Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Month: July 2017

July 17th.

Long drives alone are good for the soul. I’ve had a lot of Ah Hah moments after spending 5+ hours in the car by myself. Yesterday, I made the eight hour drive from Salt Lake City, to Denver. This upcoming Saturday I’ll make the return trip. It was a beautiful drive. It gave me time to think about the things that really matter to me, and the things that don’t. There is a certain, no bullshit detector that the universe keeps throwing at me. I have to mean what I say, and my actions prove more than my words ever will.  Spending eight hours in the car with yourself is a place to be honest. You can’t run from the demons that have been chasing you. You have to face them head on, it isn’t easy. But it seems worth it. This isn’t making much sense. There is a vague message I’m trying to get across, and usually writing helps me do that. But, right this moment I’m not even sure I understand. I sort of do, I’m on the precipice. But I still haven’t’ figured out what the lesson is. I know there is one though, I feel it. I guess I’ll just have to keep acting, maybe someday it will come to me.

Lessons from Lifting: Part 1

I only started lifting a little over two months ago. So the whole thing is very new to me. That being said I feel like I’ve already learned a lot of practical lessons that could be applied to many areas of my life. Here are a couple.

Failing: You’re going to fail. Somedays you just won’t be able to pull weight you normally do. It could be for myriad reasons. But you still have to show up. You have to put in your best effort. Even then you might fail. That’s okay. There’s always next time. And just because you failed doesn’t mean you wasted your time. You still got practice in and that will help you improve in the long run. I feel like this directly applies to writing as well. Most of the time I think what I write is dreadful, but I still post. I tell myself it’s good practice and I try again the next day.

Today I failed on every lift. It’s a Friday, my excuse was that I’m tired. But that brings me into my next point.

It’s a mind game: I went in today telling myself I was tired and was going to fail my lifts, and I did exactly that. Who knows what would have happened if I told myself I was tired, but I was going to succeed. Or that I was just going to go in and kick ass. I may not have failed. A lot of it is mental, of course you can’t mentally trick yourself into squatting 2X your bodyweight your first time in the gym. But, you can certainly fail from overthinking it.

Which rings true in many areas of life. If you go in with a shitty attitude, most likely that how things will end up. When you see everything through a negative lens, everything that happens is negative. This is a huge lesson I learned today, and I need to keep improving. Not only in the gym, but in all areas of my life.

No Zero Days

There’s this idea called ‘No Zero Days’, a few years ago someone posted on a subreddit called Get Disciplined, saying they were they didn’t care about themselves and couldn’t find a way to get themselves to do anything, there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s a link to the post.

Someone responds explaining something that helped them. They call it No More Zero Days. A zero day is a day you do absolutely nothing, you don’t even get out of bed. At it’s very simplest you just have to do one thing to make it a non-zero days. When you are in the bouts of severe depression that’s a very tricky thing to do. But day by day as you get a little bit better at doing the everyday things they recommend the following guidelines. Exercise and books, forgiveness, and be grateful for the 3 you’s(present, past, and future).

I’ve always found the 3 you’s one to be the most difficult. Until recently I never pictured a future me. I mean an old me. It wasn’t a sad thing, it just seemed at some point I’d just disappear. I never pictured myself growing old. Since I started my medical transition I’ve found it a lot easier to look out for future me. Maybe I wasn’t ever able to picture it because I didn’t have a model for it. But now everyday this body of mine becomes a little bit more me and I want nothing more than to grow old in it. So I’m starting to look out for future me. I’m actually planning for a future. By taking care of myself now; mentally, physically, financially, creatively. It’s hard work. It’s not something I’ve spent much time focusing on until recently. But here goes, on the internet. I’m vowing to always look out for, and be grateful to the three me’s. Those people sure do matter a lot.


I wrote this on my phone the other day while waiting for an oil change. Thought I would share it here.

My laptop just died. I forgot to bring my charger so I suppose I’ll just write here for a moment. I’m finding, as I get older, that I love the mundane. I enjoy waiting. Everything in life seems so rushed, when you get the opportunity to wait maybe it should be savored. I’m currently waiting for my car to be repaired. In a lonely waiting room with two old men sleeping. An employee behind a counter laughing at something that must be hilarious, sliding doors opening and closing. I’m here soaking it all in. I enjoy these moments. The stillness of it. It’s absent from the pressure to rush, because nothing is in my hands. It’s in the hands of the employees, and I’m just along for the ride. Well, at least for these moments I’m along for the ride. Sometimes it’s nice to just wait for a change.

Memento Mori

That is a latin phrase, it translates to: Remember, you will die. It’s a phrase used often in philosophy specifically in Stoic philosophy. It may seem morbid but for me it is a very useful reminder.

This phrase reminds me to let go of the small things, like being cut off, or being stuck in traffic. It reminds me to express gratitude and love whenever I feel it. It’s a reminder to work my hardest. To make sure all the interactions I have are positive. To not allow anyone to be less than because they crossed my path. It’s a reminder that my time here is precious so don’t spoil it being angry, hateful, or jealous. It reminds me to place fear in the backseat, to step out of my comfort zone, and do things that are uncomfortable.

Someday I will die. So today, I will do my best to live.

Slow by Slow

     A friend told me once that her Grandfather always used to say “Slow by Slow”, it’s funny. She told me this and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It’s been a great reminder. When I am frustrated by my progress in the gym I tell myself “Slow by Slow”, when I am frustrated by the speed of my transition, or others reaction to it I tell myself “Slow by Slow”. In anything, I repeat that phrase. It reminds me that everything takes time. That even incremental amounts of progress are still progress. Things are changing. For the better. One day I’ll look back and realize how quickly everything happened. But when you are in the thick of it, it helps to remind yourself. “Slow by Slow”

I Suck

Every morning at 4:00 AM my alarm goes off. I don’t want to wake up. Just another hour. I don’t have to work until 8:00, why do I need to be up so early. So I snooze. Ten minutes later I repeat the same story. But this time I reach for lamp, switch off my fan, give my pup a kiss on the head and I get up. I roll out of bed, and try to stretch the sleep out of my muscles. It usually doesn’t work. I throw on workout clothes and I’m out the door before I have time to overthink my decision. I don’t want to work out, I don’t want to write, I don’t want to work. These things are constantly in my head. But I don’t listen to them. Most of the time anyway. I get to the gym and I get my ass kicked. I’m not fit, but I’m trying to be. Every workout is a struggle, but I do it. I get back home and I write, it’s hard, I don’t want to, I can’t focus. I’m making up problems in my head, checking my phone. But it’s six in the morning. No one is texting me. I just want a distraction. But I continue writing. Most days it sucks. Some days it doesn’t. Same goes for my meditation. Whatever book I decide to read that day. Most days everything sucks. I don’t mean that in a bad way though, because I get it done that’s the important part. While I’m doing it I always enjoy it. But if I were to look back at the end of the day it all sort of sucked. But it sucked less than it did the day before. Each day I’m sucking less. Maybe that’s not the best barometer to measure things of off but I do. Through meditation I have learned to not set the barometer to good or bad. I just set it to “do”. As long as I show up. As long as I do whatever thing it is that I am doing, I am improving. Even when it totally sucks.

There’s this massively underrated Netflix show called BoJack Horseman. If you haven’t watched it you should, I’m not going to give you a synopsis here but there is a line in it that I love. BoJack is out of shape and trying to run up this hill, an old baboon whizzes past him. He says this: “Every day it gets a little easier. But you have to do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”, that’s what I tell myself everyday. If I’m being really honest with you some days it doesn’t work. I give into the voice inside that tells me to sleep in, to not write, to just watch TV all day. But I’m getting better, I’m getting better at doing the hard part. And, It is getting easier.

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