Random story from 6th grade

So I’m currently working at my job in Cricket and I decided to write this rather than posting a random Facebook update. I remember this like it happened yesterday even though it happened so long ago. I was in my 6th grade class which was taught by a Mrs. Coco. She was an okay teacher from what I can remember. I don’t think she was that great or that bad honestly. She was your run-of-the-mill teacher who did an adequate enough job.

I was a quiet kid back then and the only time my classmates would hear me speak is when I would raise my hand to answer questions. As a result, what transpired was somewhat shocking to my classmates. So Mrs. Coco was taking attendance and going through her list of names until she got to me. She looked right at me and said, “Are you new to my class?” At first, I just looked at her, somewhat dumbfounded, by the question. I thought she was being sarcastic or just trying to be funny in an unusual way. But she kept pressing and asked, “do you speak English?”

I was outraged by the question because half of the year had gone by and she had the nerve to ask me about my English-speaking abilities which was rather absurd. Furthermore, she called me both “Camel” and “Camille” in an attempt to pronounce my name. This was extremely ironic because we had a kid named Jamal in the class and she had no trouble pronouncing his name. So I stood up and said, “My name is Kamal and it’s not that hard to pronounce; do you call Jamal  “Jamel” or “Jamille”? The rest of the class just looked on startlingly as they rarely heard my voice, let alone, me raising my voice.

Mrs. Coco promptly recovered from her temporary bout of amnesia and said, ” I’m so sorry Kamal; I have no idea why I forgot who you were.” I still had no idea how to respond to this as I was unnerved by the whole incident.  Therefore, I just nodded and we moved on that from that episode.

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My lifting philosophy and how it relates to my “bigger” picture.

First off, I know this title comes off as a bit pretentious and I just want to state I am not an expert nor am I anyone of any real relevance in the fitness industry. I’m just a guy who fell in love with lifting and I state my opinions, at times, along this difficult, yet, ultimately rewarding journey. Thanks to my real friends and my roommates in college who introduced this shy and introverted Indian kid to both the ups and downs of lifting weights, no pun intended.

I create a lot of the “problems” I have with my own mindset and a profound affinity for being negative. What I mean by that is that a negative mindset has essentially become my cologne. Theoretically speaking, I am aware of this, and yet, I still fall victim to it. My friends and family have dealt with this on many nights in college and throughout life as binge drinking would just bring out my insecurities and they would, unwittingly, manifest themselves in front of strangers who were often horrified. I can only imagine how it was to deal with that as some nights were downright scary in regards to my erratic mood and subsequent behavior.

The point of the previous diatribe is that being negative comes natural to me and it requires little to no effort. It’s almost as if I revel in the misery simply because it is familiar and I’m afraid to let any light into the tunnel of negativity. I hate myself; I’m a loser; I’m ugly; I’m dumb; I’m a dumb Indian. These are just some of the things I repeated to myself throughout the day. The fascinating thing about the human mind is that you can literally convince yourself of almost anything. Therefore, even if you know a statement is logically untrue; you can still repeat certain thoughts religiously in order latch on to that negative thought. For whatever reason, the negativity becomes the norm and it’s almost insulting to you if someone challenges the status quo by being positive.

Lifting has served as sort of a regulatory mechanism when it comes to my mood and ultimate temperament. No matter how “shitty” my life is going at the moment, I always look forward to the next session as that dopamine release serves as a healthy high, so to speak. It makes me feel great and the stressors of life don’t seem to be as intimidating as they once were. Not tho toot my own horn whatsoever but I’m proud that I have made lifting a consistent part of my life as it has transferred its benefits to other facets of my life. When I got out of the Army, one of my main goals was to integrate the gym into my life to the point where I don’t even question if I’m going; the question is when?

I would always seek validation from friends and family and I would almost never get it. Am I intelligent? Am I an articulate moron? Am I strong? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be “normal”? I wish I could trade my writing “skills” for some math skills. I wish that girl I like would look past superficial social media posts and see me for the person I am in daily life. I would think of these random topics and just throw pity party after pity party. It became pathetic and I probably lost some friends due to those negative patterns of thought. The point is the gym is not a cure by any means but it has provided an healthy outlet that is much more satisfying, to me, at least, than anything found at the bottom of a bottle. When you lift heavy weight and execute repetitions with proper form, it’s primally satisfying. This is especially true when so many people doubt you simply because you’re Indian and/or Asian and a vegetarian. Humans are extremely ignorant and a lot of them read a few shitty articles on Yahoo and, all of sudden, go academic with their opinions and theories. I dealt with it in the Army on a daily basis but it didn’t bother me too much as I learned to respond in different ways rather than cursing everyone out. Lifting has become a way of life and something I hope to continue to do as long as I can. I have a long way to go but I feel more hopeful these days simply because of the routine.

The complexity of man

I started watching the show “You” on Netflix; I’d been seeing posts about it being entertaining so I decided to give it a shot. I’m only on the second episode as of this writing; therefore, I’ll reserve my judgment but it got me to thinking. Human beings are complex creatures; we have many “faces” we project to the world. This is why I don’t really believe in good and bad. I believe there are good people that commit heinous acts and “bad” people that sometimes commit good or kind acts. It’s rare to actually get to know a person and really what does that even mean? There always seem to be layers to man that are seemingly never unearthed. You’ll hear about some guy or girl you used to know rob a bank or something out of the ordinary. Then you’ll see interviews where people that knew said person saying things like, “he/she was a great person and I can’t imagine them doing something like that.” There are many facets to both man and woman and it’s not really fair to label them under such superficial terms as “good” and “bad”.

My opinion of a so-called basketball analyst

This is one topic that really makes me angry. People will put more stock into what a dweeb like Nick Wright will say about basketball than actual players who have played against the greats of the game. I trust actual players a lot more than some guy who has probably never played a sport in his life. I understand there are ratings involved and that there is a spectrum. Nick Wright is on the far left as he is the biggest LeBron-ass-kisser I have ever had the misfortune of watching and Skip Bayless is the biggest LeBron hater that probably exists. LeBron could cure AIDS and end world poverty and Skip would still find a reason to hate him.

With that being said, if you watch interviews with players who have played against them; they will say that LeBron and Jordan are two different animals. LeBron is more of a Magic Johnson-esque facilitator who will find impressive ways in getting his teammates involved. Jordan is a killer, straight up. If his team was down 20, he would take it upon himself to bring them back. I have watched LeBron give up on many occasions when his team was getting blown out. I feel he has always lacked that killer instinct that both Kobe and Jordan possess. He has improved tremendously over the years with his jumper and overall offensive game but he lacks the footwork and that internal drive they both had.

 

My mental health

No matter what I type in the rest of this post, nothing I say is an excuse or justification for my, at times, erratic behavior. I have anxiety and a host of self-esteem issues. I am 29 but I act like I’m 15 a lot of the time as my emotional maturity has not caught up to my biological age. I am extremely insecure no matter what I accomplish and much to my chagrin, I seek a sense of validation from others I never receive.

I think mental health is a popular thing at the moment as there are various celebrities and media personalities speaking out about it. However, I have had issues with anxiety and depression long before it became “cool”, so to speak. My family and close friends have seen the ugly side of this more than most.  One moment I’ll be an arrogant prick and the next moment, I’ll be a nervous wreck. It’s life and all humans go through this; however, when you have anxiety, you overthink everything. I used to be scared to go to the grocery store because I knew I would have to make eye contact with the cashier at some point.

I would be at the bar and a cute girl would smile at me. My friends would tell me to go approach her and if enough liquid was consumed, I would; however, I hated myself so I would reject myself before she or  anyone else had a chance. It has never been easy to explain this to my family as for the longest time, my parents thought it was a phase of sorts. People would say things like everyone’s nervous and everyone has anxiety. To their credit, they are absolutely right in one sense but there are varying degrees.

I have been blessed with some really good friends in this life. I don’t have a lot of friends but I am thankful for the few I do have. I can only imagine how it must feel for them, at times, with the negativity I bring into the equation. I used to be the guy that’s always negative and I would talk down upon myself and think of myself as a gigantic waste of oxygen. I would be so down in the dumps that I would neglect to remember that everyone is going through what I’m going through on some level.  Negativity comes easily as you can utter certain phrases and convince yourself of a certain “reality”. You almost forget the effect your energy has on other people. In that sense, I’ve been extremely selfish at times and for that, I am sorry.

I don’t have any resolutions really but one thing I am working on is learning to love myself. It is easier said than done and in the past, I thought of it as a mere cliche but I have seen the significance of that self-love manifested through other people I have come across. I cannot begin to articulate the impact the gym has had on my life and my overall well-being. I have beat that horse to death I think so I will not drone on and on about that.

Motivation

Whenever I think of the aforementioned word, I imagine “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background and a Rocky montage. I don’t know if it’s common but that’s definitely what I imagine. I think the concept of motivation has been somewhat romanticized in tv shows and in some literature. Motivation just comes down to repeated behavior; there’s no magical element floating around out there that successful people “inhale”.

When I was reaching the end of my contract in the Army, I was eating everything in sight and acting as if cardio was an ancient myth. As a result, I put on quite a bit of weight and this was evident as my family and friends would occasionally tease me about it. The switch didn’t flip, so to speak, until one night running up the stairs in my parent’s house. I got to the top and I was breathing as if I had just finished a round of sprints. My sister noticed it too and that kind of woke me up from my slumber of eating horribly and  ignoring my cardiovascular health.

For the next 7 months, I engaged in intermittent fasting and developed healthier eating practices. Furthermore, I went back to the idea of working out early that was the norm in the Army. In my mind, working out at 5:30 am set the tone for the rest of my day. Also, it acted as a regulatory mechanism of sorts as it helped with my mood and overall temperament. It didn’t matter how shitty my day went as I would look forward to the next morning’s training session. Over time, I lost 42 lbs and while I wasn’t an underwear model by any means, I could actually see my abs for the first time.

In retrospect, I kept myself motivated in a number of different ways during those 7 months of fasting. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what motivates you as long as the ends justify the means. As a result, if you’re motivated by something that others see as irrational; in the long run, it shouldn’t matter as long as you’re motivated enough to pursue whatever your goals are.

 

Why I’m so passionate about this fitness shit lately

I know some of you are probably tired of my gym-related posts; I know this for a fact because either you mentioned it or I’ve had a few instances in which people unfriended me. That does not concern me as there is a reason I’ve been so passionate about this for the past 6 months. I used to be one of the most negative people you could ever meet. I doubted myself and hated myself much more than any perceived enemy could. I was perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy and blaming the world for my misfortunes. I literally began thinking every other person in the world was born with some magical quality I was severely lacking.

Two good friends of mine, Jonian and Sherif, began telling me to work on my mindset. At the time, this just made me angrier as I felt that was the most cliche advice someone could give. I kept going on with the way I was living and I felt like shit most of the time. I would wake up in the morning dreading my life and it was the same routine everyday. I would miss out on potential friendships and romantic interests due to my mindset and I would blame everyone but the man in the mirror.
One day it just clicked; I was sick and tired of being envious of other people. I was tired of wishing for it and I decided enough was enough. I was lifting consistently but eating like shit. Therefore, I was the strongest I had ever been but I also looked three months pregnant. I was ashamed to look in the mirror. I was sick and tired of people telling me dumb shit like I’m strong for an Indian guy or something to that effect. In my mind, it’s like no motherfucker, I’m strong, period. My friend Jonian had told me about intermittent fasting and I finally decided to give it a shot.
I began taking steps I perceived as “movie-montage” shit. Meaning, I put pictures of people that inspired me and quotes that pushed me on my bedroom wall. I placed self-affirmations on my wall and recited them nightly. I began intermittent fasting and began eating smaller portions. Eventually, over time, I began eating healthier meals and cut out stuff like soda and junk food. I was still lifting consistently but I added some form of cardio after some lifting sessions.
Initially, it was rough as I had ballooned to 227 lbs after I finished my time in the Army and moved back home. When I was doing sprints on the treadmill, I could feel the fat jiggling and it was embarrassing how quickly I was out of breath. However, this time around; instead of getting discouraged as was the norm, I powered through. I began to see some results and I fell in love with that feeling again.
As I write this, I’ve lost 30 lbs and I currently weigh 197 lbs. My target weight is 180 lbs and I hope to be able to finally unearth my abs. I see the outline coming in and it pushes me more because, this time, I know I will reach my goal. In the Indian community, unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a concern for fitness. High blood pressure and diabetes have permeated the culture for decades. I am not surprised due to the eating habits of so many of my people. I’m tired of the passive aggressive stereotype associated with most Indians. I want to be strong and in shape for the future. My Dad played basketball with me growing up and that is one of my favorite memories. I don’t know what the future holds but if I have kids of my own one day, I want to teach them how to lift and engage in a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, there is a grandfather in my gym teaching his grandson how to lift; I want to make fitness a life-long resolution, not some idealistic New Years Resolution. So far, it has changed my mindset and, as a result, my life.

Lost

I haven’t written in a while because I lost my purpose, so to speak. I didn’t know why I was writing anymore; a part of me believed that if I kept at it, one day I can make it a career. However, as I’ve progressed in my writing, I’ve become more cynical as well. There’s so many writers out there and I really do not know what makes my writing so unique. I thought my perspective was a bit different than the norm; however, lately I just don’t have the spark or motivation to write. I’m writing this in hopes of rekindling the flame and moving forward with my writing. I have a lot going on in my life currently; as a result, I want to reclaim something that was, at one time, both therapeutic and liberating.

My way of saying goodbye

We accept the love we think we deserve. The aforementioned may sound like some cheesy line conjured up by some guy in a Hallmark factory.

However, in my experience, there is some truth to the line.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been in an on-again-off-again relationship with a woman with whom I had met up after five years.

Circa 2012, the setting was a club called Rehab which was located in the heart of downtown in the college town of Greenville, North Carolina. In Rehab, in accordance with protocol, one would call upon the powers of liquid courage and approach a person of his or her liking.

I always got rejected by this one particular woman. It had become a game of sorts and I would half-jokingly approach her. She’d take great pleasure in shooting me down.

This particular night was following the said paradigm until there was a slight deviation. I saw her, first, in my peripheral. It wasn’t directly apparent to me what had caught my eye; however, I was transfixed.

Normally, I would slip into the corner of the club and keep ordering drinks until I had the courage to make my move. This was different as I put my drink down and approached her right away. I asked her to dance and we engaged in what constituted as dancing in college. After the dance, we parted ways and went back to our respective social groups.

We would meet up, once again, 5 years later at Goji’s Bistro, a Japanese eatery. We picked up from where we had left off with little to no difficulty and things would evolve from there.

Before I knew it, I was in a long-distance relationship. I was residing in the desert known as El Paso and she was spending her time in North Carolina. She was beautiful, intelligent and open-minded and I was happy for the first time in a long time.

Her close friends and her sister all despised me; this was because they seemingly judged me as being the same guy from five years ago. As she would often tell me, she was ignoring all of them and following her heart. I would believe her in those moments.

I flew her out to El Paso a couple of times and we would meet up when I was back home in North Carolina on leave from the Army. I enjoyed her presence and felt as if I could truly be myself around her.

One thing I have learned from this relationship is that it does not matter how badly you want something to work. Even if every fiber of your being is committed; sometimes, in life, things just do not work out as we envision them. You can fight for it with everything you have but there comes a point where you have to take off the rose-colored glasses, so to speak, and see the situation for what it really is.

We would argue here and there; however, I just wrote it off as normal squabbles within the confines of a relationship. Over time, close friends of mine and certain family members would point out that they did not feel she was the right type of person for me.

More often than not, it would go in one ear and out the other as my feelings for her kept me from acknowledging their doubts. In my opinion, many of us fall in love with the notion of finding someone who gets us or understands where we’re coming from, so to speak. With her, I felt I had finally met a person who understood me and, for a bit, I let my guard down and started believing in a future with her.

The relationship has now seemingly run its course, but I know what I seek in a partner for the future. I feel it is important for each person to understand they bring something unique to the table and to realize their worth. A relationship should be treated like an equation and it should be balanced. It should not be up to one person to fight for it; if that is the case, then it is best to part ways before more emotional damage is done.

Game 7

I made a promise to myself to write everyday and as such, here it is. Tonight is game 7 between the Wizards and the Celtics. I’m really hoping for an all out battle where they fight tooth and nail over the W. I am tired of blowouts and I am tired of teams not competing. However, the Spurs and Warriors game gave me hope as that was a hard fought game in which the Warriors came back from a huge deficit. Granted, Leonard’s injury had a huge impact on the outcome of that game. I started my job at Cricket today; so far it’s just training. The computer programs remind of the Army in that they’re slow as molasses and freeze often. Overall, I can’t really complain as school starts Wednesday. I went to the gym this morning at 530 am and I have no intention of stopping that anytime soon. I am going to show my peers that it’s all mental and you can make time for something if you truly care . With that being said, I am starving and that is all I have to share for now.