End Of The Summer (published today on Medium.com –https://medium.com/@JimLMusic/4183b611c474 and to my friends on Facebook)
September has always been a bit of an evaluation time for me—being my birthday, the new season, the new school year…Today, at the onset of my “stay-cation,” I’m looking back at my failure to realize my plans for this week. Please keep in mind that my goal-making is an incremental thing…I know that the larger goal should be broken up into manageable parts….like a child learning to walk, I grab onto the first piece of mental furniture and then pick another and another…concentric circles of security and tests. For the purpose of this essay’s brevity and clarity I will just define the one as symbolic of many.
Today I am focusing on the goal of getting out of the house, leaving work behind, grabbing a camera and heading out to the east end of Long Island. This was an imagined day-trip that I started to formulate in the spring and have continued to work on…something I was supposed to do for this long Labor Day weekend. Sounds easy? All the same, I must outline the challenges and what is shaping to be the focal points of this essay and apparently my life at this time.
Although I have shed almost 125 pounds since December 2012, I need to lose possibly another 80–100 to be somewhere close to what I remember being a comfortable place. I’m on certain meds which limit my time out. I’m chained inside either at work or on days off for about six hours each day. I’m on other meds too. My legs, my knees and my ankles are not what they used to be and I also have some difficulties in my hands and arms as well. And I need to sleep with a few machines that are not easy to carry around. All of these are weight-related conditions and the working theory is to lose weight and stop needing to take the meds…to pick up the undamaged parts of me and continue on…to feel better…to be free.
My work limits my free time. You’ll need to give me a certain amount of relative latitude here based on your own circumstances and how much I can actually divulge in a public space. For me, it’s become a great deal tighter in the past few months. Indeed, this coming Sunday, I need to be available for a call that could last about four hours. I vacillate between feeling like a victim to a corporate culture that rewards ego, self-promotion, bullying, over-simplification and fear and then feeling like I have made a colossal “at will employment” mistake. I came to realize perhaps that I voluntarily did some of this to myself as I gained the weight to the point where it became a self-perpetuating cycle of hiding ever-deeper and deeper in myself. I’m still not sure which came first – the weight or the hiding. I’m working on that.
I like to create and make things, especially music. My belief system is that my hands in art and music are no more genius than anyone else’s. Art is a natural human quality that can transcend all limitations—sensory or otherwise—if we just have that faith in ourselves and stop trying too much to take the easy way out – gods, myths and heroes. These past two years, I have looked towards re-investing in other creative undertakings—drawing, painting, electronics, writing and photography to name but a few—something, anything that wouldn’t take so long to assemble. I’ve since found that each artistic en-deav-or has it’s own learning curve and could—like work—have no limits. So BINGO—maybe I need to look at my limits? Let’s get back to that concept later.
Many of these artistic pursuits are indoor activities that I have traditionally done indoors and by myself. With music especially I have insisted for years on working almost entirely by myself. All of this in all probability to avoid personal conflict, to simplify, to get things done more efficiently and keep up with my ever-moving mind…but at what cost? Now I’m looking beyond these things and am trying to find my way into art with other people as a social activity.
One such idea is the Facebook photo-oriented group I am currently running. Photography has appealed to be greatly because there’s relatively little to do as far as production. In theory, you just point and shoot and post. So I decided that perhaps I could use my group to organize some social photography outings—“photo trips”.
Unfortunately I ended up hurting my knee more than it already was hurting so I needed to step back from many physical activities. Inevitably, I ran into my limitations as far as meds go – as I have lost weight but still not enough. Then my new limitations at work are in the mix too, so I have not been able to do as much as I have wanted to do with other people and with myself.
Friends try to be friends but do they really understand? … Does my chronic unavailability leave a subconscious negative in their brain? …and to only imagine falling in love….do writings like this check off the “drama” or “maintenance” or “baggage” items on the relationship checklist? …by all appearances perhaps bristling at another invitation or another piece of advice…”difficult” or worst of all…. “Jim doesn’t like me.” Stay with me people, I will get there. I keep saying I can’t do it because I really can’t do it.
So the little “people pleaser” in me is doing the St. Vitus Dance and here I am swinging between “no limits” in my mind and limitations I can no longer ignore in my body and my circumstances. And that’s about as exactly where I am as I can spew out this afternoon.
So I count myself a success for knowing where I stand. My hope is that anyone who is reading this and going through a struggle either great or small—weight, death, work, whatever—can get something out of this. That there is indeed a positive. That things may not be the same anymore but you are still standing somehow and you need to put on your shoes and get moving.