2016…so, that happened

I haven’t written anything in a little while, mainly because I have been a) too busy and, more recently, b) in too much pain (more on that later).  That said, I figured I would reflect a little on 2016.  The year that, if Facebook is to be believed, was a shower of absolute shite from start to finish.

I think it would be easy for me to jump on that bandwagon as well…but I won’t.  You see, for me, 2016 was a year of contrast and change.

I can’t lie.  2016 started off looking positive.  Plans were made, lives were going to change, everything was going to be great.

Looks, however, can be deceiving.  It turns out that, instead of great things, someone had placed me under the rear end of cow.  A cow that had diarrhea of apocalyptic proportions, following a year of constipation.  In short, it was messy, and it stunk.  Enough people have heard/read enough about it and, honestly, I have talked about it enough to last me 5 lifetimes.  It’s enough to say that my post Catharsis was written in an attempt to get me over it.  It helped.

It was around this time that I had some good things start happening.  I was being pursued by a few agencies that were desperate to place me in a better job.  Friendships that I thought I had lost were there, and stronger than ever.  So, in that true style of people coming out of a long term relationship…I set myself some goals.  So began Super Diet.

Now, my friends were (rightly) cynical.  To be honest, so was I.  I didn’t want to be that typical guy who tries to change everything about his lifestyle just because he is single again.  I figured I would lose a couple of kilos, feel a bit better about myself and then go back to normal.  Yep, they were my own expectations…so it wasn’t entirely surprising when people were skeptical, especially when I was talking to them about it whilst on my 6th pint Smile

So I found myself, a very short while after Catharsis was written, being far more social, being courted to jobs, losing weight and generally feeling great about life.

In May I landed a great job.  Back doing the sort of work, and at the level, that I am skilled for.  My German skills had already improved to a good level, but now I was working in an IT role again, only now totally in German.  Not something I would have expected to be doing..especially with any measure of success.

My circle of friends had widened and my social life was awesome.  I had even reconnected with some old friends that I had missed deeply.

In July I was back in the UK for my Birthday and saw all of my kids.  It was a wonderful week away and seeing my family react to the “new me” was fantastic.

The job continued to go great guns and my contract was extended.  I was given more and more responsibility and began to have a real impact on the business.

I “tinkered” with a couple of “relationships” along the way, but mainly I was just trying to have some fun and avoid being my usual self.  Which meant not falling into a long term relationship with the first woman that wants to see me more than once.  To be honest, finding a new relationship wasn’t the focus and I was both surprised and happy with that.

My 2016 had gotten off to a horrific start, but was now motoring along quite nicely thanks for asking.

And so it continued, right the way up until the beginning of December.  At the end of a fantastic night out celebrating the birthday of the one and only MK…I decided to be a hero and paid quite a heavy price.

I’ll make this the short version though Smile

So, I was chewing through a very disappointing kebab (they ran out of meat, so I had some veggie thing) and I spotted a lad hassling a woman.  I don’t like seeing this sort of thing, but she was handling it and, at the end of the day, he was just being a cock.  I did keep an eye on what was happening though.  Honestly, I think it was more of an annoyance for her than anything else.  Until it wasn’t.

The guy decided that he wanted a little more than words and grabbed her.  Her demeanor instantly changed from annoyed to scared and I stepped across.  I decided to use my words, admittedly aggressively, and a friend of the guy stepped in to calm things down..”He’s just drunk, we don’t want any trouble” etc etc.  So, in my eyes, the situation was ending.  Unfortunately, that was when the original moron decided to blindside me and sucker punched me from the side where I couldn’t see him.  I was then jumped on by him and 2 of his mates, where they proceeded to kick me in the head and stamp on my leg until I blacked out.  I came around a few minutes later to see the original moron on the floor under a pile of coppers, but I couldn’t walk.

I am sitting here, writing this, in no small amount of pain and waiting for an operation that will, hopefully, happen this week.

Damage Report:

  • Medial Collateral Ligament – Torn
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament – Broken (The Doctor actually used the word Destroyed)
  • Meniscus (right side) – Torn
  • Meniscus (left side) – Torn
  • Femur – Fractured and Dented!
  • Tibia – Fractured

Additionally, and arguably worst of all, there was some serious damage to my pride (I believe the medical term would be “Fucked”).

Not bad for a night out.  That said, I am glad I stepped in and I would do the same thing again, no questions asked.

So that was my 2016.  It started off badly, was awesome in the middle and ended up badly.  I don’t tend to put expectations on this sort of thing, but I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be a good year for me personally.

Happy New Year Smile

Culture Club

get-around-in-english-how-to-be-politeDo you really want to hurt me?
Do you really want to make me cry?

To be honest, I am not referring to that particular Culture Club although, now I have started with those lyrics, I cannot for the life of me get the song out of my head.

I was sick for a couple of days last week and it made me realise how living in Germany for almost 11 years has changed me.  We have a culture (in my experience) in the UK of not calling in sick.  For us it is always better to get to work and be sent home, than it is to call in and say you can’t make it.  I am not sure when that trend started.  Probably when companies started providing the minimal amount of paid sick leave before slamming people over onto Statutory Sick Pay.

Here in Germany, however, it’s different.  The idea of coming to work when you are sick is still a relatively alien concept.  “You mean you would consider coming here and making the rest of us sick too?  What kind of an animal are you?” seems to be the prevailing thought.

It made me think about other stuff that I accept after 11 years that, were I to head back to Blighty for more than a couple of weeks, I would probably face the biggest culture shock since Keith “Big Balls” Chaverton went on holiday to Spain and didn’t choose a package tour (the humanity, they didn’t even have a Red Lion…or Pie and Mash).

So, in no particular order, my top 4 points of difference:

#1 Sickness

Not only do we have the “Sick is sick” vs “It’ll look better if the boss sends me home”.  We also have the classic sicknote excuses.

In the UK, the staple “I need a day or two off” is the “Bad Back”.  In Germany it is Kreislauf (Circulation).  Essentially “I’m feeling faint”.

That’s right, apparently Germany is made up of a nation of 1950s female movie stars who swoon at the slightest provocation.

Also, there is a very firm and national belief that drafts are the cause of all colds.  Case in point, I was on the train a little while ago during a heatwave.  The air conditioning wasn’t working and, as it was a 30 minute journey, I cracked open a window.  Blissful air rushed over my glistening face…followed immediately by a blustery woman who slammed the window shut and proceeded to lecture me that she didn’t want to get sick because of my selfishness.  I mean, god forbid that air should actually move across you in a cooling motion when you are at your very sweatiest.  Ah well.

#2 Personal Space

Now, I am going to be honest here.. I could happily live with reverting to the English style of things.  Germans have little to no concept of personal space.  They stand so close to you in a queue (I have talked about this before) that I have, on a number of occasions, asked if they would at least take me to dinner first!  Leaning across you, standing far to close when talking to you..nothing is taboo.

It’s enough to make your average Brit strap some form of hula hoop based contraption to themselves so as to ensure that they are not violated.

#3 Drinking

This is probably the biggest difference really.  Over here, due to far more relaxed licensing laws, drinking is a more comfortable affair.  You see, us Brits think that we have a drinking culture.  It’s an oft user misnomer.  We don’t have a drinking culture, we have a getting pissed culture and it is a subtle, but distinct, difference.

Germans go out late.  So late, in fact, that at the same time in the UK, people are an hour away (at most) from last orders.  The difference, therefore, is that in the UK it is often about drinking fast before you are unable to drink anymore.  Whereas here, you take your time and if the bar you are in is closing, there is almost always another one to go to.  Also, this avoids everyone getting kicked out at the same time and that leads to a lot less drunken brawling.

The nice thing is, you can always spot the groups of Brits…they are the only ones out drinking at 19:00, wondering why they bothered coming to Germany…only to be wrecked by the time the Germans are starting to head out.

#4 Greetings

The final point for today’s lecture, ladies and gentlemen is a very weird thing and, after over 10 years, something that I am still not fully accustomed to.  Brits are, by and large, a friendly and accommodating people.  We will invariably go out of our way to help people in need and are polite to the point of pain in most situations.  Where we are not good, however, is dealing with strangers in situations where we expect zero interaction.

Let me start you off with an easy example..one to help you understand without making you too uncomfortable.

Lifts.

Now lifts are public things and, in a busy city like Frankfurt, you will rarely end up in one on your own.  Doesn’t matter if it is in a shopping center or a car park, it’s a busy place, you are unlikely to be the only person needing a lift.  Now, in the UK, it is a perfectly reasonable expectation that interaction with fellow lift travelers will be restricted to a nod and quite possibly a smile.  The smile is designed to do 2 things. #1 Acknowledgement…we are nothing if not polite and #2 to let people know we have seen them, should they be harbouring any dark thoughts towards us, we are aware of what they look like.  Now, to any right thinking individual, this is perfectly normal and correct.

Not to a German…oh no no nono.  To the average German, the lift is the perfect place to strike up a conversation with complete strangers that are just trying to get from floor a to floor z without any social anxiety inducing conversation.

Also, when you are walking around during lunch time, Germans revel in the act of reminding you that it is indeed lunch time.  Every single person you meet, that even remotely suspects that you work for the same company, will hit you with “Mahlzeit” (literally, Mealtime) as a greeting.  People that would never have spoken to you (apart from in the lift obviously) are now providing you with information you already know ffs.  It is made slightly more annoying when you are on your way to a meeting and are, in fact, being forced to skip lunch because of it.

The most heinous of them all, as far as I am concerned, is regarding men in the toilet.  Obviously if I could attest to what the women get up to in their toilets, I would be writing this from jail.  The urinal serves one major purpose…quick relief.  You might also consider a secondary purpose, aiming practice, but generally it is there so that your average Brit can get in, siphon the python (or wring out the worm if you are unlucky in that area) and get the hell out.  It is not, I REPEAT NOT, a suitable alternative to whatever passes for the European version of a water cooler.  I do not want to shoot the shit, chew the fat, shoot the breeze or any other idiom you want to sling around.  My penis is out people.  I mean, I hope you aren’t looking and I really don’t want you to but..if I am stood at a urinal, I am definitely there for a single purpose, not because I have some kind of ceramic fixation.  There is a time and place for everything…and you have just failed that sentence in every way imaginable.

Finally, to a Brit the toilet cubicle is a private place.  You should be alone with your thoughts (and possibly your phone).  You should not be forced into have a fucking conversation.  Germans do not appreciate this.  You are therefore forced to ninja your way into the toilets, unseen by anyone, just to be certain that the next person to walk in, cannot be certain that it is you.  Alternatively, and quite possibly dangerously, hold it in until you get home.   At least that way you will avoid being forced into discussing the finer points of life whilst trying to surreptitiously (and above all else quietly) lay some cabling.

I would write more but I need the toilet and it’s at least a 30 minute drive home……

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

regret…but then again, too few to mention.  So sang the maestro and it rings true for me.

I think that most people who know anything about me will agree that 2016 has been, arguably, a year of considerable reflection for me.  Not just reflection, but action taken as a result of it too.

Weight loss, friendships, jobs, embracing the German language, who I am, who I want to be and what I want out of life.  I have reflected and acted on all of these things since the beginning of the year.  I could have wallowed, I think most people would have forgiven me for that.  I didn’t, and I am very proud that I didn’t.  It really would have been easier, now that I look back, but easy is not the same as good.

I have a deep flaw that lies in over-analysis of situations.  Well, I see it as a flaw, others might not, but it tends to lead me to exercising a little too much caution a lot of the time.  Over thinking a situation will often cause it to be too late to act when you finally reach a decision (IF you finally reach a decision).

I don’t recall when it happened, but I hit a point where I started to care what people thought of me.  Not too big of a problem you might think, but unfortunately that escalated to caring what everybody thought of me.  Yep, even that guy walking towards me on the street that I don’t know and will most likely never see again.

Taking self-awareness to the umpteenth degree ladies and gentlemen.  That affected my confidence to act.  I stopped feeling free to dance when I went out, preferring to lean on the bar and nod my head with the best of them.  I wanted to dance, I wanted to have a laugh, but something was stopping me.  I gained weight around this time too and my vanity (such as it was) stopped me in my tracks.  Now I wasn’t just worrying about how people were judging “That guy over there” now they were judging “That fat bastard over there”.  It’s ridiculous the more I think about it.

In short I had, for reasons best known only to the dim dark recesses of my subconscious, generated a massive self-esteem issue.  The trouble was, I either didn’t realise that’s what it was or I wasn’t prepared to admit it.  I acted confident and was able to blag it to a certain extent, but I couldn’t quite carry it off completely.

My work suffered, I couldn’t give presentations, struggled with conflict resolution and became pretty angry pretty quickly with situations that didn’t really require it.  I couldn’t trust any of my decisions properly, at home or at work, so I almost stopped making them.  It was not a good time for Ole Davey.

Moving to Germany helped.  It was something that I had always wanted for myself.  Something that I have been saying since I was 15 that I wanted to do.  So achieving a personal goal like that helped me.  My confidence at work started to come back..culminating in me offering to take over a failing section and get it working again.  Which I achieved.  Presentations, hiring/firing, disciplinaries, meetings and all that jazz were flowing again.  I left there and headed to another place.  Promoted in 2 weeks, being sent to London regularly, involved in all sorts of projects and even sent to Santa Clara for a jolly week long meeting.

The trouble was, my personal life was still problematic.  Don’t get me wrong, I had found a relationship with an amazing woman, but I was struggling to deal with speaking German (even though I could), struggling with calling companies about bills or problems.  When I went out…Mr Confident…when I had to deal with daily life stuff…Gibbering Wreck.  I lost a little weight, but mainly I started looking after myself properly.  So, whilst I was still huge, I at least looked OK.  Slowly the confidence started to filter in and I was able to function a bit better on a daily basis.  Still nowhere near the level that I should have been at, but better.  Mostly I persuaded myself that it was better and so, invariably, it actually got better.

Here’s the big reveal though.  I was diagnosed some years ago with mild depression.  It’s something that very few people know about me.  A lot of people wouldn’t believe it and a lot of people would be like “everyone has mild depression sometimes”.  Unfortunately, that’s not the same thing.  Feeling down from time to time is normal..it happens to us all..it happens to me sometimes.  Mild Depression is a different beast.

Now, I am lucky.  I think I have been prescribed Anti-Depressants once in my life and then only for a short time.  I am able to function and my depressive episodes are, generally, not so severe that I can’t fake it until I actually feel better.  Factor in my recent life turnaround/improvements and I haven’t suffered all year.

Then Monday happened, I got sick.  Being more healthy has had the side effect of allowing me to avoid my standard “start of summer” illness that has always plagued both myself and my mum.    I didn’t even think about this until Monday night, when I started to feel like crap.  It left me feeling run down, unable to train properly and completely lethargic.  These things contributed to an “episode” that I am currently fighting to get out of.  One of the reasons for this post I guess.  So, more reflection.

Things have a habit of going wrong.  I think that is true for all of us.  I got married at 21 and had 2 kids.  Do I regret it?  No.  My kids are amazing and I look back fondly on the time with my wife.  Sure, it went wrong in the end, but that doesn’t stop it being good while it lasted.  I spent a bit of time alone, playing the field and then got with someone else for 10 years and had another 2 kids.  Do I regret that?  No…again, amazing kids and I can look back fondly on the great times we had.

Cue a bit more time playing the field and I, somehow, end up with CW for 7 years.  Do I regret the relationship?  Not at all.  Right up until the break up, the relationship was amazing…at least to me (I don’t mean that to come across as bitterness).  She helped me grow as a person, be more willing to take risks and get as close to being “myself” as I think I had ever been.  Sure, there were still times where I was playing a role, but I was playing it well and a lot of the time I discovered that I hadn’t been playing a role for a while without realising it.

Without her, I would have missed out on a lot of music gigs, some great friends and of course the cake shop.  Seeing the world through someone elses eyes can be a real experience if you allow yourself to do it.  She had a way of looking at the world that made you want to drop your own cynicism and just enjoy shit.

The cake shop is the one that people wonder about.  I think a lot of people see it as a failure.  Which is fair, I was forced to close it and have suffered financially (and continue to do so) because of it.  Was it a failure?  No, not even close.  It was a success.  What failed was my body.  The first 2-3 years of any new business are the hardest.  You have invested a lot and have yet to recoup that investment.  You build debt with suppliers whilst establishing yourself.  After that time, things start to get easier and you will eventually turn a decent profit.  So, yes, it was a struggle…but it was a struggle we were going to win.  Unfortunately, things conspired against me.  The finances were not there for me to hire the people that I would have needed to allow me to recover from my ankle problems, which led to me being forced to work crazy hours and made my ankle problems worse.  Hobbling around a bakery kitchen, alone, at 4AM with your leg in a cast and crutches does not a stress-free environment make.

Do I regret it?  Not for a split second.  I regret not being able to continue longer so that I could have sold the business properly, but it was out of my control.  The painkillers that allowed me to work did nothing, the ones that helped stopped me from working.  It was a horrible catch 22 situation and I was forced to close the doors around 6-8 months too soon.  Even with all of the financial issues that followed, I still don’t regret a minute of having that business.

I definitely do have regrets from the last few years.  The biggest being that a lot of the stuff, described above, has stopped me from being financially sound enough to visit my kids often enough.  Same goes for other members of my family.  I have relied on birthday gifts to allow me to travel to the UK for a visit.

I regret that I didn’t tackle certain things from my childhood when I still had the chance to do so.  I regret that I don’t seem able to get out of my own head sometimes.  I regret that I was blind to the issues in my relationship with CW, meaning I was helpless to resolve them.  I regret not looking after my ankle properly years ago.  In general, I have very few regrets.

I am very lucky and, by writing this, I am hoping to very quickly get over my current “episode”.

For the record, I regret the bar of chocolate I just ate….Oh, and I definitely regret last Saturday night…but the less said about that the better  Fingers Crossed

Watching over Overwatch

Yey, a gaming post!

So I identify as a gamer, I love gaming and my PC is very much what it is due to gaming.  However, I also identify as a social being and as a social being, my gaming is regularly impacted.  Normally just after an announcement that I will be gaming/streaming more…I am invariably busy socially.

Couple that with having no car recently and the train journey to work causing me to lose over 2hrs more per day and my gaming time recently has suffered.

I do, however, keep up with what has been going on with my fave games.  Specifically, this means Overwatch at the moment.  There have been a couple of patches and the introduction of Season 2 competitive since I last played.  Heroes have been nerfed, boosted and nerfed again..this will be never ending for Blizzard, as you will never get the balance 100% correct and every change, however minor, will have at least one set of people losing their frickin’ minds.

I did see an interesting video from Stylosa (Unit Lost Gaming) where he refers to Play of the Mercy.  Essentially he finds it exceedingly annoying that Mercy players can just hide out waiting for their team to die, bounce around the corner and resurrect everyone just after the opposition has blown all of the Ultimates to stop/force the push.  He then asks for people in the comments to offer up their thoughts on changing Mercy (if they feel it necessary).  He suggested a casting time for the resurrect or something else that would introduce a delay, the thinking being that it would give the opposition a small chance to take Mercy out before all of their hard work pressing Q was undone.  He also mentions a possible limit to the number of heroes that can be resurrected.

I do understand what he saying, and it is frustrating sometimes…but it’s also frustrating when any other ultimate fires off that can’t be stopped.  Most of them are instant after all.  What he fails to address, however, is what goes into making Mercy be able to resurrect in the first place.

Now, I am pretty much a Lucio main…so I am support focused, I will freely admit that.  That said, I am an average to below average Mercy.  The skill involved in spreading the healing love, when to switch to damage boost, when to risk zipping over to someone closer to the front line and risk death…essentially, actively participating to the game, cannot be underestimated.  Let’s not forget, building your Ultimate requires activity.

If a Mercy player was to spend the whole time at the back line, healing ranged characters and hiding…the Ultimate wouldn’t build much beyond it’s standard rate.  Meaning you might be lucky to get 1 or maybe 2 resurrects per game.

That ignores the fact that the “hiding” that a Mercy needs to do, needs to be close enough to the action to resurrect everyone…you can do it from behind a wall, but there is a range limit.  Getting into that kind of position on a lot of maps, without being seen and focused down, is an art form all of its own.  It also ignores the fact that the video implies that playing Mercy and getting POTG is easy…then a few seconds later refers to himself as a “Terrible Mercy”…unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways.

Now, do I think that the Mercy Ultimate is perfect?  Not at all, but I do think it doesn’t need much doing to it.  When I watch live streams of competitive matches with the pros, you know that they are able to, fairly accurately, work out when Mercy has her Ultimate.  They do this with most Ultimates.  Generally they see it from positioning, or from another Ultimate dropping (combos are fun) etc etc.

So the exact problem that Stylosa is describing isn’t really an issue when you are playing Overwatch with something other than pride on the line.  Tactically, resurrect is a difficult one.  Drop the resurrect in the wrong team fight and you can throw a match…the same goes for holding it back too long.  You really have to be clever with it.

I do think, though, that it should be changed a little bit.  I don’t want to see it slowed down, I don’t want to see the radius reduced…nor do I want to have it limited to X number of heroes.  I would like to see it have a cost and therefore make it a real tactical choice.  For me, if I am resurrected by Mercy, my Ultimate charge should be reset to zero or 50% of what it was…something along those lines.  If I am killed, and go back to spawn, my Ultimate charge stays where it is.  I think that is OK, because I have to get myself back into the fight to use it.  If a team drops a load of Ultimates to, for example, stop a push…having Mercy resurrect them all and have them immediately be able to press Q is where I do tend to agree with Stylosa.  That is frustrating and, perhaps, a little unfair.

If a Mercy using her Ultimate meant that I no longer had my Ultimate available, it would make the usage of resurrect an incredibly tactical decision.  Do you go for the res and try to keep the push going or is there enough time available to head back to spawn, keep your ultimate fully charged and head back into the fray.

It’s not perfect, but it could be a good change.

Other than that, leave her alone…She is most definitely not an easy character to play.

Frequently Infrequent

Concept image of a lost and confused signpost against a blue cloudy sky.

So I have been sat here for a while, thinking about what to write.  I will definitely be doing some gaming related blogging soon, once the ideas formulate in my brain head place properly.  I looked back at the times when I was blogging regularly and irregularly and saw a pattern.

Regularly – Lot’s of observations and rants, many stories about fun times in the past.
Irregularly – When I remember, normally about stuff happening now.

I think it is pretty obvious what happens to me.  When I am unhappy I am either ranting or harking back to better days…when I am happy, I don’t really have anything to rant about and as things are good, no need for nostalgia.

There we go, pretty fucking obvious when you think about it.  What I would like to do is find the happy medium.  I mean, things still annoy the living hell out of me…I just don’t fixate and get all ranty/obnoxious when I am happy.

It’s due to this that the blog is all over the shop.  No fixed abode…topics a’plenty.  Do I turn it into something else?  Game specific, news opinion etc etc?  Nah…I think the title of the blog really sums it up.  My rambles are Discombobulatory.  It’s what I am thinking about in that moment.  Which is why I have a lot of unfinished drafts and, when I go back to finish them, I can’t..I can’t actually remember the circumstances that prompted me to start that topic and then it is gone, never to be recovered.  Even when I regale you with stories of my wonderful (and not at all embarrassing) past, it has been prompted by something that happened to me that day.

Not the recipe for a world renowned blog but, there again, that was never the point of starting this.

I even tried having an app on my phone to allow me to blog whenever I think of something…but doing it on the phone is not comfortable enough so I always convince myself that I will be better off at home…by which time it is too late.

The last time I had a drought, it lasted 7 years between getting with CW and no longer being with CW.  I recently started blogging a little more often and I kind of expected it to scale up more and more…which it didn’t.  I rapidly became focused on diet, exercise and friends.  Which, surprisingly enough, placed me firmly into the happy bracket a lot quicker than I anticipated.  And thus, the blog resurrection was short lived.

I am a more determined person these days than I was in the last 7 years…arguably more than I have been in 20+ years…so I am really trying to keep this going…but the drafts keep building up.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t help that I can’t think of any stories that I haven’t already written on here…although I am sure there are some.  You know how it is, the mind blocks out traumatic events.  Which leads me to observations of which, because I have functioning eyes, I have many..but most of them lead to exasperation…not blog posts.

Work is, in the main, pretty good.  My social life is particularly social and my love life, while limited to hook ups at the moment, is not all that important right now.  So not a lot of topics there…although the social life might just throw up (no pun intended) a few..

I’ll just keep generating drafts until I eventually finish a couple and am able to post.  In the meantime, and almost as a throwback to my “No Post Today” post…this was a post about not posting.

Challenge Accepted!…Mission Accomplished?

Dave - Before and AfterI probably should have posted this a while back, but I am busy with the 2nd phase of my personal reality TV show “Body Transformation -The Self-Induced Trials of a Moron”…

I hit my target a while back.  I dipped below 92KG (a little under 14.5 stone or 200 ish pounds) which was my final target.  That brought my total weight loss to 36KG (over 5st 9lbs or 80 pounds) in 6 months.

Not bad for a lazy fat bastard I suppose.

My current plan involves killing myself on a rowing machine in an effort to increase my upper body strength to the point where I can really hurt myself with a workout that I have been set.  A workout that I simply cannot do at the moment.  It is a real goal for me as it has been set by the same guy that gave me the weight loss program.  Based on results, I don’t think I could place enough trust in what he tells me…so I am really going for it.

Why am I going for it?  Well, I want to tone.  I want what I (now) have to look as good as possible.  I originally thought I was going to just move into a “maintenance mode” where I would make sure to keep what I have achieved, but I realised that I could go for something more.  Something that will make me feel good.  So, that is what I am doing…although being able to achieve a 4 minute “full plank” seems a bridge too far…but, like I say, I trust him.

Here is the thing though.  When you do something like this and lose a shiteload of weight, you inevitably get compliments and praise from people.  Which is great and in a lot of cases acts as motivation to keep going.  It did for me…not only was I seeing results, other people were noticing too and that just makes you want to go on and on.  Add to that my decision to make public what I was doing and, for me at least, I had to perfect level of motivation and accountability to not give up or stop.

That said, when you achieve your goal…something that only months before you couldn’t have imagined ever being able to do, you start to reflect on it.

My reflection turned pride into annoyance. I had been moaning and complaining about my own weight, without doing anything, for years.  The minute I decide to actually do it, I lose the weight easily.  Well, easily to me.  I have told people how I did it and it doesn’t seem that easy to them, but to me it was.  Too easy I suppose, which makes it all the more annoying as I could have done this years and years ago.  I always thought that I was genetically predisposed to be as big as I was.  The few half-hearted diet attempts I made in years gone by did nothing for me and so I assumed it couldn’t be done and that was just who I was.

Now, based on the relative ease in which I managed it, I am thinking that I am probably predisposed to be a thinner guy and I had just let myself go.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to make myself miserable…far from it.  I am proud of finally getting off my arse and fixing it.  I am very happy to see women checking me out from time to time and that interest level being increased.  The positives are there….and that’s where the annoyance comes from….I could have had this a long time ago.

So why didn’t I?  Laziness…complacency? Both at a guess..but I do know this, it has definitely changed me as a person.  I am more willing to go out, even if it is just for a short time. Even little things like getting home, getting undressed and then realising I forgot something at the shop…something that I would have previously lived without for 24 hours..I now get dressed again and head out.  Somebody calls me on short notice for something, I make an effort to respond and do it.  It’s great.  I am the type of person I want to be now.  For the most part.

Now, obviously, I could have been doing all those things while I was fat…of course I could.  Being thin hasn’t magically made me a different person.  It has, however, made me (forgive the cheese) a bit more willing to get out there and grab stuff.  Be with friends, help people…pickup some damn milk…whatever it is.

It has affected my gaming though, I have barely gamed in the last couple of weeks.  Although last week I didn’t stream due to party based commitments…I will be back to streaming at least once a week, starting this weekend.  Still, not gaming because I am too busy and am out and about is a lot better than not gaming because I am too lazy to game, or worse, gaming constantly because I am too lazy to go out.

This will, most likely, be my last weight/fitness related post.  Using a public forum like this (and Facebook) gave me the right amount of motivation, accountability and feedback that a fragile psyche like mine needed to keep going and, like the title says “Mission Accomplished”.  I just need to find some other stuff to write about again now Smile

In the meantime, catch up with me on Twitter, Facebook and Saturday nights on Twitch (I hope you like Iron Maiden).  Who knows, I may even get around to actually posting a YouTube video at some point in the future.

Oh, and for the interested amongst you, yes…the picture is really me (6 months apart).

Peace!

Catharsis

I am writing this to get things out of my head, not to hurt anyone.

I am posting it because I thought that just writing it would be enough.  It isn’t.

I am not fishing for sympathy, it wouldn’t help how I am feeling anyway.

I am not hoping that people will turn against her, I actually couldn’t want anything less.

I am hoping, simply, that by putting the truth out there it will help me move forward with my life and get over these feelings of worthlessness and the pointlessness of trying to keep going.

That’s not melodramatic, it’s how I feel.  I understand that I just need time.  I understand that there will probably be other people out there for me.  I know my friends and family will support me.

None of that helps right now.  To me, she was the one, she was the one from the first month we got together.

That’s the reality.

People have told me to hold off, wait longer before posting.  Some have even told me to not post it at all.  Maybe everyone is right.  I am sure most people will just see this as bitterness, lashing out and just one side told by someone who is very deeply hurt.  It isn’t.  It’s the truth, it’s also the 2nd time it has been written, the first I posted but didn’t share, it was read by her and she told me herself that there wasn’t any lie or exaggeration.  The difference between that and this, that was very detailed and had little to no speculation about anything.  This is less detailed and contains some educated guesses, but it is still the same truth as before, no lies or exaggerations.

So, here is the truth..not with as much detail as I could write, but with enough detail for the whole truth to be known.

Catharsis

So, Charlotte is gone.

The love of my life for the last 7 years broke my heart and has moved to Berlin.

We had planned to go there together.  She was actually in Berlin looking for apartments for us when she cheated on me.

Despite her saying that she was going to tell me and that she had known for a while that the relationship was over, she absolutely had no plans to tell me.  When I confronted her with it, I gave her many chances, even then, to tell me…she chose to keep lying until the moment she realised that I already knew, that she couldn’t persuade me it was just me being jealous.

Then came the same lines that cheaters throughout the ages have used.  “I wanted to tell you”, “I was going to tell you”, “I didn’t want/mean to hurt you” etc…You all know most of them already.  Coupled with the “I still love you, but not in that way”, I could probably buy the big book of cheaters statements and they would have all been used.  I broke off the engagement and asked for the ring back a couple of days later, when I realised that she wasn’t remorseful about the cheating, only about how the cheating had made me feel.  And that she had no intention of trying to repair what we had.

The reality is that she feels that she is too young for commitment as she had basically never had any time living alone and doing what she wanted in her life.  Guys were paying her a lot of attention, flirting etc..I guess she needed to know what it felt like.  She “Doesn’t want any relationship at all” she “Just needs her freedom for a while”.

I came to terms with it pretty quickly, and then she started hurting me more by sleeping with another guy before she left, a guy that I had problems with for a while, because I thought he was trying to sleep with her…despite her insistence of her not being interested “in the slightest”.  She says that she wasn’t doing it to hurt me, but it certainly feels that way.  The moment I tell her I understand and I am over the relationship break-up, that’s when the lies started again and she was then sleeping with this “just a friend” for her last week in Frankfurt.  Kind of feels like a punishment to me.  The only other alternative is that the guy in Berlin has told her isn’t interested anymore, and she is punishing him by sleeping with his friend.  Neither of those options are particularly nice to consider.

It always seems to be that way doesn’t it?  The victim is always the one that gets punished more and more.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for myself.  I feel sorry for her, truly, obviously she has never had these experiences and therefore needs to make these kind of mistakes before being able to settle down, but the route she is taking is a bad one.

She has, in the space of two weeks, put her own needs and desires above me and above the 2 guys that she slept with (they are close friends with each other btw).   I can understand the need for freedom, the need to “sow her oats” (or whatever the female equivalent might be).  I get it.  I don’t like it, but I get it.  I just wish she could think it through first.  She has changed 3 lives irreversibly. Mine, and the two friends.

She might think that she can have “no strings” with them, they might even tell her that it is ok for them too…but it isn’t, it never is for guys, especially with the passion and intensity that Charlotte can demonstrate when you first get with her.  Their friendship with each other has changed forever as a result of her, and her friendship with them has changed forever as the result of sex.  Especially for the latest guy, he has wanted this from her for more than 2 years. If either of them think that nothing has changed, they are being incredibly naive.

I think I can already predict what has happened.  They (her and the “friend”) have essentially waltzed straight into a long distance relationship.  At least from his side.  She will be telling him to come to Berlin, that she doesn’t know why they didn’t get together before….that her only regret is that this didn’t happen between them sooner, that she wishes she were staying in Frankfurt, why didn’t she break up with me earlier..The phone calls will last longer and longer, all night sometimes.  They are probably at the “deep feelings” stage, you know the ones where you are talking about love without wanting to use the word, although to be honest they may even have said they love each other by now (after all, they have been together 2 weeks now).  They will be talking about falling hard and it being unexpected.  I have seen her song posts (and yes, understood the lyrics..even the very obvious Fuck You song she posted just after she left), the transparent liking of things that relate to his nickname and the very obvious in-jokes between them.

Why am I speculating?  I don’t know, to be right I suppose..to try and make sense of what has happened.  To try and stir up feelings of anger and outrage that will help me get through it all and come out the other side.  I know it isn’t healthy, anger never is, but numbness and depression are far worse, at least to me.  Being right about these things also means that I do know her and that the last few years held some truth at least.

I see the identical start to their relationship now … identical to our start. I think part of what really hurts is that I allowed her to convince me it was real, that our relationship beginning was as unique to her as it was to me. Realising now that it was a lie, that she fell for me how she falls for anyone she falls for, hurts. It hurts my pride and it hurts me deeper than I can possibly explain.  Having to see our relationship play out, but with someone else in the leading role….it’s too much.

I think that she needs to know that people want her and value her.  Just not me, unfortunately.  Maybe that is why she slept with her “friend” before she left.  She thought he was into her for over 2 years, she probably wouldn’t want to leave the city without seeing if she was right.  She actually asked me not to tell him that she had cheated on me with his mate because “It would break his heart”.  If you can believe that.

I am pretty certain that she will also be in touch with the other guy as soon as she gets to Berlin, just to see if she can keep that attraction going too.  That’s the bit I don’t understand, she is hurting people around her and, ultimately, herself.  I do, however, suspect that he won’t be interested and that she will be focusing on “the friend”.

The trouble is, in the short amount of time it took me to reach an understanding of what had happened, and come to the conclusion that having her in my life as a friend was more important to me than my own values about fidelity, she was constantly lying.  Lying about stupid things too…telling me things that she didn’t need to tell me, only for me to then see that they were lies a couple of days later.  On some level, she doesn’t place any value on me in relation to her life and for some reason she is determined to hurt me.  I think it may be that, subconsciously, it hurt her that I was able to deal with it so quickly.  I don’t know, I don’t want to know, I just know how it feels.

I was a good boyfriend/fiance.  I was caring, loving, supportive, understanding and patient.  Don’t get me wrong, I was never perfect…my occasional bursts of, now understandable, jealousy about contact with guys (one of which being the guy she ended up sleeping with before she left…..) were not great, there were other things too, I talked about wanting to do things and never got to them.  My procrastination in recent years is my biggest failing as a person to me and probably contributed greatly to her feelings changing towards me.  I was far from perfect, but I never lied to her and everything I did was for her and us.

I also, probably, gave too much of myself.  I stopped going out, stopped having any life outside of us and, whilst she wanted and even encouraged that, that wasn’t what she needed.  I can honestly say that I almost forced her to take me for granted.  I’m not excusing her actions, nor taking any blame for them, but it is a fact that I can’t ignore.

The flip side is also true, she gave all of those things to me, but she never dropped her social connections like me, nor made any attempt to (I wouldn’t have wanted her to by the way).  She did try to bring me along and involve me in her social life, which I did…this ended up reinforcing, in my mind, that what I was doing was right.

It wasn’t, and I have learned a valuable lesson I suppose.

I still care about her, I think I always will.  Who knows?  Maybe in the future she will realise that I do have value in her life and reach out with honesty and want some kind of connection.  Right now, I seriously doubt it, but I can’t see a day where I wouldn’t want that if it happened.

I don’t blame her for wanting what she wants, I don’t blame her for wanting to break up with me.  I blame her for choosing the lowest, worst and most humiliating way possible to go about it.  I blame her for cheating and lying and hurting me when all I have done is love her.  I blame her for not being the person I thought she was, the person I fell in love with, the person I still love.

There was no way for her to avoid hurting me.  She wants different things, and that was always going to hurt.  She didn’t need to add betrayal and throw the last 7 years with me in my face.  She didn’t need to make it worse in the last week with her “just a friend”, she could have been compassionate, instead she was selfish, childish and cruel.  Telling me how amazing the sex is with him for example.  That hurts most of all, because I know that isn’t her.  I have seen who she can be when she wants to and, this person that hurts someone close and then kicks them over and over again when they are down, this person is not her. I hope she realises that sooner rather than later.

I hope Berlin is a success for her, I hope she finds what she wants and I hope she can be happy.  I still want that for her.

I wish I could say that she can’t hurt me anymore, that I am done, that I have let everything go.

I can’t.

I miss her.

Life begins at 42/43….

…hopefully.

I am going to make this post public. It’s normally the sort of thing I would post with a password, but I don’t want to do that..so I am going to keep it deliberately vague.  I am not doing that so that people will fish for information, nor am I fishing for anything from anyone.

Many years ago I used to blog.  Anyone that forgot to remove me from their feed might even remember.  As much as I used to write about funny stuff that I have experienced through life, writing was therapeutic.  I didn’t need it for the longest time, I need it now.

At 42 and approaching 43 fast, my life has completely changed.  I didn’t want it to and, as it turns out, I had no control over it.  But it has, and so I need to deal with it as best I can.

I had plans to move and maybe I still will at some point, who knows.  Maybe, in time, I will be back where I was only a couple of short weeks ago.  I was happy, blindingly so it appears.  In the last couple of weeks I have come to realise that friendships I had pretty much let slide were still there.  I have come to realise my own self-worth, despite the fact that this is very hard to do for someone that suffers with mild depression, who unexpectedly goes through something that is the absolute polar opposite of what has kept the depression at bay for many years.

Objectively, I am depressed right now.  I know that, I am self-aware enough to recognise certain things in myself, if not everything.  I actually think that it is OK to feel this way, which is why I have denied it for the last couple of weeks.  Why I have tried to mask it with anger not sorrow, tried to fight down the tears and put on a front to be myself as always.  I have also reached a level of understanding that I didn’t think I had within me.  And it is true, I really do understand what has happened recently.  I will never be able to say that I agree or like it, but I can at least understand and try to move forward.

Maybe, through understanding, things can be different in the future.  It’s not something to dwell on, fixate on or even hope for, but it could happen and, just that faint possibility makes me smile regardless of how I may or may not feel in the future.  It’s weird, anyone that knows me and that knows what has been happening, would not expect that sentence from me.  Neither would I to tell the truth, but I agree with it, and I find it changing my previous (and long held) attitude about certain things.

2 days ago, I asked for 2 things from someone (well, one thing really).  I have already been given some of what I asked for, and it has helped.

I think I asked, to begin with, as a test of something.  I don’t know what, exactly, but a test nonetheless.  Since then, just the act of asking has helped me a lot.  I realise now, these two things are not a test. They are absolute confirmation of my understanding. They are confirmation of my ability to process what I have been through the last couple of weeks and to come out the other side how I think I can.  Am I where I think I am?

I need them, a small part of them isn’t going to be enough.  I can’t explain how much I need them, but I do.  Obviously, I will try to understand if they cannot be given, I hope I can, understanding seems to be theme at the moment and it is not easy.