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As I’ve aged over the years, I’ve come to ponder the possibility that my elementary math teacher had some kind of redneck book of clichéd, incoherent quips nestled between her sagging breasts.
I never ceased to be amazed at her endless repertoire, such as “Go fly a kite in a mud hole!” or “Don’t be such a sissy!” while I suffered through that wretched subject. To a sensitive, reflective young homosexual, those quips would often sting like the welts left by a good flogging — no doubt like the ones portrayed on the pewter corpus of the giant crucifix looming over the chalkboard. But one cliché always seemed to ring as consistently as the bell that signaled the end of each period.
“The grass is always greener on the other side!” she would snarl, in between her nose picking and exploratory swabbing for ear wax with her pencil eraser. This gem was usually unearthed when we were caught whining about how the other class seemed to have more fun or how we were made fun of because we weren’t in the “smart class.”
Now I look back on those days, some 20 years ago, and I can’t help but see the wisdom in that overused saying.
I’ve recently had a rough couple of months. Nothing tragic, or even unsuccessful — just selfish pity for not being the most popular, sought-after person in all the land. I had the feeling that I was the only person who had problems and occasionally felt frustrated in the daily musings of life.
A friend of mine wrote in his play that our evolution as human beings is a “sort of painful progress, a progression towards something.” My eyes undoubtedly rolled the first time this dialogue, which sounded like it came from Angels in America, was uttered to me, but it is exactly what I have experienced these past few months. Despite my logical realization that I am in fact very lucky and have a lot of things going for me, I decided that my psyche required further reassurance.
But where would I find a resource to have this sociological, psychological dialogue?
An institute of cultural studies?
Actually, it was Facebook.
Yes, I turned to Facebook. Not to start comparing how many “friends” I had to how many other people had. Rather, I found myself landing on the Facebook page of a local model and “hunk” whom I vaguely knew named Kyle Huber.
This reassurance was to be revealed by someone in a similar environment to my own, a homosexual, and someone with the characteristics that we associate with popularity and sexual desire. Just to clarify, Mr. Huber has deep blue eyes that can cause short-term memory loss. He is tall, thin, masculine, with arms to write home to Mom about and abs that are packaged in six and then some.
So I e-mailed him, asking if I could meet him for coffee and discuss the very issue of this column. Much to my surprise, he accepted this rather dysfunctional invitation.
A few days later, there we were in a coffee shop close to our respective homes. We sat on opposite sides of an ornate, round table more conducive to a game of chess than to a deep philosophical discussion about the struggles of adjusting to personal development as a gay male. But despite this imperfect arrangement, the moment that Kyle spoke, the layers of crusty depression that had scabbed over my optimism began to flake away. Here I was, sitting with someone who ran in a circle of the gay community that my square did not belong to, but who was genuine, kind and reflective, much like I was.
We chatted for a few hours, and our conversation had the ease of a slumber party — without the footed pajamas, ice cream, and prank phone calls. Kyle talked about his frustration about being constantly judged for his body. “Hmmm, interesting parallel,” I thought as I listened.
He spoke about how he can’t complete a shift at work without gay men puking up clichéd flattery. He talked about receiving random, overtly sexual phone calls and Facebook messages from people he had never met. Somehow, they felt as if he would oblige their random offers because they went through the trouble of stalking him. He talked about his constant need to seek out something more than the now, of his quest for perfection and his dissatisfaction with mediocrity. “Weird,” I thought, as my neurons continued to fire and draw connections between his and my own journey.
When he told me that he is studying graphic design and that he thinks sports are a waste of time, I tried not to let my shock show on my face. Could this be the prophecy revealed to me in reruns of Seinfeld? Was this my “Bizarro” equivalent? He told me about his senior project for design school in which he was creating a social awareness project about the risks of contracting HIV through carelessness. Then we concluded our talk, so that he could go “enjoy time by himself.” “Wow, another one!” I thought, as we parted ways.
As I tossed and turned that night from my sleep disorder that won’t stop giving, I reflected upon our talk. I had approached this encounter seeking reassurance in my “painful progress” and had achieved success — and a lot more.
I realized that, in fact, other people do have problems, but further, I realized that I did have the potential to connect with someone with whom I would assume I had nothing in common. I mean, sure, I have done that many times before, but never when I was on the cusp of self-loathing.
It seemed so much more special for me to assure myself that we all have problems; they are just relative to our own person. It confirmed within me that you can’t force a stocky person peg in the spot where a skinny person’s peg belongs. We all have a “progression” toward something. Whatever that might be is personal, but the purpose is all the same: survival. Survival may be for the fittest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean chiseled abs. Rather, it could mean having abs at all. Kyle’s just happen to be prominently displayed, and mine are tucked away behind a cushy exterior.
I may not have appreciated my old math teacher’s words at the time, but she had the right idea. No matter what obstacle may lie ahead in your journey, all you have to do is look at it and overcome it with whatever tool works best for you, even if that means … a cliché.
Thanks, Kyle, for a life raft to weather the troubled waters. I can confidently say that I made it to the other side, dry and safe. Should you ever be in a similar situation, I’ll be there ready to pay you back anytime.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.