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Dear RunDisney thank you for breaking my heart

I need to write in order to process right now.

There are times when even though I know that I lead a charmed and blessed life, disappointment hits my table in a very big way and when it does, it hurts.

I’m not even sure that what I am trying to make happen won’t happen, we’re approaching the witching hour and whether or not I gather the necessary sponsors is left to be seen, but that isn’t even what saddens me right now, what saddens me, is that a company I have spent my entire life believing in has broken my heart and gone against a belief that they taught me to believe in.

My Dad used to tell me stories about 1955 when Disneyland first opened. When he told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and I could do anything I wanted to do, he would tell me stories about how a man named Walt Disney created Disneyland out of a dream, a mouse and some orange orchards.

“Honey if you ever think that you can’t accomplish something you just remember what Mr. Walt Disney said, ‘If you can dream it you can do it, always remember that this whole thing started with a dream and a mouse.”

And I believed that. My favorite Walt Disney quote has always been

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Since I don’t know that it will ever come to fruition, I feel like I maybe shouldn’t talk about it, but you know I have promised to share the good and the bad, and so, here goes… today was a sad day for me.

Two years ago, my father passed away. He was one of the biggest champions in my weight loss journey. To help cope with his death I began running. It wasn’t easy at first. I could barely get around the block! But recently, I’m proud to report that I ran my first half marathon — a personal 13.1 miles! — in honor of my dad on Father’s Day.

Today I was willing to step away from my studying to pursue a dream that I have. First let me say that I think you have to understand often times my dreams are a little less selfish than I think most people realize. In a few weeks on July 9th, RunDisney will open registration for the Tinkerbell half marathon, and no matter what happens, I will register and I will run that half marathon because I committed to doing so.

But I didn’t want to just run that half marathon, I wanted to empower someone else to run it with me. And if I had more than the few weeks that Disney allowed me between registration announcement and the actual registration, I have no doubt that I would find the sponsorship to make that happen. I already have 1/4th of the sponsorship I need and I haven’t given up just yet, it may still happen.

But what bothers me is, that I shouldn’t HAVE to be on such a tight time limit to make it happen, and the only reason I am is because of the ridiculous politics of them requiring the name of the person that I take with me on registration day, 7 months prior to the event.

If I could simply purchase my registration and a second spot, and notify them within a reasonable time frame who the second runner would be, this would be much more feasible. I’d purchase the registrations myself and then in I could obtain the rest of the sponsorship I needed for us to go, we’d go and if I didn’t well then I’d sell the registration to someone else that could participate and that would be that. In the mean time I would have a few months instead of a few weeks to try to make this all happen.

But instead I have to try to find the sponsors, run a contest, pick a winner and have that winner’s name in place to register them for the event by July 9th. Thank you RunDisney for making this awesome idea nearly impossible.

I tried so hard. I spent hours and hours today trying to contact people involved with the RunDisney events to see if they could help me make this possible. But really, what I felt like today after talking to most of them was that I was a little fish in a big world and since I wasn’t a non-profit organization willing to secure race registrations for thirty people instead of two, I wasn’t important.

At 6pm tonight here in Dallas where I am visiting, I finally got ahold of a very nice woman named Cindy Hernandez who tried to help me. But Sadly, all the resources she had to try to help me, I had already exhausted. She wanted to send me to talk to the woman I talked to early this morning Katie, who had only been the first to make me feel like that insignificant little person in a great big world. After she had spoken to Katie herself who informed her that she had already talked to me and had “forwarded my request” to their Florida Office Cindy tried for quite some time to find a number for that Florida office that I could call and talk to someone at. She even called the number herself to try to find a way through the bureaucratic red tape. But to no avail, she couldn’t get through the computer animated message that had forwarded me to her any better than I could. Cindy suggested that I email a woman named Shannon who is Katie’s supervisor, to see if she could help me, but she warned me that Shannon and Katie worked very closely together and that she wasn’t sure she could help me either. She apologized to me over and over and expressed her sadness that she couldn’t help me.

At one point during the conversation I told Cindy “Disney is a company I grew up with. I had a father that was born before your doors were even open and I spent so much time in Disneyland as a kid. I’m not asking you guys for money or charity or anything more than the ability to do something great and empower someone else to do it with me. Your company was founded on the beliefs of a man who believed if you can dream it you can do it. And this is a really small ask, all I’m asking for is a little time before an event that occurs 7 months down the road to give you a person’s name. If Walt Disney was here right now, he’d be ashamed of this.” Cindy very compassionately said to me “I really hope he wouldn’t be ashamed of me.” I assured her she was right, he wouldn’t be, as she was the only one that I had gotten on the phone today that really and truly tried to help make this happen for me.

It’s nearly 8pm and I really want to go to bed early tonight, I am emotionally drained from this day of doing nothing but writing letters to sponsors asking them to get on board at the last-minute, reaching out to people to try to make this dream happen and I am emotionally exhausted from it. I’m sad that RunDisney made this so impossible and I am heart-broken than a company I have always believed so much in left me feeling like Aladdin, the lowly street rat who didn’t have enough to offer.

“Riffraff, street rat, I don’t buy that, if only they’d look closer. Would they see a poor boy? No, siree, They’d find out, there’s so much more to me.”

All you had to do was look at what I was asking you for to see that deep inside, I’m a diamond in the rough. I might not be able to put it all together in the time frame you are setting, which is just a horrible unrealistic time frame, heck RunDisney YOU don’t even have all your details hammered out yet. You don’t even have pricing available yet, nor does your event travel coordination company because they don’t have your pricing or even know how many registration blocks you are selling them yet. If you call the Disney resorts and ask to for the prices for room reservations for that weekend they will tell you they can’t tell you because the pricing for the new year doesn’t come out until August. So you can imagine how hard it was for me to even put together a budget to take to my sponsors this morning. But you can’t find a way to cut me a little break on having to have the name of my team member ready to go registration morning?

Disney, you’ve broken my heart today. I’m going to hope that somewhere in the night while I am sleeping the answers come to me, or that by Monday morning my own little Genie shows up and starts waving wishes around.

For right now I am going to go do something that will make me feel better. I’m going to go find a little Pandora mental health reprieve and I am going to remember …

“No Matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you dare to wish will come true.”

RunDisney, Mr. Walt Disney would be ashamed of you for they way you shattered my dreams today, but he’d be super proud of me, who I am, what I have accomplished and how big my dreams are.

DSSPostSig

Lets Box Obesity Together at YMW2013 with the OAC

attendingconventionbadge2It is the beginning of June. ( Or it was when I started writing this blog ) The months ahead of me are full of adventure as I embark on the next part of my weight loss journey. June begins with me heading to Dallas to work on my studies to become a personal trainer, taking some courses at the Cooper Institute and make my final decision on what plastic surgeon I am going to use, ( Which I did already! ) and the reward at the end – a NKOTB Concert with my best friend.

My surgery will be on July 10th giving me time to heal, back in the gym and working out to my full potential by October, when I am now aiming for the soft launch of my Personal Trainer Business. Getting this last skin removal surgery is big for me, it sort of feels like winning the lottery or being on the sports team that just won the World Series or the Superbowl…

“Pandora Williams! You just finished a month of studying for your Personal Trainer Certification Test, You’ve had your last plastic surgery, you’re all recovered and ready to go, what are you going to do now?”

The answer isn’t “I’m going to Disneyland.” Though, I do love me some Disneyland, the answer is “I’m going to the OAC’s Second Annual Your Weight Matters Convention.” Yes, that is how much this event means to me. This event, being there with all my WLS Friends, is going to be my celebration of this part of my journey.

I had the pleasure of attending the Inaugural Your Weight Maters Convention that the OAC put on in Dallas in October of 2012 and the experience that I took away from that was life changing for me. I took more away from that event than I have from any other event or function I have ever attended.

  • I met the women that I know refer to as my WLS Mammas Laura Van Tuyl, Sandi Henderson and Yvonne McCarthy.
  • I met a woman who I know, I am somehow spiritually bonded with my sister from another ma’am and mister – Joy Muller.
  • I met the women that have become part of my support system and made friendships that I know will hold against the test of time.
  • I met the women (and a couple of men) of this community, who motivate and inspire me to continue my journey through helping others with theirs.
  • I met Bobby Whisnand who is like a guardian angel and my Mentor in the intimidating journey I am taking to become a personal trainer.
  • I met the people who encouraged me to select the Cooper Institute as the school from whom I wanted to get my education.
  • I met the people who wrote my letters of recommendation and made the Scholarship I got to attend the Cooper Institute a possibility. ( Thank you Joy Muller and Pam Davis )

Convention-Details-Main-Photo1I met an amazing woman who taught me to appreciate the value of the transactions in my emotional accounts, to be myself, to fight the automatic negative thoughts that creep into my head and helped me understand that I’m not alone in my struggle with body image issues. (Thank you Merril Littleberry)

I got the opportunity to meet the amazing Bloggers that helped get me from Pre-Op to Post Op Success with their honesty, recipes and positive reinforcement. Eggface, Waning Woeman and Bariatric Girl. – ( That sounds like a Super Hero team and truthfully, it is. )

I had the opportunity to sit next to a Doctor Robert Kushner who specializes in Obesity during the Lunch with the Experts “Is your Ideal Weight Ideal for you?” table talk and have him help me understand that I didn’t NEED a normal BMI to be happy and healthy or to be worthy of moving forward with my dream of being a personal trainer.

Attending this event opened more doors for me than have ever been opened before.

I could go on and on – but these are the ones that stand out in the forefront of my mind. So when you ask me, what I want to do to celebrate at the end of this new journey, that is my answer “I’m going to the OAC’s Second Annual Your Weight Matters Convention.” and guess what? I can’t wait. Last year’s YWM2012 Event was amazing and I expect GREAT THINGS this year!

This years topics are so amazing that I’m having a hard time deciding which ones I want to go to.

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The Lunch with the Experts that provided my “Wow Moment” last year, has so many amazing topics this year that I could hardly select which ones to do.

I am incredibly excited to attend some of the fitness classes ( Even if that means standing on the sidelines and cheer others on because my surgeon hasn’t released me to exercise again yet! )

I’m elated by the opportunity to hang out with my friends, enjoy their company and even more so by the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and open my arms to hug and welcome those that might feel new and out-of-place the way others did for me last year.

But most of all I am honored to be a part of this event. I am honored to be a Post-Op Speaker on the panel led by a Pioneer in Reconstructive Surgery after massive weight loss, Dr. Al Aly, to be chosen to sit in the company of such esteemed professionals and bring you the Patient Perspective on this topic is flattering and rewarding in and of itself.

It is rare for me, to stand up and ask anything of my blog readers, followers and friends other than emotional support in the form of a “Like” on Facebook or a “Retweet” on Twitter; I feel like it is my job to give to you, it’s my mission to pay it forward and to help anyone that I can, to try to empower and try motivate and inspire others in their weight loss journey. But this my friends is one of those rare times when I am going to ask you for something.

IMG_5258Please, if you have even considered attending a Weight Loss oriented event, make it this convention. No matter where you are in your weight loss journey and no matter where you are in the social climate of our community, I invite you to “Rise to the Challenge” and take advantage of this opportunity to come together for evidence-based education, and gain some of the helpful tools with weight an empowerment that I was able to gain from attending last year and attend the YWM2013 Convention.

Attending this event last year was life changing for me. ( And others just check out Last year’s Testimonials ) It empowered me in so many ways, not only did it lend to me finding some of the most important people in my support system, but it taught me that I didn’t have anything to prove and that I didn’t need to reach the “normal BMI” I was chasing to pursue the career I wanted as a Trainer. That my story, and my journey from a BMI of 69.9 to a BMI of 26.6 is enough to make me successful and to inspire the clients I want to work with. It empowered me in my desire to advocate for others…

That said … I have a message for you .. if you want to fight weight bias, if you want to fight fat shaming, if you want to fight weight prejudice, if you want to fight bullying, if you want to fight obesity, then set EVERYTHING else aside and join me at YWM2013 and let’s crane kick obesity together!

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The OAC is currently running a contest where one Blogger will win an all expense paid trip to the event and if I win, I will be using it as an opportunity to make sure that the woman that welcomed me with open arms and made sure that I felt included and has been there to support me through some very emotionally trying times in the last eight months (Waning Woman) is also able to attend this event. So if you are already registered and you did so with some inspiration or motivation that came from yours truly, please let the OAC know by sending an email to convention@obesityaction.org and telling them that Pandora at DeperatelySeekingSlender.com sent you and if you register now, be sure to put my name down on the referral and give me a chance to pay it forward to someone deserving. Join me at that OAC YWM2013 Convention and lets fight obesity together in an empowering environment that will be filled of positivity, inclusively and fun!

DSSPostSig

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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