Monday, October 24, 2011
I woke up this morning and it dawned on me that I have been part of Spark People for almost two years. I came here to lose weight. I'd tried everything else, I figured what the heck......... This WAS FREE!!! I lost a ton of weight, I hurt my legs and my back, regained a lot of the weight I lost, got depressed, ate a ton of ice cream, got re inspired and hopefully am back on track. What I've learned here in two years could fill a book, so I'll make an effort to be succinct.
I have learned most importantly that I am a community of one, and so are you. There is no other body type, like yours. There is no mental and emotional way of processing life, its events and its twists and turns like yours. When we look at a picture we may both see a cow but yours is a solid color while mine may be mottled. I learned that reading all these amazing success stories people write about can be motivating and then they can be deflating at the same time. Each of those people found a key and a voice inside of me yelled "Hey wait for me," only to find out an exercise program or a particular food or lack of it, didn't fit my life style, body type or age. I experienced set backs and wondered if I was equal to Mr or Ms "I lost 150 pounds."
As obese people we are often self conscious about how we look. We find a community of people who have shared our pain and difficulties and we rejoice. We see their success and we so want to be loved and accepted that we will damn near kill ourselves in the process of getting there. Our need to finally be accepted and integrated is so strong that we would defy our otherwise reasonable mind to do so.
I have learned that I forgot to stand straight and tall all by myself. I learned I am a community of one. There is no one like me and no one should be. I learned acceptance from many of you. Many of you reached out and extended your hand in friendship and while I was worried and concerned and all those attributes us people pleasers have I learned to take that hand and squeeze it in return.
I learned vulnerability can be a really scary thing and each of us guards ourselves so tightly as not for the world to see the true self we fight to hide.
As I won ,then lost, then became relatively mundane I lost friends here. Apparently I was not inspiring enough. and please John quit writing about your setbacks. I guess it means John I'd have to face my own. Send me a happy face goodie and life will be great.
If I began to name the people who loved me, stuck with me, became real friends, even though we may never meet, I'd leave someone out.
I have learned that I am a community of one, special, unique and deserving of health. I've learned its a long journey and that journey never ends. I've learned health is a process.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The average salary in the National Basketball Association last year was 5.5 million dollars. Many made less, but many made more. Of the four major sports, baseball, basketball, football and hockey, basket all players are paid the most on average. They currently are in the midst of a labor dispute to improve their station in life. The people that own professional basketball teams are claiming they are going to go broke. It’s turned into a “he said, she said” sort of issue. The end result is no basketball. Enter Bryant Gumble.
Gumbel is a sports and news anchor. His credentials are impressive. He began his career hosting NFL Live on NBC and graduated to being a host of the Today show. From there he went to HBO where he now hosts a show called Real Sports. I have always found Gumbel to be thoughtful, intelligent and provoking. Until yesterday. Yesterday Gumbel compared NBA commissioner David Stern to a “plantation overseer.” The inference is obvious. A majority of NBA players’ are African American as is Gumbel. I can’t get my hands around multi-millionaires being compared to slaves. If that is slavery I know a lot of folks that would gladly take their jobs.
I can get my hands around real and true discrimination. It indeed exists. Many people are denied housing, jobs and education because of the color of their skin, their gender, their nationality, their religion, their sexual orientation or a disability. Our world’s cities are crowded with people who are denied basic civil rights and adequate medical care. The color of your skin still goes a long way in determining what people thing about you. Many people fall in love with each other and aren’t allowed to marry or enjoy benefits married couples enjoy because they don’t fit someone’s notion of what marriage is or should be. Women are still treated as if they are second class citizens in what we tout as the most enlightened nation in the world. We live in a world where many people will go to bed hungry, without jobs and without homes tonight and someone has the nerve to tell me the highest paid sports group in America is being treated like slaves? Do we stereotype, of course we do. Most basketball players are perceived as dope smoking, gun toting gang members. I don’t think that’s right either. The average American made 27,000 dollars last year. Many Americans exist below the poverty level.
We don’t want to look at any of those things. We’d rather buy our NFL Sunday ticket, our NBA League Pass and sit in front of our televisions and grow numb to what’s going on in our own neighborhoods. We look to the talking heads, on the right, left or in the middle to define life for us as a society. They know best or so we seem to think. I am as guilty of this group think as anyone else. I’d rather push the growing reality that we are living on a sinking ship somewhere into the back of mind and blame someone else’s misfortune on a racial, ethnic or gender stereotype. I can take consolation that as a friend once said “I’m 18, free and white.” I excuse away another’s suffering and misery because they don’t fit the profile.
Racism and discrimination in this global community is alive and well but not in the NBA. While Gumbel’s assertions were ludicrous I owe him a debt of thanks. It made me realize just how long I’d dozed off from the real issues in our communities and world, the equality of EVERYONE, not a pampered few. This blog may cost me a few friends. It may create a bit of backlash. I can’t seem to find a way to care about any of that. We live in a politically correct; don’t offend anyone world and we have become so scared of what’s right and what’s wrong that we simply shut up.
5.5 million dollar a year in wages and your being treated like a slave…………… Really?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Do you remember when you HAD to answer the telephone to reveal who was calling you? Do you remember those “old days?” I think it was only about twenty years ago.
First came answering machines. Did you ever sit looking at your phone waiting for the message to kick in so you could decide whether you wanted to talk to the person on the other end? Even if ya didn’t, they’d still leave ya a voice mail message. Here comes built in reason number one for not returning the call: “One of the kids must have deleted the message before I could hear it!” The other party would laugh knowingly. They had used the same subterfuge themselves.
We used voice mail at work and if we wanted we could let a whole days’ worth of phone calls back up by simply hitting the little “ignore button” at the base of our phone. Caller ID made it even easier. Phone rings, number appears, little voice in John’s head goes “I don’t wanna talk to THEM.” We just ignore the incoming call. The caller decides if they want to play voice mail roulette and life goes on, no?
I bring this up because I have a client who is notorious for breaking appointments by not showing up and claiming she sent me a text message to cancel the appointment. This has happened more than once. I save my business text messages because I don’t always remember key facts or simply as a reminder. This person blames her carrier, vows to switch to whatever provider pops into her head, apologizes profusely and then I fume because I have an hour or so on my hands with nothing to do. I know what you are thinking, but I can’t dump her just yet, she’s paid in advance.
Yesterday I struck a blow on behalf of all of us who are fed up with this technological deceit. “Lauren, do you realize this is the fifth time in three weeks you’ve cancelled and blamed your cell phone provider for the message not being delivered?”
Lauren was incensed, to say the least. She demanded to speak to my boss. I told her she was speaking to him. Then I told her that I was considering this latest session she blew off as one to put in the books as completed and that if she didn’t start showing up I’d do the same with future visits. Lauren told me to go somewhere warm and hung up. Hanging up a cell phone just doesn’t have the effect slamming dow a receiver used to, does it?
I’m not sure what I accomplished here but I feel a lot better. BTW: If you ever call me I’ll answer. It’s my curious nature
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
My back and legs are healing. It's a slow process but it's a process that is moving forward. Each day I notice a change, sometimes slight, but a change none-the less. God blessed me with a good chiropractor. She listens to me, has tailored a program for my needs and is positive and encouraging. A good friend that I met here at Spark, asked her chiropractor for some guidelines for me in choosing one for myself. She didn't have to extend herself like that but that's what friends do. It's an unconscious act. It requires no thought. You are there for someone because that's what friends do. I realize in today's world its a bit arcane and old school given the "me first" attitude we see so much and before you relegate this act of kindness as being one old person to another.............. my friend is in her early thirties and could be my daughter. Friendship, real friendship flows like a stream, very natural and very healing and expecting nothing in return except the delight of the one who received it. But I digress.
My chiropractor told me to forget about running 5k's and concentrate on walking a half a block. She gave me a good talk yesterday about building my back and legs back slowly..... Five minutes a day on the elliptical and five minutes on the recumbent cycle. Walking is part of my regimen, three times a day. This will take time and if you know me patience isn't my middle name.
So, I asked God to show me what lessons I'm supposed to learn from all this. The first was a bitter one. A lot of folks I thought were friends - work out buddies, running buddies, even some very athletic Spark friends, have, as the kids say "ditched me." There is even some talk that I am "dogging it." That I'm hiding behind a minor injury because I'm not tough. I have to tell you that part has hurt. I walk or rather hobble into the gym and take ten minutes to walk fifty or sixty feet and people turn away. The trainers who were so supportive a year ago wouldn't know my name if I hung it on poster board around my neck. They are scared, we all are ya know. We are scared the worst could happen to us and if we ignore the worst it wont even come close. I've learned something from them. When I am in parking lot or a store and an older person or an injured person needs the right of way I sit back and let them take as much time as they need to navigate their way. I used to be very impatient, wondering why they wouldn't or couldn't move quicker. Now I know.......... they cant.
I learned the value of true friends. so many of you, in your own way kept at me even when I didn't want to be "kept at." some used humor, some used love and some placed a well deserved boot in my butt. To those who left me I understand, I really do. Until July I was the same way.
So thank you for sticking with me. It's helping my recovery in more ways then you will ever know.
Time to walk.
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