[Rowing Machine] 2018: Week 50 {225.0} “Weight of Hair”

The hair had to go.

This will be a winding series of whys and hows explaining how that seemingly insignificant weight was weighing me down, which is a funny thing to talk about on a purely physical fitness column, but I believe there are myriad crossovers between the many things we hold onto physically and mentally. After all, exercise is decluttering stores of fungible energy we have stored in our bodies in a controlled manner.

Let’s begin at the end.

The response of “so what?” kept popping into my mind as I thought of how to broach the topic of cutting my hair to ‘friend of the website’ IDKFA. Of course, that was the IDKFA of my imagination responding, which is always a biased and subjective beast to consider in relation to asking the real questions to the real people. In some way, it’s easier to go through with our actions if we roughly assume that others will vaguely be on our side for certain issues, and I guess by this point I wasn’t really looking for any arguments to defend the hair, and exploring that thought further, that’s probably why I didn’t ask about the idea.

Why the change?

Part of it involves my moving process, documented in my Moving Zeal essays, which is now becoming crunch time. Before, it was just a casual consideration with a vague future. When I operate without a due date, I tend not to take action. So though the plans began before July, it took until basically November to kick into gear. I think this is my general thought process, as I’ve applied it to my sobriety, my fitness, my living situations, and of course, my hair:

  1. Come up with an idea.
  2. Test the waters of the idea over a vague amount of time.
  3. Begin to get the ball rolling.
  4. That ball increases speed.
  5. Kicks into high gear.
  6. The ball fully actualizes…

Insobriety was always a problem for me because while I was more affably relaxed, I was also more violent and unhinged. From what I remember, it took a few months of deciding whether or not I wanted to make the change, and a few slip-ups before I solidified my decision, and haven’t returned to alcohol [or cannabis]. When other things appear out of nowhere that give me similar sensations, like diphenhydramine, I do those six things and then proceed.

Same for fitness.

I started rowing again about two years ago, but it was a casual thing that lasted about a month, and I dropped off because I relied too much on an external support system to encourage me and give me positive feedback. My head wasn’t in the game, so it took four more months before I started rowing more, and I’ve been rowing with few exceptions basically daily for nearly two years. I’m not back to how I was when I was 200 pounds and the fittest I’ve ever been in my life, but I’m getting there.

My living situation involved much of that lack of acceptance.

I didn’t want to accept that I’d have to move. Now as I look at the bits of clutter, I see that much of it involves learning new thought patterns. The untouched clutter from earlier on in this moving process, and before the moving process itself, was mainly due to a lack of consideration. I had attained the object, the trophy, so there was no further use for it directly as I jumped onto the next thought tangent. Rinse and repeat for years.

“I was surprised you kept up with the writing.[1]”

I’ll paraphrase my response: throughout my 20s, I wanted to try out an assortment of different hobbies, and for lack of better phrasing, lifestyles. I didn’t know who I wanted to be, so I just drifted around from gig to gig, hobby to hobby, putting on many different hats but noticing that none were really that comfortable. The moniker Zombiepaper, rooted in a username I had adopted 18 years ago, itself almost a defiance against the need for monikers in general, took years to find. Not as much time as the 30-some years it took to figure out my passion for writing.

Now, in a sense, all actions should serve that writing.

I will do tasks out of obligation, but I’m more likely to do them if I can tie them into something I can write about, whether it’s adapting some situation I’m in into some sort of fictional story idea or an essay commentary. I’m more likely to do that now by pushing through minor aches to accomplish major things, but that also means the struggle of having to endure the lows of not feeling like doing it. Writing has taught me that. I love writing more than many other things. There are a few things I like more than writing, but just a few, so having this daily requirement to write over 500 words each day does mean I have to carve out at least 30 minutes of time daily to write, not including the time thinking up ideas or doing the artwork, tagging, and publishing.

Now I must act with more obligation.

This has presented itself two-fold over one question: “do I want to continue this project/experiment or not?” I’ve had a series of half-completed art projects sitting around for years. The ones that go were pretty much just junk that looked like something. I recycled a piece of cardboard yesterday that I could have fashioned into a mask with not even 10 minutes of work with a few art supplies. This is just one of many examples of things, and as the moving process is ramping up, writing about the particular nuances are less interesting, almost as though I’m attaining more of a grander sense of the overall process.

Just like with my rowing.

Earlier essays and tweets were rather straightforward. Now I’m moving into more of the motivations behind keeping on rowing. I haven’t been rowing twice daily as frequently as I have in the past. Part of that is because of the lack of structure I have with my unemployment move-out process, part of it is because of my prioritization on moving out, and part of it is because I’m removing all distractions.

Including the hair.

I learned all of the lessons I wanted to learn from growing out my hair. The physical indicators that will help me write from the perspective of long-haired characters as one, and as another, the change of perception of people as I go into interviews with a shaggy beard and a ponytail. I perceive more than I let on. I see the reactions of people and how they act when they see me versus someone that’s more clean-cut.

The beard is still around, but it’s all buzzed now.

I’m intending to get a military-style haircut soon, if not before this essay publishes because I see there is a certain value now in blending in with everyone else. It affords me certain narrative advantages when interacting with new people and going through situations. I learned this through having my long beard six or so years ago: the ability to walk into any situation while fully knowing you look like a freak in this society yet owning the situation and winning is a valuable skill to have.

Similar to being fit and knowing that you are in decent shape.

Hair, fitness, clutter, sobriety, and writing. These are all paths toward better selves. Hair is by far the most superfluous of all these, so my hair has usually always been following the path of least effort, although now it will follow the path of least conspicuity. Fitness and sobriety are a never-ending process. Every moment of every day I decide whether I continue on these paths or fall off. It’s a scary proposition but the alternatives are just not worthwhile. I can give up pizza and beer if it enables me to do more with my life.

Clutter is the next step.

As I go through these old projects, objects, I’m not cutting too deep. This first pass is just about throwing out everything that’s not useful anymore. Same as when I first started rowing, I remember needing to hype myself up for a while, and I could barely do anything on the machine until I became tired. It took some time before I became comfortable being around the rower again, because a sedentary life is comfortable in the short-term, whereas an active life with exercise and doing what you love is comfortable in the long-term.

It’s certainly not easy in the short-term.

You have to be decisive in how you live your life. It involves looking at objects, people, and propositions with a more critical eye. Rather than just accept anything, you have to decide: OK, I could eat this cheeseburger, but will that help me toward my goals? I still let myself have a cheeseburger with a weekly reset counter, and I’ll have pizza if it’s either really good or really inconvenient to otherwise get something else, but these choices do mean I can’t really casually go eat 50 cheeseburgers or go hang out with friends at a pizza place.

That means sacrifice but of just small choices.

I looked at the potential futures I could have. I brainstormed how in this most actualize-able path I’m on, I can meet new people and become a sort of journalist in a sort of capacity that at least here on this website I’m not quite ready to reveal the details of, although they are available elsewhere. There are still final bits to my previous egos I’m still holding onto; Zombiepaper is an example of that. The “ie” within it is a reference to my old username of “insignificant entity,” which itself wasn’t birthed from a depressive thought, rather, the idea that the person writing this was just some anonymous entity and that the message should be more important.

But my life is still revolved around admiring cults of personality.

Maybe this decluttering process will help, because that future path I saw was one where I wasn’t stuck, in a sense, to my current living arrangements. The hair represents the same sort of exercise that my current living arrangements have, in that it was an idea with some degree of appeal, but an appeal that doesn’t get me to where I want to go. If my life is to be one as a writer, then shouldn’t I find things to write about? Yesterday, I wrote an essay I’m proud to have written, perhaps the proudest of anything I’ve written thus far, on a public library computer, after going through some legal documentation.

I was around people yet focused on my writing.

External distractions bother me less now, and I think to some degree, everyone that knows in their heart what they want to do in life. I am willing to put up with shit from shitty people if that will get me closer to my goals. I will not put up with shit from shitty people that are hindering my goals. I have no need to concern myself with the actions of others, especially in so much as they influence me positively in a negative direction or negatively in any direction.

Doing what you want in life is a hard path to live.

It means being decisive. If cutting off my hair, recycling fanciful projects, donating or selling things I kind of still like, getting into better health, and stop drinking will enable me to become the sort of person that can do the things that I want to do in life, then so be it. Cast aside the burdens of hedonistic clutter in all avenues it manifests.

I do not regret cutting my hair.

If anything, it’s a constant reminder of my resolve. I will work harder, be better, and act in ways to achieve my goals and the goals of others with more clarity.

Now go row.

Quotes: [1] IDKFA
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 225.0
Last week’s weight: 223.5
Difference: +1.5 pounds isn’t that bad… but I should be careful.
Inspirations: I wanted to set into writing my thoughts on why I cut my hair. I implied it over the past week or so of writing, which will publish out of order, but I finally felt ready to write about it. Also, this quote from Ghost in the Shell.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Pictures: Before and after…
Written On: December 4th [90-some minutes]
Last Edited: A few minutes of editing on the 9th, but not much.
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.