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Entry date: 9-25-2023 - Woke Up and Said, "Oh Eff" - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


Happy birthday to my brother, Matt. I hope he is taking care of himself and moving towards the future with love and bravery. He battles a lot and although I don't agree or condone his choices, I understand more than he knows.


I woke up late this morning so this is a canned blog. I wrote this awhile ago. Thanksgiving weekend, 2020. There was a lot for me to learn about who I was almost three years ago in here.


******

11-26-2020


I think I’m trying to reinvent myself again.


At first it was just coming to the realization that my clothes weren’t fitting the way I like them to fit. My pants were too tight, and my shirts showed off my moobs a bit too much for my comfort level. I started buying XXL shirts, which, if I’m being honest, really are much more comfortable, but at a reasonable weight, I can still wear an XL both comfortably and whatever I consider fashionably to be.


(I'm back to XXL shirts, damn it.)


That was in September and four months after my early Covid-19 lifestyle of eating right and juicing everyday had gone to hell. This pandemic has really encouraged me to look at how I live my life. I think, well, I hope, it has done the same thing for a lot of others, but I can’t be sure. Their story is their story, though, so I don’t want to go down that path.

The path I want to be on is telling the story of reinventing myself, yet again, and it feels really good this time.

Some reinventions haven’t felt so good, which I realized as this thought occurred to me in the show on Thanksgiving eve, 2020. I looked in the mirror prior to getting in the shower and gave myself an “atta boy,” which everyone should do from time to time, for kicking ass on getting in steadily improving shape and losing about 25 lbs. or so at this point. While I was in the shower, I kept turning this idea of reinvention over and over in my mind as I enjoyed the just south of scalding hot water on my aching back muscles.


It occurred to me that I have made a habit of reinvention. Then, as I clearly often do, I started wondering if everyone did this or was conscious of this and then I considered that I had never really been conscious of this, let’s call it a theory, until right then. My theory of the recurring reinvention of Tom Reardon Jr.


This particular one had started about getting in shape, like really in shape, but it had evolved. I’d been really flirting heavily with a massive reinvention because of the ‘Rona, but it hadn’t quite taken effect. My plan was to make some heavy-duty changes to what I did with my time. I was going to greatly improve my computer skills (which has been slow going so far, but I’ve picked up a few things) and probably retire from music (which still might happen) and write a lot more, which has happened, especially since November 1.


Well, that’s not accurate. I’ve been writing a lot for a while now and it is definitely part of the reinvention and that reinvention is happening now.


If you’ve even gotten kind of tired of yourself, you know where I’m coming from on this. It’s not like I was doing a whole lot of self-loathing or anything like that, but I’d started to feel like things were just stale, creatively, and from a health standpoint. I’m 51 now and I don’t want to just ride off into the sunset getting a little heavier every year and hating my body.

I also want to tell my stories and put myself out there in the way that I am probably best at. I have to admit that I want people to dig what I create and I want some recognition, but to even have a chance at that, I have to kick it up about ten notches. I am fucking lazy, by nature, and I have to reinvent myself from time to time when that laziness starts to win.

Often, the process starts with some long looks in the mirror where I eventually get to the point where I tell myself that I’m going to make a change. I knew that I was going to have to include exercise this time around, which I’m not particularly fond of unless I’m doing one of the aerobic activities that I actually enjoy like skateboarding or playing basketball, because I’m fucking 51* (50, when I began this reinvention).


I started doing pushups pretty much every day before I showered in the morning. I also added in squats for my knee and began riding the exercise bike in our bedroom as often as possible. I also tried doing some crunches and completely wrecked my back in the process. I think I pulled something pretty badly and was in pain often, which was new to me. I ended up going back to the chiropractor and my back is getting pretty well sorted out at this point.


Knock on wood.


Anyway, I digress.


I have been exercising regularly since early September and I also cut out processed sugar from my diet outside a couple of beers a week, some wasabi almonds (fairly, and admittedly, regularly. They are so fucking good). I’ve done similar diets before and they’ve always helped me shed the pounds pretty well, but this time it has taken much longer than it did in past physical reinventions.


(I think it is important to point out that I’m realizing that my reinventions have sometimes just been physical and sometimes just been more on the emotional side. I don’t think I’ve really had a spiritual reinvention for a long, long time, but I might need to explore that idea on a different day.)


For me, I have to get in the habit of exercising because, like I said, I hate it. I know that pushups every day are good for me, but a lot of days, I talk myself out of them and then after a while, I forget to do them. The squats are really good for my knee, which I blew out in 2010, and I can feel my buttocks getting in better form, too. Watch out ladies!


Just kidding. I’ve never been more happy or in love in my life, but that, too, is another story.

Or maybe not.


Some of the deeper seeded parts of this particular reinvention probably have to do with the fact that I am feeling safe and secure and loved and happy. Those are new things for me, but better late than never, right? My feelings for Rhondi and the kids make me want to live a long time and be healthy enough to do the things I want to do for a long time, too.


So, I exercise every day. In November, I joined a challenge to read for 30 minutes a day, every day of the month, write for 30 minutes a day, and exercise for 30 minutes a day. I am currently on a 25-day streak of doing these things and I feel awesome. My brain is getting exercise, my body is getting exercise, and I think my soul is, as well. I’m starting to wonder if I can keep this going for a year.


Can I? If this is the reinvention I think it is, I think the answer is yes.


The reading I’ve been doing has been an unexpected part of this reinvention. I had forgotten how much I love to read. You wouldn’t know that from the extensive collection of books that we have in our home, but it is true. I had become lazy in my reading and from what I’ve been learning lately, if I want to write more, I need to read more.


My friend Dolly gave me a book about James Baldwin that I’m about halfway through right now. I had no idea how interesting Baldwin was and I’ve grown to be quite fascinated by the book. I’d tried to get going with it a few months ago when Dolly first gave it to me, but I was not in the proper headspace to absorb it then as I’d been knee deep in the Placebo Records story I was working on for New Times.


In a part I just read, Baldwin said something along the lines of this: We should not think of other people as what they do, but as of them being another human being. For example, to think of someone who commits robbery as a thief is ignoring the fact that he is a man, first and foremost, and all of us could be thieves. I pretty much love this and know that I need to apply this line of thought to my own life whenever possible.

As I write these words, I realize that I’m drawn to Baldwin because not only do I agree with him on this point, but I practice this in my own way. Maybe this is why I am always ready to accept someone for who they are. Is that a question that I am asking myself?


I tend to ask myself a lot of questions, especially in a reinvention period.


Another question that I need to examine is the nature of these periods of reinvention. Do they always come when I am feeling some kind of change being exacted on me by outside forces? In this case, of course, we have the pandemic, but there are other factors. Age is a factor, whether I want to admit it or not. The experience of working on Slope Records with Tom is another factor. He taught me many things and I need to put into place, in my own life, the positive things he taught me like being creative and doing your art/talent/joyous drive/fiending need to be…just do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t dream about it. Do it. Make shit happen.


I have a talent for making shit happen, but like many things that I do, I get lazy and ride the easy wave that talent sometimes affords. Coasting. Creating slack. Work hard for a bit then coast because you have created that opportunity to slack. This is a fine thing when you are working a job that you are not soulfully inspired by. You can still be good at it and figure out ways to build the time to do what truly inspires you. I believe that wholeheartedly and don’t feel that I’m letting anyone down in the process if I’m truly covering my responsibilities.

Is that wrong?


Another question for another time, maybe, or maybe the time is right now. This evolution can be painful. Who am I becoming?


On one hand, I’m not becoming anyone that I’m not already. On the other, though, I can become the person I want to be right now. I choose this option.


So, I’m reading, writing, and exercising more and consistently. Carving out 90 minutes or so a day to take care of myself does not seem unreasonable. I’d like to buy a drum machine and start recording some rough songs at some point. This will require me to learn some more of the Adobe programs, and who I am kidding, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I need to learn and can learn.


I’m also keenly interested in building my web page building skills. The tech side of me has a lot of room to evolve and I need to figure out a schedule to do this in. I like the idea of building a web page or pages that will feature the stories I want to share in some capacity, although this may be shooting myself in the foot. I feel like my brain is bursting with ideas and I’m not sure which one to dive into first.


I love the idea of doing a series of graphic novels the revolves around the idea of “Two dudes get stoned and talk” that is just full of fantastic stoner ideas. I’ve got the one with the translation of decibel readings into sound that create multidimensional beings. Sometimes they’re monsters and sometimes they’re not. That could be a whole novel or series of novels, really. It’s definitely…


Fuck.


I’m avoiding the topic of reinvention again. My “Bright and shiny” disease is truly flaring up. I’d be interested to know if my PI has changed this year. I wish I could talk to Jim Hooker about this idea that I am having right now about looking at how the pandemic has changed people’s PI. I will have to reach out to Mike M. about this idea and see what he thinks.

I would have to say that learning about and experiencing Predictive Index was something of a catalyst for a previous reinvention. WOWI, too, in a way. Those are way different stories than this, though, which I feel like I keep writing.


Why I am afraid to stay focused on this change I am going through now?


*****


Weird to read this.


See you tomorrow.



I got to tell a story to a bunch of people one night.


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