Tag: personal

Emptiness is setting in.

It’s a little after 4:30 am on a Wednesday. It’s my very last day of college today. My finals are all online and the next time I have to go back to my college is to graduate.

It should be a happy time in my life, but there is the feeling of emptiness more than anything.

Deep down, I don’t think I will see my friends again. Levi’s weekends are occupied with his girlfriend’s bodybuilding competitions, Chris’ weekends are occupied with his three bands, and Joe’s weekends are occupied with excessive partying. I just don’t fit into any of those places. I’ve helped Chris’ band with loading and unloading equipment before, but I haven’t done that in about ten months.

I had this deep talk with my dad last night about how I’ve felt like I’ve never belonged anywhere.

In private school, I was the fat poor kid that everybody made fun of.

In public school, I was the loner who could not make friends because by the time I got there in seventh grade, groups of friends are already established for a good half decade.

In community college, there is not a student body that actually stays on campus. People take their classes for the day and leave. I met a few people, but they’ve moved away for their jobs.

In a branch of a state university, the body of students does not exceed 1,500 students. For the first year, I didn’t like the school because I felt like I couldn’t connect with anyone. I would in my second year, but it was only with the friends I have now and their busy lives.

I don’t have anyone from my previous schools. I just know that I am going to live a lonely life after graduation.

 

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Growing more than I could ever imagine.

Since I was fourteen years old, cycling has been a huge part of my life. Years ago.. somewhere in my mid teens, I got made fun of a lot for wearing my tights. A lot of things were said about me and cycling that were so negative and upsetting that it almost made me quit.

I came out fighting. A lot of my riding is done in a residential area and at one point, neighbors tried shutting my whole thing down because of nuisance. I fought it and won because the township could not find me doing anything wrong or illegal.

Times change though. As I’ve grown into my early twenties, the reception has been a lot different. It’s generally been positive in recent years. There’s a person here or there that will say something nasty, but once I invite them to do a full bike ride (42 miles), their tones change.

When I go out to get something to eat or go out to a store, I often get recognized as “the cyclist”. Some people want a picture and others just want to talk.  There’s been a few dozen instances over the eight and a half years I’ve cycled that people have told me that I have motivated them to go on their own fitness journeys and I think that’s an amazing thing.

Back when I applied for my job (almost two years ago), I had nothing to write about professionally on my resumé. I helped friends move and got paid in pizza and beer. It was something I couldn’t really write about when applying to a job at the federal level. What I could write about was my blogging history (I have blogged on many websites since I was about thirteen), and my career as an independent cyclist who at the time had cycled 60,000 miles (just under 85,000 miles now).

They found it strange that I constantly rejected joining bicycle clubs despite being a highly sought after cyclist in the county. I then explained to them that I remained independent so I could cycle at my own will whenever I wanted to and not having set times and places to go. They accepted my answer and put it on file.

Fast forward a year and a half, Philadelphia had a bike competition and our external stakeholder had a position in the event and they asked if I wanted to ride on their behalf. They found out through my job about my cycling capabilities and they said it was what they needed. I signed on for the competiton with the caveats that I could remain clubless and ride at my personal convenience. They accepted the terms and I became theirs for the month. The competition ran October 1 – October 31. With 1,194 miles, I ranked first overall in the Philadelphia area for mileage. I also ranked nationally. Nationally, I ranked fifteenth for men and seventeenth overall out of 59,000 entries. Our external stakeholder was proud and asked if I would stay on for future cycling events. I agreed, as long as terms remained the same.

I’ve come a long way as a cyclist. From the beginnings of a struggling teenage cyclist on a BMX bicycle to the adult who rides for his job and becomes a nationally ranked cyclist.. it amazes me how far things have gone and remaining independent at the same time.

Graduatin’.

I only have one more week of classes until I graduate and go out to the working world full time. I actually go full time on the same week that I graduate and have to take a day off just to graduate.

It’s been a fun ride at Penn State. I’ve had a great time in the second half that I was there. The first year, I was not happy. I had no real connections in the first year. For the most part, I was a loner. I couldn’t find people that I liked and I think that made my experience unsatisfactory to the point I wanted to transfer to what would have been my third college.

When I started my fourth semester at Penn State, I started talking to my friend Chris. He really got me through some hard times after I broke up with my cheating ex. We had a finance class together in the spring and he introduced me to his friend, Joe and Joe’s friend Levi. Finance would end at like 8 on Thursday night and the four of us would go out for drinks afterward. We got close by the end of the semester.

When the fall came, we didn’t have a class with Joe. Joe also works two jobs and a side hustle and because of that he doesn’t have time for us.. so we kind of lost Joe.

Chris is in three bands and plays gigs regularly. Sometimes on weeknights. He gets back so late sometimes that he skips class the next morning.

Most times, it’s just Levi and myself. We have two classes together and work on a group project together too.  He usually goes to the gym between classes and in the afternoon we sometimes go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.

I’m going to miss the guys. We already have set up plans to hang out on New Years in some capacity.  I’m excited for that and excited to move on in my working career.

The train.

When I’m not with a guy I walk to work with from the train, I observe the people around me on the train and the surrounding areas such as the train stations. It gets you really thinking about people.

I take the train to Philadelphia from the suburbs. I get into my typical station a little after 6 am and have close to a fifteen minute wait. On the way to Philadelphia, I observe the riders to the city. Because I’m on the train a little after 5:30 am, it’s very quiet but very full. Most people work in the Philadelphia hospitals, work in big business in the city, or are construction workers working on those big businesses. I’ve grown to know some of the regulars. An older man typically sits near me that’s originally from the Pittsburgh area and a lesbian couple that are both in construction are usually in the same car as me as well. The older man typically asks me about my job and how I’m doing at school. The women typically talk about their current jobs and how much their backs hurt from heavy lifting.

My connecting train can be picked up from four stations (30th, Suburban, Jefferson, Temple) in Philadelphia. I typically get off at Suburban, but occasionally do get off at 30th. Suburban feels much bigger and much more alive.. in good ways and bad. There’s always the workforce getting their coffee at Dunkin’ and buying their tickets at the window. Homelessness is a very big problem at the station though. Especially before 6:30 am. Often times you will find people sleeping on benches and woken up by transit police and others are in the restroom washing themselves in the sink. Sometimes I walk in and see nude men washing themselves. Other times, homeless people fight eachother. You wonder how these people got this way. I once asked a guy and he said one word: drugs. Most times, the homeless won’t bother you. One time, I had a homeless man reach under the stall for his hat, but nothing super weird other than that. The station is all decked out for the holidays and even the homeless are in a better mood than usual.

After encountering the homeless, I go down the platform to catch my second train of the morning. It’s typically very quiet. You’ll see a homeless person or two getting woken up by the transit police but generally it’s just commuters waiting for their train.

The second train I ride typically operates as two open cars and occasionally just one. I always encounter the same crabby woman with a spider tattoo on her neck who insists there should still be a quiet ride car no matter how few cars are open because she “needs her quiet time”. I typically only deal with her for one stop. She’s always in an awful mood and tries to make everyone else miserable too. I get off at a questionable little stop. It has no office and just a little overhang to stand under. Often times it smells like pot and there are usually broken bottles on the tracks. Occasionally, I’ll see the smokers (nicknamed the pot boys) and they will just look at me. They are pretty harmless. I also occasionally hear gunshots in the distance and because of that, I try to wait less than 10 minutes.

A ride on SEPTA and visiting their stations is always interesting. You never know what you’ll see or who  you’ll meet.

The top story is the time four young boys brought folding chairs and a poker table and sat on the tracks around the table. If my friend wasn’t there to witness it, I don’t think anybody would believe that story.

 

You gained weight.

I went to the mall on Black Friday like most people do. I got my new pair of Doc Martens, my new pair of slacks for work, and a shirt and tie for graduation next month. Everything was going really good. I’ve also been getting used to my crew cut for work and it was the first time in a while I didn’t cover it with a beanie.

Feelings changed after we ran into a woman my mom has known since I was seven. Her daughter and I were in the same class in private school for several years. When news came out I was transferring at the end of the sixth grade, the girl said “Nobody’s going to miss you anyway”. Her mom would eventually find out she said that.. but that doesn’t have to do with Black Friday.

Anyway, getting back to the story. My mom and her mom were talking at the pop-up shop her mom manages in the center of the mall. I was just standing there because I didn’t want to have to find my mom in a packed mall. As I was standing there, the mom said “You’ve gained weight since the last time I saw you”. I stood there and said something like “You haven’t seen me in three years”.

Things like that really get to me. As an anorexia survivor, statements like those bother me and are a little triggering. I’m not bone thin like I once was (at one point, I weighed only 115 pounds as a six foot tall male), and I know I’ve grown in those six years (post-anorexia, I weigh a muscular 180 pounds in recovery). But still, people saying those things are damaging.

I let it go in the moment, but my mom could visually see it was bothering me so she cut her chat short and we left that lady’s pop-up shop. For the rest of the day and all of today I had been thinking about it. Some things just don’t need to be said and that is one of them.

I check on her on occasion.

I broke up with my ex a little over eight months ago and haven’t talked to her in seven months. I have blocked her on every social media platform except Twitter for a very specific reason.

It links to her VSCO.

Every once in a while, I check her VSCO to see if she’s alright and if she’s changed since we broke up. She’s still with the same guy and smoking pot and constantly photographing it, so that’s nice to see. She’s also still twerking too.

I also never blocked her number. It’s no longer in my contacts, but if she ever did contact me I would receive it.

Seeing stuff like that makes me feel better about things. Mostly because I know I’m not missing out. I’m not about smoking pot and going to parties in suspicious parts of the city. I’m more of the work professionally 7-3 and exercise at night and then have a little fun on the weekends kind of person.

My friends say that I have a case of the “on-set adult”, and they’re right. I want to make money and be successful and those were two things she never appeared to want to do. As the adult I’ve grown into, I now realize she was holding me back and in some ways I’m thankful she cheated on me because it was how I broke free and never looked back.

 

Updates.

I’ve been very busy recently. I am writing this after midnight because I can’t sleep because I took a four hour nap because it rained all day. I haven’t been able to blog at all because I’ve been busy at school and at work. So here’s some updates.

– I started my final semester at university on 21 August. I have an online writing class, a class about how to be an entrepreneur, and a business class that I should have taken like a year ago but somehow managed to bypass for the last two years. My advisor gave me hell about it over the spring. I have friends in both physically met classes.

– I’ve now cycled 81,000 miles. I reached 80,000 miles in early August and 81,000 miles last week. I’ve also surpassed the 9,000 mile mark for the fifth consecutive year. I’m about 1,000 miles behind what I did last year at this time but I’m okay with it because I got very run down from the excessive cycling in previous years. I feel better going into fall this year.

– I’ve been working three days a week since early May. I write contracts and contact manufacturers. I take two trains to get there. One of my buddies is trying to get a job in the same agency I work for. I’ve been pulling for him.

– I’ve recovered from anorexia. I weigh the most I have in seven years but I feel strong and healthy; something I’ve not felt in many years.

– I got new earrings. My temporary studs were removed over the weekend and replaced with very tiny white gold hoops that hug my lobes.

– I recently heard from a friend of my ex’s. She contacted me because she fears my ex is getting out of control and thought I may be the only one who could tame her. I’m not about it and could honestly care less after what she did to me over the winter. I also found out she’s at a new college, dating a much older man, and spending a lot of time in the middle of Jersey.

I’ll update again later in the semester.

Until then,

David