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We must brave this night

and have faith in love

September 30th since my last entry. It won't be as long between now and the next installment. (Promises, promises.) In any case, I'm determined to get more of this story out before it leaves my memory entirely.

The plan was three days. Roughly thirty-six hours in three days. With Julia, a dog and a cat. I've used my car for hauling many things. An entire loveseat fits inside. As do two armchairs, a gas dryer, and a full drag show's contents. With my car out of commission for so many days leading up to the move and things just getting increasingly expensive, I gave away what I could and donated a lot. Everything that was left in my apartment was either Julia and Jason's...or trash. I couldn't be bothered to deal with it anymore at this point. If it wasn't going to fit into the car with the four of us, our luggage, food and blankets for both of them, her crate, movies, cds, snacks, drinks, and various other things to try to keep us occupied for the next three days...then it could be replaced.

After my brief nap, I showered and tossed the last few things I needed into my suitcase. I started taking what I could of what was left down to the car. Before sleeping, we'd moved my bed and what big furniture was left up to Julia's place. I sent a few wakeup-call texts to Julia. Chances were that she'd be later than we'd talked about, but in truth...I needed the extra time. I wanted to get to Oklahoma City and be done with the first day pretty early so we had time to rest up before working on the rest of the trip. That, and we were meeting Bri for dinner in the OKC, so I didn't want to get in entirely too late for that opportunity. But there was just far too much left to be dealt with. She and Jason were up before I anticipated and six hands were better than two as we tiptoed and whispered down the hallway to the elevator a few times. The dog and cat weren't sure how to carry themselves or if we would be coming back after each burdened trip. Eventually we moved all the furniture and boxes and all that remained were the last few cleaning supplies and our selves.

In the midst of all this, we'd sent Jason back to bed in case Reed woke up in the middle of the night and wondered where everyone had gone. There we were, sometime before 4am, trying to arrange everything in the car so the animals would have plenty of room. Nevermind the fact that I'd had little-to-no sleep and was physically exhausted from moving furniture and boxes for the last several days while trying to get in my final huzzahs with various people...but then to have my quiet, early-morning peace disrupted by a couple giggling and making out furiously on the back of their Miata - I'd had just about enough.

I'd already had to creep through my apartment to keep from waking up anyone who might live below me, and slither down the hallway to keep from waking up anyone on my floor, and then for our own safety we were whispering outside to keep from jostling the rapists and murderers...but I draw the line at having to be quiet so you can enjoy your trashy, drunken make-outfest on the back of a car in MY parking lot.

So we made a lot of noise. We laughed and joked, especially about them. They didn't know any better, they looked like they were fighting. Not real fighting, just drunk fighting. The kind of fighting where the guy makes lewd suggestions and she does the I've-had-two-beers-and-I'm-sloppy, coy "nooooOOOOOooo!" but in the end, everyone knows she'll cave and then blame whatever happens on being drunk. I'm rearranging the dog crate on purpose by this point, slamming things around as much as possible. He stood there with his arms crossed and she was trying to kiss him while he acted disinterested because somehow his manly ego has been bruised since she's pretending to protest. We could only be innocent bystanders for so long. They'd glance our way every few minutes and we made no bones about staring, jaws agape. Ok, I was shushing Julia and telling her to stop staring. She was the no-bones one. Every so often she tried to get out her phone to snap a few pictures, but it was entirely too dark.

We got caught up laughing about something else for about 30 seconds and were disappointed when it looked like they were gone. But the car was still there. Wait...ok, only one of them's gone. He's sitting in the car. Was she peeing in the bushes or something? Wait...oh, wait...WAIT. They're both in the car.

I won't pretend to know how to describe what was happening eloquently. He was getting what he'd apparently asked for and we LOST it. They had the top down, so there's no way they thought they were being stealth. Not to mention that WE COULD SEE EVERYTHING. I'm just glad we didn't hear anything. When she finally stopped laughing long enough to get her wits about her, we ran inside to "grab more stuff"...which means we were just calling Jason because he'd missed the entire thing. When we came back outside, the entire thing had finished. Well...I don't know if THEY finished, but we were greeted by an empty parking spot. This thole thing was, what...25 feet away, Julia?

We tossed the last few things into the car, took the last of the "trash" to the dumpster and all piled into my 10-year-old, 150,000 miled Ford Focus, leaving a lone, sleepy Jason waving and blowing us kisses down the alley as we left somewhere between 5 and 6am.

All this hullabulloo before we even left.

This was gonna be a good trip...
Well...I'm in California. In about four hours, it'll have been for a week, actually.

Initially I was going to document the entire trek as we were on it, but believe it or not...it's hard to find time in three days and almost 35 hours in the car to do that sort of thing. By the time we made it to any hotel, I was exhuasted and thoughts were really just of a hot shower, getting the dog to shut up, hoping the cat wasn't peeing everywhere and closing my eyes. We got to take Julia to the Aquarium of the Pacific on her only full day here, and she got to experience Pinkberry and a place around the corner where I like the pho a little too much. As in...I could eat it every day. It was hard to get emotional about sharing such quick, intimate experiences as getting a haircut with her for the short time she was here on this trip...but thinking about it now, I'm realizing how much I'll miss her and that handful of people I always had around me in Birmingham. It has it's charms and I'll miss those few favorite spots I had...but for the most part, I'm already happier.

And considerably less sweaty, despite temperatures over 107 the other day.

I had three weeks to prepare, but everything seemed to come down to the last minute. I had already booked Julia's flight for Saturday and she worked on Sunday, so we had a deadline to meet. I thought I'd be working this week, too, and I wanted a couple of days to recover (translation: walk and stand as much as possible), so...expediency was of the utmost importance. Eight days before I was due to depart with a car full of my last few belongings (everything that wasn't shipped FedEx, that is), a cat, a dog and Julia...I took Kaspar the Silver Bullet (my decade-old Focus) to have his air conditioner serviced. It hadn't worked for my entire time in Alabama and before I left Kentucky I was told that I may have a leak somewhere. Leaks can cost anywhere from $300 to $6000 to fix, apparently, so I'd been scared to have it looked at.

With reason, unfortunately.

I went on a Monday and the mechanic said I could hang out for about 3 hours and they'd get the diagnostic done. I asked if I could leave it. I could...and did. The next day I didn't hear anything, so I called them around noon. They had just charged it with refrigerant and everything looked cool...the dye still had to run its course, though, but so far so good. I called them back around 5pm to see if I could come get the car on my lunch break since I hadn't heard from them again.

That's when all hell broke loose.

Evaporator, Condenser, this coil, that valve, yadda yadda and something called an orifice tube. I stifled a giggle for half a second, until he quoted me the cost of fixing it all. When he shared that, there wasn't much to laugh at. Just over $2700. If I wasn't getting ready to jump in a car with three other bodies and drive through the desert, I'd have said "screw it" and sweat my balls off through the Mojave. The heat's much easier to handle here in California, so having air conditioning in the car isn't as dire...but through Texas, Arizona and New Mexico? AND the Mojave?

So I said to go ahead. He said they'd have the car another 13 hours or so. Basically, another day and a half. Sure. Ok. That still leaves me with the rest of Wednesday through Monday to get my belongings in regular intervals to FedEx and ship them to Cali. Even with the car repairs, it was cheaper in rental fees, gas for two cars and time (most of all, since you can't get those suckers over 55 or 60 mph, usually) than getting a Budget or Uhaul or anything else I looked into. And time was ticking.

I called them two days later, again to see if I could pick up the car on my lunch break, since I hadn't heard anything. The parts had only just arrived and they'd begin on the car that day.

...what?

It's not like it was some kind of mechanical error and the car was inoperable for those days. I had a day off and couldn't really used the vehicle, since it was just sitting up on the hill. I understand that they have no idea what kind of time constraints I'm up against...but one phone call to let me know it'll be two more days before it even gets STARTED on would've been amazingly helpful.

He can hear the desperation in my voice as I'm reminding him that they've had my car since Monday and they're telling me it's likely going to be Saturday morning before I can have it back...so he assures me they're going to do everything they can to have it done by Friday evening.

I wanted to get mad. I wanted to yell. I wanted to make someone understand that out of my final eight days...I've been without a vehicle for five. But I didn't. It just wasn't worth it at that point. I had more important things to worry about.

They called me Friday evening and I went to go get the car. After a minor snag running my debit card (which has a per-day limit of only $2500, no matter how it's run) I had my car and was ready to go.

My apartment was still full of stuff, too. Monday night, I planned on being in bed around 10pm and getting up around 2am to hit the road by 4am or so. No such luck. I went to bed around 12:30 and slept on the floor for an hour. I laid there for another half hour just resting. Then I took everything that was left out to the dumpster or the car.

I'm going to save the next bit for another entry. This one's long enough. But suffice it to say...I was pretty wound up until the last minute and that may have been all that saved me on the first leg of the drive to Oklahoma City.

Sep. 1st, 2010

Julia's aunt posted an editorial which is pretty sound, in my opinion.

I don't know why I'm surprised that the comments immediately turned to images of Hitler monuments outside of Jewish hospitals (uh...there are lots of other Jewish establishments around the globe, btw) and Dylan Klebold statues outside of Columbine high school. I guess I'm not so surprised, really. But I do still battle with that blind hope (not so much faith) that people will actually wake up and think one day. Consider. Feel. Care.

In any case, here's my reply to one comment about monuments (still awaiting moderator approval at the time of this entry):
Your comparison might work if the proposed building was a tribute to Osama bin Laden, rather than a church. As it stands, Islamic churches share the same government protections, liberties and benefits as Christian churches. They're just called Mosques instead. Or Temples. Synagogues. Cathedrals. Tabernacles. What have you.

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

No law is being considered here...not yet anyway. I think it's pretty cut and dry, though. To say, "You can build a church here...as long as it's not a church of Islam," goes against what we are supposedly struggling to uphold.

It's a church, people. Not a celebration or monument to victory. A church. A place of worship and a vessel for a path to greater understanding of the universe.

If I destroyed something and I knew that what was destroyed was being re-manifested...would I want to stand right next to it knowing FULL WELL that chances are there will be more attempts to destroy it?
I know I'm in the minority here, but I see absolutely no reason to boycott Target. Or to even talk about boycotting Target. It's just silly and all these dramatics are perpetuating stereotypes. I can see why you think there might be an issue to draw attention to...but there really isn't. Thanks for caring, though.
There are times when I think that Customer Service just isn't for me. I like helping people. Genuinely, I do. But there are just far too many people out there who don't want to be helped.

I took a phone call that was passed on to me today from one of the Supervisors. She was having trouble getting this guy's questions answered to his satisfaction about a check he wrote in our store that was going to be returned. Now...you'd think that because this was a mistake on his part, no matter the reason, that there would be no way to turn this around into something that's "our fault".

Well, you'd think wrong.

What I could gather from talking to the Supervisor, he had received a notice from his bank where the check he wrote to us had been returned unpaid. Generally, depending on the bank, it can take up to a month for this check to be shown as unpaid on our side. When this happens, they may decide to run the check through a second time. If it comes back, they start the process for getting these funds another way. There's a nice letter that's sent explaining the situation and has easy-to-follow instructions for how to take care of the matter. It can be embarrassing. I understand that. Another reason to be more sheepish than bullish, in my opinion. In any case, he wanted to take care of the check immediately. A noble gesture, and for that I thank him. Unfortunately, until the check is returned to our offices in Atlanta and he receives the letter, there's nothing we have anywhere that could tell me what check, who, how much...anything. We're not too terribly worried about it, we understand that it happens, no big deal...wait for the letter and we'll be happy to help you at that point.

That wasn't good enough, though. And he wanted to know how to get the check back into his own possession. I haven't written a lot of checks in recent years and my little one-off bank in Mt. Washington, KY may be WAY ahead of the game...but do banks still send you your cancelled checks? Because I don't think they do. You can get a digital image in a SNAP...but the actual check?

So I took over. And quite pleasantly, I might add. It's kind of what I do.

"Thank you for holding. This is Matt, how can I help you?"
"Who is this?"
"...This is Matt?"
"NO. What do you DO. WHO are you?"
"I'm the Customer Service Associate Team Leader."
"Team Leader? No, I need a manager."
"Sir, we don't have managers here. We call them Team Leaders. What can I help you with?"
"You can't help me. I need your manager."
"I am a manager. We call them Team Leaders."
"You're a manager?"
"Yes. I'm one of the people in charge of Customer Service."
"No, I need someone else."
"Can I ask what it's regarding so I make sure you get the right one?"
"I. NEED. YOUR. STORE. MANAGER. Or do I need to call your corporate office instead?"
"He actually won't be back in the store for a few more days. Your call was referred to me. What can I do for you?"
"Give me your store manager or I'm calling your corporate office and telling them you refused to help me."
"I'm trying to help you. If this is regarding a returned check, no matter who you speak to in this building...you'll be sent back to me."
"I'm only saying this one more time - give me your store manager...or I'm calling your corporate office."
"I'll transfer you to his voicemail."
"Yeah."

It wasn't even a full minute, I don't think, but I'm still affected physiologically by it several hours later. How does someone think it's ok to do this when they're OBVIOUSLY in the wrong on this situation? I'm TRYING to help you. The person you THINK you need to speak to? They can do nothing for you. You will be sent back to me. Please let me cut out the wait time in the middle so that both of us can come down from this, because you're obviously agitated and I'm getting that way.

As I took the call, I happened to recognize that the person was calling from a local utility company. After maybe 20 minutes of festering, I couldn't handle it any longer and emailed the company. I know how frustrating it can be when people you work with are going around town showing their asses to people in the service industry and treating them like crap...only to announce who they work for, as if it carried some weight in the entire city of Birmingham and this person would never work again. It's terribly embarrassing and you want to do everything you can to counter the impression given by that person/those people. But I digress...

This guy made no mention of who he worked for, but just like me wearing my Whole Foods hat or shirts into an establishment...I'm aware that I'm representing the company ALL the time. Likewise when you call me to handle a personal matter from a business phone. You're representing the company you work for...a fellow member of the service industry and this is how you're treating two people that work for a business that has done cooperative work on projects with you in the past? I feel like they should've been made aware. Perhaps I shouldn't have sent it, but I didn't threaten the company. I didn't threaten this person. I informed, because I would want to be informed.

Anyway.

Over it. Over people.

AND OVER THIS HEAT. I SWEAR IT'S MAKING PEOPLE ACT CRAZY.
When something happens that early, I think it's safe to assume that it's only natural...that it couldn't have been learned somewhere.

"I didn't want to interrupt," I said. Nevermind that "interrupt" is a big word for a 3-year-old from West Virginia - somehow I had bumped myself down to the bottom of the list of priorities at that age as well. Sitting in the back seat while my mom and Aunt Toni chatted away in the front, I decided it was better to stay covered in my own vomit than announce that I had, indeed, thrown up. I don't remember this happening, but when it was told to me it seemed logical. There was no question that I would do something like that. Even so young.

It's not a matter of self-hatred. I really rather enjoy myself, in fact. I think I'm pretty rad. This "interruptist" self-image may have been reinforced as I got older by my siblings, though. And my classmates. And my neighbors. I had friends. I had a happy childhood. I have no regrets about my interactions with people as I developed, my family included. My defense mechanism was to bury myself in things I enjoyed doing alone. I read constantly. Hours at the library, several times a week, weren't uncommon. Video games helped. Cartoons and television, too. I did crafty things - I had countless friendship bracelets wrapped around my wrists and ankles and the shelves in my room were full of the tiniest origami my growing fingers could fold. It was easier to entertain myself and keep myself happy for long periods of time, rather than put myself in the direct line of fire for the rebuffs of my assumed sexuality that were so freely unloaded on me. That isn't to say that my summers weren't spent swimming from 10am - 9pm almost every single day. That isn't to say that I didn't have several friends that I played with regularly, all within a couple blocks of the house. That isn't to say that bike rides and roller skates weren't used constantly. That isn't to say that the Lourdes Grotto and the parking lot for the funeral home and the little mom-and-pop grocery store down the street weren't all frequented by this little pack of mostly-well-behaved kids. That isn't to say that I didn't have a paper route. That isn't to say that I wasn't well-liked, even by the people who hurled the epithets.

I just got used to spending time alone and being ok with it.

My sister's friends liked me and she hated it. I'd spend time trying to avoid them, but I kind of liked them, too, and would insert myself into "girl time" on occasion. The rest of the time, they came to me...usually because Lorie didn't stay up much past sundown. But she hated it and made it clear that she did. It got old being yelled at because she'd scream as if I was doing something wrong, so I just avoided her most times. Walking up the stairs was always a task as her bedroom was at the very top of the stairway and my room was at the end of the hallway, across from my brothers. The boards just outside my sister's door would creak if you didn't step on them just right and far too often, without even turning around, she'd shriek "GET OUT!" knowing full well I'd learned my lesson and wasn't going to set foot in her room. Not while she was there, anyway. She had tons of Barbies and at one point I took a few when she wasn't around to play with my Ninja Turtles. The mystery and mysticism of Barbies for me is another story for another time, though. Regardless, it was scripted: "GET OUT!" "MATTHEW! Get out of her room!" "I'm not IN her room!" And then we'd all go about our business. My brother wouldn't acknowledge that we even shared a mother. I was usually made to walk a particular length behind him if we went anywhere together on foot. In the car, I had to slink down in the seat...but I think I was only in his car on two occasions. He even had a station wagon...I could've ridden all the way in the back, but no. I was to go nowhere. Unless there were booby traps set up in the yard and they needed a guinea pig...or just someone to pick on. Ah, the joys of middle-child-hood.

When I was old enough to make grown-up connections, Christmases and birthdays became hard for me. This past year my mother and I had a bit of a tense conversation regarding the netbook she bought me for Christmas. I'd bought a laptop only a few weeks before since my computer petered out. It's a nice thought, but I couldn't accept such a thing even if I hadn't. I know about their financial situation. They're not dire, but I'd rather the money spent on that laptop was put toward something more productive and profitable. And then to find out that it was purchased because there was enough room on the credit from Dell? I just can't shoulder that sort of responsibility. It's hard for me to enjoy something like that under those circumstances, as nice as it would have been. I appreciate the desire to give me gifts, and an expensive gift at that...I do. I love giving gifts...but am cursed with the awkward inability to graciously receive them. Even though I work on it.

But for as long as I can remember...I've had a fear of being a bother or a burden or interrupting or having my intentions for opening up to people misunderstood. I usually excuse myself from simple offers of beverages or food because to me it's more polite to only take what's needed when hungry or thirsty, rather than allowing the host to be hospitable. Of course, the rules are reversed when the shoe is on the other foot. Make yourself at home. What's mine is yours. I'm available for anything you need...but I appear to not be able to ask for what I may need. Mostly because I feel like anything I "need"...I can get for myself. The rest is just want. I want all sorts of things, but not having them isn't detrimental. Sometimes I wonder if I lost the ability to judge and prioritize my wants versus my needs. Perhaps not. I have no idea. I believe in a level of humility as well as complete honesty and try to take up as little space as possible with both, unless invited. Occasionally, though, my honesty and a desire to be closer to people...to let them into the soft parts of my soul, has to come out. It scares me to death because I know it'll usually be received in a way that any other person would intend for it to be received - full of hidden messages and underlying motives - but I really, truly only mean what I say. And despite the frustration and disappointment I get from putting people on the defensive when all I want to do is share those soft parts...I'll still do it. Sometimes with plenty of hesitation, which can give the impression that I'm hiding something or that these things are larger than they really are. It's annoying as hell for people. It's annoying as hell for me.

It's not because I feel like I don't deserve it. It's not because I feel like I'm not worth it. It's not for anything, really. It just is. It's the way I've always been and for some reason it's one of the hardest things for people to accept as anything but an exercise in self-deprecation.

And yet, here they are...my soft parts.

I don't need you to need me

i just need you to see me

Ignore this: it's a blather post for the sole purpose of conditioning my mind and hands to get these things out again. I'm still feeling a bit mentally and emotionally constipated and I blame the lack of writing.

Everything feels like it's overlapping at the moment. Not much quiet time, aside from when I pretend to crochet. I say pretend because I don't really know what I'm doing, aside from having fun practicing various stitches and occasionally guiding them into the shape of a hat or a bag or a sock. I started on the superhero costume for Newt's alter ego, Neutron Kitty, but I think I'm going to start over. The curious part will be getting him to sit close enough for any length of time so I can gauge the mask...

Anytime I get pictures printed off, I want to order more. Sometimes I like the pictures I take and they usually garner zero interest from the people I show them to. So...mine they will be. I should go to the thrift store soon and see if I can't find some frames to paint for a few of them. Speaking of... Kelly's pictures from December still require frames. Perhaps I'll put that on my to-do list for the week as well. I have a couple hours free on Wednesday, so maybe I'll do that. I could use a few new shirts anyway.

I started a new rug made out of old jeans. I saw it in an issue of Ready Made...I just hope I have some denim needles for the ol' Singer. If not, perhaps a trip to the fabric store is in order as well as the Salvation Army.

Just out of curiousity - does anyone else wake up being stared at by a holographic deer? Or go to sleep that way, for that matter? No? Just me? Ok.

I kind of want to take a nap or play video games or eat or do anything except my personal evaluation, really. But it needs to be in tomorrow...or maybe wednesday at the latest. I'm not sure.

I also wish I had air conditioning in the car so I could drive around and sing some Florence at the top of my lungs. + The Machine, not Foster Jenkins. Although both would be fun. Mom said I should go get an estimate on getting it fixed and she'd help out...guess I should make an appointment at Rex's for next week. Frames are the priority this week.

Aaaaand, that's all I'm carrying that I can dump out at the moment.

Efforts. Not good ones, but efforts nonetheless.

can you hear my call?

are you coming to get me now?

It's difficult to maintain two journals.

Rather, it's difficult to neglect two journals. The amount of guilt involved with one is shruggable, but two? Unforgivable. Why presume to have two in the first place if neither of them ends up yielding anything? It's like opening two storefronts with window displays...but never stocking the store to sell anything.

I opened the second one for the express purpose of working out things I want to eventually publish. The frustrating thing is that the few entries I've made sound childish and forced. There are things I want/need to address that I haven't visited in quite some time. My memories fade and the profound reasons for why they've shaped who i am have all but extinguished in some cases. But as I take notes and make lists and play with formats in my mind, well before entries are ever tapped out, the reality of the project becomes clearer. Perhaps with more structure it'll free up some of the pressure I've put on myself to get everything out. Aside from suffocating, my largest fear is being misunderstood. It's an awful feeling when someone labels you or the things you do as anything other than what they actually are. I overcompensate far too often to make sure people don't get the wrong impression...and that's exhausting. Here's my chance to take the constant responsibility out of my hands, everything up until this point, to have a reason for it all. Maybe finally I can stop being measured with the wrong litmus paper...but probably not. Just like my attempts to explain myself thus far, there are too many perceptual constraints and in the end of it all...I'll still be misunderstood.

I'd like to get back to a sperical homeostasis.

Mathematically, biologically...spheres are perfect by way of surface tensions. I'm some sort of 3-D trapezoidal ovoid with random pyramids at most moments. Sphere's are nice - that brief nanosecond in a drop of water's life where directions change from up to down and movement stops.

People talk to me, and I like it. I like feeling like I'm having a direct impact, no matter how passively. There are times when I know I just have to be patient to wade through the surface drama to get to the seeds of why people are struggling and usually it manifests in my mind as a rigid structure trying to shape that drop of water. Square holes for round pegs and such. If we just accepted the liberty and fluidity of the sphere by demolishing these arbitrary structures...it gets much easier to simply exist. The waters still and become transparent. We're 78% water after all, no? Maybe our cells just want to be round.

Speaking of round...there's a ball of yarn here with my name on it. Time to ponder the other side.
This...by far...is my favorite:

Apr. 22nd, 2010

Two days off again. Typically I like having a couple days of work, then an off day...another few days, then an off day. But lately, it seems, more drastic measures are required. This will be my last mention of work until I'm back there at 7am on Saturday. Mostly because I'm still concerned about my blood pressure, but I'm also trying to do a better job of divorcing work from not-work. I've always taken my work very personally and included it as much of my identity. It may be time to try something else besides "the nice guy".

I've been monitoring my blood pressure and such with one of those arm-squeezy machines you typically find in drug stores. I like the warning at the beginning of the testing that "This machine may bruise you. You may faint while being tested." The part that really pisses me off, however, is that I don't have a horrible diet and have been eating WAY better over the past couple years. I DO exercise (even if I don't run for miles and miles every week because I DO have weak ankles...so much so that the temporary separation isn't so surprising or painful...it's the swelling and subsequent resettling of the joints that's such a bother). I take supplements specifically to support the heart. I don't smoke (never have). I feel like I'm a generally even-mooded person, albeit strongly-emotioned.

Everyone in my family, I believe, is on blood pressure medication. I really REALLY don't want to be medicated for any extended portion of my life. But I'd also like to not die from some sort of heart disease before I'm ready. It's not so much a mortality check as it is an awareness of my own biology. The invincibility of "youth" is gone. Ever since the first time I screened myself, I've had headaches and I can feel the veins in my neck. My pulse has suddenly gotten louder and I'm aware of all the blood running through my body. I'm aware that it's all in my head and only compounding the problem.

What else can I do? I've kicked up the exercising. I've kicked up the healthy eating. I've kicked up the supplements. I've started meditating. I'm trying to take steps to remedy the work stress. I'm down below 215, which is the lowest I've been two years...and pretty darn amazing for me since I was closer to 260 a little over a year ago.

I know it won't be an immediate fix, but...yeah.

Scared. Determined.

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