May 28, 2008
Five year have passed and I'm at a completely different juncture in my life. Nothing is like it was. Justin,
my boyfriend, moved in with me six months ago. It's one of the most challenging and most rewarding things that's ever
happened in my life. It's funny how relationships are not what you expect them to be. We love each other so much,
but it's because of the difficulties we've had and the things we're learning to accept about ourselves and each other that
have built these emotions. Beyond that, I have a job that I love and it pays me well. It's a monumental relief
to not have to worry about how I'm going to pay bills or buy food at the end of the month. My parents' divorce drags
on, never-ending, so it seems. Dad stopped talking to all of his eight children, and I'm okay with that. I don't
need a father that's only there when it's convenient for him. I had to testify in court about how my parents hid money
in the business. That wasn't easy. But it's recently that I feel I've changed so much. I'm at a point where
my goals are starting to reflect accomplishments that aren't necessities. It's no longer about getting the basic respect
that every person deserves, or about finding a way out of stressful life circumstances. I've already done those things,
for the most part. My current goals are more oriented toward pushing myself to my limits, to creating a life with memories
of things I can be proud of. They're about doing things that no one else has done. Previously I wanted to be able
to blend in. I wanted to go into a restaurant and have no one look at me, or be able to shop in the same clothing stores
that everyone else does. Those are common place things for me now. But last weekend I completed my first marathon.
I pushed 26.2 miles, and I did it in my regular chair. Every other wheelchair marathoner had either a hand-bike chair
or a special racing chair. I finished an hour and a half after all the other wheelers, but I finished. I had four
blisters on my hands, but I finished. I started crying on the finish line. I couldn't believe I had done it.
It's so much longer than you think. The last couple miles have nothing to do with physical ability, and everything to
do with mentality. By all rights, it shouldn't have been possible. My shoulders and neck were hurting so badly
around the 20-mile mark that I didn't know if I could do it. By 25 miles, I was a ghost, telling myself to just keep
moving and don't stop, or I'd be stuck to that spot waiting for rescue. I puked my guts out in the parking lot, when
we got back to the car. There wasn't much to puke up, but I couldn't stop heaving. We had to stop on the way home
on the side of the road so I could puke up nothing, again. I couldn't eat or drink anything for hours. It was
so emotional. I wanted to cry for hours after it was over. I was so sick, in so much pain, but I had felt so accomplished
and I had bonded with a plethora of complete strangers on the path, that had suffered the same test of will power that I had.
I've been recognized in the newspaper, in the grocery store, and in my little cousin's school. I'm the guy that did
the marathon without a racing chair. That's a pretty good title. It's funny how people don't remember the guy
who finished first, but the guy who finished last. I'm glad I finished last. It took everything in my being to
do it. But that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm going to be seeing a personal trainer at my gym tomorrow,
for the first time. I told her I want to have abs by the end of summer. She said it's possible, but it will be
a lot of work. I'm counting on that. I've become completely convinced that anything worth really doing can't possibly
be easy. I told her I want to get walking, too, enough to go on a nine day hiking trip through Ireland, with Justin.
He loves hiking, and I want to do it to. She said we'll work on it. I told her I'll do whatever it takes.
Justin and I are going white water rafting this summer, another one of my goals on The List
. I've now accomplished 37 of the 48 listed items. I think I'm going to come up with a few more things.
When I made that list, I thought they would be impossible to accomplish, or something that would take a lifetime. Apparently
most of them take less than five years. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but there is so much more to do.
I have some serious work to do on my health. I suppose now is the time to say, I'm pretty sure I have a drinking problem.
I think this is largely due to gastric bypass. I get drunk very easily, and after that initial drink, I have no measurement
skills for where I'm at. On top of that, I am addicted to coffee. I drink so much that I've developed heart palpitations
and it sets off my hypoglycemia on a daily basis, which both are effects of gastric bypass. I sometimes become incoherent,
and I'm not always sure what sets it off, but I know it's all from the surgery. But those are things that only affect
me when I'm eating poorly. If I ate the way I should, then these things wouldn't affect me at all. But they're
scary. They mean I've lost control of my actions at some point, because of poor decisions beforehand. I hate admitting
when I've made a mistake, but these are huge red flags that I have, when they're happening. I truly need to give up
alcohol and coffee. I don't know why they've been so hard. It's easier for me to give up cheese! Cheese,
I tells ya! I gave up soda long ago. But these two things have a huge hold on me, and I don't know why.
I'm hoping with this new focus of strict diet and exercise, it will be easier to let these things go. Maybe I just need
to be a man and suck it up. Stop making excuses and simply deal with the cravings. That's been my answer for everything
else, it seems. But I love my life. Everyday has little struggles, but the rewards for my years of suffering and
perseverence seem to finally be paying off, in some ways or others. I have friends and family who are very close, a
relationship that is rewarding and very educational, and several purposes in my life with motivation to keep getting better.
How could I ask for more than that? I'm also going to be volunteering for a gay youth outreach place. I'm really
looking forward to that, and I suppose I'm simply thankful for the life I'm living. It's perfect in its imperfections,
with room for improvement, but not detrimental. If my life were perfect, I'd be so bored. Five years, and I'm
turning the page. It feels right.