I want, I want, I want

About a year ago, I turned keto. I had meant to talk all about it, how much I loved it, how great it made me feel, how it was grounded in science not fanaticism, but I didn’t.

I just kept saying, “Let me wait a few more weeks, let me see if this is the real thing or just a placebo.” A few weeks would pass and I’d tell myself, “I’m just so busy, I’ll do it later.”

Then summer started. Vacation came and my mental fortitude went. I found it increasingly hard to keep keto, drawn by my mental health toward high-sugar, high-carb foods and hindered by my low energy to make at home the more satisfying food I needed. So then my excuse for not writing was that I wasn’t doing keto anymore. To talk about it would be hypocritical, and besides, I didn’t have energy to write about it anyways.

So now I’m trying to get back into it, because it’s a lifestyle change that I actually liked a lot, but I’m struggling to make it happen. All my will has turned to won’t, and I can’t seem to muster the motivation I need to stick to it. The irony is that I’m right now teaching an elective called “Stress and Resilience,” which focuses foremost on stress and then on willpower.

As I write this, my kids are writing about how overcoming their willpower challenge will help them reach their bigger goals. Now I’d be the hypocrite if I don’t do the same.

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Perfect Vision

I wanted an epiphany in 2019. I wanted to have my eyes opened through the pursuit of Story. Except I don’t feel it ever happened. Maybe if I had read all the books I’d wanted, I would have reached this point… or perhaps I was counting too much on vicarious living to have my own life awakened. There is a time for reflection, for looking back, and that introspection is especially important for self-discovery–but if we spend too much time looking behind us, we’ll miss what’s in front of us–or worse, walk into unseen pitfalls.

So now is the time to set aside the unfulfilled goals of the last year and forge forward, to open my own eyes and look toward the perfection vision of new year.

Guess it’s fitting next year is 2020, isn’t it?

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Hindsight

So. It’s the end of December. The end of the year. The time I’m obligated to write about my final progress on my annual goals. It’s always bittersweet. Bitter because I so rarely do it all, and sweet because the end of the year is a symbolic severing of the threads I wove last year and the promise of freedom (to let myself down in a different way).

It’s also bittersweet in another way, a brighter way: I’ve actually gone far further than at first I’d wished to, but the shortcomings I’ve encountered leave me questioning my own values–or rather, the sincerity of my commitment to these values.

It’s a long story. Or would you be more likely to keep reading if it’s a short story?

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Sloom

Sloom. Intransitive. British, dialectal. To doze. Become weak. Drift along slowly.

I like the word intransitive. In middle school when I learned the word it didn’t mean much, but now I can tease it apart and dissect its meaning: trans across, in meaning opposite. It does not go across. It’s an action without object.

Adrift is a good word too. Describes the feeling nicely. Adrift in the ocean: a battered raft riding the waves, sun rays beating down, dehydration, head lolling off the side, tongue lapping at the waters–but if it’s salty, it’s like drinking death anyways.

Or maybe adrift in the air: like a bird gliding through an updraft, slung upward, seeing the ground far beneath it, but unable to do anything but lilt in the wind. Or adrift in space: an astronaut untethered, touched not by gravity. Total silence. Absolute abyss.

Or maybe, like me, adrift in my own head.

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Meet the Beast

I am a Gemini. I have always known my soul is faceted, my spirit fragmented in many parts. I am the twins. I am the wise child and the simple son. I am the one who succumbs and the one who resists. I am also a product of a childhood built upon Disney and Tolkien: there is good and there is evil, and they are disjoint and easily distinguished.

And yet, as an adult, I now wonder: how different are they? And am I not both?

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Burnout

Sometimes it’s like building a bonfire and throwing in all the things you own to fuel the flames. You’re waiting for the fire to burn bright. To burn bright enough to illuminate something just out of sight. You know what you hope to see, but you can’t know for sure.

Yet it doesn’t matter.

Now, tell me why?

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Ebb and Flow

It is, perhaps, the Tao of Gemini, the Fate of Twins, the Destiny of Castor and Pollux, or Cain and Abel, Fred and George… that as one rises, the other falls, and within oneself, the rise and fall is constant.

Or perhaps it is yin and yang, thesis/antithesis, Shin and Bet, fire and water, heaven and earth… Duality seems an inextricable part of our universe: Even our bodies bifurcate into left and right, two hands, two feet, two ears, two eyes, two lungs holding our breath (which is, in Kabbalah, the force that passes between fire and water, the Aleph between Shin and Bet, and yet, inside us, even the lungs are broken in two).

For me, at least, the rise and fall seems a symptom of chronic depression: Even while treated and generally manageable, sometimes the cup overflows and it is not abundance but tears that pour down the edges and flood where it stands. Alas. Such is fate.

But what to do with fate? Is the last duality only action and inaction?

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I am not a Gryffindor

You might belong in Gryffindor
Where dwell the brave at heart
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

— the Sorting Hat

I’m a Hufflepuff. Or a Ravenclaw. But a Gryffindor I am not. Where dwell the brave at heart? Daring, nerve, and chivalry? What about their vulnerability?

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