Friday, September 6, 2013

Teach Me to Forget

I know I can't be alone on this boat. I know I am not the only one that has tried for years to forget a certain event, a certain person, a certain circumstance.. and yet despite all that trying; find themselves staring at a memory embossed in the soul. Etched in eyelids of the heart. Forever branded in your mind.

Why is it that things I want to remember- deep conversations with friends that reveal the trenches of their being and the make up of their persona, words of comfort and direction that will light the path you saunter, pleasant memories that make your heart swell, etc- are all held captive in the foggy room in your brain that shrinks and swallows these moments away forever? Geez, it's an uphill battle for me to even remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but when it comes to one topic in particular.. it's almost instantaneous. Effortless. Like blinking. And all of a sudden.. there it is, in all its glory.

Every hue in the spectrum vivid, the reflection of sunlight, the day, the occasion, the moment. I want to forget it. For good. Not just stash it away in a treasure chest and drop it in the deepest part of the sea of my soul- only to find it gained buoy abilities and has glass-bottled its way to the shore. No. I want it gone. Out of sight and mind. I want it to be gone as smoothly and easily as hitting backspace on this sentence.

Hence, its not meant to be. (I've tried that too.)

I'd really like to crack the code on why certain synapses stay forever lodged in repeat mode. You throw them in a dusty corner, cover them up with mounds of new memories, (which require a lot of hard work) only to realize that any unexpected trigger will electrify them into rebirth. There has to be a better way.

My explanation for this- because it's the only semi-rational thing I can conjure- is that the deeper the emotion for a memory, the longer the memory sticks around. Were you utterly embarrassed, humiliated, hurt, lovestruck, shocked, amazed.. ? Then the memory associated with it will probably last a lifetime. (Sorry) Take for example, your first day of school. Because of the nervous apprehension and excitement of that day, you probably remember it vividly, if not pretty well. You probably can recreate the scene in your mind. Same goes for your first day of work, or your first time being lost, etc, etc..

But can you remember what you had for dinner two months ago on a Saturday? Or what time you took the trash out that day? If you're normal; probably not. Why should you, right? But here's the thing- somewhere in your mind, that information is there. The brain doesn't just arbitrarily choose what to store and what to discard, right?... Can it be that it takes cues from your emotional make-up to decide whether information is worth storing? In such case, you are subconsciously telling your mind what memories to hold dear and what is useless data.

So... in a nutshell.. don't care = forget. Care to a degree = remember.

It has to be the reason why I keep forgetting not to dry my face with a towel before removing my make up, even though my mother has no problem reminding me every. single. time.

Anyway- I digress. The point in case is- care less, forget more.

I've tried re-conditioning. For the most part, it's effective. I call it "Overlapping Memories". Revisit the place you want to forget, and create new, positive memories. But all the effort put into this sometimes reminds me why I'm putting so much effort into this. Which then reminds me of the original memory.

Clearly if all these years of hard work, of deleting, casting away and throwing out objects that remind you of that moment hasn't worked; maybe it's time for a different approach.

Yes; maybe it's time to take a walk down to the abandoned basement of the mind, dig through the piles of dusty boxes, remove the furniture and broken knick-knacks, drag out and stare this memory right in the face. Invite it for musing, accept the fact it will probably always be a part of you, and decide not to care any longer. Save yourself the mental homework, the draining process of burying it with a ton of physical and mental creations, and let it be.

After all, you can't control the past, or even most of the present and future. But you will always be able to-and you can always find solace in the fact, that ultimately only you can control your reaction to any situation life throws your way.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Reality of Exercise

There's a lot of hubbub these days for people to try all sorts of extreme sports and fitness activities.. from cross-fit to insanity, to circuit and suspension training.. there's definitely an exercise to float your boat. 

Yours truly here kicked laziness in the butt and started hitting the gym regularly in March of this year. I am now at the 7 month mark, and I feel it is time, dare I say, I have earned the right to express the reality of exercise. 

You may have heard a couple things about working out, and of course, I'm going to bullet point them and give you my two cents. Because that's what you're expecting by now. I am not an expert by any means. I am just an ordinary girl like you that wants to make sure she works off the french fries and buttery breads she eats on a regular basis. The points below are just my opinion. Always remember to check with your Doctor before starting any exercise routine... I don't want you passing out mid way through Zumba. 

  • Exercise is addicting! Um; to put simply- NO. It's just as addicting as electric shocks and sitting on forks. Even though I have maintained a regular routine; I have yet to feel withdrawal symptoms from not going to the gym. Really, the main driving force to going back is the fact I'm paying for it. Okay, that and the fact I feel better. Here's the deal- its easier to stay in bed and watch Netflix, or sleep in and feel groggy all the time. But when you get out of bed, or leave work and head straight to the gym, your mood does improve post workout and your energy levels rise. But the knowledge that you are going to put yourself through torture is never tantalizing to me, personally. I much rather sit down at a table and indulge in freshly cooked bacon. Of course, after working out I always feel like an Olympic medalist, with a little extra flab here and there. 
  • It boosts your self-esteem. Yeah sure, once you pull your hair back in a bun and wear dark colored yoga pants, it can all be uphill at that point. Not to mention sweating bullets next to a life sized barbie and ken on steroids to your right. But in all sincerity, I have to agree with this one. Knowing you made the right choice that day and your body is thanking you in the long run is a positive note. At the end of the day you will sleep better, feel more relaxed, and overall better about yourself. 
  • Structure your exercise with cardio and weights.  I guess here it all depends on your goals. I'm not looking to become the next Mrs Universe, but I do want to stay a healthy weight and have a happy, regularly beating heart. Cardio is definitely a good way to start, but make sure you change it up and continually increase the intensity. Otherwise you won't be doing yourself much of a favor. For example, if you start running on the treadmill, try to hit new levels every week. Try to outdo your personal best so that your stamina and endurance increase, which in turn will give you a positive boost. Add weight training for muscle definition, less weight and more reps for a leaner definition and more weight less reps to bulk up. Don't forget to take your protein post workout! I love to add frozen fruits to mine and soymilk. 
  •  Switch it up. I personally enjoy taking classes such as cycling and kickbox, and choose different instructors so that I don't get bored. Exercise is already grueling. It doesn't have to be boring and predictable as well. During the better weathered months, I like to run and jog outside. Sometimes even by the beach if I'm feeling adventurous. Have a somewhat regular time frame, but change what you do, so your body doesn't plateau and you're working out but not reaching the weight loss you were expecting. 

That pretty much wraps up the main points. Try  not to let more than a week go by without exercising. Once you fall off the horse, it's really hard to jump back to a steady routine. So don't lose momentum! Even if you're tired, or you've had a long day, make the effort. Set a minimum of just 30 minutes. And you will be a happy camper. 

Word of advice: if it's been a long time since your body has been put through a regimented exercise routine, take it slow at first. And make sure you always drink plenty of water, especially after weight training. Start and finish with a little cardio to warm up your body and then break up the lactic acid build up. That will help you avoid jellyfish arms the next day. See fig 1A(Take it from me; the inability to use any arm and raise it above eye level is not a walk in the park.)

And after all is said and done, happy working out! 

P.S. Don't forget to have a little reward here and there.. i.e. extra bacon cheeseburger.. yum...
Fig 1A Jellyfish Arms. Extremely painful, rare condition caused by extreme overuse of biceps during exercise after a long period of no physical strenuous activity.