3.10.2012

Conquering Yourself

I was laying in bed, considering just how nice it would feel to roll over and go back to sleep. I began to feel my thoughts drift from how nice more sleep would be, into that lucid conversation one has with oneself as their mind fades into sleep.

I mentally shook myself, sat upright, and got up. My legs felt like lead weights hanging from threads, but still I stood.

I sat at the kitchen island and spooned the last bite of Raisin Bran into my mouth, when I felt an urge to match upstairs, plop on the couch, turn on the Xbox and lose myself on Mass Effect 3. "I'm on target with work. I deserve a lazy day."

I started walking up the stairs and had to decide - turn right at top and go to the game room, or straight to the bedroom and get dressed out for the gym. I actually paused and had to think about it.

I went into the bedroom and into the closet, dressed, and exited -- and when I did, I saw my bed. My warm, comfortable bed. My nest. My escape from the day. "I could fall right back I to it. No one will know. No one will care."

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and left the room. I got into my truck.

"GameStop is just down the road. Plus, you have grocery shopping to do. That's a day's effort. Do that, go home. Play games."

I drove past GameStop. I drove past the grocery store. I headed to the gym.

On the way there, I got into a phone conversation with my friend John Tyler Christopher about comics and illustration and gaming and eventually to our mutual love of Tekken. He invited me to join him in a lounge game with our studiomate Dexter Vines. I was sitting in the parking lot of my gym. In the parking lot. So close. Almost there.

I turned around and began to leave. All day Tekken fest with my buddies? How can I resist?

I got to the exit of the parking lot. I shook my head. I turned around.

"I'll have to join you later," I said.

This is my day, every day. It's the gym. It's work. It's writing. It's designing Fark. It's going to drawing class.

Every single day, the struggle is in my head. It was when I was going to school, but I had parents to force me. It was when I was working for companies, but I had bosses to answer to and debt to pay off. it was when I was playing football, but I had coaches to respect.

Now that work and fitness are a decision and not a necessity, that voice in my head is even louder. And that's why I don't answer it. I don't argue with it. If I try to defeat it with words, it will win every time, because it knows exactly what to say to get me to agree. It's the greatest con job in the history of mankind: the ego, that thing inside you which aims solely to satisfy and protect itself, has convinced you that it IS you.

The only way to defeat it is action. You can't play the game by the rules, because the game is rigged. You have to change the game.

And In my case -- and I suspect yours as well -- it's a daily battle. Sometimes, it's even hourly.

If ever you hear a voice in your head which tells you you cannot, by all means, do. That voice will be silenced.