Good morning. Gosh damn it’s early. I have come to enjoy shaking out the morning cobwebs via daily blog post that I set my alarm for 2am. Hopefully I can get one finished before I start getting ready for 5am CrossFit. We had the kids this past week so I have been unable to play with my morning friends at the gym. I’m excited to see them. There are generally varying levels of excitement, as you can imagine at any early morning gym session, but the people at the gym are so playful and fun. We all give each other a hard time, but everyone is thoughtful of each others’ feelings. Except for Mark Fortune, we don’t give a sh*t about his feelings. The way we see it, if a 50something year old man can color coordinate his workout clothes from head to toe and wear a SpongeBob Squarepants shirt, he is generally pretty comfortable with himself. The last time I left him, he was instructing a fellow member by pointing at his shirt, with the most serious of faces, and exclaiming, “SpongeBob says squat deeper….SpongeBob says deeper.” (For the record, I love Mark and the place would not be the same without him.)
Last night Amanda and I attended the second class of our 12 week American Sign Language Course. It was fun, interesting, and scary. I would like to tell you that I am excited to learn sign language, but that would indicate that I am enjoying the process, and I am doing a terrible job at this. What I really want is to KNOW sign language, and I want to know it NOW. I sit in this class and I wait for the two hours to pass, not because I don’t enjoy sitting there, but because I am constantly afraid that my brain is going to reach maximum capacity. I fear that I am going to lock up and go into a Silas Marner trance, then have to be deprogrammed at some sort of mental hospital. There is only so much room in the ole noodle, and I’m afraid of filling it up with too much memory that I run out of RAM. I spend a great deal of time in my own head, and the conversations that go on up there are almost audible. The people who attend the meetings in my head can be from all different stages of my life and they can be brutal, impatient, and allow zero grace. The voices I am referring to are my conscience, and I have heard them accurately described as the “shi*ty committee”. It is a virtual boardroom of a*sholes tell me all of the reasons that I am not capable of performing most tasks. The president, CEO, and majority of the shareholders of Beefcake Inc. were all present at the committee during the duration of my class yesterday evening. Being tired probably had a lot to do with my negative thinking. When I get fatigued, I start focusing on all of the things that I am doing poorly. I don’t cut myself any slack, and I start looking for the area where I am inadequate and start believing myself to be inferior. I forget that I am taking this class “for fun”, and it is supposed to be a “pleasure”. There is no career advancement or human life at stake. There is not a deaf person in my life at the moment who is in urgent need of my mastering the skill of American Sign Language, but you would think that I am needed to be the chief sign language negotiator for a hostage crisis in the Middle East somewhere.
Throughout the ALS class, we are asked to go in front of the classroom and act out various phrases. They have been very general terms, like “what is your name?”, “nice to meet you”, and “are you deaf”, but when I am placed in front of a group of my peers, the wheels can really lock up. I performed a sequence last night, and when I sat down I thought that I was going to cry. I was so frustrated that I gripped the table in front of me (while maintaining a cheesy smile, a red face, and my teeth clinched hard enough to split a penny) and thought about flipping it over. I actually played the tape through, and reviewed the pros and the cons of whether or not it would be a good idea to flip over a fu*king table. I’m almost 40 years old and for a brief moment, the biggest decision I had to work through is whether or not to flip over a classroom table because I did not perfectly execute a serious of hand gestures in a language for which I have exactly 2 hours of formal training! Where do I come up with these ridiculous expectations of myself? Why do I allow my classmates so much grace, but I just butcher myself? I could see myself on the pitcher’s mound when I was about 12 years old, and playing rec league ball. I experienced the feeling of getting pulled from the mound and being moved to first base. I would pull my hat down over my brow, and kick the dirt with frustration. I could see my dad at the chain link fence yelling words of encouragement, all while my attitude worsens. Eventually, fed up with my childish attitude, dad yells those words that are the fail proof litmus test for any pre-teen/teenaged boy….”Stop pouting.” These words open the floodgates, and I respond the same way 100% of the time. A kick of the dirt (cue the tears), and a high pitched retort, “I’M NOT POUTING”. An all out come-apart goes down in front of my peers and their moms, dads, and siblings alike.
I had to take a deep breath and regroup. Perspective is what I needed to breath in, and frustration needed to breath out. I have a real knack for trying new things for the sake of learning, and when I find out that I was not born mastering them, then I throw a f*cking fit. A couple of months ago I was having trouble with the timing of my “double-unders” while jump roping at the gym. I got so mad and bent outta shape that I grabbed a PVC pipe and smashed it on the floor. The pipe exploded like a fluorescent tube light and sh*t went everywhere. The effects were actually pretty cool, and looked like a stunt from Wrestlemania, but the whole childlike display was actually quite embarrassing. Just last week, while doing the same movement, I wadded up my rope and I threw it across the gym towards the TV monitor and computer laptop. Pretty ridiculous, huh? While sitting here in my comfortable chair after a good nights rest that sounds ridiculous, but at the time, while I was 100% engaged, it was very real. Disengaging from things is a practice that I must practice everyday. When I am disengaged I get a much clearer picture of the reality of things. Only then can I understand that no one is born knowing sign language, and that is why there are classes for it. Only then can I see that double-unders is a skill that takes time and practice to master, and will not be perfected over night. Only then can I see that no one really gives a sh*t if I can jump rope or not. I enjoy reflecting on my feelings and actions at the end of the day and early morning hours. I enjoying getting to see my ridiculousness for what it is. I would venture to say that 99% of the things that I get bent out of shape about could be avoided with a deep breath and another man’s viewpoint. Nothing is ever as serious of a problem through another man’s microscope. When a married father of two children, whose occupation is weed control, fertilization, and parking lot sweeping is getting bent outta shape over sign language, and a jump rope….there probably needs to be a period of reflection and a change in perception. Hang in there today, and better yet, have some fun. Don’t take it all too seriously.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,