Monday, July 23, 2007

Motivate Me

Richard Simmons hosts a weekly chat every Monday in his internet Clubhouse, I always attend; even when the subject is not pertinent to my needs. When I am bored, I may sit at the computer for a while, get up and do other things, and then come back. But I know that this chat helps keep me focused on the big picture, no matter what the subject. Tonight, however, was not one of those evenings where I got distracted.

The subject? "What's On Your Mind." And we talked about, amongst other things, motivation.

So I am the queen of motivation, right? So you would think from my weight loss story. But truth be told, I cannot think of a single moment during my journey where I felt motivated. At least in the classical sense. I never had that rah-rah-I'm-gonna-do-it feeling. In fact, I have always been aware of the futility at even attempting to lose weight. I rarely made an effort, and when I did, it was knowing full-well in advance that I was going to fail. Setting myself up to fail. By eating too few calories within a group of unrealistically restricted foods. By, when I ate contraband, figuring that one breach of ettiquete made the entire process a failure, a built-in excuse to abandon the effort..

So what made this time so different? How do I define motivation? I picked the stream of thought up with Eric over Ramen dinner.

We agreed that it certainly isn't a charged up feeling. That can't be sustained for long. Certainly not long enough to lose the 200+ pounds that I've shed. That feeling could be better defined as enthusiasm. I'm still mulling it over, but I think that motivation might be more of a quiet desperation that forces a life change; I knew that I couldn't live much longer going down the path that I was traveling on. Figuratively. Literally. And in between too.

When I found Richard in 2003, it was quite by mistake. I certainly didn't intend to associate myself with him. In fact, I kept it quite the secret for over a year. At the time, I thought I was just embarassed amongst my peers to be associated with the sparkly tanks and the persona. But now I realize that it wasn't that at all. It was more like I knew, once again, that the attempt to exercise and even worse, lose weight, was going to be a failure. I didn't want them to know because I didn't want them to know when I wasn't capable.
Now, I'm very proud to know him. And to know that he knows me. Because there is a depth to the man that does not come across on television. And he, along with my therapist, saved my life.

Later this evening, after Eric went home, I thought some more about the whole topic. And re-entered the chat room where I found a number of Richard's webbies; none of who have reached goal yet. The conversation was rather heavy because I spurred it in that direction. Re-hashed some of what I had been considering. And the difference in me between now and 200 pounds ago. It comes down to the following:

1. I used to be unwilling to acknowledge my faults and issues because I was convinced that mine were worse than anyone elses around me. Now I don't magnify my percieved faults; understanding that I am neither better or worse than the next person. I'm just different.

2. Because I was so afraid of being found out for my faults, I would isolate myself. I had no friends, not because they were not there, but because I would not acknowledge them.

3. I equated accepting help and support with being unacceptably weak. I could not understand that nobody does anything in a vaccum. That everyone helps and is helped by everyone else and that's how we all get by.

4. I was angry because I was the different one. I didn't understand that being different, rather than a flaw, was something that I should embrace.

A couple of months ago, I attended Richard's "Lighten Up" radio show on Sirius. The second hour was about people who dealt with medical issues. I lost it. Fell apart because the women who called in seemed so happy to have medical issues; happy not to be helping themselves; happy to almost brag about all the medications they take. This was only a few weeks since I had been taken out of Slimmons by paramedic and had not been released to exercise. (Technically, I'm still not released, but it's a don't-ask-don't-tell scenario.) "Why was I crying?" Richard asked. "Because these people were squandering the opportunity they had in being physically able to affect change in their lives while I was truly a victim - at the time - of my body." It was so hard to listen to.

After the show, a couple of the other gals there who are struggling with their weight, came to talk to me. Not as concerned about how I was doing - although that's what they professed and I truly believe that they believed it - as how I must see them. And I realized, during that conversation, that I was the lucky one amongst us, even given my struggles. Because I hadn't even given them a thought while I was talking to Richard... had not looked down upon them or used them as a comparison. And I realized, I think for the final time, how far I had come. That the comments that others might make, even when they seem directed right at me, really aren't. Everything everyone says or does ultimately is really about themselves, isn't it?

The way we relate to others is through sunglasses. Some people wear rose colored glasses. And they are very popular. Others were dark gray ones. And are sad and depressed and can't fully take advantage of opportunities that come their way. I am somewhere in between the two. And working on it. Hard.

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