Jogging into the Abyss

It was the night before jogging and all through the house, my excitement was stirring – maybe soon I’d have a spouse. But then I awoke and with the toll of the alarm…my body was unwilling – getting fit, had lost it’s charm.

I’ve always been full of half-good ideasyou know; spontaneous expensive trips abroad instead of sensibly saving, new unnecessary shoes instead of paying the council tax bill, pizza for both tea and breakfast whilst still expecting a six-pack to materialise – that sort of thing. The sort of things that can be somewhat cute and quirky when you are younger, but unfortunately start to seem silly once the boring grip of age takes a hold.

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Now any choice I make seems HUGE; so huge that I often feel anxious even thinking about the what-ifs and the maybes…so huge that I occasionally feel like reverting to childhood where most decisions are made for you – so huge that I put huge in big massive capital letters so you know I’m not fucking around. Yeah, that huge. 

Leaving South Korea last year was one of those choices as it meant I was essentially hanging up my travelling boots and strapping on something a little smarter – simply put, I had loved it but it had run its course. And yet still I felt unsure of what would be, and there seemingly wasn’t much in the way of helpful articles out there other than people stating stuff like: “you will feel like a stranger in your own town”, “no one will understand you”, and “you will never ever feel like you have a home ever again”…

Great, fab, brilliant – shall I shoot myself now, or is that also a service you offer through your delightful blog?

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But listen it’s not all doom and gloom – so don’t for a second start believing those dreamy lost fucks online. You are still you after all…in fact you are the best version of yourself that you have ever been, it’s called growth and experience people! Those big choices define who you are and mould you into the person you will be…sure they take some getting used to, but it’s worth it in the end. Your life is irrevocably different as a result but that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly total dog shit:

Case in point I thought it was a black and white sort of choice I was making by returning to the UK after adventuring around the world. You know, leaving the “traveller” lifestyle behind and getting a “proper job”, aka trading in a vibrant and fun life for a boring and tedious one…as if I was fully expecting that the powers that be were readying the  drill to forcibly redesign me as a droid devoid of human emotion, and in doing so erasing all of my weird and wonderful memories…such a cartoonish way of looking at things!

I’m still me, and I’m still making stupid choices – trust me you don’t trade in your motivations at the door (just this year I’m going to Germany, Spain, France, USA, and potentially Canada…) How’s the saving going? Piss off, pal. 

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What’s my point? Oh yeah, choices. Life is what you make it people..sure I wallowed for a bit (I am a complainer first and foremost), but now I’ve got a terrific job in content writing and communications for an amazing little charity who do tremendous work (worth checking them out here)…and you know what? Things are pretty great. I’m not a stranger in my town, in fact I love that I know people and that they know me – this is my home, but being away and coming back makes me recognise that home can actually be potentially anywhere. I love that fact, it makes the future a little blurry…just as it should be.

Don’t worry I’m never going to stop with the stupid choices – I mean if I did, what would I share with you delightful chaps on my site…movie reviews? Come on.

Actually…that would be less stressful for me – as my most recent stupid choice means I am set to run a half-marathon in support of my charity  this year. Hence the 6am wake up call, and aching limbs. Urghhhh if legs could cry mine would be moaning like Myrtle – and I’m only two days in. SEND HELP. 

ASS IN FACE (A Gym Story)

I’m not much of a talker at the gym…a nod and smile usually suffices most interactions – as the large majority of people just want to be in and out as soon as possible so the entire ordeal doesn’t drag any longer than necessary…

So like many others I put in my earphones and just silently do my time as if counting down a horrendous prison stretch…each set of exercises representing another etched line on the cell’s walls that leads up to freedom and release to the outside world – where sweaty groins and burning muscle pains are a lot less frequent. Unless you’re a pole dancer I suppose…

Pole Dancer GIF

Anyway that doesn’t stop the chatty Kathys out there unfortunately, or the other talkative people who are not called Kathy for that matter. No Sir! There are still a few bizarre individuals who feel the best time to enter into conversation with strangers is when they are one squat away from being sick all over the dumbbell rack, or one strained leg press from caking their underpants…let me tell you this right now: these people are stupid – they should let people die alone, not interrupt their struggle and offer unwanted opinions on the weather and current events!

It makes me deeply saddened to report that despite being in South Korea I am not immune to these types. Just yesterday one entered my life, and just like herpes once you have a new buddy (even one that is against your will) there is no getting rid and you will have to face it every day. If you are in this situation you have my sympathy – but there is nothing that you, a doctor, or a personal trainer can do about it…you simply have to learn to coexist…errr yeah, I think I lost my train of thought a little…

Metaphor GIF

Also may I add you may hear that a flamethrower will help alleviate this problem – I am not legally at liberty to comment. But…yeah, DO IT. 

Anyway so back to the story – I was sat at a bench, except not a nice bench like a park bench, on which I can do nothing but listen to the birds sing in the trees, and smile at babies who just stare back dumbfounded…no you see this bench is different. On this bench I have to lift up heavy things, without moving them anywhere, and then put them down again…and then repeat. As if I am really indecisive like “hmmm where shall I put this, perhaps over here, perhaps over…err…nah just put it down and think again.” REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT! So is the life of the gym goer, and so was my situation in that moment.

So anyway while I was sat there an older but still rather fit looking (as in healthy, settle down you!) lady got right in front of me- despite there being quite literally all of the rest of the gym to stand. She then began some weird very bum orientated moves that I don’t know the name of, there was a lot of gyration going on…too much. They were like squats I suppose but more butt, and each movement was so close to me that I got a bit of a breeze with every rep.,.it made me uncomfortable…very, very uncomfortable…each bum jerk was the equivalent to a sloppy Aunt kiss when you’re 12 years old.

Awkward Workout GIF

Now I’m a nervous fella at the best of the times but I felt like I knew how to deal with this one…so I deployed the good old half a clock method; I simply looked down at my phone, looked left at the Korean drama beaming on a small TV screen, then back to the mirror (looking only at myself…not even a glimpse to the right, oh no!) – and then repeat! You see I didn’t want anyone wagging a finger and shrieking “DID YOU JUST LOOK AT THE BUTT I AM SHOVING IN YOUR FACE?! HOW BLAAADY DARE YOU?! YOU FIEND YOU!” 

Nahhhh, it was far too early for that sort of exchange – so I stuck to my guns. Even when the butt turned around, I stuck to the strategy…even when she stared right at me from two feet away, I tried…even when she began waving her hands in my face…I…well yeah, at that point I had no choice…

“Errr, hello?” I mumbled, removing my earphones which I had been led to believe served as a magical artifact which lets people know you are totally not up for conversation.

“How are ya?!” asked the butt lady, who seemed very keen to know all about me despite my dour expression. I nodded and mumbled something, before remembering my manners (after all I didn’t want to be mean). She then rambled on about something gym related that I didn’t understand at all, so to both change the subject and be kind I thought I’d try a compliment; “wow, you’re English is great by the way!” “Well yeah…I’m American.” she said in a solid monotone. 

“Haha…well that explains that then…”

Awkward Oh GIF

She snapped back from the silence and continued with questions as I wondered when it was socially acceptable to put my earphones back in and continue with my workout. You know, the REASON I am here in the first place! Five minutes passed and that time didn’t seem to come…then ten minutes trickled by….and then I felt I had to make it happen myself, so made my excuses and got my sweaty body out of there, despite not being done.

“See ya tomorrow then John!” 

Argh man…I mean she’s so nice, bless her. But I don’t need a bud every morning at the gym (but now I have one, so oh well) I just need to be in and out! You know, put my body through hell till it cries so maybe, just maybe, I can eat pizza, bacon, and cheese without quite as much guilt as I do when I just have a lie in. I’m not a powerhouse masochist superhero model  type who has ‘NO PAIN NO GAIN’ tattooed across their balls – instead I’m a degenerate blob who isn’t fond of movement across the board, especially (most) movements which make me grunt. ohLIGHTBULB MOMENT! 

What if I grunt really weirdly and say strange things when doing exercises?! Just brainstorming at this point but what about something like; “URGHHYEEEAAAAH, URGHHHH-AHHH-MILKKK, MILKKK, MIIIILKKKKKKKK! OHHHH – YOOLKKKS! EGGYYYYAAAARGHHH!” 

I mean, surely no one will speak to me then? Even people named Kathy…well I’ll give it a go and let you all know…in the mean time enjoy your freedom my friends, unless you’re reading this in the gym – in which case, you have my pity…

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What Food Cravings REALLY Mean…

This is a tale of woe, a tale of misery…you may even shed a tear…

I mean I just ate a burger so I’m quite content – but what about you?

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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Fitness Fails

To long-time readers it won’t be a surprise to hear me say that I have a rather…unorthodox approach to fitness. That is…only if I truly have to and/or are made to cry in a corner because of constantly being called a big lumbering hippo. Basically whenever I feel humongously gross enough that the townsfolk may be at my door any second with flaming torches and pitchforks – that’s when I renew my gym membership. 

Every single time is an uphill climb – which is ironic I guess, as I never use that setting on the treadmill. Instead I just read up on some exercises that I will probably never do, look at diet plans I definitely won’t stick with, and imagine the figure I will possess once all of my hard work is realised…an adonis…a walking God amongst mere mortals. 

Muscular GIF

Form an orderly queue, no shoving – no cutting in…

Some of my friends back home are really into it. They have all of the supplements, pills, lotions, and potions (alright, I’m embarrassing myself with my lack of knowledge here – but you know what I mean) – basically it isn’t a game to them, it’s some serious stuff. And no investment is thought of as too pricy, no addition unworthwhile…

I feel the same way about food so can totally empathise with their ardent dedicated stance…for me it’s like – “do you really want extra bacon, and cheese on this?” Yes, of course – don’t bother me with such stupid questions. “But John…it’s ice cream you shouldn-” 

JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

Snape Approves GIF

But with these things you can often go overboard, and my friends have told me upon numerous occasions this has indeed happened…you really have to get the balance right with some of these pre-workout formulas it seems…obviously they help a lot or there wouldn’t be a market for them – but go too mad and you will be running around in circles for three days chasing a mirage of Arnold Schwarzenegger…

That’s due to the various chemicals you’ll find on the list of ingredients…which is basically a chunk of text only a scientist can make much sense of – all the (soon to be ripped) user needs to know is that it will get you well and truly pumped up! But wait, on the other end of the spectrum you have me, the struggling artist with my big cup of coffee..thinking I’m all that, until one of my fitness freak friends notifies me that some of those products out there have enough caffeine for 20 cups of coffee!

HOLY RAMBO BALLS THAT’S A LOTTA CAFFEINE! 

As we all know, too much caffeine can lead to heart issues, and consequently difficulty with sleeping…so unsurprisingly my more fool-hardy (nice way of saying moronic) friends who well and truly over-dosed spent the subsequent nights staring at the ceiling shaking with excitement, or in one case lifting weights at the gym for four hours straight…only to be rudely interrupted by a phone call from a confused girlfriend asking what he was doing, and inquiring why he wasn’t home for dinner yet?! Well in his own words it was like he was high in a nightclub…and the weights room was his own private rave…there was no stopping him…

Rave GIF

“Micky…MICKY! YOU DROPPED YOUR DUMBBELL MICKY!”

Anyway, I’m off for a pizza – but if fitness is your thang you can head over to etbfit.com and browse their selection…who knows, maybe it’ll be the difference between being a couch potato fitness fail connoisseur (me), and something more…just make sure you get the balance right unlike my pals!

#ETBFitFail!

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GET THE DADBOD!

Some words of advice from my Eastern European(?!) alter-ego…not sure where he came from but whatever – DADBOD! GET ON IT!

I’m silly sometimes, sorry. Okay…all the time…

If you have a video request you can leave a comment, or send me an email – if it’s a cool/interesting idea then I will get to it as soon as I can!

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The Dadbod Myth

Okay internet, we have to talk…and I think you know why…

The fabled “Dadbod” thing that seems to be doing the rounds recently…apparently it’s the new hot thing? That every woman cannot resist? Is…this…like, are you actually for real though? You mean to say that suddenly those Grecian demi-god types, those sculpted walking statues, those action figurine looking fellas… are now of absolutely no value or merit whatsoever? I mean…huh?!

Bothering GIF

I have seen a lot of commentary about Leonardo DiCaprio, and many articles appear to use him as a figurehead for the Dadbod movement…as if to say;

“Look! Leonardo DiCaprio is slightly overweight, and has a number of girlfriends! This Dadbod thing must be true!” 

Which would make sense, if it didn’t make absolutely no sense. It’s almost like people are looking past the fact that he is a multi-millionaire…who also just happens to be LEONARDO DI-FUCKING-CAPRIO! I mean come on! Get real for God’s sake.

The truth of the matter is that it’s an attempt by the media to square up the conversation of body-weight acceptance between genders. A few years ago the “big is beautiful” thing was rolled out for females, and it really caught on – and I can see why! Suddenly women didn’t have to feel marginalised or devalued just because they were not Hollywood slim…this led to many men nodding in agreement, claiming they actually prefer real women, and blah blah blah.

Now that’s all well and good, so please don’t think I’m knocking it.

But then along comes the male version of “big is beautiful” – the Dadbod

Dadbod GIF

…and well, simply put – I’m not buying it! I would argue males have NEVER had the same kind of pressure based around physical beauty that women have – so this little trend is almost like someone saying; “hey! I took off the shackles – run free!” when the individual wasn’t even chained up in the first place. It just makes no sense…sure men would love to look like Ryan GoslingHugh Jackman…or (PICK ANY GLORIOUS CHISELLED ADONIS OF YOUR CHOICE), but if we are not gym going types we just shrug our shoulders and accept our lot; aka pick up the remote and some sort of cheesy snack…

Reason being we don’t get the same body shaming tactics that I feel females have historically received – that’s why it’s hilarious to hear that the Dadbod thing is “in!” You mean to say that I now have permission to eat eight slices of pizza, and drink a few pints of beer whenever I want? And that I am allowed to have that inevitable extra bit of weight as a result?

THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WAS WAITING FOR YOU TO GIVE ME THE GO AHEAD! I HAD BEEN STARVING MYSELF, AND HAD BEEN STONE-COLD SOBER! BUT NOW…PHEW…WHAT A WEIGHT THAT HAS BEEN LIFTED! AND I FEEL HOT BECAUSE YOU HAVE TOLD ME I AM NOW HOT. WOOOO!

Homer Dadbod GIF

 Ridiculous. Let’s live in the real world. 

Perhaps I’m wrong though…well, I’m not for sure – but what do you think?

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The Rebellion of the Stomach

This is a bit of an over-share, I know that for certain…but I am hoping someone can shine some light on what is so far a very dark day…

So after an innocent child mistook my man boobs for actual woman’s boobs sometime last week (to my absolute horror), I decided that perhaps I should clean myself up a bit. You know, look at my diet and regime to see what can be altered…so that people can hopefully stop asking me if I’ve had a sex change. That’s all I ask really, it’s not much is it? 

Pretty Please GIF

Well I saw that lunch and dinner (usually…) aren’t too much of a problem as I go for traditional style food…high in salt sure, but mainly balanced and full of vegetables. So instead it was breakfast where I was lacking, and making poor choices. Well not poor choices, fucking fantastically delicious choices – but you know what I mean. Not good for the dear old belly – although at the time they make the cuddly chap very happy indeed.

Oh, interesting side note – if I latch my belt tighter by one extra hole then it gives the appearance of a flatter stomach. Thought I would share that, because right now the discovery is changing my life. I am having my cake, and beating it! (Beating the bulge that is.)

Anyway, yeah – back to the horrendous diet thing. So I bought a load of fruits and vegetables, which as we all know are way more fun to buy than disgusting tasting things like pizza, burgers, and chips. I mean, ewww! Cheese? Grease? Fatty goodness? Gimme a break…some people are so selfish. They only like things that are like…delicious…in an obvious in your face kind of way. They have such lazy tastebuds. Myself however, I prefer things like fruit, and vegetables…because you really have to discover the tastes, and also (more often than not) lie to yourself and pretend it tastes great – which takes great dedication and character.

Harry Liar GIF

NO SERIOUSLY HARRY! That’s what real functioning adults do, and if you don’t do the same then you are a total loser and deserve to be thrown into a deep fat fryer – your natural habitat…

…ahh Harry man, I can’t stay mad at you – you were right.  This new fruit and vegetables for breakfast thing is ruining my life, and I am only like two days into it. Today I’ve had three poops and it’s not even 3pm yet. I mean…that’s simply not normal is it? When you have a pet rabbit it’s like fair-dos but humans have other things to do than sit on the pot 24-7. Or at least so I thought. 

Is this how all of the health nuts live? All the people that shame others into eating “right” in order to live forever (or whatever the claim is) – is this how their day looks? Just constant pooing? Is it like a fetish thing? Do they do it intentionally, or is this just a terrible yet unavoidable side effect?

Or am I a broken human, and this shouldn’t be happening? Perhaps I’m faulty? Maybe I should just have a pizza, and make everything okay again? Yeah…yeah? 

Oui GIF

ALRIGHT I’M HITTING THE RESET BUTTON! BACK TO PARADISE I GO, AWOOOOOOO, SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE SUCKAS!

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Sexy Back

I’ve been having trouble with my back this past year – which has made me feel like a complete Grandad, constantly twisting, clicking, and moaning on…I thought it would be a good idea to get it checked out by a doctor in England  in the short window that I was on home-ground. You know, to see if anything was really amiss, or if I was just whining unnecessarily! 

Lebron Violin GIF

So I had to set up an appointment, but wasn’t really sure how to go about it…I know you can just Google these things but for some reason it didn’t cross my mind…I just rolled in unannounced and thought the nice people at the reception would probably help me out;

“Errr…hi…hello, hi. I’d like an appointment please…”

“Alright, what’s the problem?”

Now I found this odd. Maybe it’s just me! But what if it was something really personal, something I really didn’t want to share with the rest of the waiting room? A like…ball related thing, or like a penisey problem, or whatever. I probably wouldn’t want a load of strangers hearing about all that!

“It’s like a weird back thing…it’s like, sorry…it’s…”

“A weird back?”

“Yeah…I don’t know – it aches, I just wanted to check if it was-“

“You wanted to know from a professional if it is weird, or not?”

“Ergh, yes. I suppose so.”

“Ah…ha…”

Ron Nod GIF

And so after a condescending few minutes, I was given my appointment time – and bid her good day. I returned a week later…although funnily enough I hadn’t been having much to complain about. My back had been relatively well behaved. Now I would look like a big fat liar! Despite this I didn’t want to end up looking like a fool at the reception again, so kept going over the name of the doctor over, and over, and over – so that I wouldn’t be caught out!

“Hello! I have an appointment at 9:20.”

“Okay, what’s your name?”

“Doctor Foo.” 

“No…what is YOUR name?”

“Err…my…errr…” Now this really threw me, I was racking my brains for what seemed like forever, why did she have to ask me such a difficult question?! I felt like this was the final question on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? I was never going to get it right! Only a genius would!

“Err…it’s…John. John…Taggart!” Phew, got there. I took my seat with reddened cheeks, and an expression that clearly spelled out how ashamed I was.

IT Crowd Walk Away GIF

I waited a while, trying not to make eye contact with people – and also trying to subtly block the sputtering coughs from the contagious man next to me. But I didn’t have to sit for long, and was soon shepherded through by a beeping machine, announcing my name in red – and informing me of which room I had to go to. Room 7. 

I walked in unsure whether to do a handshake, after all I may have hand-plague…or something…or do doctors wear gloves for that very reason? Hmm…not sure. Anyway, he didn’t offer it, so I decided against it. Instead I just sat, as he quizzed me on this, and that. After the interrogation he told me to roll up my jumper – which made for an awkward scene, me standing with a self-made belly top, as he massaged, and prodded my knobbly joints!

He came to three conclusions, a trifecta of back ache horror, if you will. It wasn’t due to my flat feet, as I had guessed (I have feet like Donald Duck) instead it is down to working with small children – always leaning, and bending down to speak to them – like the BFG. Then there is the fact that I am always writing, and I probably slouch into my laptop when I do…then there is the fact that I am a tallish person in Asia…so I have to stoop somewhat to get a clear view of things, as “it’s not designed with John size in mind” as Dr Foo boldly  announced!

After all that we shared some stories about China, and Korea, which was nice – I then thanked him for his time, and bounced back home – paying special attention to my posture, asI had just endured quite a telling off!

Posture GIF

At least I can head back to South Korea with peace of mind! Mind…the long flights always give me a sore bum…perhaps I should have got Dr Foo to check that for me too…

On second thought, I think I’m fine.

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According to Gym

Okay, so this is a reply to a rather cheeky email I received yesterday(you know who you are!)…

So the sender asked me how my fitness/diet regime was going…first thought was; “urghhh, fuck you!” Because come on! I am sure anyone with a single brain cell will be able to tell that a pizza/ice cream lover such as myself, won’t be making dramatic transformations any time soon! And I certainly haven’t. 

WARNING! WARNING! EXCUSES ALERT! EXCUSES ALERT! 

You see I had a lot on my plate, you know…I was working a lot, and took on a lot of extra projects; including the NaNoWriMo novel. So starving myself, and running till I want to kill myself – fell down the pecking order when it came to importance. Also food is so delicious, which is a bummer. I blame the companies…I blame the…chef…I blame…cheese. I blame YOU.  Yeah, you reading this – it’s all your fault. I’m not sure why…but HOW DARE YOU.

Will Allergic GIF

Ahem. Sorry Will…I’m just joking, I have noticed some changes, I won’t show you the before picture…because I just looked and one of my nipples looks like a rotten hamburger for some reason, so the internet doesn’t need that. Trust me when I say I was a podgy little dumpling. The scales say I have only lost a gram (honestly!) since I begun, I did strip off like 2kg after a month or so, but then ice cream happened.

I feel half finished with it all, as I like doing weights, and that’s about it. I didn’t really get into it…the other day it was amazing, I was waiting for the elevator to go up to the gym…and I suddenly said to myself, “don’t go…how about we just don’t go?” And I was like, “yeah, great idea! Good thinking!” And then I turned around, and just walked out of the building,  I felt like a fucking time traveller! I had just saved time, I was like Doctor Who or something, I was about to be thrown into some horrible time vortex for a couple of hours, but now I would be able to do whatever I wanted! Namely lying down. Great!

Anyway, this is the “progress” so far – which I was reminded that I  I’d post (don’t recall this)…sorry about the middle finger, I am a little sensitive about my…well, everything. 

Fitness

I am leaving Korea tomorrow, and have a day in China (Beijing), before heading back to England for Christmas! That will ensure the demise of any healthy eating routine…but there’s always next year? Right? Right. Also I am going through a break-up right now, so that is double servings of ice cream right there…yes, thugs like me have feelings too. 

Anyway…thanks for the email(s)! I really appreciate each, and every one of you guys – and I mean that sincerely! Merry Christmas if I don’t post again this month! Much love! x

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Losing weight.

I really want to lose weight. I am sick of it. It follows me around everywhere…clinging to me, dragging me down with no regard for how I feel. I have simply grew tired of this one sided relationship! So in desperation I tried to lose it in a shopping mall – I ran around a corner, and kept on running, hid in the bathroom for a little while…then meekly popped my head out to see if it had caught up, it hadn’t! But that moment of triumph was short lived…as it found me again in the food court. It always finds me eventually.

Fat GIF

One time I tried to lose it in the countryside, I thought I would take it out, and trek up a huge mountain to wear it out – give a  promise of a huge meal at the end of it, and then just leave it there – drive away, and let it starve to death. But then when I returned home, it was already in the kitchen, eyeing up the fridge and cupboards.

It will never leave me, I am stuck in this situation, and will be forever.

A friend of mine said she lost her fat, but it took over three years to do so…apparently it was agonizing, and there were a few occasions when she caved, and would meet up with it – ignore her better judgement, and have a date at Mc Donalds like the good old days! But after a while she cut it off completely…and rarely hears from it these days.

That gives me a glint of hope…maybe someday I can lose my fat too.

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