Monday Bacon: Mirror Mirror


It’s that time again (I wrote that in a Starbux drive-thru barista’s sing song voice.) The time of  year we take a look back on the last 12 months and decide whether it was all as wonderful as it seemed or as big of a nightmare that it felt like. If you’re normal, it was probably a bit of both. Some of us are going into the Holiday festivities with happy anticipation and some of us are forced into a season of “firsts” without a loved one. Others have moved into the dull ache of another Christmas without their someone special and at the end of the day, we just need to know that hugs are extra special around this time of year.

And for me, it’s time to look in the mirror and take inventory. If I had to sum it all up, I’d label 2016 as “win some, lose some.” On all fronts.

I have stated repeatedly that I’m not much of a movie/tv watcher (other than sports.) I’ve even tried to be a little better so I can actually join a conversation here and there about movies. I’ve ventured off the beaten path on the Netflix and have found some gems and some that, in a small but significant way, have affected me.


Spotlight is a film about the Boston Globe crew that brought to light the widespread abuse of not only Catholic priests; but the Catholic church itself in covering up and failing to protect it’s children from further abuse. It spoke to me and helped me realize something that brought out, possibly anyway, a slightly more fierce Jules than we’re even used to. There is a line in the movie that goes something like this, ‘a lot of these people just want acknowledgement that something happened.’ See, there was abuse in our home that I grew up in. That’s real uncomfortable for a lot of people. I’m sorry about that, I really am. Mostly I’m sorry we can’t just talk about it openly and admit that things were handled poorly. That was my realization after watching Spotlight. That while I’ve forgiven the situation, I was still angry that no one acknowledged it and even more importantly, that no one stood up for the little girl that was me. That if my parent’s said that no one can know, then we all just pretend it didn’t happen and no one stepped in and said, “Fuck that Pastor, this little girl needs someone to have her back and since no one in that house does, I will and we’re going to the cops.” And I’ve been angry about that. For, I guess, a really long time. That Aunt’s and Uncle’s and co-Pastor’s and their wives never stepped in and helped me. Not one. And because of it, I was always the problem child. Me. The victim. Since I finally talked in a way that could not be ignored, I broke the happy little family we were. And that has been my role in the family since. And I’m angry. Or at least I was. Now I’m just a little sad but so thankful that I’m not confined to that prison. But ya, right now, looking in that mirror and seeing 10 year old Jules looking back at me-so confused and sad and scared, I’m a bit sad.

See, when I mentioned in an earlier post that I hate drama, especially stupid girl high school drama, I meant it. So in a couple of situations where gossipy; grimy; troublemaking girls brought drama into my life I snapped. I was dealing with shit and had no time or energy for stupid issues that just showed their insecurities and for some reason they wanted me to be a part of it. It affected how I feel about Highland Games and the main reason that we’ve already severely cut our participation in them. Because we’ve found our tribe in them. The people that DO have your back (understandably a big issue for me) and help you grow as a person and share so much joy by just being with them, well, we’ve decided it’s just more important to spend money seeing them instead of going to a Highland Games where some stupid girls actually need to be followed around by the AD their behavior is so bad. (FYI, this is why being a Master’s athlete is complete bomb. We don’t have these problems and why 2017 will be the year of the Master’s games. Yeah old people!)

And now it’s time to lay to rest that I just am not going to get that acknowledgement. I don’t even get a $20,000 settlement like some of the abuse victims in Boston (where’s Eric MacLeish when you need him?) But I DO know that I’m surrounded by people who have my back and that’s all that matters.

The Big Short

I adore this movie and when I’m cleaning or doing other things around the house and want a break from the radio, I’ll put it on to listen to while I get shit done. Steve Carell is brilliant and a line his (still hot) wife played by Marisa Tomei says grabbed me. Something along the lines of you need to perfect every perceived wrong around you. Uhhh, hi me, met me much? The above plays a large part in this but it explained a lot. Why do I care? If people are shitty people and bully others but not me, why should I care? Here’s why. Because, for some reason, when I’m around people harness their shitty behavior and when I’m not or if I’m on the other side of, say, a field they bring it out on someone they know won’t fight back. I don’t like it. Often times it’s not even my business, but I don’t like it. I’ve got your back. My friends know that and I hope they trust it. I think they do. But it also means that I’ve been unable to step back and say, “I love you but you’ve got to figure this one out. If this person thinks you’re an easy target then you need to stand up and make sure they know they’re mistaken.” I need to do that more. As much as I don’t like walls, I need to make sure mine is up more than I do. I need to be a better judge of who I’m allowing through the gates. Not where it comes to my good friends, but the circle just out from there. My life these last couple of months has been so much better after I realized this and stepped back. So, 2017, more please.

The last little bit is recent, as in, last week. I started watching an A&E series with Leah Remini opening up some controlling and abusive situations revolved around the Church of Scientology. Not surprising, I like her. She’s very “come at me Bro with everything you got and be prepared for the fight I’ll bring” and well, many of you have met me so understand why I like that. A small line she said that got blown by pretty quick was something like this, This is so wrong and I’m so angry but I can’t do anything about it.

Ya. That’s the crux of it all. There’s so much shit in the world that we can’t do anything about that when people want to pretend that little things are tragedy, well, I.Just.Can’t. Trump being President is not tragedy. Veterans suffering from mental illness and being ignored is fucking tragedy. A new apartment building going up in your neighborhood is not tragedy. Having a school across the street with hundreds of kids where many are going home to unsafe environments (by statistical probability) is tragedy. Fucking perspective. Gain some.

OH! Honorable mention to the movies on relationships. We don’t watch many of them and I’ve already written about it laughing at relationships has been good for us. Like, really good. Matt and I went through a lot this year and leaving 2016 stronger and happier than we’ve ever been is an absolute gift. The best. For someone going through most of life without anyone having their back and suddenly having one of the world’s biggest and strongest shielding you from shit? Well, as the credit card people say, Priceless.

So while some of the mirror watching has been tough; a little sad; has forced some self reflection on how I need to adjust, it’s also been helpful to see how absolutely gifted my life is.

So I’ll say a very sincere thank you 2016. You’ve been hard at times, but grand overall. And I’ll cross my fingers and say a little prayer that 2017 is good to those I love, and a little less combative for those I don’t. Heh.

I’ll also vow not to eat a whole pan of Pumpkin Bars. At least until next Thanksgiving.

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.

Winston Churchill 

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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