Happy Monthiversary!

October 13, 2010

It’s the one month anniversary of Keep It Up, David!  My very first post (and still one of my favorites) went up just after midnight on September 13, 2010.  Oh, how things were different back then…  Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

On September 13, 2010, Rafael Nadal won his 9th Grand Slam title when he beat Novak Djokovic at the U.S. Open.  People across the country were gathering at water coolers everywhere to discuss Lady Gaga’s various outfits from the VMAs the night before, and when they weren’t looking at her meat dress, their eyes were glued on the Atlantic Ocean, where Hurricane Igor was whipping itself up into a Category 5 storm.  I remember it all like it happened a few weeks ago…  which, of course, it did.

In more exciting news (to me, at least), during the 31 days that passed since my very first post, I’ve worked out 25 times and have lost 11 pounds.  I’ve written 49 blog posts (including this one) and have amassed a small but loyal following that is growing a little bit with each passing day.  There are times when I get perplexed that anyone would care a rat’s ass about what I have to say about anything, and yet, you keep coming back.  You leave amazing messages in the comments section.  You post kind things about me on Facebook, or tweet them to your followers.  Those of you that I know say things in person, in emails, over the phone, or over IM that fill me with such pride that it’s like a wave has come and practically swept me from my shoes.

The original idea behind this blog was that I could motivate myself to keep it up if I start keeping better track of my progress, struggles, and successes.  I decided to put it out there in the world-wide-interweb as a way to legitimize the process.  I knew some people close to me would enjoy reading it, and thought it would be a fantastic side effect if I inspired any of them.  But now, with very minimal promotion on my part, I’m gaining readers that I don’t even know – complete strangers! – and they seem to be spreading the word and coming back!  Watching that happen is been such a thrill – nearly as exciting as the roller coasters I wrote about back in that very first post (but not quite).

I’ll end this post with what I hope comes off as a very genuine and heartfelt thank you to all of you, my readers.  I’m elated that I have found a way to inspire you with humor and dignity, and I’m thankful that you keep coming back, and reading what I have to share, because that is a huge inspiration to me.

Okay – I’m done being mushy.  How about I celebrate my monthiversary with a ‘Before’ and ‘Current’ photo comparison?  ‘Before’ was taken 12/31/09, on a hike in Los Angeles when my sister Laura was in town.  ‘Current’ was two weekends ago, and 142 pounds lighter.

Keep it up, David!

Employed Again

September 30, 2010

Remember about a week ago when I put up that post about how I had quit my job? Well, my unemployed days are over.  For now.  I’m employed again.  Today was my first day, and I’m really excited about it all.  On Monday, a friend and former co-worker contacted me and told me about a position they were trying to fill in his office.  It sounded interesting, and I sent along my resume.  Yesterday, my friend told me they wanted to bring me in for an interview.  I went in towards the end of the day, got the job, and today was my first day.  I’m excited for a couple reasons: the position is different than the work I’ve done before, which was something I was looking for.  It’s also short-term, lasting about a month or so.  So I get to dip my toes into a new pool, work with a friend and some cool new people, and wash my hands of it before Thanksgiving.

Of course, then I’ll be unemployed again, and the job hunt will resume, but I’m choosing to see this in a positive new light, and my first step into the scary world of freelance.  Freelance used to terrify me.  I don’t think of myself as a natural schmoozer, and I don’t think I’m that good at selling myself – which are two essential freelance skills, I think.  But I’m smart and talented and if I continue to work hard and deliver, than my work will speak for me, and with any luck I’ll continue to get jobs.  Some may be great, and some may not be, but the cool thing about doing short-term gigs is that sooner, rather than later, they all end, and I can move on to something else.

I saw two things today that I interpreted as signs that I was making the right move.  The first was early in the day:  When I was settling in at my new desk, I noticed there was only one thing that remained from the prior occupant – a fortune from a fortune cookie that was tacked on the wall:

I usually don’t pay much attention to fortune cookies, and I don’t plan on filing this one away in a safe-deposit box or anything, but it did give me pause for a brief second, during which I thought, ‘Yes, fortune cookie, I agree.  Thank you for pointing that out, and also thank you because now I’m craving moo shu chicken” (the craving was gone in an hour).

Towards the end of the day, during a meeting, we saw, out the window, evidence of actual weather!  In Southern California!   For those of you who don’t live in these parts, weather of any kind is a rare treat.  Normally it’s hot and dry, hot and dry – which is fantastic – don’t get me wrong – but repetitive.  So when we first saw dry lightning, and then the skies actually opened up for a 5-minute drizzle of actual precipitation, man oh man – all eyes were on the window.   I made a change and started a new job, and the weather changed on my first day… I know it’s a bit of a stretch but I took it as a sign anyway.  And as a lasting memento, I snapped a photo of the rainbow that appeared.

Looks like there was a pot of luck right near downtown Burbank.

My friends and readers were so kind after my post about quitting my job, and although I’ve already thanked you, I want to thank you again, quickly.  I think some time will pass and maybe I’ll look back at my quitting post and laugh at how dramatic I was and how ridiculous I sounded.  But I really did feel everything I wrote about, and I was honest about the internal struggles that came along with it.  I’ve never thought of myself as a brave person (nor do I think I’m cowardly either), but to read that specific compliment in your comments (both on the blog, and in personal notes/emails/voice mails) over and over…  well, I noticed, and I’ve thought about it.  I know the past few months have made me stronger and braver.  So thank you for bolstering me up.  Maybe next time I won’t have to lean so much on my friends and family, but it feels so good knowing you all are there if I need you.

Keep it up, David!


September 22, 2010

Thank you!  Thank you for all the outpouring of love and support in the past couple days.  Ever since I posted “I Quit My Job Today” on Monday, people have come out of the woodwork and saying such amazing things.  In the comments section, on Facebook, in phone calls, in emails.  And I’m listening.  I really am (even if I haven’t been able to respond to everyone personally yet).  And that’s actually a change from the past – I’ve spent a good part of my life ignoring and dismissing compliments because I felt so shitty about myself that I thought no one could ever have anything decent to say about me, and when they did, they must just be saying to be nice, or because it was a decent thing to do.

There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies of all time, Marvin’s Room, that makes me cry every time I see it.  It’s between two sisters, Bessie (Diane Keaton), and Lee (Meryl Streep):

Bessie:  “Oh, Lee.  I’ve been so lucky.  I’ve been so lucky to have Dad and Ruth.  I’ve had such love in my life.  I look back and I’ve had such, such love.”

Lee:  “They love you very much.”

Bessie:  “That’s not what I mean. No, no.  I mean that I love them.  I’ve been so lucky to have been able to love someone so much.”

The scene sums up something that I remind myself of regularly – that it’s one thing to be the recipient of the love, care, and support that family and friends supply, but it’s a whole different thing altogether to have the capacity to recognize it, acknowledge it, and share it with the people in your life.  It’s in moments like this that I remember that love and support are like insults – I can dish it out, and I can take it.

In addition to the people that took a moment to reach out, I’d also like to quickly thank everyone that stopped by this website, because yesterday my page views spiked to an all-time high!  I had 345 visitors yesterday, compared to about 45 on Monday.  Granted, I understand that a healthy chunk was probably due to the sensational nature of that post, and that I promoted it on Facebook, but I hope that some of you come back and keep reading!  Because I’m not stopping.

Keep it up, David!

An Open Letter to Casual Male XL

September 20, 2010

Dear Casual Male XL,

I wanted to take a minute to let you know that you’ve lost a customer, for good.  You’re my favorite big & tall retailer, and I’ve been a loyal shopper for nearly a decade.  You’ve sold me clothes when I was a 2XLT, then a 3XLT, and you’ve even sold me a few items sized 4XL.  But not any more.   Now that I’m 134 pounds lighter, I’m buying clothes sized XL, and, as you’re aware, I can buy those pretty much anywhere.

Today I visited your Glendale, CA location for the last time:

As I blogged about last week, the reason for coming was to use the $15 coupon that I earned through your Rewards program.  I intended to buy 2 black pairs of boxer briefs, size XL, but, alas, this location didn’t have any in stock, although your associate there, Dana, was very sweet and even looked in the back for me.  I took your lack of inventory as a sign that this was how it’s supposed to be.   As for the coupon, I used it on socks instead.

I’ve probably spent thousands of dollars at your store over the years, and am quite familiar with your brands and product lines.  As I looked around at your wares today, I realized that I wanted to thank you for a number of things:

Thank you for consistently selling clothes that I felt comfortable in, and always carrying my size.

Thank you for selling fashionable clothes, so I could find things to wear that were flattering and not outrageously off-trend.

Thank you for selling “waist-relaxer” pants that have hidden side elastic panels, giving the waist a few extra inches, allowing me to buy pants in my size, but knowing that they’d stretch a little as I gained weight.

Thank you for hiring employees that never looked me up and down when I walked in, realized I’d never fit in the merchandise there, and ask who it was I was shopping for (yes, that’s actually happened to me).

Thank you for making my shopping experiences a little less painful and frustrating.

You’ve been good to me, Casual Male, and I appreciate it.  But it’s time to move on.

There you are, in my mirror, as I left your store for the last time – and I’m NOT looking back.

Keep it up, David.