be false, just to test people who don’t believe some particular reading of the Bible – isn’t a God worth believing in. If we weren’t meant to look for answers, we wouldn’t have the ability to do so – we clearly do, so I think we were meant to look for ways to make the unknown into the known.

Finally, shame. I’ve had shame on my mind at odd and erratic intervals, and I realize that I have a lot of shame about things. I am ashamed of the way I look, because I don’t have the willpower to keep up a regular exercise routine or to avoid some of the foods that are probably really bad for me. It doesn’t help that I lack a thyroid, and so my metabolism is generally so slow it’s at a crawl, making weight loss even tougher than normal. And it’s shame because I don’t think it’s something bad I did, but that I am less of a person because of it. I am ashamed that I am so passive in relationships that I have a difficult time making decisions or asking people to do things, and so then we just kind of sit in an awkward area because I don’t know how to proceed. And I feel shame when I can’t help my friends, even when I know, rationally, that there are things – many things – I can’t help with, and things that, while I could help with, are better for them to do on their own. I don’t know why I feel so bad because of it, but I do. So I’m going back over the materials I have read on shame resilience to see what I can do to work on these things, because shame is really unpleasant to deal with. Thankfully, I’ve got people to help, and things that I can do to work on it, but it’s not an easy or fun process, because it can involve confronting some parts of myself that I am not too fond of.

Yeah, my brain can be more full of crazy than a bag full of cats. But that’s life as a guy with a mental illness, even when it is managed. Stay tuned for more hilarity!

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