Meeting The New Me

If you have followed my blog, you’ll know that I have PTSD/depression. I had it for years and now that I’ve finally learned how to control it I’ve hit a brick wall in my healing. When I started to really focus and understand my surroundings it was like waking from a coma. I’m currently going through an unwanted divorce when my wife left me, but my kids and I have a stellar bond together. However, the one issue I have now is I don’t know who I am anymore.

Honestly, I sometimes look at a stranger in the mirror and it isn’t actually bad. I’ve lost fifty pounds this year and I like the person I’m becoming, but the things I enjoyed before aren’t really satisfying. I used video games as a way to hide myself from my issues and it became an even bigger problem that went out of control. Now, I hardly play them at all and if I do it is more of a social thing with friends. I lost my vice, the thing I would run to for everything is no longer here. It is scary and exciting all at the same time.

There are some hobbies that I’ve gone back to that I loved before. Guitar would be the main one along with basketball as well. There are other hobbies I could dive back into, but I feel like there is something in me that is missing. Or maybe it isn’t missing? Maybe I need to find something new? There are so many things I can do right now and learn from that I can explore. And I can’t lie when I say that does scare me, but who knows, maybe it can help me grow even more.

I’ve decided to start looking into any type of hobbies or adventures I can take for myself and with my kids. I’ll more than likely do it for a while and record my experiences with it. It could be as small as trying to get into watching a sport on TV to rock climbing. Who knows what I’ll find within myself by doing these things.

Changes Can Be Good

I used to dread having anything in my life change. For many others, too, it’s because they are comfortable where they are currently at with themselves.  But I’m uncomfortable no matter what. When I finally snuggle myself into something and finally feel safe within, I dread the inevitable change that will come. And it will come. No matter what you’re doing in life, it’s going to change and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We either except it and find a way to make ourselves better, or we let it drag us down, sometimes even kill us.

Last Sunday, I did my weekly ritual of meeting a stranger at Five Guys. The man I picked looked like someone I would not have a pleasant conversation with. You know how they tell you not to judge a book by its cover? Well, that is used for people that may look odd or different, pretty much not normal by the standards of society. We should get to know them before we judge them harshly.

However, in most cases that’s bullshit. The whole point of a cover is to get a general idea of what you are about to read. If you are into romances you aren’t going to pick up the book with bloody hooks and a shadowy figure in the background, are you? Are you? Well, that’s a different topic if you are into that. Anyways, he told me no, and just laughed at the idea. Like I said, he seemed like an ass to begin with, and he was, so I’ll kind of take that as a win.

When I sat there alone eating and pondering about the circumstances in my life, I decided there needed to be a change. Nothing small, either. It needed to be something huge. Recently, my health has been slowly getting worse. I have no actual sleeping schedule due to taking care of my kids and working ten hour nights four days a week. I’ve been getting sick more than I probably should, and the lack of sleep makes it hard to muster together any real energy. And to top it all off the stress of finical issues isn’t doing well with my brain either.

The Five Guys idea, while I love it, needs to be put on hold. I need to kick the junk out of my life right now. I need to get back in shape, and I need to just feel better overall in mind and spirit. That doesn’t mean I want to stop this blog, but it does mean I need to take it in another direction. It started out as a way for me to cope with my wife walking out on me. Now that that issue is over I want to use it for self-reflection. Possibly a way for me to find new experiences and things to love.

This year started out as the worst of my life, something I thought I couldn’t recover from. Now it is looking to be my best because I’m trying to take every disadvantage I have on my plate and learn from it in order to take back my life. I’m hoping that by sometime next year I can truly look back on this and just smile.

This Week I Met #4

Last week was pretty bad for me and it seemed to be an ongoing theme for making my days full of misfortune. I woke up to get in my car to begin my daily routine of meeting a stranger at Five Guys to remember that my car wasn’t going to start with a dead battery. I sat in my house for an hour and just sulked to myself that maybe this week wasn’t a good week to go out anyways. However, for some reason I just got up and decided I was just going to walk there. It was only forty minutes away, so what could go wrong, right?

Walking was probably the best decision I made last week. I walk every day, but it is usually out at night due to my work schedule, so it was nice to feel the sun on my face that day. Well, it was a little short lived when I started to feel rain drops on my head. I was in luck that the convenient store I was passing by was selling umbrellas, so maybe my luck would turn around? No, the wind in Utah made it hard for me to even hold the damn thing. The rain was slanting on one side and I was doing the best I could to make sure the umbrella wasn’t falling apart.

I was pretty relieved when I finally walked into Five Guy because I grew quite the appetite walking there. I wanted to order everything on the damn menu, but I knew that would be bad, so I ordered my usual. I wondered if the people working there recognized me at all and thought it was weird that I talked to a different person every Sunday. I thought of talking to one of them if I ever found myself alone there one day.

Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for. I scanned the room and saw a man with his son. He was about the age of my youngest, so I thought that might be a good starter conversation. As we were both getting our drinks I went over my introduction on why I do this. He looked me up and down and asked again why I was doing it. After the second attempt of explaining it him he said, “Not to be rude, but no.” I almost started laughing after he said that, but I held it in to not make it seem I was bitter with his decision.

When I was sitting alone eating my food I decided to text my friend Monique with my first “no” doing this. She tried to encourage me to go find someone else, but I decided not to. I wanted to be defeated I think. Ever since my suicide attempt I’ve been trying to do everything I fucking could to do what was right. Whether it was for myself or those around me I was trying to do all I could to not fail.

It felt nice to be defeated and to just accept it. All I’ve been doing is worrying about every little thing for a while now to make myself look or possible to not feel bad. When I walked back I didn’t feel bad at all and I think I might just start walking to all my destinations on this now. The fresh air was nice and besides the woman who was randomly screaming at the cars that passed by everything looked gorgeous.

This Week I Met #3

When I start my car to drive over to Five Guys I usually have an optimistic outlook on what I’m about to do. I try to keep that positivity flowing as long as I can, but the second I park my car the anxiety kicks in…do you see a trend here? I always hope for one or two people to be in there, but this had groups of people, and I wanted to leave right away. However, I pushed myself to go in. That is something I lacked for a long time: the courage to just move forward and take a risk.

As I scanned the room, I was hoping to find a solitary person. It didn’t matter the age or gender, they just had to be alone. Luckily, there was a man in the corner. I was cautious at first because I noticed him pick up his food, but he decided to eat it at a table. I made my usual order and plopped down in front of him giving my sappy intro on my social experiment. I’m still waiting for the day someone tells me to piss off, but that was not today.

Alan has to be, by far, my most interesting talk, which I know isn’t saying a lot because he is the third person I’ve come across. I wanted to go with hobbies this time around to see if we shared any. The short answer is no, but he did peak my interest. He was into off-roading, which is something I’ve thought about doing with the boys, but I always figured it was too dangerous. He talked about a place called mini moto where it focuses on off-roading for children. You know, keeping things safe and fun for them. I think the boys would like that.

Now, Alan threw me a curve ball and decided to do something none of the others did. He started asking me questions. I’m sure people usually are polite and just listen to me prattle on and ask my questions, but to hear genuine questions asked in my direction was not only surprising, but also self-reflecting. Before American Fork, how I felt about my ex-wife, and why I started this blog, are questions that stuck with me.

When you have to explain a feeling or situation to yourself or maybe a close friend you don’t really have to dig deep for the explanations. The nitty gritty is not really needed. Well, I have a stranger now asking me these questions so I have to overly explain each question. It was the same with him and our talk started to get deep. Suicide, health care, education, and family life aren’t topics most strangers will start a conversation over. I’m not saying we bared our souls to each other, but we had a civil conversation on each discussion that leave most people slinging insults at each other by the end.

I usually get up and leave once my food has been ordered. This usually leaves me a good ten minutes or so. I feel that is enough time to meet someone. Today I actually sat back down and talked with him for about an hour. I gained a lot of reflection while talking to Alan. So while originally, I only wanted to talk about hobbies, I got a lot more than what I bargained for.

This Week I Met #2

After my first encounter I actually walked up to the doors at Five Guys and thought that it was going to be easier. Well, it wasn’t. Nope. In fact, it was even harder than the first time, so today I decided I wanted to push myself even farther and go for a group of people. There were only two groups inside. One, were a group of friends finishing up and getting ready to leave while the other was a couple with their kids. This was going to be fun.

I walked up to Derek, the husband, and explained my little spiel on why I was randomly walking up to them. I almost feel tired explaining why I’m doing this. It is probably because I’m exposing myself and I find the whole idea weird. We live in a tech age where everyone spreads their dirty laundry without a single thought. Anything that is on their mind whether it was good, bad, racist, politically incorrect or down right embarrassing we put it on the web like it is nothing. However, to actually walk up to a person and barley expose the tip of the iceberg makes us feel weird.

Luckily Derek didn’t really seem to mind and thought the idea was interesting, so far a common response to my little hobby. I knew right away what I wanted to talk to him about and it was family life. He had a young boy and girl with his wife Kelly. He had mentioned from the start they had been to American Fork Canyon today and we discussed on where it was. I was glad to hear that because I’ve been wanting to take the boys out with school now over for the summer.

He later asked me if I lived in American Fork. I’m new to the town, only been here for almost two years, so it was nice to hear about the history of it. The way he explained it being so small and now growing into something larger reminded me a lot of my home town Manteca. When I left for the military the only thing it had going for it was a bowling alley and when I came back I hardly recognized the place. We never notice the changes in front of us, but look away for a second and sometimes it is completely different.

Derek told me about being in Germany for his LDS mission, a theme I’m sure I’ll run across many times on these conversations because I live in Utah. I’m currently in the works of looking into another language I want to learn and we talked a little on the difficulty of learning a new one. I’m not sure if his wife was as onboard with it. It could be due to the fact of her looking after their children. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by your children and the outside world needs to be put on pause. Never the less, she was polite throughout her small comments during the whole ordeal.

Time seemed to fly by compared to the last one. I always make sure to limit myself from when I order and when they call out my number. It is the one thing I like and dislike about this. I’m sure people are busy and don’t’ want to spend that much time with a random stranger and it also gets me out quick because right now I am still in an awkward stage with this.

After my wife left me I had little to no contact with another human being. Yeah, I could talk to someone on the phone or maybe play a game online with a friend, but I felt like such crap about myself. Doing this feels nice. Like I said, it can feel weird, but to actually just meet someone and push something aside that has bothered me for so long as a person feels liberating.