Experiments in Health and Wellness

by a Human In Recovery

28 Days to a New Me Day Five – All activity is NOT created equal

on May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody. Interesting thing about this day that came across my Facebook news feed this morning:

“Happy gringo taco and beer marketing day!!!! -One American traveler, after spending a lackluster Cinco de Mayo in central Mexico, learned from a shopkeeper that it was just “a gringo holiday made to sell Mexican beer to Americans.” ‘ ~ Cinco de Mayo on Infoplease

Yesterday, when I mentioned to someone at church that it was Star Wars Day, she scoffed that people can make a day of ANYTHING! Which seems pretty true in the culture I live in, anyway.

I wonder why that is? Is it possible that in the lives of most people, in my society at least, there is so much striving to support lifestyles that people don’t truly enjoy and appreciate, so they don’t see any reason to celebrate just being alive every day? There are many who feel as if every day is a struggle for one reason or another. I know I’ve lived a significantly large amount of my life that way.

I don’t need to go into details at this moment. If you want to explore the TMI FYI on me, you can head over to my primary blog, Human In Recovery and start with the December 2011 archives to get a better understanding of what I’m talking about. Suffice it to say, I have struggled with what I have frequently considered more than my fair share of trials and troubles – consequences of less than good decisions on my part and the part of others in my life.

I’ve always kind of figured that my early life with the disruptions, dysfunctions, and chaos was simply by chance. I attempted to fight against family patterns, however, as I progressed, I found myself repeating them with my own personal little spin. The harder and harder I fought – with resentment, bitterness, frustration, and, let’s face it massive amounts of self-pity and an overdeveloped sense of the unfairness of it all – the deeper into the pit of depression, toxic co-dependency in ALL of my relationships, binge eating. I was in a negative feedback loop of monumental proportions.

I kept looking for fixes: therapy, education, groups, religion, 12 Step Recovery meetings. The thing is, most of the time, these actions and activities weren’t about fixing me, they were about manipulating and controlling situations, and the people involved, in order to let me stay the same and make my life easier. It has taken me over 20+ years to reach the point and to be the person I am today, on both the inside and the outside.

None of the external changes I attempted ever really “took” or lasted long. I could intellectualize, analyze, and give the proper and expected responses. Yet, even as I would go through the motions and pay lip service to the accumulated knowledge, none of it really “sank in” until I was able to reach the point where I finally had to admit that it wasn’t everyone and everything else in my life, it was me that was broken and I was powerless to get me out of the mess I had created as long as I relied on my own will, my own understanding, and continued to focus only on my pain and misery.

The Day Five motivational video for the 28 Days to a New Me series is called, “Not By Chance, By Change.” Robert said something that struck right at the heart of what I’ve done for the past two decades:

“A lot of people wallow and whine inside of themselves, but they never commit. They never make a commitment to change.”

As recently as two months ago, if I had heard that statement, the internal whine would have started up right away. Perhaps, even as recently as a few weeks ago. I would have pointed out all the obstacles, barriers and challenges I have: finances, physical health, mental health, family structure and relationships . . . and probably a lot of other things.

All of these things are real and valid concerns and issues in my life. They really are. But, somewhen down the line, probably in early adolescence, I concluded that I was more committed to my problems than I was to overcoming those problems. They defined me, they factored into every decision ever made to change my life, simply because each time I decided to do something to better my life, I went into it believing at the deepest levels that nothing was going to change.

What’s different now?


The pain of staying the same outweighed my fear of the potential pain that changing would bring.

Let me put it this way.

The pain and fatigue from the fibromyalgia, as far as anyone has been able to determine, is for no apparent reason. The root cause of it is not identifiable. Pain and fatigue cannot be measured in tangible terms. Although, new technology, fMRI can track the neurological pain responses in the brain of someone who doesn’t experience fibromyalgi and in the brain of one who does and identify that there are measurable and significant differences in the pain response mechanisms. However, it’s still subjective and specific to the one who experiences it.

The pain and fatigue of exercise is also subjective, but it has an identifiable cause and has been proven to have beneficial effects on the mind, body, and spirit.

I let the fibromyalgia define me and slowly, over the course of two decade change who I was on the inside in the way I thought and the actions I took or didn’t take. That life of a morbidly obese, anxious, depressed, sometimes manic, emotionally toxic person did not happen by chance. It happened by change.

That change continued until I had virtually lost two of the most important relationships in my life, the relationships with my adult children. That change continued until I recognized that the behaviors and actions of my youngest child, now four years old, were not conducive to her learning and growing up to be the healthy, functional person I dream of her being. Some of it may be just normal development for her ages and stages. Some of it may be organic, since I and my family have histories rife with mental illness, substance use and abuse, and probably an undiagnosed personality disorder or two AND her dad and his family have histories with those things themselves, it’s likely some of it is programmed into her DNA. Spiritually speaking, I do believe there are such things as generational curses, in the sense that the behavioral and thought patterns, the conditioned responses to challenge and conflict, and the cause/effect cycles from decisions put into play in prior generations, have a cumulative impact and effect on the current generation. Especially if the people in the generation preceding it were unconcious of it and unwittingly perpetuated the patterns.

The pain at the prospect of never having the possiblity of functional and healthy adult relationships with my children and the fear of living out the end of my life the way I witnessed my maternal grandmother live hers out, became greater than the pain of doing the hard work and looking inside of myself to see my own culpability and responsibility to make a difference in my own life and, hopefully theirs.

My life is being forged by change, not by chance.


3 responses to “28 Days to a New Me Day Five – All activity is NOT created equal

  1. […] 28 Days to a New Me Day Five – All activity is NOT created equal May […]

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  3. […] 28 Days to a New Me Day Five – All activity is NOT created equal (experimentsinhealthandfitness.wordpress.com […]

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