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Rihor

A Wind Rises for Rihor

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The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Fourth Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the forest of Braem Wood. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

 

Rihor strolled along a path studded with fallen leaves that still held on to the memory of autumn. Winter now grasped the land and the naked branches overhead reached out to the sky as if to repel the frigid air. The path wound about the bottom of a gentle hill dotted with outcroppings of weathered rock  and was flanked by a stream that sat low in its bed on the other side. Leaves crackled underfoot and his exhale greeted the chill as a weak cloud. He was not on this path to reach a destination. The path was the destination for all it mattered to him. There was nowhere he needed to be and nowhere he knew of that he wanted to be. This remote place absent of other people served as good a place as any to do what needed to be done. So he walked. A wind came out of the north cutting through his clothes finding the warm flesh beneath. The wind rushed past carrying the remaining leaves along as they scraped across the ground in protest. And there was stillness. Then he remembered.

 

Memories of pulling The Eye of the World off a shelf as an adolescent came to him. The choosing of the book had not been a lengthy, deliberate process like much of the other choices he had made and will come to make in his life. Nor had the choice been entirely a whim. He had opened the book and flipped to pages at random reading lines here and there. Plus the sheer length of the book provided a challenge he had not yet faced.

 

It had been a good choice though. The story told of three young men who led a simple life that were called to something greater as books like these tended to do. But he could identify with Rand, Mat and Perrin. Each clung adamantly to the way they thought their life should be while life had other plans for them. Each man would deal with it in different ways. One would let his life go and live only for others. Another would try live only for the fun that encompassed his youth. And another would cling even harder to that simple life while denying to himself and others what he was truly capable of.

 

*        *        *

 

I remember looking to these three as role models in absence of good, real, male role models in my life. But then, I think it was more than that. It was their lives I wanted to live rather than my own. Sure, I did have my own story, however it was messier. And harder. And would have enemies that were ill-defined. But one does not have the choice of living another's life so we must make do with our own. It does not negate those character being role models though. Instead, they highlight my own struggles and those things which I value.

 

And without any further ado...Dovie'andi se tovya sagain. It's time to toss the dice.

 

The Ta'veren Challenge

 

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Rand loses himself in doing what he must rather than what he wants. His life ceases to be his own to live. Despite this, he has to remain centered and focused to continue on while learning to put down what he once was...what he thought he would be...for who he is.

  • Practicing sword forms: Robert Jordan's description of sword play reminds me Tai Chi swordplay. So for this challenge, Tai Chi Jian once a week. And mega bonus points for learning the entire sequence in a month!
  • Finding the void: Breath-meditation twice a day (once in the morning and once at night). Rather than just quietly sitting and breathing, there is some movement to it and it is relatively quick, but effective. And I think it is totally doable.

 

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Oh, Mat. Always in search of fun while having it interrupted by responsibility thrust on him. But he finds balance between the two and manages both with style. Of the three, he grows the most while still retaining who he is.

  • Music to dazzle: Simply, piano everyday. No set amount of time. No set procedure. Just for fun. Bonus points for posting videos of new things i work on.
  • Seanchan Poses: While Mat might describe yoga as a bloody waste of time, I think it fits him perfectly as he is an agile, rogue-type. Like last time, once a week. Bonus points for attempting inversions with a smile and a laugh.

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Perrin...slow, careful and deliberate because with his size and strength he is afraid of hurting others, but that restraint carries over to his mindset as well.

  • Shoulders of the blacksmith: Of typical note are Perrin's shoulders and arms from once being an apprentice blacksmith. So for this challenge, I'm adopting a 2-day Greyskull lifting program with a third day of bodybuilding work to emphasize shoulders and arms. Bonus points for hitting 135 lbs on the overhead press!
  • Contemplation: Perrin cares deeply for others and thinks things through methodically from many angles to understand and be understood. I think I should care for and take an interest in myself by taking time to understand. So I am going to attempt to use a journal. Two days. Just two days per week! Once to recap the week...what worked, what did not, etc. Then a second day of what I want to work on for the new week and what I need to pay attention to.

​And finally as a bonus...

 

The Library Challenge

 

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The Royal Library of Cairhien is one of the great wonders of the world, a vast treasure trove consisting of tens of thousands of books on every conceivable subject. In the First Battle of Cairhien, it was one of the few buildings in the city not torched by the Aiel in their quest for justice over Laman's Sin.

  • Studying old volumes: I have a smallish book to read, The Unfettered Mind, of my own free choosing. I had finished the Tao Te Ching and The Art of Peace and this other book has been sitting on my shelf. It is along the same line as the other two (wrtings from a Zen master to a master swordsman) so why not?
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Tai chi, Yoga, and Meditation?....following on subject matter alone! :D

Practicing to be a hermit on a secluded mountain in a remote mountain range!

 

Following along! (Obviously.) I'm looking forward to seeing you rock this challenge as much as, if not more than, your first.

Thanks, Ballad! It's doubly intense so we'll see how it goes. Already a little nervous about failing, but then, I think there's more to gain from it even if I do fail miserably  :stung:

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Well, I think the challenge is now finalized. I say that so I can will stop adding stuff to it. It's enough! You don't need anymore!

 

But happy with my choices and how it's tied to the theme.

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Fantastic theme, lovely goals - looking forward to following you again!

^_^ Glad to have you aboard! Kinda excited to have a theme this go-around  :eagerness:

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I remember looking to these three as role models in absence of good, real, male role models in my life. But then, I think it was more than that. It was their lives I wanted to live rather than my own. Sure, I did have my own story, however it was messier. And harder. And would have enemies that were ill-defined. But one does not have the choice of living another's life so we must make do with our own. It does not negate those character being role models though. Instead, they highlight my own struggles and those things which I value.

I just love this. Such a great insight, and so so true. 

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I just love this. Such a great insight, and so so true. 

Thanks, spooksie. Just being honest. Wished it didn't feel like making do with my own life. It does not always, but it does enough to hurt. Too often I will think, "Things were not supposed to work out this way," even though I know that it is a silly thought. There is not a way your life is supposed to unfold. Life is what happens when you make plans. And it is the unexpected that really sticks with you - well, with me at least - and not so much the making of plans then doing them.

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Beautifully written and really thoughtful challenges as well! Though it seems like there's a lot staring at you in the face, you'll persevere. Even if you fail, that's the best way of learning, and it's only by learning that you improve! :D

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Love the theme, and those are some great goals, too.

Thank you and thank you!

 

Beautifully written and really thoughtful challenges as well! Though it seems like there's a lot staring at you in the face, you'll persevere. Even if you fail, that's the best way of learning, and it's only by learning that you improve! :D

Thanks! And thanks for the encouragement! Things feel a little more daunting this time around, so fear failing a little bit.

 

Folllowing along.

Good to have you aboard!

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Since I have a lifting component this time, here's some measurements and pictures as of yesterday:

 

Weight:                 165.6 lbs

Shoulders:            117 cm

Upper arms (l/r):   31.5/31 cm

Forearms (l/r):      28/28.5 cm

Chest:                  101 cm

Waist:                   85 cm

 

Carrying a little more body fat than I'd like. And measurements were taken unflexed so remember that when you take final measurements!

02-01-16

02-01-16

02-01-16

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Well, here's a bit of back story for me...part of how I got here and where some of my advice and such comes from. It deals with things like anxiety attacks, self-harm and thoughts of taking one's life...so hidden text in case some can't/does't want to see that. Considered not posting it, but maybe it might do someone good somehow. I'm not sure what the takeaway message is...maybe it's a cautionary tale. If you do read it, please...no sympathy! And don't feel obliged to comment at all. My original purpose was more cathartic if anything.

 

Two years ago, I went back to school because I was tired of doing customer service jobs. I had been working in a casino and making more money there than I would teaching in my state. But I hated the job. It is hard watching people gamble their money away because they are hopelessly addicted. It is hard feeling like you are a parasite feeding off of them. It is hard having managers that chose that job despite making less money than the people they managed…thanks to tips. So I gave it up to go back to school. I had attempted it previously. I failed miserably. Partly because I did not know what I really wanted to do. I still do not know what I want to do. But I went back. My GPA was low and I had a bunch of credit hours. To not get suspended in the fall, I would have to get 24 credit hours of all As during the spring and summer semesters. I did it though. Plus some. All while still managing to go to the gym 4 days a week. I got all As, got my weight up to 180 lbs, 385 deadlift, 290 squat, 195 bench, and a 20 min 5k. I had a wonderful fiancé that I was eager to start a life with, but first…get school out of the way.

A year ago I was still engaged. I was still recovering from a nervous breakdown that I had not known occurred. All I knew was that all I could manage amounted to not being enough. School, work, relationships and a car that could die at any given moment...that overly real fear that it could die and jeopardize my relentless grinding away at school, work and relationships. If that car died, I could not keep everything else working. Looking back, I had been depressed for years before that, but I just could not see it. All that I knew to do was brace myself and keep pushing through. And maybe one day...maybe one day it would be easier. And I could be happier. And people could be happier with me.

Depression had stolen happiness from me. Depression had prohibited fun. I caught on to it though; fighting back anyway I could much like someone beating at the surface of the water desperately trying to stay afloat and gulp air as they slowly, surely drown. My fiancé could not comprehend it though. She thought I was swimming…albeit poorly. She thought it was a fight easily won if only you follow these simple tips you can glean from Google. I followed those tips and I kept clawing at the water desperate to find some handhold to keep my face high enough to frantically pull in air. Of course, my fingers sliced through the water finding no purchase. Grasping at water only allows it to escape from your hand. And I drowned.

Months before that certain drowning, I had gotten a job. I had a sizeable amount of money saved up to go back to school, but it was running out by this point. That day was looming closer and higher. Desperate, I began working full-time while going to school full-time. I got a job working the front desk of a hotel - a job that I had done previously years before.
Working out had to be abandoned, which was devastating. I had gotten in the best shape of my life and lifting was the one thing keeping me sane. But I was beginning to have to choose between sleeping and eating. Not which one I want more, but which hurts the most? So I hate...absolutely hate those people that say, "You can always find time to work out." If you are tired enough to weep, if you are hungry enough that the ground shifts as you walk, you simply do not have enough time. Embarrassingly, I reduced showering to once a week. I hated myself for that, but it did not really feel like much of a choice at the time. There was not enough time and I had gone a month without seeing my fiancé. It may have felt like a week. It may have felt like years. Maybe it felt like both at the same time. Everything felt so skewed...like looking at the reflection of the world in some dingy funhouse mirror in a long-abandoned amusement park.

I was unhappy that I had not been able to see her for a month. I started making an effort to see her. Considering all else that was going on in life, “making an effort†is grossly understated. Even then, it was not much time…just minutes here and there throughout the week – usually between school and work which only amounted to minutes. She offered to help by doing those mundane things in life that I had begun neglecting, but she did not always follow through. I really did not mind though. It was my responsibility to do those things. Not hers. But then I am not good at either asking for or accepting help.

There is another saying I hate: “You will always find time for what is important to you.†No, you will not always and no, it is not anyone’s fault. What I was doing was not balanced. It was not as simple as shifting things around or scheduling things differently. I had to start choosing between which school assignments I was going to put effort in and which I would just do terribly at. I was not okay with this because I always want to put forth my best. Then my grades started suffering. But do not forget about the car. It was still running but that threat was still there.

I felt stuck. Everything I was undertaking was all about getting out of that huge mess as quickly as possible so I could be happy. But if my grades were not good enough, well, that would just prolong things even further. And about here is when I had a nervous breakdown. I was trying to enjoy my second cup of coffee for the day before work. I could not enjoy it. It was about taking in more caffeine to keep me going. And I laughed. And I cried. Pressure welled up in my head. Weight pressed down. It felt extraordinarily loud and threatened to consume my entire world. Without thinking, I closed my hands into fists and hit myself in the head until it stopped. Then it was off to work as normal.

I later went down to part-time hours at work because grades were the most pressing concern. If I did not get at least Bs, it would end up hurting my GPA and prolong my time in this mess. And my grades were suffering now. It was not just the assignments; I could not concentrate on the lectures. I was physically unable to focus on them from lack of sleep and being undernourished. The clothes that I used to fill out from a body I had worked so hard to achieve began hanging off of me. I think I had gotten down to 145 lbs against my will.

Working less was marvelous. However, it did accentuate money as a problem, but I was able to do more and more felt under my control. Still no gym though. Instead, I would take some time to spend hours with my fiancé rather than minutes. It was not quality time though and it was quality time that she wanted. There was nothing I really wanted to do byond spending some time not worrying about everything…which equaled a pretty dull time. And also I had no sex drive at this point. One day it would all be different though.

Despite things being better, things were still bad and I was a wreck. The pressure to get an A in each assignment and each test was just immense. For most assignments, I would have to hit myself just to calm down enough to begin working on them. My head was constantly tender from bruises and lumps. I began worrying about long term damage one day after hitting myself and I tasted toast. That did not stop me though. I would not stop until one day after hitting myself I could not remember why I did. I could not remember what it was that I was doing that put me over the edge. About here is when I let my fiancé in on what was going on with me. She was supportive, but did not really know what to do. She said things like, “We’ll get through this together.†She pointed out all the things I should be thankful for and would point out how other people have it so much worse. I was lucky that this was all I had to worry about.

So I tried to suppress thoughts and ended up with nervous tics. My head would twitch or my hands would tremble. Things would still build up to a breaking point though. Except now, I would hit myself in the legs. It had the desired effect while being less dangerous. The downside was that it made walking difficult at times. I ended up getting 3 Cs for the semester and 1 F. Part of why I got the F was because I did not take that final exam. Instead, I had an anxiety attack in my car. You did not forget about the car, did you? While everyone else was taking the test, I was crying and screaming and hitting myself in my car. It could die on me at any moment and ruin everything.

I do not remember much from that next semester. I quit work. Grades were a little better. More self-harm. The car. I think my fiancé did not realize that I understood how worried she was over me. But I understood. It is partly why it took so long for me to tell her. I did not want her to have to worry. So one day she told me she was so stressed out over something that she took some pills…Nyquil I think she said…which turned out to be a lie. I guess she thought if she could make me worry over her in the same way, that I would get how she feels? It was similar to a couple of other things she had tried in the past to get me to understand her when she thought I did not understand her. Except this hurt me hard…like she was making light of what I was going through. One thing you will have to trust me on is that she was not good at empathy, but then I do not think you would have to make too great a leap to trust me on that. So I forgave her and moved on.

I let her further in. I told her about how inadequate I felt about everything. And I suppose she grew tired of listening. She told me, “If you keep saying things like that, I’m going to end up believing them.†So I kept things to myself. We are in this together.

For my birthday, she got us a trip to the Bahamas for later that year in the summer. It immediately brought up feelings of dread…the surprise of it left me thinking only about how it would interfere with my life. I very slowly started coming around though. We are in this together.

Things were looking up though. Much like one would look up from the bottom of a pit and see a small patch of sky. Self-harm was still there. Worry. Inadequacy. Car. Not good enough. Never good enough. One day it will be all okay. Some people have it worse. We are in this together.

The semester ended. It was not a relief. It felt more like a holding cell for the summer classes I would be taking in a month. Still though, things got a little better. I actually got to enjoy my time with her again. I was back in the gym…I did not particular enjoy it, but maybe I would again eventually. I was looking forward to the trip later that summer. My fiancé took a short vacation with two of her friends to Miami. She came back and we needed to talk. If you keep saying things like that, I am going to end up believing them. We are in this together.

Maybe I just was not cut out for life. Other people have it worse and they are managing. They are making it through. There are people that are able to work and go to school at the same time. There are people that are able to make relationships work when nothing else is working for them. What was it about me that kept me from doing the same? This entire time I have been drowning and everyone acts like the water is all in my head. Maybe I ended up believing them. The problem was me. Try as I might, it was me that was the problem. This entire time…my entire life…I was the problem.

It was not the first time in my life that I had considered suicide. It was, however, the first time I had written a suicide note. I waited at my window and watched for her little grey car to come into sight down the road. I was excited to see it. She came in and told me, “It’s not your fault. I just don’t love you anymore.†I could not say anything, but inside my mind was screaming, “That’s a lie! It’s all my fault!†and I believed it.

She left. I am still here. I do have a lot to be thankful for. And there are plenty of people that are worse off than me. We were never in this together though…I never had the option of leaving. The water turned out to be real and I am slowly working out this swimming thing. Then there is the car.

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Subbed :). You look really nice on those pictures, I don't see an abundance of fat at all ;).

Will you work out at home or in a gym? I've never heard about that shoulder workout, but it sounds like you have a nice plan :).

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There is another saying I hate: “You will always find time for what is important to you.” No, you will not always and no, it is not anyone’s fault. What I was doing was not balanced. It was not as simple as shifting things around or scheduling things differently.

This, right here.

When you are shouldering too much, walking while broken, and still not taking anything in, something will give.

I know.

I have been here, my friend.

You are not alone.

We *are* in this together.

Let's talk about that car.

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Subbed :). You look really nice on those pictures, I don't see an abundance of fat at all ;).

Will you work out at home or in a gym? I've never heard about that shoulder workout, but it sounds like you have a nice plan :).

Thanks! Not an abundance, but my waist has increased a little bit and feeling a bit softer around the midsection. I'll tackle that in April maybe.

 

Two workouts in a gym. One on a Saturday when I have nothing else going on and another at the school's gym between classes. And a third day at home to save time and sanity from having to run around to places.

 

And here's Greyskull! I just took the two-day version and added in some stuff I want to work on. Then put in a third day of just DB work I can do at home to emphasize arms and shoulders but still bring things into balance.

 

My workouts look like:

 

Day 1

Bench Press 2x5, 1x5+

Yates Row 3x6-8

Preacher Curl 2x10-12

Back Squat 2x5, 1x5+

Farmer's Carry 3x40 steps

 

Day 2

Overhead Press 2x5, 1x5+ (but I'm also going as low as 3 reps here before a reset to bring up strength)

Pull-ups 3x6-8

Dips 3x6-8

Deadlifts 1x5+

External Rotation 2x10-12

Single Carry 3x30 steps for each side

 

Day 3

The Black Smith Circuit 

Single-arm Rear Fly 2x8

Single-arm Upright Row 2x8

Single-arm DB Overhead Press 2x8

Single-arm DB Shrug 2x8

 

...after that...

Single-arm DB Bench 3x6-8

Suitcase Deadlift 3x6-8

DB Fly 4x8

DB Row 4x8

 

...and then, The Hammer Superset!

Lying Tri Extension 2x10-12

Hammer Curls 2x10-12

 

...and finally...

Swiss Ball Pike-to-Rollout 3x6-8

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