Pain is Weakness Leaving my Body

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Good evening,

I am back in my office and working on a variety of tasks, but at the top of the list is my tenure statement, which is due to my departmental committee next Monday. The title of the post is a slogan printed on the side of a water bottle that was a gift from the Marine Corps Recruiter when I did the boot camp birthday party for Max Decker last year. When I was in my 20s I think I might have even believed that slogan, but at the age I have reached at this point, I am reminded that I have more mornings where I might exclaim, “Good Lord, Morning” rather than “Good Morning, Lord!” The past couple of days have been long and hard . . . between merely managing tasks, managing the tenure work, and other things, the stress has gotten the better of me. I hate when it seems to take control of what I can and cannot do. I have actually considered my life from early on thinking about how stress has affected me. Long before I was diagnosed with any form of an IBD, I remember as an elementary-aged boy that whenever I was stressed or worried about something, it affected my insides. Now, a half century later, I am not really much different. The difference is what has been done to my digestive tract in that time. As a consequence, the effect of stress or other struggles seems almost instantaneous. That is the frustrating part.

I told someone today that losing blood was a normal thing and the look of “are you an alien?” was actually a bit amusing. I know that is not what was being thought, but the look was rather priceless. This evening I back in the office, but I did get a two hour nap earlier this evening. That is a good thing. I am not sure I have the stamina to pull a second all-nighter. I hate admitting that. I think of when I was a student at Dana and I was often up (usually four nights a week) until 4:00 a,m. studying. It was common for me to get by on an hour or two of sleep . . . and I played racquetball often. I also ate like a little pig, but I burned off all of the calories. That is another thing that has changed since then. That amazing metabolism has flown away. I remember that Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) experiment in that Anatomy and Physiology class with Dr. Stone. I could really burn through the calories and I was actually 27 or 28 years old. I think I lost most of that around the time I hit 40 or 41. I still remember sitting on the couch of some friends’ house. I had just bought 34″ waist jeans and I was sure I had become the proverbial “fat toad”. Somehow that has never gone away. Much to my chagrin and the consternation of someone else when I speak about it. It is interesting even now with losing 19 pounds in 5 weeks when I look in the mirror I still see places where I need to redistribute or eliminate even more. And I do not believe I have a disorder, I think it is merely realizing that what I could do at one point is no longer really an option.

That actually gets to a different issue and that issue is my own discipline and my priorities. I understand that, certainly, at this moment I have to focus on the tenure documentation at hand. It is and must be a priority. Second, I need to continue to do what I am doing diet-wise. I am really quite amazed what I have been able to drop merely changing my diet. What I need to do now is get back to the gym. The problem is I put it off. I can find a 101 reasons (and they are not Dalmatians) for not getting my fat-ass to the gym. Those reasons are merely rationalizations, justifications, poor excuses for not doing what I should simply do. I am actually at about the weight I want to be . . .  within 10 pounds. I simply need to tone, tighten, and quit being content with looking like 20 pounds of $(T^&*& in a 10 pound bag. If going back to Marine Corps boot camp wouldn’t kill me, I would do it for a summer job. I am going to work on something this summer. It has to happen.

I am actually feeling better at this point. It has been a long couple days and I had little to no voice. I do have some grading left to do before I finish up the night that I want to have done for my Foundations of College Writing courses. I am almost finished with the drafts of their reflective statements for their ePortfolios. I also finished up a couple of other simple, but necessary tasks. As I sit in my office, I am listening to Celtic music, which actually inspires me. My mentee (one of them) stopped by with his roommate for a while and I think we got some things accomplished there too. He is such a capable student, if he would only really put in the time. I only wish I would have been that smart in college. He does not realize the gift he has, or, perhaps he does and that is why he slacks and then bails himself out at the last possible moment. It is so frustrating. I always had to work hard for what I got. It was not until the actually pretty recent past that I began to believe that I am perhaps smart. As I have noted, it is not that I thought I was incapable, but I never saw myself as other than ordinary. That was certainly the case in high school. I still remember when Ms. Coacher, my 7th grade geography teacher gave me a C for a course and she told me that she was deeply disappointed that I had earned only a C in her class. At the time, I was content with my C. I figured it was good enough. Amazing what I have learned since then.

That actually relates back to my title. Learning is almost always painful in someway. If we are truly learning something, change is taking place and change does not come easily. There is always a cost to making a change and the first thing it forces is for us to move outside our comfort zones. It is that move to something that is not as familiar, nor as easy, nor as routine. I have been reminded of that again as of late. I have become pretty comfortable in my solitude. I have actually loved being alone and being able to shut the door on the outside world. My house, my home, was my sanctuary. Yet what I realize now is that it was merely a place I usually exist. It is interesting what happens when we shutter ourselves from the rest of the world. It has been amazing to make the change of opening the door whether for a dinner, studying, taking exams or other. What I am learning is that being able to share that place into which I have put a lot of work is a good thing. It makes me realize that sharing is always better than ignoring. Sharing what I have been blessed with allows for blessings, and not merely just for me. Well, it is a bit after 1:00 in the morning and both my eyes and my brain are fading.

Thanks for reading as always.

Dr. Martin

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