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Archive for January 25th, 2009

So I’ve been getting out more lately. I don’t usually touch on my social life in this blog, but to make a long story short, for a few years, especially during my most obese of times, my social life was scant. I would hang out with whoever I was living with at the time, and workmates. That was about it. I had a core group of friends who kind of scattered to the four corners of the globe as what often happens in the years following high school graduation, and thus my little social enclave was disbanded. This was before Facebook became an everyday thing for most people, mind you. I would also argue that Facebook actually can be used to decrease your face to face social interaction because it’s easy to pretend to have a social life on there and not make any effort to see people in person. Anyway, because of a wedding in the summer of ’08, I was reunited with an old friend who is rather active in the local music scene in my town. I am an intense lover of music, and have an affinity for independent musicians. I myself am a musically-inclined person. I played viola through childhood and have always liked singing. When most little kids were picking tunes off the top 40 radio that they liked only because everyone else did and the radio dj’s told them to, I was listening to my parents’ records from their teens and early 20’s. I grew up on the Dead, Neil Young, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and a never ending assortment of the blues, Motown, and obscure folk artists that my uncle had the privilege to know during an era where the counterculture was referred to as “Beatniks” (very condescendingly by the mainstream media I might add). As I’ve gotten older, my musical tastes have developed to include an eclectic and diverse assortment. I tend to thrive more on the obscure. I will always love my classics, my very early influences. And I love classical music, as my instrument of choice as a kid is a stringed, classical instrument. I’ve always been able to sing well without much practice, but as I get older I find I have to warm up more to keep the voice going strong. Outside of school structured things, I never really performed, and I’m sort of afraid to. Meeting up with this old friend at that wedding was a catalyst for me in regaining my interest in performing music again. I’ve always wanted to play guitar, but I never really committed myself to sticking to it. I realized yesterday as I had an impromptu jam session with 2 people I’d just met on the street at a local coffee shop that I am fully capable, and I’m surrounded to the brim by musically-minded people in this town. My city has a great underground of local musicians, and something clicked in my mind, “I have so many people to ask for pointers surrounding me everywhere I go here. I have no excuse not to pick up a guitar and start practicing.” So it goes, I picked up one of the many guitars we have lying around this apartment (musicians flock together and usually live together) and started playing some chords and strumming. It was nice. I plan to structure some lessons for myself and get my technique to where I’m comfortable singing and playing in public again. I’m an absolute beginner on the guitar, but it’s such a universal instrument, I think everyone can learn to play, and should.

Not only did me and the people I met randomly yesterday have an awesome, Neil Young covering jam session, we also bonded over a lot of other stuff and became new friends. I’ve been trying to push my comfort zone of being somewhat of a hermit and get out more. My friend I mentioned above at said wedding is in several musical collaborations around town, one band in particular is of pretty promising talent as far as songwriting and sound, and I’ve been to a few of their shows. It’s a standard practice for Bohemian kids around my town to have shows at people’s houses so that money is not really an object as far as hearing some good music (although small donations for touring bands are often asked so that things like gas and food along the way are less of a burden, and often the touring bands will be hosted by a local musician so they don’t have to pay for a hotel). It’s been fun for me going to these shows and meeting some like-minded friends. Not only do a lot of them share my healthy food and exercise interests (I’ve already got a confirmed lap-swimming buddy and others who want to taste my healthy cooking sometime!), they also share my love for music, and books, and boardgames, and, well you get it. Social interaction and bonding with others outside of my comfort zone is something I needed in order to grow as a person. It’s part of my “life makeover” so to speak, just as losing weight and getting fit is.

One of the boys I jammed with yesterday is in one of my other, long-established favorite local bands, which I had never seen live before but they’ve been around for nearly a decade. He hasn’t been with them for the whole duration, but is part of the current lineup. It was fun and happy to sing with someone in one of my favorite bands. I’m going to keep being more social. I of course can’t stay out late at too many parties since I work and also need to make time to devote to health-practices for myself (exercise), and I still want to have a positive balance of time to myself to read and do my thing. But I can see my weekends from now on becoming a lot more interesting and fulfilling. 🙂

One thing I wanted to say about my weight loss in relation to this is that I do feel like my weight limited my social life. Many people would say that this doesn’t have to be true, and no, it doesn’t. I know plenty of obese individuals who are outright social butterflies. But I was not one of them. I withdrew more and I think psychologically the fat was there to put up a wall in a way. I never lost touch with my dearest friends, but as far as meeting new people I didn’t initiate it, and I used my weight as an excuse to stay home and hide from that. Also, being that fat made me get tired faster, made me more sluggish, made my body ache and hurt to where I just didn’t feel like exuberant and social. I just wanted to go home and lie down. Being more physically well in general makes it easier to be more comfortable socializing for me. Also, to put a bit of a vanity spin on it, I feel prettier. Not everyone who hangs out in this group of friends is stereotypically hot, but I think the majority of these kids are comfortable in their own skin, and it shows. Since I feel more comfortable in my skin, I think it makes me more attractive to others for friendship and other things (hehe). I’m not really looking for a dating experience at present, but at the same time I’m not entirely closed off to the idea.

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