April 5, 2017


I try not to read my recent letters for long periods of time. I don’t want them influencing how I write and I don’t want to examine a period that may have been traumatic when I am having a good day. For the most part, my first three years in Thailand have been terrible. Rife for growth and personal development, to be sure, but terrible.

But today when I was at the gym I was thinking about how a year ago I was sprawled out in my bed, too injured to even get up and move around. My rage had turned me into a compulsive exercise fiend, and with little to no variation and a thick skull, I hurt myself badly and for a few weeks was unsure of what to do. Not only that, but according to the letters from around this time last year, I was perpetually angry.

I may not have figured out very much since then, but I have certainly moved forward. I had no money, a stack of bills, I was miserable, and I was 108 kilos. Now I have some money, a single student loan, and I weigh 100 kilos. One thing is for certain: each year, a bit more progress is made.

I even have a 708 credit score.

When you’re in the thick of it, it can be hard to be able to evaluate how far you have come, especially with significant stress. I wasn’t even thinking about this until recently. It has almost been like somebody just flipped a switch, and the torrent of misery all but stopped. Yeah, I still think about my stupid job and I’m sure I haven’t sorted through all my mixed feelings about the loss of my parents, but I’m just so satisfied right now. It’s not like I’m a hundred percent, either. I still have a few things wrong with me and I still get stir crazy from time to time.

And I get annoyed a times. I managed to drop down to 97 kilos, and after a prolonged sinus infection I took too many antibiotics and killed the gut flora that was keeping everything moving. Naturally I tried to overcompensate in the gym again, and I ended up messing myself up a little bit… again. I’ve been mad at myself for doing the exact same thing exactly a year later, to be honest, and that is what has prompted all of the thought about last year.

But I will say this: it’s not as bad this time. I suppose I am slow to learn my lesson on certain things, but no matter what has happened, every year is a little better than the previous. At least I’m not doing those horrible visa runs anymore. At least that little cunt Geoffrey is gone. At least I don’t have to tutor. This time, the improvements in my life are far more pronounced, it would seem.

This was all going through my head today when I was at the gym. Although I was a bit mopey over gaining a few pounds, I noticed something that snapped me out of it. After my cardio set, I went to the locker room to sit in the sauna. I removed my shirt and happened to glance up at the large mirror on the wall, something I try to avoid doing, and I was more than a little surprised.

I had muscle tone.

Not a lot, mind you. I’m not fit and cut. But I did have discernible musculature in my arms, chest, and shoulders. Actual muscle tone. My arms are not particularly large from having to cut back on weight lifting, but my biceps, triceps, and shoulders can all be seen. It’s not just a solid mass of flab. I couldn’t even say that about myself when I was in the army and exercising ten to fifteen hours a week.

It was quite a revelation, especially since I was lamenting my slight weight gain from finishing off my school year with a bit of a loss of self-control and spending a significant portion of the vacation so far just sitting around. I was trying to reason everything, of course, but at the same time a calm came over me suggesting that I just chill out and be satisfied with myself.

Obviously, I am still batting it around in my brain, but I will say the conclusion keeps coming up the same. I actually am satisfied with myself. I logged on to my bank account just to look at the balance. That was satisfying as well. Be satisfied with yourself. Stop entertaining alternate realities and what could have been.

These kinds of things can only really be seen when things are holding still. Did I need it? Absolutely. I was starting to get down on myself for how I was spending this free time. I’m on vacation, and I need to do just that: vacate.

So I’m gonna chop up another lime and pour some more Perrier, then turn on Spacehog’s “In the Meantime” and look up the lyrics. It also dawned on me today that I’ve heard that stupid song a hundred times and still have no idea what they are saying.

After that? I’m gonna get some ice cream. Screw it. Go big or go home. It’s not a proper vacation if you don’t gain weight.

Get to the choppa,


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