Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Being Accountable

Someone once told me that one of the marks of a true professional is accountability. Not only to complete projects by meeting deadlines but also to simply do what you claim you will do. This is an area I have struggled with my entire life. There are numerous causes for my failures to live up to the accountability but ultimately it circles back to only one thing, me. Whether it is a fear that halts my progress or writers block preventing me from finishing a book, it is something I am unable to do.

I hated several subjects in school and that made it extremely difficult to finish my homework so even though I would tell myself I was going to buckle down and do it when the time came I always found an excuse not to finish. In many cases I found reasons not to even start. As I got older it became more difficult to get away with things like that because my job would depend on me doing what was needed or I would be fired. When I had a deadline that was given by someone else with a more serious consequence on the line I would mostly be able to follow through.

Then I hit too major hurdles. Both of them were tied to my PTSD in one way or another but again it was a crutch that while a huge struggle and legitimate concern was still just a reason to not work harder and do what I set out to do. These two items were my writing and my health, specifically my weight. I know that it doesn't seem like the two would be related but the fight for both was so deeply tied together for me that a minor setback in one could be catastrophic to the other.

I started gaining weight little by little after high school. I kept telling myself it was under control even though I knew it wasn't but I just couldn't seem to get the motivation to do anything real about it. Whenever I was emotional at all I ate. Ice cream was my best friend when I cried. A hard day at work meant an extra serving of mashed potatoes, and no serving for me was small to begin with. Fast food was simply a way of life. Even happy occasions were celebrated with a dinner and dessert out somewhere. Food was my constant. There was one particular day I remember, and I rarely share this but it is a perfect demonstration of my loss of control. Right near the end before I finally began to find myself and work on a solution I ate enough that remembering it still makes me sick. I had an entire box of cereal for breakfast. On the way home from college I went to Wendy's and got three junior bacon cheese burgers with two large fries and a large frosty, I ate that on the way home but I was still hungry so I ordered a large cheese pizza and made a box of macaroni and cheese eating both for lunch as well. I sat in a recliner working on my homework while eating from a five gallon ice cream container of fudge ripple with mini m&ms. Then for dinner I made hamburger gravy which is just a pound of ground beef mixed with beef gravy poured over the ten pound bag of mashed potatoes I had made to go with it.

Obviously I was well over two hundred pounds. I hated myself. I got so scared of people after being attacked that I had believed if I was fat and unattractive no one would bother me anymore. But I hated living like that. It wasn't living, it was only existing. That was when I turned to writing. I thought if I could prove that I could finish my book that I started when I was twenty then I could feel like I had some control and could start losing weight. As I gained confidence I could do more and more things. It was a good idea. It was much harder than I had planned for. The feeling of being no good and unwanted made it hard to believe I had what it took to finish the book.

I started so many times but would end up getting frustrated which would in turn make me eat. When I saw myself in the mirror or took a chance on the scale the next day I would become so upset I wouldn't even want to try and write. Because I allowed it to it became a vicious circle. I failed again and again because I let myself. I had no hope inside so I gave up.

Not long after I gave up I lost my father. Losing him sent me into a downward spiral like I had never experienced before. The stress from my loss along with the terrible condition I had gotten my body to took its toll and I ended up in the hospital for almost a week. That was when things began to change. I learned my dad had left me some money so I decided to dedicate myself and finish college. Yes I still struggled with the eating because that day I described did happen after my trip to the hospital but it was the last time I ate like that. I did complete my degree and finally felt like I had accomplished something.

Then I did the best thing I have ever done. I took a volunteer trip overseas and met some incredible friends as well and met myself again. I realized who I was and what I was capable of. I came back a changed person. I moved to Las Vegas and that first year I took part in Nanowrimo. I completed my book after a decade of stalling. While I had been overseas I had begun losing weight and still to this day am more conscious of my health. I am doing so much better and while I still have to push myself I am happy to say that I am succeeding in my goals, finishing my projects and feel like I have much better accountability.

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