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Empowering oneself

I have dealt with anxiety all my life.  Low self-esteem, self confidence, insomnia, night terrors and anger issues.  To me these were all just different ways that my anxiety bubbled to the surface.  Anxiety is characterized as an unpleasent state of inner turmoil.  This turmoil shows itself in many way.  Some people turn to drugs and alcohol, others become hermits, never allowing themselves to venture forth to lead a socially productive life.  For myself, I just had a hard time building meaningful relationships.  My family was there, even when I put a strain on them, and I can never express how many times they saved my life.  My mom, my dad, my new wife and my therapist saved me from myself.  And my dog, a little Jack Russell/Beagle mix named Dora.

I'm 28 years old now.  Through a series of fortune events over the past year, I have the opportunity to chase my dreams.  I recently married my girlfriend of 5 years.  This is my second marriage, as my first fell apart due to that anger issue I had before.  She is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  We have been through so much together and some how things keep getting better.  There was a point when she was in grad school that we lived off of the Wendy's dollar menu in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New Orleans.  That wasn't even our lowest point; that could probably be attributed to our monumental debt that we amased from school and me being unable to keep a job once I got out of the military.  I had also double my weight since getting out, ballooning up to 380 pounds.  I had found a good paying job and kept it and she was consistently employed as well, but we knew we would never be able to afford anything besides our mediocre 2 bedroom apartment.  We could not afford kids or even the simple lifestyle we tried to maintain.  

My anxiety about being able to have children or live beyond paycheck to now consumed me.  This combined with my overactive imagination brought back my childhood fear of the dark, of things unknown. It's not always what causes our anxiety that leads to our downfall.  Movies and stories that used to inspire me or make me laugh, now caused me a considerable amount of nightly stress.  Why?  The only thing that was real was being slightly above the poverty line.  Everything else was either the construct of someone else's imagination or my own.  It was the feeling that I wss powerless.  I ws overweight, going to a job I hated because it paid well and felt like I was spinning my wheels in life.  It was when I hopped on the scale and saw that 378 pounds and look at my broken spirit in the mirror that I decided to take control.

Over the past year I have lost a good bit of weight, around 120 pounds, and I've gotten heavily into bodybuilding and fitness.  I want to be a fitness model and card carrying professional bodybuilder by the time I was 30.  This new found confidence led me to propose to my girlfriend, one of the few people who has stuck by me through everything.  Even knowing that mental illness runs in my biological mothers' family and I may have inherited some of that, she said yes.  Guess we all have a little crazy in us.  Not even a month later, she was offered an extremely lucrative position at an international school in Beijing.  After hearing about my interest in fitness, the school also put together a dream position for me, one that allows me to focus on my health and fitness and get paid to do so.  Also having plenty of free time to pick (back) up my lifelong passion of writing.  Which is why I joined the wikia.    

Coming to China hasn't been the easiest transition.  I still have not been able to play any videogames due to the voltage difference and not having a stepdown converter.  I also miss a certain genus of flowering plant, but I have taken to growing them, which provides yet another outlet for my anxiety.  Still a ways off from my first harvest.  The rough transition, lack of decompression, and being newly married has lead to unecessary anxiety and once again feeling powerless against my over active imagination.  That of course has lead to this possibly tl;dr blog post.  I am jotting all of this down to empower myself and, honestly, it's helping.  I have been through a lot the last thing that I will let hinder me from my goals and peace in my life will be my own mind.  I guess that I forget to look in the mirror sometimes.  Sharing my anxiety with my wife, she jest that if someone or something were to make an attempt on me that it would be the last thing they did.  I'm a 6 foot, 270 pound bodybuilder that has studied several martial arts, Marine Corps CQC, runs a 4 and a half second 40.  I may be on a cut, but losing that last 50 pounds will only serve to make me even more dangerous.  I say all that not to boast but to remind myself of my own accomplishments.  I am my harshest critic, never allowing myself praise or adulation.  Every award, milestone or accomplishment is quickly tossed aside to pursue what's next.  While in retrospect, this has allowed me to accomplish quite a bit in my life, it has also led to a near broken psyche where I believe I am never good enough or that I am unlikable.

No more.

Becoming a fitness model, professional bodybuilder, and if my wife has her way (she will) a father in the next 3 years will be the biggest accomplishents of my life.  They will also be preceded by the hardest 3 years.  But the ground work is already laid.  I tell my wife that at the point where we accepted the jobs in China was a fork in the road.  Our lives will now go into a different direction than the one we had forseen.  I will not allow myself to self-destruct like so many other men in my family.  Alcohol for some, anger for others, anxiety for me.  Everyday issues that can be debilitating if allowed to take control.  This blog ended up a lot longer than planned, but if anyone reads it and get this far just know that I wrote this not just to empower myself but anyone dealing with things that makes them feel like they've lost control.  You haven't.  You can conquer your demons, no matter if they be tangible or not.  My mantra for dealing with the manifestations of my nightly anxiety is "if it can hurt you, you can hurt it".  And sleep comes to me.  Peace, comes to me. 

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