Reclaiming the Stomping Ground

In the continued series of being unable to sleep properly, especially after Something Big happens (and screwing up my sleep schedule due to being awake so late into the morning because of that), I found myself waking up at 4pm. Contemplated for a moment getting up and acting as if I had not slept all day, but accepted the reality where all in the house were aware of my nonsense. I thought instead, I would just get up when ready, go get a can of all of the caffeine, and stay up all night.

Not nearly an hour later I felt as if I could simply just go back to bed, but some friends were in a game and one requested in our discord channel certain ammunition, which I surely had and could dump off to him. Faffed around a bit, looked at the world, felt some degree of anxiety… went to go get the caffeine and settle in for the night of awake. I am realizing now I’d rather just get back to sleep.

Caffeine is something hard to balance right. We have stuck exclusively to Folgers coffee for some time, and for a while were doing half-caf as “it’s upsetting my stomach” was a thing mentioned. I doubt the caffeine content itself was the culprit, rather drinking an entire pot of coffee, smoking, and not eating would more easily cause upset. It’s possible that the last shopping trip netted no Folgers, or perhaps there was an interest in swapping, but even the crap Walmart store-brand coffee was markedly better. Supposedly the coffee is Sara Lee Co, but that’s been foisted off onto JM Smucker…same place that has Folgers. I did not expect a notable difference in taste, and with this information I am surprised, but there certainly is one. I do not expect this slightly better brew to last long, however, which is a disappointment.

Instead of ridiculous amounts of coffee I feel more sated with an energy drink. Preferably Monster, their Ultra line. Caffeine seems to be about the right amount, but at times I acknowledge I ‘need’ more, which leads me to finding other companies that stuff a ludicrous 300mg of caffeine into a can. This is decidedly a “Bang” thing, and although I find the company grotesque, it’s just easier to grab something from them. Monster does have it’s 300mg coffee in a can, at least, but the carb amount is…avoidable.

Regardless, the trip to the store was planned and achieved just before sunset.

This was the store near me, the one I always shop at, that Bill decided to text me from the other day. Pulling into their parking lot I found myself scanning not only for a spot to park, but for his car as well. Walking through the store toward the sports drink aisle, I looked to see if he was lurking. Choosing paths different from my usual — as they have been my usual for long enough he may remember them — just in case. Very defensive behavior. While hesitant, I made the decision to walk around the main (drive) aisles of the store. A ritual of metaphorically reclaiming my stomping grounds.

One of the side panels in an aisle he suggested he was in contained merchandise that a person he hates would love. It was amusing. Had I not spent my meager ‘fun money’ on mobile games (I don’t even want to hear it), I would be able to grab one of these pieces of merchandise for the person who loves that particular character. In all likelihood they will still be there following some acquisition of cash and I can still do this — although truthfully I’ve got about four more of this character I meant to clean up for him and they should take precedence.

Emboldened, but still existing within a realm of fear, I trekked back to the checkout near the door I walked in. No sightings of anyone remotely close to Bill. The reclamation was complete.

Barely out of the parking lot I found myself cursing aloud. My vision is perpetually worsening, and I have needed new glasses for a couple years. It makes night driving stressful, and in some locations dangerous. I will not drive out in areas that are surrounded by forestry or fields where crepuscular/nocturnal critters like to show up. The saving grace of a highway is that they are typically well-lit, which helps somewhat. The lights in the dark though are riddled again with duplication and the hint of starbursts. Cursed nearsightedness. Even as I found my way into my friend’s neighborhood the other night, I was drenched in the stress-sweat of navigating through the darkness. Be it muscle memory or familiarity with the streets, getting to her house was easy aside from that. And for a quiet neighborhood at midnight, my biggest concern of pedestrians was a non-issue.

I still lack strength in a lot of ways.

You’ll learn to love the unrelated game screenshots. Skyrim, Blackreach.

My cowardice — decades of anxiety including the social variety, mainly developed through inadequate social learning in my formative years — halts me from doing many things I ought to at my age. Phone calls are impossible. A backbone is hard to find. I feel physically weak (and I am). Doing something comparatively cheaper to get new glasses is outside the realm of possibility.

Go wherever to get the correct vision Rx. A task made difficult by feeling some degree of guilt to go get a checkup and then not follow through by buying glasses right then and there. Add in a mistrust for certain ocular centers in department stores, and it makes the visit to an optometrist seem a bit more daunting. One would ideally take this Rx that is already beyond my capabilities to acquire and go to some site that sells glasses with proper lenses.

Then it is a matter of breaking down those sites, and the costs. Finding frames that I like that may at least look okay on my face, and are also metal. My poor glasses are sorely abused over time, and metal is fixable in a way plastic just is not. The lenses themselves must be fully enclosed, so that the inevitable popping out can simply be pushed back into place. It is a tremendous amount of digging to find styles that are ideal, then narrow down based on certain little things I would also like.

Transitions. Necessity. And this brings with it the problem, transitions cost a fortune. Granted, $70 for them on lenses at a place like Zenni is still significantly better than what is at least double that at an optometrist. In the end the cost would be 1/3 of what I know a new pair would cost, but it involves getting over the insurmountable hurdle of going someplace to get that Rx (and any cost associated), and the less troublesome struggle to get the Right Glasses.

I am light sensitive. Not diagnosed so much as just an awareness that certain light levels are uncomfortable. Having glasses that also become shades is a blessing, but now a requirement. There is nothing quite like a clear summer day with the sun illuminating everything so grossly bright, except a clear winter day, fresh snow heavy on the world, reflecting every beam of light directly into my soul.

This cowardice and anxiety encompasses much more than just glasses, but they are a good example. Outlining the path does not imbue in me much anxiety at the moment, but I did also take my meds before writing. Something to be said about the difference in sensation between this and cannabis. A high, certainly, but a much less intrusive one.


The ordeal the other night was an additional reminder of this lack of strength. On the surface of what I have written it sounds as though I am only gripped by my anxiety and fear. It goes into physical aspects as well.

Did you guess Fallout 76, you should have

I have been unhappy with my body for a very long time. Puberty caused my weight to increase in a way I felt was drastic. I had gone from some child around 90lbs to 100, 112, 120lbs in what felt a short period of time. Somewhat impossible to personally notice the transformation at the time, but my stretch marks tell a story that I find fascinating — and I am covered in them. The ones I find most pride in are those around my calves: they tell the story of my final burst of height in addition to the very quick accumulation of muscle. Once, I had calves I felt proud of. The marks that illuminate a quick growth otherwise exist around my pelvis, and show off a combination of height, iliac crest growth (I’m gonna use those things as weapons I promise), and the muscle and fat accumulation heading toward a more adult body.

Regardless, I was insecure of my weight. Actually, I was mocked a lot for my weight, even though there was nothing there to mock. I carry some views about it still that are unhealthy, although I actively combat those thoughts.

There were moments where I was happy with my body, but they all came down to strength. When during my retail years of throwing stock like a champ, and I suddenly realized I had the upper-body strength to lift myself onto things. The amount of fat on my body was at its peak there too, but it didn’t matter because strong. When I went to lose weight in 2019 and did a lot of exercise, I was content too. Most recently, late last year the anxiety pushed me into a ton of physical activity and I was, briefly, very close to a personal ideal.

Ideally, 140lbs, muscular. Body fat can stay about where it’s at, I’m fine there. I do not mind being soft. But I am very far away from that ideal at present, and it weighs on me due to the lack of strength.

I felt powerless the other day, and it weighs on me even now. While being fit would not alleviate many concerns for my well-being in a dangerous situation, I would at least put forth my best effort. I just lack that strength.

What I do not lack is the strength to simply start somewhere. It’s easier sometimes, and anxiety drives me to do it more often than not, but any goal I have is not unattainable. I just need to find that strength.




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Sheep Moth

Someone told me I was a good writer, so now I’m proving…something. Tend to one’s own flame, and do not extinguish the flames of others.