This is an actual fired pottery of a shitter I made in art class as a senior in high school. Ironically, I made it years before I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Speaking of, what you’re reading is “Poop And Love,” a series on The Impossibility Movement describing my dealings with the chronic condition known as ulcerative colitis. For an entertaining primer on ulcerative colitis, describing the condition, my asshole in all its glory, and my diagnosis, click here. OK, onward.
This is what 122 lbs. of pale, sad, sickly skin and bones looks like.
And this is plus 40 lbs. of sweat and pain, 2 months into COVID, with no gym access, doing three to four morning prison workouts per week within the confines of my hotel room, and one to two beach workouts per week with a kettlebell.
Since my ulcerative colitis diagnosis in 2003, I’ve had numerous flareups. Shit happens. Literally. Of those many flareups, two of them were NOTABLY bad; bad enough to put me into the hospital. The first was around April, 2003, when I was first diagnosed at 112 lbs. To this day I wish I had taken a picture to illustrate the shape I was in when I first visited the ER for UC. But I did manage to capture 122 lbs. in the first picture you see above.
That picture was taken during my last major flareup in January, 2015. Something happened to me during that flareup. One night, whilst lying on the cold, tile bathroom floor, too weak to move, waiting for the next episode of soul crushing pain and diarrhea, I lifted my head with what little strength I could muster, and made a solemn vow to myself. I vowed that if I ever recovered, if I ever got my strength back, then as long as I was well, as long as there was breath in my fucking lungs, I would remain physically fit.
I didn’t mean the biggest or strongest guy at the gym. I didn’t mean the cover model for Muscle And Fitness. I meant simply (with goals I would eventually define specifically), self-confident in the areas of agility, mobility, strength and endurance, with a resting/meditation heart rate of 65 beats per minute or less, and a body mass index of 19 to 24. And in over five years I have not wavered from that commitment. Additionally, I drastically reduced all simple sugars from my diet. Well, except for the occasional liquor. Everyone needs a vice, right?
I try to share enlightenment and encouragement with some degree of patience and understanding. But there are some hard truths that you just can’t soften. Here’s one of those truths. In life, you are guaranteed to be faced with a wide variety of circumstances, many of them, dare I say the lot of them, unfavorable. And the world doesn’t give one single shit about those circumstances, or how you feel, or what happened to you, or who pissed you off, or who hurt you, or what special day it is, or what condition you have, or whether or not the world is on hold for some crisis situation in your life.
In terms of getting what you want in this life, one thing matters, and one thing only: What you are committed to.
And we are all committed to something. If you’re miserable in your job, but you’re not leaving because you make great money, well, then you’re committed to the money, not finding your dream job. If you’re in a relationship that you REALLY WANT to work, but the extent of your actions around making it work is complaining about your partner to anyone who will listen, then you’re committed to complaining, not making it work. If you hate the way you look and feel, but you won’t, for example, wake up an hour early to workout before clocking in, then you’re committed to sleep, not getting into shape. And all these things are totally okay, as long as you can acknowledge what you’re actually committed to.
When I have coaching discussions around this topic, people have a very difficult time with the concept of commitments, primarily because they’re so incredibly bonded to their circumstances. People will fight tooth and nail to get you to understand why THEIR circumstances are a special case which makes this concept null and void in their life. Newsflash: you’re not special. I told you it was a hard truth.
If it’s important to you, you will make time for it. You will find a fucking way to make it happen. I know this is a hard pill to swallow. But if you find yourself stagnant in life, motionless, not seeing the results you so desire, consider that your lack of progress or change is NOT because you’re not capable.
It’s because you’re not willing.
I made some serious changes in my life to get my ulcerative colitis under control. My workouts make me want to puke sometimes. I’ve always had a challenge dragging my ass out of bed. But if I sleep in, I hit the gym on the way home. I drastically reduced sodas. And cookies. And cake. And ice cream. And greasy-ass fast food burgers and fries. And truthfully, I still think these things are fucking delicious, and I partake of them every now and again. But not DAILY like I used to. And if I do have a night of drinking, or scratch the sweet tooth on occasion, bet your ass I’ll sweat it out hardcore in the next day’s workout.
When you let go of circumstances as an excuse, what are you WILLING (or NOT WILLING) to do to get the life you desire?