Open!

As of today Chicago is fully open! Establishments can be at 100% capacity. Yay… I guess lol. Initially I felt the reopening and getting back to the pre-covid “normal” was happening so fast! Like, why are we in such a rush to get back to crowded brunches, bars, festivals, and other too-close-for-comfort events? My anxiety was through the roof seeing mask requirements being removed and capacity limits increasing at indoor establishments. Though I, family, and close friends are vaccinated, I was still like “hol’ up, slow down”. As we can see, that hasn’t happened. Businesses want their bottom lines to go up, with little to no care for the health and safety of employees.

At this point, I am a little more at ease. Vaccination numbers seem to be on point in Chicago and the infection rates have really decreased. I am glad we are getting a grip on things, but I still feel society as a whole didn’t learn much from this experience. It’s really going to be every person for themselves in terms of a societal crisis. My mask will surly be on in crowded settings and the sanitizer is now a staple in my car and man-bag.

As we I ease back into things, I am looking forward to a good summer. I get to kick things off with celebrating my 40th birthday this month. I plan to do some small road trips to nearby cities I’ve never been to. I want to take the parents up to Lake Geneva for a quick, short getaway; they’ve never been. I also look forward to traveling to visit family and friends that live in other states. So, cheers to the reopening! Please continue to be safe and lets pay our respects to those we lost during these unprecedented times.

I’m Bored

Damn, two months since my last post? My bad. I really haven’t been doing shit though, hence the title… I work (at home), go the gym, might slid through the store, then come back home… I’m bored! Yes, I’ve done little projects around the house. Yes, I’m reading books. Yes, I’m taking a marketing class. However, I’m still in the house. Yes, I’m grateful for my place. Yes, I know I’m complaining. I just needed to get this out!!

Reset Progress!

It dawned on me that I didn’t do an update regarding my food Reset. The 10-day smoothie cleanse went great! Every smoothie recipe in the book was tasty; of course I had some favs. I did the full cleanse which consisted of three smoothies a day and healthy snacks between. My snacks consisted of carrots, unsalted tuna salad with vegan mayo and a hardboiled eggs, and pecans. I also did the recommended detox tea, liver cleanse supplement, a digestive system cleanse supplement, and I even found a detox soap for the skin.

Everything went smoothly. I was proud of myself for sticking to it with no mishaps. The first couple of days I went to the gym, but by day three I noticed extreme fatigue while working out, so I stopped going for a few days. I was able to go back around day 8 when I really started to feel energized. Once I completed the smoothie cleanse, I was down about 12 pounds; a nice reward for the effort.

Since the end of the cleanse, I still do a smoothie for breakfast, and sometimes for lunch as well. I’m getting better with portions and not over stuffing myself. I’ve been cooking a lot more. I definitely crave more healthy foods; I love salads now lol. My sweet tooth has calmed down a lot; I actually use a natural sweetener in my tea and I’ve found some recipes for healthier and vegan sweets which have really been good. As far as proteins, I use a plant-based protein powder in my smoothies, I’m only eating chicken and seafood, and I even switched to a plant-based pre-workout for when I hit the gym. I also still take the liver supplement since it’s suppose to help with stubborn belly fat.

Overall, I am feeling great! I love being able to eat without feeling bloated and exhausted afterword. My bowel movements are much more regular than before. I’m in the kitchen more. And, my weight is still going down slowly, but steady. I really feel like I’ve reset my relationship with food and hope to keep it up for a lifetime!

Sexual Anxiety

Have my other posts been TMI? I don’t think so, but this one may very well be. I was listing to the WRYH Podcast (Who Raised You Hoes) a while back and there was an episode where the conversation turned to anxiety and sex. After listening to the guys share some of their experiences, it dawned me… I too have experienced anxiety regarding sex and sexual performance.

As far as sexual activity, I still have a hard time being assertive about what I want and enjoy during a sexual encounter. I can talk about it all do long with friends and more recently my therapist, but I tense up when its time to express it to the person I want to be initiate with. Weird, right? Not 100% sure why that is, but I feel like it stems from triggers I’ve talked about before, in which expressing an interest, want, or need was met with negativity and rejection. There is a lot of shit I want to do sexually, that I have yet to do, because I’ve been anxious/afraid to express it. I’ll be 40 this year, WTF!

Another thing that gets to me is positioning. We (the gays) put a lot of emphasis on sexual positioning in order to measure compatibility. I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it. Folks like what they like and everyone is not going to practice versatility. I do though. I’ve had pleasurable experiences giving and receiving. However, I get anxious when it comes to topping. To make it plain, my dick is average at best. The love for the big, thick, third-leg dicks that’s commonly expressed within the community, makes me self-conscious and anxious. Guys have expressed interest in wanting me to top them and my mind immediately goes to the negative thinking – “Oh, I don’t measure up. He’s going to be disappointed when I whip it out. I’m not going to reach the second hole.” Mind you, the person hasn’t mentioned anything of the sorts. Yes, I’ve heard the saying “it’s the motion of the ocean”, but that damn anxiety doesn’t let a positive thought through when it steps in. Though penetration is not the end-all be-all for me, I want to be confident in what I’m bringing to the table and my performance.

Just like in my Affirming Myself post. I’m going to stop saying/thinking “I don’t measure up. I can’t please.” and start saying/thinking “This is me! It is what it is. I can’t change it. Take it (pun intended) or leave it!”

Reset!

Green Smoothie Cleanse

Remember my post about Toxic Relationships? Well it’s time to fix it! I’ve started the new year off doing a 10-day Green Smoothie Cleanse. The cleanse is supposed to help you reset your digestive system, as well as recalibrate your taste buds to where you will crave healthy foods! It’s a detox that I need to work. I’m so tired of not controlling what foods I put in my mouth, having junk be my go-to choices rather than nutritious items.

So far I am on day 5. I’ve surly experienced some of the side-affects noted in the book; fatigue, headaches, nausea, but I have kept going and I have not cheated. I’ve stuck with the smoothie and snack plan with no diversions! I’m also doing the recommended detox tea, colon cleanse, and liver cleanse supplements. I am so looking forward to achieving this goal and getting a fresh start on a healthier way of eating.

Affirming Myself

The negative things we repeat to ourselves can be detrimental. We have the power to change the story!

Things I’ll Stop SayingThings I’ll Say Moving Forward
My body is uglyI love my body and I’m taking care of it
I hate my chestMy chest makes me unique, it’s great (the boys love it)
I hate my wide backBroad backs are sexy
I can’t hold a conversationI converse about topics that heighten my interest
I have no personalityI’m witty, kind, adventurous, curious, a good person
I am not interestingI am intriguing; People remember me; I have many things going for myself
I’ll be along foreverFuck that! I’m going to gets me a Boo/Lover/Partner/Hubby
Changing My Story

Toxic Relationships

We’ve all heard the phrase “toxic relationships”. They’re the ones that may be physically, emotionally, and/or psychologically abusive. Really serving us no purpose, other than to say we’re in relationship. In some situations things may have started off well, then took a negative turn, and in other cases things may have been rocky from jump. It may take some time, but once we realize we deserve better we can gather the courage to leave. However, what do you do when the toxic relationship is with something, rather than someone, that you need to live? Again, you gather the courage and try to fix it! I’ve been in a toxic relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Yes, you read correctly, I said FOOD! (I love food, you don’t love food? What’s wrong wit you?)

Food is the bomb, but oh can it be toxic, especially when you gravitate toward sugar, fat, salt, and all those processed substances that pass for “food”. My addiction to fast food started early. I believe I mentioned in a previous post, that I did not enjoy majority of the foods my dad would cook, so I’d end up getting something from Burger King or McDonald’s. He’s from the south so he’d do plenty of “southern/soul foods” that just didn’t appease to me at the time. Yes, he’d try to force me to eat what was at the house, but eventually he and my mom would give in and take me out to get something. As you can imagine, I did not have a lot of fruits and vegetables. My lunches throughout grade school consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with chips. My mom would try to switch it up and do a turkey sandwich, but it didn’t hit like the PB&J. Once I got to junior high and high school, where we could buy our lunches, that old cafeteria pizza, nachos, and burgers, took over.

Another way in which my relationship with food turned toxic, is that I used food to keep my company. Again, in a previous post I mentioned how I was alone a lot when I was younger. Both parents worked evenings/nights. They’d be home while I was at school, mom would be gone by the time I got home, dad would be sleep, then later heading out to work. Food was not only comforting, but kept me engaged, and was an afterschool friend.

As you can image, this has led to weight problems throughout my life. Thankfully, I never developed high blood pressure, diabetes, or other life threatening illnesses, outside of obesity itself. It’s also the reason why my eight yo-yo’s so much. I can make temporary changes to get some weight off, but I soon revert back to type. I was doing so good with my weight before quarantine hit. I haven’t totally gained all my weight back, but it’s close. Food has been keeping me company while I’m in this big ole house by myself. And, no it’s not food I’ve been cooking. It’s ordering out! Cooking is another thing I have a toxic relationship with.

Seeing how I was not eating majority of foods cooked at home, there was no shadowing mom or dad in the kitchen. Not even when they did make items I liked (except pancakes and grits). I let them rock and came in when it was time to eat. Cooking to me is a chore, not enjoyable, and since I know nothing about seasoning, flavors, and preparing most things, I just don’t do it. This must end though!

I am now seeking treatment to help me curve these issues and fix my toxic relationships with food and cooking. I’ve found a support group that I plan to attend and found some literature that will hopefully help as well. I talk about my food with my therapist and I’m about to work on food plan and food rules. I really hope I can reverse my mindset about the types of food I eat and the preparation of those foods. It really is like an addiction. Sugar, fat, and salt be calling me ya’ll. There’s something about eating till I get full and can’t move, that gives me a rush. It’s a high. Pray for strength!

Chile…

Remember when we shut down in April, and people were rescheduling events for Sept/Oct/Nov… Well shit, Nov is just about over, December is pulling up, 2021 is on her way, and we’re in worse shape now! Who would have thought protecting ourselves and others would turn into a political issue, with people saying their rights are being violated for asking them to take precautions? United States, my ass. In the words of Kandi Burruss “this is crazy”.

Any-who! On my last personal update I believe I mentioned teeter-tottering between being fine and losing it. My psychiatrist had even suggested increasing my medication to help with my mood, which I did, and it helped. As of recently though, I’ve gone back to my previous dosage. Things have been cool overall. I’ve done little projects around the house, still have a few in the works. I’ve done a little bit of gathering with friends; we did outdoor dining, a picnic, a bbq, Top Golf, and we’ve gone bowling a few times. Even tried to date a little bit, but that fell flat (I did sign up for Match.com, so we’ll see).

With 2020 wrapping up and vaccines on the horizon, I am optimistic about 2021. I do feel like some things will forever be changed, so we’ll just adjust to our next new normal. For the remainder of this year, I want to focus on getting my eating habits and cooking skills together. I want to read more. I want to break away from social media a bit; already working on Facebook. And, I want to work on my friendships and communication.