blue explains the importance of not having punk friends who don’t know how to support you when you need it most.
do you remember the last time you tried to do something different in your life and your family and friends were real condescending jerks about it?
k well welcome to my every day.
when i started trying not to be stubborn, predictable amanda, i had a lot of people telling me “wooooow, so that’s what you’re doing now?”
and not even in a positive, encouraging way. it was more like, “oh, you’re giving up meat? but isn’t meat just soooooo delicious?”
and so reactionary amanda will respond with, “well, aren’t you just a disgusting pig” and then apologize because pigs are cute, intelligent animals and that’s unfair to a pig to be compared to a gross meat eating human.
now, i just bite my tongue and say it in my head instead.
but i’m working on it! my immediate defensiveness is one of my least favorite things about myself (my favorite being literally everything else).
and you might think i’m joking, but i really am starting to like myself because i’m beginning to see what i’m actually capable of.
my entire childhood, i was treated like a special snowflake. i was told i was smart, creative, that i could do anything i wanted to, so i assumed that everything would just come easily to me.
so when it didn’t anymore, i became discouraged. if it didn’t come easy, i didn’t do it.
coupled with this notion that i didn’t have to do anything i didn’t want to do, i was able to ride that wave well into my twenties.
you really couldn’t tell me anything, and i thought it was working pretty well for me, until all my relationships started to fall apart.
after all, why should i be the one to change? i was the only person who mattered in my life. i was allowed to be selfish.
and my family was the biggest supporter of this selfish attitude for a long time. not surprising coming from a lineage of mothers whose sole life purpose was to raise a good family while the father only did a fraction of the work, if any at all.
for this reason, i thought i earned this. it was like a badge of honor to not have to answer to anyone.
everyone around me was just a yes man, but not at a time when i needed it.
“go ahead, amanda. you’re allowed to be selfish.”
“yeah!” i’d reply, “you right, you right.”
i was wearing my body thin. i was staying out late doing hoodrat shit, lots of drinking, smoking. just not taking care of myself.
i mean, let’s not get it twisted – i was having a lot of fun. i was enjoying the hell out of myself, but i wasn’t actually doing anything to better my life, not really.
after dozens of benders, i was done. my body had finally had enough. seemingly overnight, i had gone from a regular four hours of sleep to becoming the poster child for grandmotherhood.
you really think you’re gonna convince me to stay up after midnight on a work night? you out your mind?
and this family of mine, god bless their soulless existences, they were not the ones to encourage me to change this selfish behavior.
the first time i decided i was going to lose weight, many of the people around me said, “are you suuuure? you’re gonna look unhealthy if you lose weight.”
as opposed to what? actually feeling and being unhealthy?
and here i was, listening to these fools, taking the words they said to heart. after all, they should know better than me, right?
but that’s the thing about growing older and diverging off that path that your family has always expected of you. my family is pretty traditional and predictable – all you had to do was make it to middle school to not be a complete failure.
i was the second person in my family to graduate high school, second person to do any secondary education. so not too much was expected of me. my mom used to tell me it was important for me to graduate, but if i needed any help after that, she wasn’t going to be the person to ask.
i love my mother. i know she means well. but her mother was born in 1925. my grandmother never went to school, didn’t speak english. did housekeeping at hospitals, hotels. so my mother could do almost anything education-wise, and it was already infinitely better than what my grandmother had done.
my mom was actually pretty strict on me when i was younger. you know how you set high standards for yourself but always bringing home As, then one day when you get a B, you get interrogated like you were the one who pooped in the washer? meanwhile, your subpar little brother who brings home mostly Cs gets a party when he gets a B. like, what kind of karmic bullshit is that? god, you poop in one washer, and suddenly the universe is punishing you for it.
the point is that it is important to keep yourself surrounded by people who are happy to see you grow and willing to help you get there. people who take you seriously when you tell them you’re working on a positive change instead of trying to talk you out of it.
easy example. say you wanna lose weight and the people you live with are not willing to make lifestyle changes to accommodate your growth. hypothetically, you’re a mother. your kids, your husband are not crazy about the idea of cutting out red meat and heavy starches. “nooooo i don’t wanna know what asparagus tastes like!”
your husband is like, “ah come on, we can’t have pork chop weekends anymore? what am i supposed to eat with my loaded baked potato?”
so maybe you bend a few times a week. you still make pork chops and baked potatoes for your husband on saturdays, but pretty soon, after the kids throwing a fit about not having ice cream in weeks, you’re back to your bad eating habits because it’s much easier to just do what everyone else wants instead of understanding that you don’t necessarily need them to support you to make your own food decisions.
but if you are the husband in this situation, could be a friend, a roommate, a child – let’s just say it makes it easier if you learn to support those you care about the most, especially when you recognize it’s for their own betterment.
don’t be the reason for their resistance. you should be affirming their desire to create a more valuable existence for themselves. and one day, when you need it, maybe they will be the one who flips that light switch inside of your head that’s telling you it’s time to try something different.
what do you do when your cheerleaders aren’t up to the challenge?
listen, your friends can’t be on 100% of the time, so don’t let that be the excuse for not keeping up with your own lifestyle changes.
so maybe your regular workout buddy isn’t up to going to the gym with you today.
well, fdb knowwhatimsayin?
go to the gym anyway.
no one else but you is responsible for you. i know, i know, having a friend helps to hold you accountable, but ultimately, isn’t it you doing all the hard work for yourself? yeah, it helps to have your buddy with you, cheering you on, but iiiiiif one day they happen to get hit by a falling tree branch and can’t meet you at the park, you’re gonna be all on your own. and you’re not gonna just give up, are you?
tell you what – if you’re ever feeling lazy, unmotivated, and about to make a not great decision, shoot me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – the letter U, the letter S. just say, “sup blue, i really don’t wanna go to yoga today, the traffic sucks, and i think it’s gonna rain” and i’ll respond with “stop making excuses and do what you gotta do.” and then probably an angry face emoji followed by a smiley face so you know i’m joking.
so where can you find these mythical life cheerleaders? can you purchase one from target, or is it a little more niche than that?
i don’t know if you realize it, but these people are everywhere.
what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?
tone up, lose weight, eat better?
now remind yourself why you’re doing this.
did something happen to you? i know a lot of people sometimes drastically change their eating habits out of concern for the health, so maybe this was the catalyst for you.
once you understand your reasons for making your decisions, you no longer need other people to convince you to do what you know you need to do.
but yeah, let’s find some like-minded people, someone who can pull the stick out of your butt when you’re having a bad day.
if you’re trying to get into a workout habit, meet people at the gym, at the park.
join online forums and meetup groups. the app Meetup is actually great for finding people in your area who are interested in the same activities as you. this is how i found people in Houston who were looking for other casual bike riders.
Facebook is also pretty useful when you’re looking for other people to share interests with. the internet has removed the barrier for human beings to find other human beings, regardless of where they are in the world. with the internet, you can find someone half across the globe who listens to the same music as you.
only you know the reasons for the choices that you make, so ultimately, it’s up to you.
i know sometimes there is a bit of an intimidation factor that comes along with meeting people, but eventually, you’re just gonna have to get over it. because even though we can find these cheerleaders anywhere, you’re the biggest one that you have – and probably the only one that you can count on.