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Scaly Freak communes with The Iron again


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Several hours after Self-Sabotage vanished in the blink of an eye, Scalyfreak reluctantly gives up searching for her enemy, sighing in frustration. That ugly monster always does this. The moment Scalyfreak manages to injure Self-Sabotage the monster immediately vanishes, almost as if it is blinking out of existence. Until next time, that is. It was frustrating the first time it happened, and it is even more frustrating now.

 

Scalyfreak learned long ago that once Self-Sabotage vanishes the fight is over – for now – and no matter where Scalyfreak searches, or for how long, she will not be able to find her enemy again but she still searches. It's a matter of principle. While she halfheartedly goes through the motions of trying to find tracks or a trail of blood, Scalyfreak tries to figure out why this keeps happening. She doesn't for a moment imagine that Self-Sabotage fears her, that would be ridiculous. There is some other reason for why Self-Sabotage leaves the moment Scalyfreak draws blood, and she is determined to find out what that reason is.

 

Preoccupied with trying to solve the riddle of the vanishing monster, Scalyfreak doesn't immediately realize that she is no longer walking randomly through the wilderness. To her surprise she is walking down a path that she must have been following for a while now. Judging by how smooth and wide it is, it is a path used by many, and often. Curious now, and optimistic that she may find a settlement, maybe a village, where she can find provisions and perhaps even a dry and warm bed, Scalyfreak continues on the path. The thought of sleeping on a mattress again is enough to hasten her steps.

 

It is not a village. It isn't any kind of settlement at all, it's a single solitary building. It appears to be made from marble, a very expensive material, suggesting that this building is important. The pathway leading up to the wide open doors is swept clean, suggesting that whoever uses this building values it enough to care for it.

 

As Scalyfreak comes closer she can see into the temple hall, and when she recognizes the statue on top of the altar a relived smile spreads across her face. It isn't a statue in the strictest sense. It's a simple construction... two narrow granite pillars, about a meter tall, and across the top of them lies a steel bar with one single round plate of cast iron attached to each end. All hesitation gone, Scalyfreak hurries into the temple and proceeds to set up camp right in front of the altar. Open doors notwithstanding, she will be completely safe in here. No demon can enter a Temple of Iron.

 

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Short intro about me:

 

Spoiler

I cheerfully approach all my challenges as video game quests, with boss fights and level grinding, I have re-framed my anxiety into pyromancy, because it's very destructive when it flares up and gets out of control. But like the pyromancy flame, if the chaos is embraced and can be harnessed, all that energy can be used against against my enemies. In fireball form.

 

I don't really have a good track record in my boss fights so far:

 

  • Self-Sabotage reflects every attack or spell I throw at her, and it hurts. She also drains levels and health, and heals herself with what she drains from her opponent.
    • Current strategy: Run and hide and hope she won't find me (but she always does).
  • Procrastination is good at hiding and then hitting me with a back-stab when I least expect it.
    • Current strategy: Ignore; deal with her later.
  • Self-Indulgence was gradually convinced it would be easier for her to reach her goal if we worked together. Before the alliance fell apart on its own, Self-Indulgence was viciously attacked by a very angry unicorn.
    • Current strategy: Dance on her grave
  • Stress-Hydra spawns whenever too many things are happening at once, or when something really big and overwhelming happens, and cutting off one of her heads makes no difference because it re-spawns almost immediately.
    • Current strategy: The Herakles Technique: Ask a trusted friend to help

 

I'm currently dual-classing as a Warrior Druid, because meditation is a great way to quietly build Endurance and Resilience stats while figuring out how to make my need for sleep work with my need to go to the gym and lift barbells.

 

After taking a break during the last challenge I'm back to (hopefully) end 2021 in style and fanfare!

 

One of the things I did while I was on my little Challenge Sabbatical was to focus on just making the best choices available in that moment, and not worry about what choices I made the day before or would be making the day after. It worked surprisingly well, so I am going to strive to keep this mindset with me for this challenge as well.

 

Another thing I did very successfully was to finally get back in the habit of going to the gym to lift regularly. Well, sort of. I've been going to the gym three evenings every week for nearly three weeks, so the habit isn't quite fully established yet, but it's on its way. So I plan to continue going to the gym during the rest of this challenge as well.

 

And now that I have access to a gym with barbells, I'm attempting to do Squatmas again.

 

And that is all, for now.

 

No, wait.

 

I'm going to put this cheerful holiday tune here to remind me of what December was like last year. Because last year sucked a lot more than 2021 has, and every word and emotion in this song resonated with me last year. So when I start to lose my focus I will have this song here to remind me that life is a lot better now than it used to be.

 

 

 

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

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  • That's Metal 2

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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1 hour ago, Scaly Freak said:

One of the things I did while I was on my little Challenge Sabbatical was to focus on just making the best choices available in that moment, and not worry about what choices I made the day before or would be making the day after. It worked surprisingly well, so I am going to strive to keep this mindset with me for this challenge as well.

 

If you're deciding what's best moment by moment, does that mean you have to be focused on your goals all the time?

 

1 hour ago, Scaly Freak said:

Another thing I did very successfully was to finally get back in the habit of going to the gym to lift regularly. Well, sort of. I've been going to the gym three evenings every week for nearly three weeks, so the habit isn't quite fully established yet, but it's on its way. So I plan to continue going to the gym during the rest of this challenge as well.


Yes! Offerings at the temple of iron!!!!

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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10 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

YASSS you’re back! Have a very merry Squatmas! 🤩

 

I'm like one of those introverts who takes breaks from social gatherings. I don't leave.... I just go admire the backyard, or spend time with the cat in the garage, or something else solitary for a half hour or so, and then I come back and re-join the party  until the next time I need  a break. ;) 

 

10 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

If you're deciding what's best moment by moment, does that mean you have to be focused on your goals all the time?

 

Aware of them, at least. And I think it was a good thing and has made it easier for me to focus on them in a relaxed and non-frantic way, with a lot less pressure on myself. And for an anxiety-driven perfectionist, that is the sort of thing that really adds fuel to The Flame.

 

And I realize now that I forgot to add my little intro spoiler to the initial challenge post. I'd better take care of that at some point today. :) 

  • Like 2

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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5 minutes ago, Scaly Freak said:

I'm like one of those introverts who takes breaks from social gatherings. I don't leave.... I just go admire the backyard, or spend time with the cat in the garage, or something else solitary for a half hour or so, and then I come back and re-join the party  until the next time I need  a break. ;) 

 

 

Or go deadlift, apparently! Great job with your non-challenge :) 

 

12 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

One of the things I did while I was on my little Challenge Sabbatical was to focus on just making the best choices available in that moment, and not worry about what choices I made the day before or would be making the day after. It worked surprisingly well, so I am going to strive to keep this mindset with me for this challenge as well.

 

 

6 minutes ago, Scaly Freak said:

Aware of them, at least. And I think it was a good thing and has made it easier for me to focus on them in a relaxed and non-frantic way, with a lot less pressure on myself. And for an anxiety-driven perfectionist, that is the sort of thing that really adds fuel to The Flame.

 

 

I like this perspective - it sounds like it could take a lot of anxiety away from what you felt like you should have done in the past, as well as stress about everything you want to tackle in the future.

 

Here's to Squatmas! (By the way, is Squatmas a specific challenge? I've seen it mentioned a few times now!)

 

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-:- THE LIONESS -:-

Challenge 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10 

 

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12 minutes ago, Alanna said:

Here's to Squatmas! (By the way, is Squatmas a specific challenge? I've seen it mentioned a few times now!)

 

It's a specific squat Christmas challenge that Mr Willes is running. I tagged you in a post in his thread about it :) 

  • Like 1

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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15 minutes ago, Alanna said:

Or go deadlift, apparently! Great job with your non-challenge :)

 

We can leave the party to deadlift? Magnificent!

You know, if I set up weights in my cellar after we move, then I will indeed be able to leave my own dinner parties to deadlift. Excellent, excellent.

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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Just now, Alanna said:

Fixed it for you!

 

Home gym is exciting! When are you moving?

 

Deadlift parties... I'll need some deadlift friends in the area! Moving in about a year, year and a half I guess. But there's a cellar where I can put a rack or half rack.

  • Like 2

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

Link to comment
17 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Deadlift parties... I'll need some deadlift friends in the area! Moving in about a year, year and a half I guess. But there's a cellar where I can put a rack or half rack.

 

I have now added a combined wine cellar and deadlift room to my future dream house :) 

  • Like 1
  • That's Metal 2

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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1 hour ago, Scaly Freak said:

I'm like one of those introverts who takes breaks from social gatherings. I don't leave.... I just go admire the backyard, or spend time with the cat in the garage, or something else solitary for a half hour or so, and then I come back and re-join the party  until the next time I need  a break. ;) 

 

Hah love this, I relate! Welcome back to the party :)

The intro text actually has me curious.. 

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Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: KB Girl puts down the phone

2023 Battle Log: over here

my instagram - my gym's instagram

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17 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Another thing I did very successfully was to finally get back in the habit of going to the gym to lift regularly. Well, sort of. I've been going to the gym three evenings every week for nearly three weeks, so the habit isn't quite fully established yet, but it's on its way. So I plan to continue going to the gym during the rest of this challenge as well.

 

And now that I have access to a gym with barbells, I'm attempting to do Squatmas again.

Very good news, and a good start to the habit-building foundation.

 

Yay Squatmas! (No bailing to build a computer this year! ;) )

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Challenge:   0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39  40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48  49 

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Blessed be the Iron. 

Blessed be the Strength it gives us. 

Blessed be the Warriors who lift it. 

 

So happy to see you. Following! 

 

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LEVEL 4 - Half Elf - Sword Assassin

STR: 9          DEX: 4          CON: 8          INT: 6          CHA: 7

SKILLS: Swordsman 

EQUIPMENT: Padded Armor, Wooden Sword 

BADGES: Stormrider

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13 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

 

Yay Squatmas! (No bailing to build a computer this year! ;) )

 

Building a computer is a perfectly legitimate reason to avoid almost anything else.

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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Just came back from visiting the gym with Husband. While we were there lifting I was thinking ahead to Squatmas in between sets, and realized something that managed to escape me until now. In order to participate in Squatmas I need to know my weight. I may need to weigh myself, something I haven't done in years.

 

This is going to be... interesting.

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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2 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Just came back from visiting the gym with Husband. While we were there lifting I was thinking ahead to Squatmas in between sets, and realized something that managed to escape me until now. In order to participate in Squatmas I need to know my weight. I may need to weigh myself, something I haven't done in years.

 

This is going to be... interesting.

 

Do you avoid weighing because you don't mind what you weigh, or because you're traumatised by dieting and body shame? (like so many of us)

Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

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8 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

Do you avoid weighing because you don't mind care what you weigh, or because you're traumatised by dieting and body shame? (like so many of us)

 

Both. Now that I've adjusted the phrasing. ;) 

 

It used to be the latter but has gradually been shifting over to the former as I am growing more confident and learning better, and moving away from the trauma. I like being fit and I like having my clothes fit me a certain way, but how many pounds or kilos I weigh is becoming irrelevant to me and I like it that way. I'm a lot more freaked out about the potential risk of reversing this process and getting back into the insecure headspace where any kind of comment on my weight becomes a trigger for self-punishment and negative thoughts, than I am about finding out my weight.  And now that I see that in writing, I realize it is probably a good sign.

 

22 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

In a ‘Hm I wonder’ kind of way or a ‘Hm how will that impact me’ kind of way?

 

Yes?

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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12 minutes ago, Scaly Freak said:

Both. Now that I've adjusted the phrasing. ;) 

 

It used to be the latter but has gradually been shifting over to the former as I am growing more confident and learning better, and moving away from the trauma. I like being fit and I like having my clothes fit me a certain way, but how many pounds or kilos I weigh is becoming irrelevant to me and I like it that way. I'm a lot more freaked out about the potential risk of reversing this process and getting back into the insecure headspace where any kind of comment on my weight becomes a trigger for self-punishment and negative thoughts, than I am about finding out my weight.  And now that I see that in writing, I realize it is probably a good sign.

 

Totally understandable. Can you just think of you weight as... as a function of your squatmas squatting weight? Like, it's just double whatever your squatmas weight is? Nothing more or less meaningful than that?

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Let cheese and oxen and mead crowd out our secret desires for power and domination - Harriet the Viking

Just be bold, fluid and unapologetic, not small, hairy and indecisive - Harriet the Artist

You can absorb me! - Harriet the Contextless Guru

Link to comment
19 minutes ago, Scaly Freak said:

I'm a lot more freaked out about the potential risk of reversing this process and getting back into the insecure headspace where any kind of comment on my weight becomes a trigger for self-punishment and negative thoughts, than I am about finding out my weight.  And now that I see that in writing, I realize it is probably a good sign.

It probably is!

At the other side of that risk is the possibility that even knowing the number, you still don’t care about it, which would be a nice finishing step in that process :) 

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Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: KB Girl puts down the phone

2023 Battle Log: over here

my instagram - my gym's instagram

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Alternatively, if you don't want to weigh yourself (or at least don't want to weigh yourself yet), you could just be an overachiever and choose a weight that you know is definitely much more than 50% of your bodyweight - such as something close to 100% of your estimated bodyweight 😅.

 

I jest, but if you estimated and ended up squatting somewhere in the range of 40-60% of your bodyweight instead, I don't think anyone would accuse you of not completing squatmas! Just depends on what approach would be better for your mental health. You don't have to defeat the insidious scale and diet culture on Christmas if you don't want to. 

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-:- THE LIONESS -:-

Challenge 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10 

 

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Edit: I am calmer now, so although I'm letting my venting rant stand, I'm hiding it behind a spoiler tag.  Because it's not as big a deal as it irrationally seems to be to me. :) 

 

Spoiler

Entirely unrelated to everything except the lovely holiday season and the way certain people are borderline dysfunctional about it...

 

I can't be the only one who goes into December every year with a heavy sigh and a sarcastic, "if only marriage didn't automatically com with in-laws", can I?

 

Especially in-laws whose Christmas traditions have absolutely refused to evolve as their children grew up (and in one case have children of their own) to the point where we have to have a separate Christmas celebration every year that other child goes out-of-state to visit their own in-laws for Christmas. God forbid the  poor grandparents be forced entertain the notion of celebrating a holiday with only the two of us for company. 

 

This is one of the reasons I'm stressed every November and December. It's bad enough to have all the holiday stress to deal with, but to have to have Christmas twice for no other reason than because Certain People can't handle the idea that things change as people grow up, is not helping.

 

This is probably completely irrational, and it's all most likely rooted in interpreting the fixation on, "we must have a real family Christmas all of us before X goes out of town" as "we must Christmas before X goes out of town because Christmas with just the two of you isn't good enough", and all the resentment that causes. 

 

Why do I have to have in-laws again?

 

Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scalyfreak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34; Ch 35; Ch 36; Ch 37; Ch 38; Ch 39; Ch 40

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My in-laws are more understanding and accepting of my partner's and my limitations/boundaries, so while I am familiar with dysfunctional family, they thankfully don't contribute to that dysfunction! They are also separated and live several hours away from each other (a good day's journey without a car), so maybe they also cling less to the idea of getting the whole family together for Christmas. I agree with you that their wanting to see everyone is probably not because they think you and your husband are insufficient family for them, but if the double Christmas causes you a lot of stress, that's still not fun. So I wouldn't say your feelings are "completely irrational" - you're probably feeling frustrated and stressed because you feel like your boundaries (for protecting your time, health, and energy) are being ignored!

 

I do want to gently point out that you phrase things like the in-laws have a final say in the plans (they can't handle, they refuse to evolve, etc), when you two also still have a choice about how to engage with them. That might not be a fun choice - there could be tantrums and guilt-tripping and more short-term stress because of that - but there is a choice. If you decide to go the boundaries route, it doesn't have to be "Death to the Family Christmas" either. Could you maybe identify what in particular stresses you out about the two Christmases and set some boundaries to mitigate that? E.g., if it's cooking two Christmas dinners/bringing a side dish to every event, say you will meet up, but want to go out for a meal instead (easier without COVID, I know) or get a nice take-away. Or it could be that you do first Christmas with everyone, but then spend second Christmas with just the two of you (because you've already done Christmas with them!). 

 

I know all that is easier said than done, though, and you really need your husband on your team because joint boundaries only work if you are both willing to enforce them. 

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-:- THE LIONESS -:-

Challenge 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 2.10 

 

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Feelings aren't rational; they shouldn't be expected to be, for all that they should be understood and processed and integrated.

 

And FWIW, I'm under the impression this kind of thing is normal at this time of year. Lots of performative stuff with extended family who may or may not be the kinds of people you want to perform for. It's tough. I hope it gets easier.

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