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11:00 pm - Weds 3.26.2008

One Talented Mofo

Sun 3/23/08 (2:05 p.m.)

Just got back from the bike shop a short time ago (I was there yesterday, to have them replace a broken spoke on my front tire; they fixed it, I got about five minutes down the road, on my way to work, went over a bump, and heard two spokes go on the back tire, which I found very...frustrating. But anyway...)

Have you ever started telling someone something “for their own good”, and as soon as the words started coming out of your mouth, immediately regretted the impulse? But it was too late, because you couldn’t “reel it in” at that point?

That happened to me at work last night. And I’d say “live and learn”, but I thought this was a lesson I was way past “living and learning.

But I guess not so much.

But let’s move on, shall we...?

I’d be writing a “Weight Watchers” entry now instead of doing this, but Weight Watchers is closed today on account of Easter (I’ll probably be going to a meeting tomorrow evening).

One thought that’s struck me as I’ve lost this significant amount of weight is “This is what I’m supposed to look like”. I have a view of myself, a “picture in my mind’s eye”, and that picture is not as a bloated mess, carrying around over 70 lbs of useless blubber. That’s not how I see myself, it’s not how I want others to see me, and it’s just not how I want to move about in the world. Beyond pure physical appearance, I don’t like what it suggests about me personally.

(But I should be putting all this in the past tense now, huh?)

Anyway, that feeling of my appearance starting to “synch up” with my sense of how I “should” look has gotten me thinking - In what other ways does my view of myself not “synch up” with current reality?

In other words, “Just who do I think I am, anyway?”.

(For fans of the self-help genre, I’m now going to “should on myself” all over the place. Which you’re not supposed to do. But I think, in this case, it’s actually a good thing.)

The first way I see myself that clearly doesn’t gibe with reality at this point is that I “should be” a contemporary of character guys like Paul Giamatti, John C. Reilly, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, character guys who have risen to often be “character leads”, by virtue of their singular talents.

And in one sense, to bemoan the fact that I’m not at their level is not helpful; I made certain decisions (i.e. to stay in Lansing for 20 years), so I’m where I’m at now in terms of a career, and I need to make the best of it. I can’t go back in my time machine and change things, so there’s no point in regrets (Besides, for all I know, the Universe isn’t random, and things have happened exactly the way they’re supposed to. Who really knows?).

But in another sense, viewing myself as a “contemporary” of those successful actors, or someone who should be, is a very helpful line-of-thinking; if I believe I have that level of ability, and they broke through, it stands to reason I will too, if I just stick it out (And those guys can’t play all the good character parts, can they?). In any case, better that I see myself as the equal of people who have made it, than see myself as someone destined for failure and homelessness, wouldn’t you say?

Another way I see myself that doesn’t gibe with reality that way I’d like it to has to do with my various talents.

I’m going to be immodest here - I think I am a very talented guy. Over the years, in one way or another, I have demonstrated talent in acting, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, drawing, and (some have said) writing.

But while I am clearly one talented mofo, with basically one (Maybe two) exceptions, I’m not terribly “accomplished” at any of those talents. And I'm not very happy about that.

Weds 3/26/08 (9:02 p.m.)

(Watching a marathon of Jon & Kate Plus 8 on TLC...)

Well, the “audition drought” continues - We’re into week #5 (Not that I’m obsessed or anything) - and I’m sure that’s a big reason I’m feeling less-than-great these days.

So auditions aren’t happening.

And it sucks.

But in more-positive news, I got a call from AirCare Home Medical today (i.e. the CPAP people); insurance approved the CPAP request, so one of their “respiratory therapists” will be visiting me on Friday at 4:00 p.m., to set me up.

(I opted to have them come to me, instead of vice-versa, in part because it’s easier and I’m lazy, but also because I thought it was important for them to see how I live - and how much of a pig I am - so they know that one of my big “issues” is going to be keeping the equipment clean. I will need very clear, specific instruction on how to keep the mask & tubing and what-all clean, and the less fuss-and-bother involved, the better.)

(What happens if your stuff isn’t as clean as it should be, as I know from experience, is that you end up with a nice sinus infection. Which isn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds).

Beyond practical issues (keeping the equipment clean, getting congested overnight/not breathing well through my nose, finding a balance between the mask “fitting” – and not leaking air - but not being so tight it cuts off my circulation, etc), the biggest thing that’s kept me from making CPAP work in the past has been my own resistance.

I didn’t always know this about myself, but it’s become clear that I have a “thing” about being weak (In a word, I don’t like it). And I perceive needing a CPAP machine as “weakness” somehow (I know I’ve referred to it, more than once, as something that makes me feel like an “invalid”, and have made jokes like “What’s next, an iron lung?”).

And I don’t want to say I’m “stupid” for feeling that way. But I will say it’s not especially helpful to feel that way; instead, I should use my desire to not be “weak” to motivate me to make the CPAP work.

Because if anything makes me “weak”, it’s not getting the rest I need (And as a result, not having the energy to be the amazing person I could be. Because all those “talents” I mentioned before, areas where I’ve demonstrated ability but am “not terribly accomplished”? I think a big reason that’s the case is that I’m too damned tired to think straight half the time, let alone work on “developing my talents”).

Anyway, the CPAP thing’s going to happen Friday. And I think, this time out, I’m more motivated to make it work than ever before (I told Javier in therapy today that the thought of surgery has motivated me as well. Not that I’m afraid of it, exactly, but I can think of other ways I’d rather spend my time. So if a CPAP machine can help me in the interim, that’s a good thing).

And back to more negative news...

I had a conversation with Stacey, one of the ArcLight managers, about my availability yesterday (prompted by an email I’d received earlier from one of the managers who handles the weekly schedule, informing me I was not “in compliance” with the availability requirement, and needed to adjust my schedule accordingly, or schedule a meeting with a manager to discuss the matter).

I don’t know why, exactly, but something about the tone of the email really pissed me off (And I was already not a happy guy about this whole “availability” thing, as I’ve mentioned in here before).

So I went in very angry, and wasn’t shy about expressing myself.

So what happened?

Not much really. Stacey’s job, he told me, was to find out what “obstacles” were in the way of my meeting the new requirements (At least he admitted they were new requirements). From there, it goes back to HR (and “The Home Office”), they make a determination - whether ArcLight can deal with my schedule conflicts or not - and then a manager (Maybe Stacey again, but maybe not) gets back to me with their response, sometime in the coming week.

He listened to what I had to say - and I had quite a bit to say (I said to him most of what I’ve already said in here about the issue) - and he probably “handled” me as well as I could be handled at that point. But (At least to hear him tell it), he’s basically just a messenger boy in the scenario.

So now what?

Basically, I wait; it’s hard for me to believe I’m going to get what I want out of this situation - basically, I just want to work my Thurs-Sun night schedule and not be fucked around with - but I’m up for being pleasantly surprised.

It would be nice if I felt ArcLight valued me enough to work with me on this (As I told Stacey, “I work Thursday-Sunday night, and you will always need someone to work those times, so what’s the problem?”)

In our therapy session today, which dealt primarily with the stuff I’ve just been writing about, Javier helped me get a little perspective, because as I tend to do in situations like this, I've gone from 0-60 in three seconds flat (Imagining myself going from “Model Employee” to “Former Employee” minutes after the new schedule goes into effect).

Javier also coached me, if/when I do start running into problems (i.e. audition conflicts that mean starting to call out more frequently), on how to put the ball back in management's court, and make it our problem, and not just my problem.

Well, I could go on, but this entry feels over-long as it is, and I’ve got some chores to attend to (Amongst which is writing a new Weight Watchers entry, for those people who are following that “story arc”).


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