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Showing posts from 2021

Moving On

I started this blog 4 years ago with no idea how much I would love doing it or how great the feedback would be. And I have learned so much along the way. Along with life changes, I have made some rebranding decisions as an author and have decided to use my maiden name for writing and publishing. This was no small decision, as the effort involved has been substantial. However, going forward I can be found at www.annafarley.com , where you can subscribe to my blogs, read poetry, and see my republished books. I hope you will continue to follow me there as I embark on a new chapter!

The Comeback

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I was sick for 16 days. I experienced chest congestion, a relentless throbbing headache that lasted a whole week without relief, and fatigue so intense I thought only death could save me from it.  Carrying a laundry basket to my bedroom wiped me out. My heart rate would jump to 125bpm making myself tea. One evening I felt so incredibly sick and exhausted and anxious that I cried by myself on my couch. My last workout before my illness I was really feeling it. I felt strong. I felt like progress was being made. In 16 days I was sucked of strength and so much progress. My first workout back I was using mostly just resistance on my Bowflex, and at one third my usual weight, or less. I was sad, realizing that in such a short time a virus could rip through me and steal my gains. Steal my confidence.  But I pushed through, frustrated that this low weight felt challenging, that by the end of my workout I could feel it. A work out that was so far below even where I would normally warm up.  Aft

The Weird Public Health Hypocrisy

If you're reading this, you're likely to some day die of heart disease. Statistically, this is the most common cause of death in adults in the United States.  Heart disease puts a burden on the entire society. It creates a burden on the healthcare system. It raises costs for medical care for everyone - even the fit and healthy. It leaves behind parentless children, widowed spouses, and broken hearts. But no one requires you to demonstrate evidence that you exercised today or took your statin, got an annual EKG, or that you eat a healthy diet in order to engage in society.  Even if your lifestyle sets a bad example for your children, who then follow you in developing heart disease, no one makes you show paperwork before eating at a restaurant or going to the movies. No one scoffs at you, or calls you a menace to society, if you say things like, "I just don't like to exercise." Even though, arguably, cardiovascular disease is an epidemic in this country. It will kil

The Line

Whatever we face in life, whether in our personal relationships or professional situations or negotiating purchases or pursuing a new passion, we all need to know our bottom line. I got bullied once into sacrificing my bottom line. A leader I respected bullied me into accepting a promotion I didn't want in lieu of not getting the one I wanted. I resisted, but several attempts were made, dangling carrots in front of me, and finally succeeded by playing on my fear of missing out. I gave in, accepted the job and within a week was full of regret. I hated it, and I was angry with myself for not standing firm. Now, me and many others are facing even more pressure, persistent bullying, threats even, to cross a line we have drawn for ourselves. But this time, I'm standing my ground. This is America. One of the last hopes of personal liberty on the face of the earth. One place where even the smallest individual voice is allowed to speak up without fear. It is the safe haven that people

Fear-mongering is NOT Leadership

This week, I spoke to a health care provider who wriggled me into engaging them about the COVID-19 vaccine.  She told me a story about a healthy young woman who came into her clinic this week, and she has five children. The provider asked this healthy woman, "Have you been vaccinated?" The woman replied that she had not. The provider then told me that she said to the woman, "Well, who is going to take care of your children when you die of COVID?" When . She used the word when . She said the woman got a fearful look on her face and agreed to get vaccinated. The provider when went on about the irresponsibility of people who choose not to be vaccinated. Let's get some clarity. According to a Google search that I did just this minute, their statistics from the New York Times show that there have been a total number of 37.7 million COVID cases in America. There are 328.2 million people in America as of 2019. Please someone do the math for me on this, because my calcu

Hysteria is a Form of Extremism

It is quite common in mainstream media to see skeptics like me being labeled an extremist. I saw one article today state that those who use the chat app Telegram are "right-wing extremists." Well, I use both Telegram and Signal almost exclusively except for work-related texting and yet I flinch at even being referred to as a Republican. I am a libertarian. I don't mask (unless at the airport or on an airplane and even then I drink so much water as an excuse to pull the mask down), and I won't be vaccinated. So I am labeled an extremist. But I ask this question: if this was about public health, why wouldn't a positive antibody test be just as good as a vaccine card? Why is it so freaking imperative to get "a needle in every arm" when natural immunity is arguably far better than vaccination? If this was about public health, why would skepticism not just be met with healthy debate instead of censorship?  This week, Rand Paul was suspended by YouTube for a c

From Inspirational to Lunatic

 I know there are people - "friends" - who are beginning to see me as a lunatic for simply being empowered to think critically about my health and well-being. I have done all of this without judging, berating, or insulting anyone else for their own choices. People who know me know that I am generally very reasonable. I am thoughtful, I am deliberate. I am calm. I try to act with respect and integrity in all that I do. Two years ago, I rejected any further prescriptions of Metformin to manage my PCOS and chose to manage it through nutrition and exercise instead. People called me empowered, strong, inspirational. Two years before that, I stopped taking hormonal birth control (which had also been aimed at managing my PCOS) because I was concerned about blood clots and other effects of it. To battle the acne that the pill had been managing, I turned to herbal supplements, namely milk thistle, which did in fact help keep my skin clear as I transitioned away from hormonal managemen

Consider the Source

Back during my undergraduate degree, I had to take a course called "Consider the Source," which if I remember correctly was a one-credit class aimed at teaching us to discern the validity of different sources as we were putting together a persuasive case. We didn't actually have to make any arguments, but instead we had to vet sources and justify their usefulness in supporting an argument. For years, I was a lead in the customer solutions department at the laboratory where I work. What we often saw were the escalated issues from our clients where something got screwed up and errors were made. I remember certain employees on the team getting exasperated because "oh great, we screwed up again." I had to remind them to consider the source of our work. We handled issues, full time. No one was going to call us and say, "Hey, you guys just did a bang-up job again, thank you for not making any mistakes." No, we were tasked with the issues only. I had to remin

Troubling Times

With everything going on right now in the country it is worth it, I believe, to throw my hat into the ring of millions of opinions, knowing that I am a rational person with a good heart and want all people to live in peace and freedom. I have said it before when it comes to COVID, they are framing an "us against each other" scenario, where average Americans are hating their own brothers for differing opinions. When in all honesty, it should be all of us against them - them being the powers that be, the "leaders" that lie and misspeak and mislead and coerce and pit us against one another. We should all be against them. When it comes to the vaccine I have two major issues: I am not convinced this is a true vaccine or that it works . That is just an opinion, one which I am entitled to under the constitution and able to speak freely in this country. I am also not convinced that the moon landing was real. Am I a denier? No. I said I am not convinced. Traditionally, coron

Poem: Confuse

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Freedom

Freedom is beautiful. Freedom in life, freedom in love, freedom to be ourselves. And it is not a privilege bestowed upon us by our leaders. It is an inherent, God-given state that springs from our soul. That is why we are so drawn to freedom. That is why so many people have sacrificed everything in order to gain it or keep it. Any type of oppression or suppression violates our spiritual need for freedom. Whether it is that those who love us do not do so with freedom (and if not, how is that even love?), or whether it is another entity that is removing that freedom from us by force, this is in direct contradiction to the condition for which our souls were created. Lately, we see a greater and greater push to violate these freedoms through censorship. It terrifies me and breaks my heart at the same time to see people in defense of silencing those in opposition. How is it possible that my thoughts and opinions could be so dangerous that they must be silenced, unless they are the truth? An

The Best Version of Myself

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 A few years ago, when I decided that I wanted to get into better shape, I didn't do so with some wild "thirty-day transformation" goal in mind. In fact, my goal was literally to reach the highest point of my potential that I could before my 40th birthday.  I turn 40 in 671 days and I am excited! I was diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism 12 years ago, after years of wondering what the hell was wrong with me. At that time, I was essentially told this was a lifelong set of conditions and I might as well learn to be as content as possible with my struggle. That struggle included, among other things, my hair falling out, my nails peeling off, lethargy, difficulty managing my weight, hormonal adult acne that I always cheerfully referred to as "my beard," and patches of skin on my body known as  acanthosis nigricans  which appeared under my breasts, on the back of my neck and sometimes under my arms. More severely, wild unpredictability in my menstrual cycles, exce

Review: NCN Synergy Preworkout

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When it comes to "fitness stuff" I always feel like an imposter. I'm not a fitness motivator or influencer - I'm a nerd with a desk job who writes poetry books as a hobby. But at the end of the day, I have  worked very hard. I've put in hours and hours perfecting what I do in my gym, and like the nerd I am, I've been collecting data and tracking progress in a measurable way. And I've seen tremendous progress. Sometimes I look in the mirror and can't believe that's actually me. When making an adjustment to my routines I always only change one variable at a time, so I can be sure what works and what does not. About nine weeks ago I started using the  NCN Synergy  pre-workout. I'm amazed at the difference it has made for me. Image: ncnsupps.com I've used pre-workouts in the past with quite a few negative feelings about them. Sometimes they give you that feeling like, "heck yes, I'm gonna do this!" But then my skin sta

Poem: Strip Me

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Instant Gratification or Long Term Success?

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People are so hungry for instant gratification. Technology has trained us that we can have what we want no later than next day shipping. We fall for this in everything. Sacrificing what we really want down the road for some cheaper, faster, less satisfying version of what we can get our hands on today. You see this all the time  in fitness. People that are in a starvation/binge cycle, trying to get results. People dropping money quickly on teas, waist trainers, pills, potions, gimmicks - all in an attempt to achieve results tomorrow. They cannot wait. People seem to be way more willing to get scammed than they are to put in the work over time. When I adjusted my program from being predominantly cardio to predominantly (and truthfully lately, almost entirely) weight lifting, I did so with the aim of changing the shape and composition of my body.  That was nearly two years ago. My approach was definitely the long game. I love the long game. I love the slow and steady. I love the people t

Poem: Bullied

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Even at My Worst

The last eight months have been by far the most challenging of my life. Divorce is so much more than just being sad. It is the dismantling of a life. It is the resignation of some dreams. It is a costly, bureaucratic nightmare. It seems that every event in life that brings the most sadness also brings the most paperwork. I am a resilient person but the months have taken their toll on me. My energy has been low and my attention span has suffered badly. There was about a six-week period in Q1 where I existed primarily on caffeine all day and melatonin at night.  But I still showed up. Every single day. I maintained my training schedule in the gym. I took only my scheduled rests, and sometimes I trained with dread and low energy, but I showed up. I maintained a decent level of nutrition. If anything, I took better care of myself, not worse, knowing how badly my body and my mind needed the consistency. I worked. Sometimes not as efficiently as I normally do, but I did not miss a single day

If You're Not Rowing in My Boat, Get Out!

I read a quote that said, "make sure everybody in your 'boat' is rowing and not drilling holes when you're not looking."  I had a friend that I had known for a very long time, since I was about fifteen. She and I had a tumultuous friendship, and I think to some degree we both felt like we were going to "reform" the other person. And I am not going to deny that there are some ways she improved my life. But one thing she often said to me - especially in our twenties when we were still really finding out how to do life - was, "I feel like I just always need to bring you down a peg or two. Bring you back down to reality." In short, she was in my boat but she was not  rowing! It was an odd thing to continue reiterating with me when I was defying that very warning every day. As a kid, all I wanted was to grow up and move to America. Before I turned nineteen, I was living in Texas. Nineteen years later, I am still grateful every day that I am here, wi

Do It Scared

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My dad always used to say, "little Annie is a fraidy cat." I was not a brave child. This was not helped by his insistence that there were sinister elves living under the stairs! I wasn't brave. That was my little sister. She would talk to bees to reassure me that they meant me no harm. She jumped off the highest diving boards and went on the roller coasters. I was scared. I grew up sort of mentally viewing myself as lacking courage. I was bullied and while I stood my ground, I did live in dread of those encounters. I was scared of being hated and hurt. I was scared of being humiliated. And I was scared of my family finding out how scared I was. I think I never realized my staunch refusal to fit in was in itself an act of courage. In an environment where people were indulging in sex and alcohol and drugs, I was up to my ears in sobriety and virginity! I was disciplined, focused - a total nerd. Even when it caused me humiliation or physical abuse by the "cooler" k

Poem: Electrocute Me

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From my 2020 collection, Clarity.

Creating Our Own Perceptions

I hate when people use the word "aspiring" to describe themselves.  You're an "aspiring" writer? Athlete? Musician? Entrepreneur? Another word for aspiring is wishful. Stop qualifying or limiting yourself by using a word like aspiring. A friend and I were discussing this just this week. He is a cyclist. He said he views himself and trains like an athlete, not a hobbyist. And I said the same thing about myself. Whatever I am, I AM. I'm not aspiring to be it, I am. I think when we use a word like aspiring we are sort of bashfully walking back our true intentions to avoid criticism. I used to do this. I was an aspiring writer. But I've written this blog for 4 years and have 3 published books of poetry, not to mention other writing I have done. I'm a writer.  When we use words like "aspiring" we are sort of insecurely admitting that we feel like a fraud in the arena we are in. Just because I'm not James Michener doesn't mean I don't

Poem: Burn

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The Long Game

On my first day at work twelve years ago, one woman said to another (not realizing I was right there), "Did you meet that new little girl, Anna? She will never make it here." There was agreement, and laughter. They knew nothing about me. I was shaken, just a little.  I should have been flattered that my mere existence that day had unsettled the atmosphere.  I still talk to that woman regularly and we are on very good terms. She is still doing basically the same job she was when I first met her, when she had actually been senior to me in position and title. Now, twelve years later, I've been promoted multiple times over her and make a better salary than her manager does, and I have the pleasure of working a job every day that interests me and keeps me engaged and growing. The decade or so in between was a battle. I had awkward gaps in my resume due to immigration. I looked very young, and I had the bittersweet stigma of being related to my amazing, controversial mother who

Poem: Castles

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It's Just a Potato

 I may have already told this story, but it came up today on a call and I realized how valuable this lesson was for me so I am telling it again! When I was a little kid, maybe five or six, my mom was letting me help cook dinner by teaching me how to peel potatoes (incidentally also the only thing I know about cooking!). I had a potato in one hand and the peeler in the other, hacking away trying to make it look smooth and easy like my mom always did. I kept stopping and asking, "Is this okay?" "Does this look right?" Seeking validation that my efforts were correct. I was a chatterbox, I never shut up. My mom finally said, "It's a potato. Do your best. If you screw this up we'll get another and start again." An empowering lesson that I believe has helped me to this day. I assure you, you can call my boss and ask, he never hears from me. I don't feel the need to ask permission for everything I do. I make decisions every day, quite comfortable that

Poem: Shining Hard

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If You're Offended, I Am Not Sorry

It's really hard to believe that my belief in freedom, peace, and that your rights deserve to be protected even when I disagree could cause someone to be offended. But people are often offended by things that challenge their perspective. I believe that being easily offended is a sign that you are letting people have too much control over how you feel. I can hear someone speak words to me that I disagree with and I can still respect them, still value them, and not feel personally attacked or injured by it. I will not stop speaking up in defense of freedom. I will not stop actively cherishing our natural rights. And yes, that has cost me blog subscribers, followers and might even cost me friends. Standing up for our freedom is worth all of that. I am a libertarian. I believe in freedom for each individual to pursue happiness in their own way so long as it doesn't infringe on anyone else's rights. I believe in personal responsibility and that in real freedom, we maintain a ser

Us vs. Them

 This is us versus them. Not republicans versus democrats. Not left versus right. It's far deeper than that. It's the authoritarian state against free individuals. And yes, there are democrats and republicans being swept up in the "us versus them" narrative perpetuated by the media, namely Trump and Biden. But this is so much bigger than that. But they want us to be at each other. Reporting each other on social media. Lost in the minutia bickering with one another because it distracts us from the real issue - we are losing our freedom at an alarming rate. Scapegoating is basically the oldest trick in the political book, so of course, there are scapegoats on both "sides." Butt he sides they are offering us are really the same side - the state.  You can label me a conspiracy theorist, but I think nearly all of what we see in the mainstream media is staged to incite emotions within the general public. Cause us to react irrationally and take action and take side

Censorship

When I was a little girl, I remember my dad pontificating at length (you'd have to have known my dad to realize I am smiling at this) about the scourge of communism on the world. I may have been six or seven years old but after these conversations, I remember vividly thinking that I was so lucky to have been born where I was, to the parents that I had, and not suffering and oppressed in some other country. Oppressed. My dad always used that word. He would talk about the rights that we need  to maintain a free society, and one of those of course is the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Reflecting on this as I grew up, I of course noticed there tends to be a media bias, but I have always been reassured that there have always been "rogue" outlets for dissenting voices to be heard. Yesterday we learned that President Trump had been banned from Facebook and Twitter. Some people called him a dictator. But last I checked, and please correct me if I am wrong, dictators

Masks

I keep hearing people say - mostly in response to my outbursts - that they don't mind wearing masks. They may even like it. They prefer it, they don't find them uncomfortable or annoying, and they don't find them to be an infringement on their personal liberty. But in many cases, these people are like me. Relatively privileged. I don't have to go to the office every day and wear a mask for 8-10 hours. I don't have to wear a mask when I'm sweating. I don't have to wear a mask when I am trying to have a discussion with my coworkers or clients.  I am not going to sit here and pretend my situation is typical. I work at home, I have a full gym at home, my groceries are delivered to me, and I can literally go weeks without being obligated to put on a mask. If and when I have to wear a mask, it's usually my choice for something I don't need  to do but want to do. I think about my family and others I know that wear a mask all day at work. My mom is one of th

Enough

 When it enough going to finally be enough? I remember my first meeting that got canceled due to COVID. It was the end of February last year. I had been in the office the week before for a meeting and then suddenly, the risk was too much and the meeting was virtual. You know, just for a few weeks until this goes away. Then I remember my sister, just a few weeks later, texting me to ask if I had gone to stock up on toilet paper. I was confused, and I had not, and turns out I was remiss. I had no rational thought that people would madly go out and buy all the meat and toilet paper. For a brief time, I was without both food and toilet paper! Two weeks to flatten the curve became two months, then nine months, and here we are nearly a year into this. I understand the hesitation early on. A new virus, spreading quickly, with no information and no idea what the impact on lives would be. But now we have over 80 million infections worldwide. We know that in America our survivall rate for this v