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3 Steps to Take Charge

3 months ago I wrote about my struggles with codependency and binge-eating. My intention was to continue posting weekly about my progress and the things I’ve learned, yet I never followed through. It’s not like I’d stopped trying to work my way through recovery. I journaled. I wrote songs. I took photos that were a reflection of my progress, but I didn’t share anything. I battled my internal thought process that told me to share my experiences, but at the same time told me whatever I wrote wouldn’t be worthwhile to those who read it. I let my own subconscious hold me hostage. It instilled fear, anxiety, and feelings of shame every time I even had a passing thought about sharing this with anyone. My procrastination is fueled by this inner voice; this voice that tells me I must be perfect in everything I do in order to be successful. Today I am silencing that voice, even if for just a moment.

I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We never will be and that is totally fine.We make mistakes. We say things we shouldn’t. Sometimes we forgo productivity in the name of simply not feeling like it. That doesn’t mean we’re failing or not doing good enough. For years, more likely decades, I have had this “all or nothing” approach to life. Either I’m a singer or I’m not. Either I’m a writer or I’m not. Either I want to move to Sweden now or I never will, but life is not black and white. There is so much in between. I am a singer. I am a writer. I will live in Sweden some day, even if it’s not permanent. I have labeled myself, put myself into boxes that didn’t define me as one whole person, all in the name of being the perfect person for whatever situation I find myself in. The perfect son. The perfect friend. The perfect singer/songwriter, but the reality is, I’m not perfect and I’m not just any of those things on their own.

I am a son. I am a friend. I am a singer/songwriter, but most of all I am human. Being perfect in any of these areas does not define my life. They are just pieces of my life. I have literally been on the floor in tears because I felt like I was a terrible son/friend/singer etc. Why? I am willing to bet if I asked anyone from those areas of my life they would tell me I am a wonderful son, a good friend, a talented singer, so why do I let my inner voice convince me otherwise?

This “all or nothing” thinking and perfectionism has been what held me back since my initial post. I have been working on it in therapy alongside my work on codependency and binge-eating. They are all intertwined. They all amplify each other which can make this seem almost insurmountable at times. How do you silence 4 aspects of your mind that are so strong especially when they work with each other?

Honestly, the solutions seem so simple. Grouding yourself in the present through 3 processes I want to talk about over the next few months.

1) Reframing
2) Gratitude
3) Meditation

I’ll be breaking each of these into even smaller sub categories that I will write about as time goes by and I work through them myself. I hope you’ll follow my journey and my goal is to post more regularly. I’m not going to give myself a specific frequency, but I promise to have more to share with you in the next two weeks.

Until next time,

JNog

A Vulnerable Moment

I’m going to be vulnerable with you. (Thanks Brené Brown)

I am a recovering co-dependent. Codependency itself is hard to define and can vary person to person, but some of the more common characteristics that I’ve experienced are:

  • Setting poor boundaries with others and possessing a caretaker mentality.
  • Putting others’ needs before my own.
  • Allowing others to need me then becoming resentful when asked for help.
  • Rejecting compliments/praise.
  • Fear of rejection in all aspects of my life; personal and professional.
  • Trying to control people/events.
  • Seeking love and approval.
  • Saying everything is my fault.
  • Not trusting myself.
  • Combining passive and aggressive responses.
  • Feeling lethargic and depressed.
  • Experiencing an eating disorder.

You may feel like you’ve experienced some of these and while you may not be a codependent, it can never hurt to do some self-reflection. All of these characteristics were sourced from “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie, a book that has helped me realize my codependent tendencies and begin to break away from these traits I have been exhibiting for so much of my life. Therapy has been integral to this process and I strongly encourage everyone to try it out. You may not find the therapist that you connect with most on the first try so don’t be afraid to try someone else after a few sessions. I have been seeing the same therapist for over two years now and honestly, it’s been life-changing. I am more conscious of habits and thinking that have been pulling me down and I am making progress into eliminating these habits and thoughts through more productive means. (end PSA about therapy)

I want to speak mostly about the last item on my list; experiencing an eating disorder. I suffer from binge eating disorder. This is not something I’ve ever shared publicly or with anyone other than close friends, family, and my therapist.

My binges occur typically when I’m stressed/depressed or unable to control a situation that is making me feel anxious. They almost always happen when I’m alone. Sometimes they’ll happen at events where food is served buffet style though. I will casually go up repeatedly for small amounts of food maintaining an uncomfortable level of fullness. There is this underlying fear sometimes that I need to keep eating so I can try everything before it’s gone. When I binge at home, I usually buy a fair amount of fast food (usually one restaurant) or binge on what I have in the cabinets/fridge. I’m thinking about how good Taco Bell sounds as I write this and I already ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s tonight. Typically after a binge I feel extreme shame and guilt. One thing to remember is that binging isn’t just about quantity of food. It’s about how you consume it as well so while I may not be eating a ton more than normal, because I am eating quickly, secretively, and using food as a coping tool it qualifies as a binge. Ironic that I eat to fill an emotional deficit and all I’m really doing is hurting myself physically and emotionally. You can find a link to more information about Binge Eating Disorder at the end of this post.

So why am I sharing this with you? Well binging has been something I’ve hidden about myself since I began doing it which I think was around junior high school. It’s part of me that I’ve always been embarrassed of. I figure if I try to normalize it by sharing it with you all, I might be able to truly begin the recovery process. I want to escape this cycle I’m in. This cycle of repressing feelings and using food to cope with life. I want to move forward and share what I’m going through. Maybe my story can even help someone else.

So that’s my secret. This is me at my most vulnerable. You know something about me that few knew before this post. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey of recovery. My goal is to post here regularly about my progress on removing binging as a coping mechanism and furthering my progress on eliminating other codependent tendencies. On Instagram I’ll post when I feel a potential binge coming on as an attempt to distract myself and use the people in my life as a resource to help process instead of food. I’ll also be sharing lots of information I find in Melody’s books which I’ll share a link to below, along with other resources I come across online and in therapy.

Thanks for reading,

<JNog>

Links

Check out Melody Beattie here -> https://melodybeattie.com/
National Eating Disorder site -> https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

2021 – Choose your own adventure

New year; new possibilities. Honestly you can experience new possibilities anytime you want. Doesn’t just have to be once every 365 days, except on leap years. Somehow though, we all buy into it. We open our crisp new calendars and notebooks and self help journals or Facebook and start making resolutions to change our lives. Many of these resolutions are DOA, but some make it further into the year, and some even see themselves to completion.

I believe the reality is this is just human nature. We want big change now and many times want these changes for the wrong reasons. Don’t join a gym because it’s a new year and you think your crush at the local town shop won’t appreciate your dad bod. Don’t vow to do some thing everyday that you don’t want to do in the name of creativity or self development. While I’ve begun to believe the time to start changing your life or trying to reach a new goal is the exact moment it pops into your mind, the reality is many of us humans love to start things on Mondays, New Years, or when seasons change because it feels like a new beginning and that’s fine!

I have some suggestions for 2021 as you begin to reflect on what you want your year to look like:

  1. When you think about a new goal or resolution, ask yourself who you’re doing it for – Most of the time the answer should be yourself. Don’t lose weight to please others. Don’t learn new skills unless you want it for you. Do it for you!
  2. Take it easy on yourself – If you want to lose weight because it’s affecting your health, great! Me too! But don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. Find a routine that works for you! If you fail a test for an online course, study harder! Failure is a part of the journey.
  3. Practice gratitude whenever you can – Especially on days when you feel like your goals and resolutions are so far out of reach.
  4. Ask for help when you need it – There is no need to go it alone!
  5. Don’t be afraid to say no if someone asks you for something – Especially if it puts more urgent needs of yours on the back burner. It’s okay to say no to plans or helping someone with something that is not urgent if your needs must take priority. Helping people is something we all should be doing, but we can’t help others if we don’t first help ourselves!
  6. Celebrate your success and reflect without judgement on your failures – Failure is a representation of you being vulnerable and being vulnerable is being courageous. You can’t fail if you never try, nor can you succeed!
  7. Don’t doomsday scroll – it’s not helping you. I promise. Set aside specific times throughout the week to check the news and otherwise ignore it!
  8. If you find yourself procrastinating on your goals – Ask yourself if the task is too hard or perhaps its not interesting enough? Check out Matt D’Avella on YouTube! He has helped me so much! Memes and social media are fun, but will they help you reach your goals? If you’re on an endless YouTube binge, maybe your goals are too hard and your brain is anxious or maybe they aren’t challenging enough and you’re just disinterested!
  9. Let your goals and resolutions evolve with you throughout your year – Situations change! We all witnessed our entire way of life change last year so be flexible with your goals and yourself!
  10. Set proper expectations – I know we’re all putting a lot of pressure on 2021 because of how last year went, but remember to set your expectations appropriately. Covid is not going anywhere anytime soon and we’re all in this together so be kind to each other, even the Karens of the world. If you don’t let them get to you and show them compassion, who knows, they may retire their Karen ways and become a positive member of humanity.

Lastly, here is my list of goals and resolutions for this year:

  • Record and release an album of 6 songs on BandCamp.
  • During conversations with others, listen and try to see things from their perspective without interjecting or becoming defensive.
    • Love my body through regular self-care
    • Eat foods that make me feel good physically and emotionally balancing those needs
    • Meditate to rejuvenate my mind and soul.
    • Get enough sleep!
  • Practice gratitude as much as possible!
  • Focus on doing the things I love as much as time allows!

I wish you all the best with your goals and resolutions and encourage you to share your progress with me! I’m happy to share on my site your success and woes in the form of pictures and blog posts! Let’s all build each other up as we rebuild a sense of normalcy in the coming year!

With love,

<JNog>

Change

Sometimes I just sit and stare at the wall. A wall of white, with one window facing the east. The sun bares its teeth through the window, stinging my eyes until noon. I watch this wall carefully, waiting, as if it will move or change. It never does and neither do I. Stagnancy has been weighing down my life for years. The fear and anxiety of change threatening to destroy me every time I even contemplate pursuing a new opportunity or experience. So I sit and stare at this wall; I wait for it to change and wonder if it stares back waiting for the same from me. 

The Great Migration

11 weeks ago, I migrated to an operating system I always felt was inferior, underdeveloped, and complicated. I decided to see what life was really like on the dark side and purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. I had an immediate panic attack at my decision, but took a few deep breaths and waited patiently for it to arrive… well, I waited. Not sure I was actually patient. 

When I unboxed the phone I looked down with excitement I hadn’t truly felt about a phone since probably the iPhone X when Apple switched to a mostly all screen design and added Face ID. Since that launch, I’ve grown bored. Apple makes some of the most well built phones on the planet with an OS that is simple, clean, and safe, but watching phones by Samsung, One Plus, and others come out with 120hz screens, better screen-to-body ratios, and limitless possibilities in the realm of customization of software, I felt like I might be missing out.

So there I was, staring at the “future”; this slab of aluminum and glass with it’s 6.9in screen, mystic bronze finish, and nearly bezel-less design looked and felt amazing. I fired it up, preparing myself for a wave of disappointment that never came. Android 10 with One UI 2.5 is beautiful. If you want the iPhone of the Android world, look no further. Samsung does a beautiful job in designing a UI that feels similar to stock Android, but also looks visually close to iOS in some areas. I began the regular tasks of making sure my contacts and calendar synced, downloaded my most used apps, and began to organize my home screen. “Holy shit!” I said to my friend Sara. “I can put the icons ANYWHERE I want!”  Granted I knew this going in, but it really struck me as I dragged icons into their new homes, surrounding them with widgets, and at some point finally changing the stock wallpaper. 

16in MacBook Pro with Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

As the weeks went on, I was in a nearly constant state of euphoria, telling all of my iPhone friends how incredible Android had become, showing off all the cool things I could do and trying to impress them with how usable and easy Android could really be. It wasn’t all buttercups and roses though. Migrating contacts and calendars, finding cross-platform apps for things like podcasts and notes, and most importantly syncing photos was not always a straightforward task. I eventually found a new podcast app and had to re-add all my podcasts manually to it. I got my photos synced with Google Photos, which duplicated some, grabbed files like PDFs that I never intended to have in my photo library, and didn’t play well with Samsung’s stock gallery app. I was never able to find an automated way to get my Galaxy photos to the Photos app on my Mac and iPad, so once a week I had to connect my phone via cable to one of them to sync photos across. Don’t even get me started on videos… I had to utilize an even more manual process for that and eventually just gave up since the Note 20’s video quality could not match that of my iPhone 11.

By week 8 the constant dopamine drip of new features had begun to wear off. The S-Pen almost never came out of its sheath and I was growing frustrated with the inability to utilize my other devices alongside my phone. There was no continuity. No handoff. I had my phone and then I had my Mac and iPad and that’s fine if you’re not someone who uses them synchronously as I was before I switched. Finally, by week 9 I lost my shit while sitting at a park because I couldn’t access a voice memo that I had taken on my iPad which didn’t make it to the park with me. I sat there, defeated, looking down at this phone that I so desperately wanted to love but was growing more disappointed with each day. 

After feeling like a failure for a couple days, I made the decision to order an iPhone 12 Pro. I needed to go back to normalcy. I needed to go back to my comfort zone. I wanted back in the ecosystem. Apple changed up the design for this generation, flattening out the sides and adding some new colors to the mix. Pacific Blue is even better in person than in photos. It’s not the futuristic design of the Galaxy, but one thing I’ve come to realize over the last 11 weeks is that hardware and design do not trump software and compatibility. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a bigger screen with higher refresh rate than the iPhone 12 Pro, more ram, more processor cores, higher megapixel cameras, and a higher optical zoom. The difference is, my iPhone, iPad, and Mac all connect to each other. My experience is seamless regardless of what device I’m on. Also even with half the ram and less processor cores, the iPhone feels speedier than my Galaxy did in everyday use.

I received the iPhone just two days ago and to be honest, it was like being reunited with your best friend. I didn’t care about the notch or the lack of a wall adapter in the box (though I am annoyed with that now). I turned it on and felt instantly at home. As a decade long iOS user, I was where I wanted to be. While Apple isn’t perfect, they make products that work the way I expect them to and offer a flow that I feel has not yet been replicated by any other device maker. Even things like apps just feel nicer and more well made on iPhone and there’s a reason for that; Apple’s ecosystem of products is much smaller than the variety of phones running Android out there. Developers don’t need to worry about devices running 4+ year old versions of Android or hardware that can’t support all of their features. It’s just simpler to code for Apple’s ecosystem and with the introduction of Apple silicon in Mac’s soon, Apple is going to tighten up that experience even more.

All of this said, I must admit that I truly did enjoy my time overall using Android. I think if I was using a Windows PC and a Samsung tablet, my experience may have been even more positive. There are even some features that I will miss. I think notifications are handled way better on Android, and obviously customizability will always be better on the dark side. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fingerprint sensor under the screen of the Note 20 Ultra as Covid has made Face ID a daily frustration when out and about. Android has become a mature operating system with so many excellent features, it’s just not the mobile OS for me. I am very glad as a tech enthusiast that I tried it though. I learned a lot and hopefully I can be a resource for folks on the fence between Android and iOS.

<JNog>

Social Media Detox

I wouldn’t consider myself the heaviest social media user out there, but I definitely log at least an hour a day on socials apps and sites. Lately, while scrolling through Twitter I started to wonder, why am I on here? I don’t find any of the content particularly stimulating, and I feel like I spend so much time curating my feed since whatever system controls what I see doesn’t seem to understand who I am. The same goes for Facebook. I feel like I spend more time removing folks from my news feed, marking ads as irrelevant, and being stirred up emotionally by content that’s there just to bring about a reaction and start a conversation that I may not want to be a part of than actually seeing the content I want. I miss seeing what my friends were up to. I miss seeing photos of people who don’t live near me anymore. I miss being social, especially during a pandemic when in-person socialization is a hot commodity.

So why would I subject myself to these environments? Why spend time scrolling through feeds that just leave me feeling worse? I guess it’s primarily been to find that glimmer of hope. The needle in the haystack. Those posts are becoming less frequent though. There is also the fear of missing out. (FOMO) What if someone posts something important and I don’t see it because I deleted my account or ignored social media!? Then it dawned on me. If something were so critical that someone wanted me to know, they would likely not use social media to contact me. At least I hope so!

For reasons I mentioned above, I’m deactivating a few of my social accounts. Twitter, and Snapchat have been deactivated. Facebook I only plan to use for groups, events, and birthdays I always seem to forget 😉 . Instagram will remain my go to for daily perusing and LinkedIn will strictly be used for their LinkedIn Learning courses that I use for work. I think I’m ready for this mental break. Maybe I’ll actually write more often on the blog with the time I’ll save. Maybe I’ll just go back to my old ways. Honestly, I can’t be sure just yet what is going to come of this!

<JNog>

My Happy Place

Yesterday, I went to Gooseberry Neck in Westport, MA. It’s been one of the places I’m happiest (aside from Sweden)for a very long time. It’s just so freakin peaceful! I’m not usually a fan of the beach but Gooseberry’s combination of rocky and sandy areas give it a bit more diversity than the typical beach.

I love Gooseberry because it’s virtually distraction free. No stores or board walks or crowds. It does draw a fair share of folks, but it’s quite large and there’s plenty of room for everyone to not be really close to each other. I love to just find a big rock to sit on, close my eyes, and listen to the waves. It really helps to clear my mind. I do have to make sure I put on copious amounts of sunscreen though or my skin will fry 😉

Here are some additional photos from my afternoon there! Enjoy! 🙂

A little nugget of an update.

I wanted to take a moment to update anyone who might actually be visiting the site to let you know that 1) I am alive. 2) I don’t know about other artists and creative’s in my life, but this pandemic has caused quite the dry spell in my creativity and 3) I am working on new songs despite this! One of my goals for 2020 was to complete enough songs to release an EP for the new year 2021. I think I may still one on track to reach this goal and I’ll be sharing little bits and pieces as I go along. One will be coming out later tonight so keep an eye out!

Stay safe and well,

<JNog>

Distractions and Tracking

Currently, there is a Fitbit Charge 3 on my wrist. For any of you who know me this should be shocking. I have been an Apple Watch user since it’s original release back in April of 2015. I love my Apple Watch, but recently, I’ve begun to feel that my dependence on screens, and the distractions from these screens has been affecting my focus. I’ve been making a conscious effort to use my phone less, deleting social media apps, delegating certain tasks to my iPad or Mac, and even sleeping with my phone in another room at night.

It’s helped. My screen time overall has gone down, but one screen has proven to be a continuous distraction. My Apple Watch. The thing about Apple’s wearable is that it infiltrates your life on a deeper level than your phone. It delivers you nuggets of information when your phone isn’t by your side, it tracks your activity, it gives you access to Siri all from your wrist. I tried turning off notifications for many of my apps on the watch. I tried changing watch faces so that I wasn’t presented with so much information all the time. It didn’t work. I found myself interacting with it sometimes for no reason at all. Honestly, the main reason I wanted the watch initially was to track my activity and be healthier.

Enter the Fitbit Charge 3. My Apple Watch, a Series 4 Stainless Steel Gold 44mm version, is stunning, but heavy and distracting. Instead of focusing on activity I was getting distracted by notifications and checking the weather constantly even though I’m almost always near a window. I would read text messages on it and reply, preview news articles to save for later on my phone and take endless ECG’s because I could. The activity portion had become secondary, almost non-existent. The activity complication (widget) ceased to exist on many of my watch faces replaced with a button for my Starbucks card or quick access to my calendar and reminders. What had become a device to supplement my phone was in some cases replacing it, which is in fact not necessarily a bad thing, but also, I could’ve just used my phone.

The Charge 3 is a very different device than the Apple Watch. Activity is it’s primary focus. There is no multi color OLED panel. There is no stainless steel chassis. There is no Siri. You can’t take phone calls or dictate text messages on it. It can deliver notifications from your phone but most of them are not actionable so it moves the interaction factor back to your phone. It tracks activity and sleep. Most importantly I don’t even notice it on my wrist, until it tells me it’s time to get my 250 steps in since I’ve been sitting for 50 minutes straight. It checks my heart rate constantly but can last 6 days on a single charge. I think it’s the device I need in my life right now. A device that isn’t trying to be everything. It’s just trying to be an activity tracker.

I’m only on day 2 with it, and I’m experiencing Apple Watch withdrawals for sure, but these feelings of missing my Apple Watch indicate to me that maybe I was a bit too attached to it and for the wrong reasons. My phone usage hasn’t increased in these 2 days which is interesting since I haven’t been interacting with my Apple Watch at all. I’ll be wearing the Charge 3 for the rest of the week and will evaluate if it’s staying or going, but so far, I think it’s been a healthy addition to my life. Updates to come!

-JNog

Ready. Set. Launch.

I’m Jonathan Nogueira, and this, is 2020. Welcome to my site! Glad you could make it. Let me give you the lay of the land. This portion of my site is the blog where you will find content from various topics that I am interested in. Some posts will speak about what’s going on in my life. Sometimes I will focus on technology, leaning pretty heavily into the Apple product line. I will also be sharing opinions, reviews, and pretty much any other item that pops into my head and I want to add to the pile. I hope there might be a little something for everyone and I will do my best to make those different categories easy to find!

This site as I state in the welcome message on my homepage is about me being able to express myself in pretty much any way I want creatively. Writing, music, photography. It’s my collection of everything that I believe reflects me as a person. It’s not about curated pictures of dinner or showing off the “perfect” life. It’s about helping you understand who I am and helping myself learn more about me along the way.

So here we are, a new year, a new site (that I’ve been sitting on publishing for months now), and a new way to connect with me. Enjoy.

Happy New Year,

<JNog>