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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

How Can I Help You To Say Goodbye

This isn’t going to be your usual WLS post. Unfortunately today I have something else to share with you.

Most days I am happy to stop and do anything I can to help someone along their journey. Most days I am happy to share my life experience with someone in order to try to make their journey a little easier than mine might have been. Usually I do so with an eagerness I can rarely explain to others. Today however, the journey I must share is one that fills the heart with an overwhelming sadness.

Yesterday as I ran the fastest 5k I have run to date, I listened to old country music as my Dad and I ( Yes I still speak to him when I run ) had a conversation where I sought the answers to one of the most complex questions I’ve ever posed to myself. Suddenly as I ran my second mile in under 12 minutes listening to old school country music I heard not only my question but as usual when I turn to my Father for guidance, the answer as well.

“Through the back window of a ’59 wagon
I watched my best friend Jaime slippin’ further away
I kept on waving ’till I couldn’t see her
And through my tears, I asked again why we couldn’t stay
Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same

And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye?
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye?”

July 5th will be the two-year anniversary of my Father’s passing, one of the most horrible moments of my entire life. and here I am sitting on a plane as I go to help the best friend I have in the world, embark on the same journey.

Sometimes I’m a little surprised how much our lives parallel one another and as I watch my best friend struggle to find her way of  saying goodbye to her Mother, I’m saddened by how much Cancer has taken from her in such a short time. In a matter of days they have gone from stomach pain to the possibility of surgery that was pretty much a gastric bypass to cut the cancer out of her stomach to a six month to live prognosis to just a few days of in home hospice.

Every time she had a moment to catch her breath they cut the time she thought she had left in half on her. And when she asked me “How do you say goodbye if she does know she is going?” I had to take off on a run to try to find the answer for us both.

“Sitting with Mama alone in her bedroom
She opened her eyes, and then squeezed my hand
She said, I have to go now, my time here is over
And with her final word, she tried to help me understand
Mama whispered softly, Time will ease your pain
Life’s about changing, nothing ever stays the same
And she said, How can I help you to say goodbye?
It’s OK to hurt, and it’s OK to cry
Come, let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye?”

We’re never prepared for something like this. It’s never the right time. For me; I had expected the call for years because I knew my Father was getting up there in age. ( He was almost 85 when he passed away ) .. but still the first thing I thought when the call came in and I hung up the phone was “This isn’t fair.”

It took me awhile to find my Father through exercise. To be able to get past the pain and hurt of him not being there for me and realize that he was still there in my heart and that he lives on through me as I share the lessons that he taught me with the world. But as I offered my dear friend the comfort that she too would find a way to still feel connected with her Mom, I realized how hard that is to have faith in right now.

I think of my two-year old Nephew and I wonder how I can ease the confusion he’ll experience when he realizes Grandma won’t be there to play with him or help take care of him anymore.

As my friend, her family, my chosen family and I begin this journey together today, I can’t help but think of how similar we all are. How many things we have all experienced and I am reminded of a lesson that a wise man once taught me…

In life we must understand that sometimes we have to reach out for help from those that are a little bit farther along in the journey than we are and let them show us the right path. My friend did that when she asked me to come to Dallas and help her with this journey. Other times, we need to know when to hold out our hand and reach out for someone who we know is a little bit behind us and try to help them.

This is the very reason that I devote so much of my time to helping other people with their weight loss journey and why I am focused on a career change as a personal trainer, to make sure that I am working on always reaching back to help others step forward.

Today I am reminded that we need to appreciate the present. Do what we can with it and make the best out of it, because we’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. Whether it’s kissing the person that you love,  saying “I love you” or getting out for that walk or run that you’re just not extremely motivated to do, you’ve got to enjoy what you’ve got and appreciate the people you have to share it with.

So Tora, my soul sister, when you read this. Please know that I love you, that I am sorry that our lives have paralleled here and that you are having to find a way to say good-bye to your mother. I’m not sure I can help you find the words to say good-bye, but I can hold your hand and comfort you while you do and I can share with you the experiences that I had so that you might learn from them and know what to expect.

I have no sage words for you that will help you find yours but I can tell you one thing, without any doubt, this isn’t good-bye, it’s the beginning of a different journey with your Mother, one where her presence with you is spiritual and you’re tasked with the oh so important job of making sure my nieces and nephews know their grandmother through you.

As for the rest of us, I think it’s important to remember that our weight loss is just another life journey, one that I want so badly to help you with. So as this heavy topic embraces my loved ones in its grasp I just feel the need to remind you all to live life loud, to love hard, and remember to appreciate the special moments. Be kind to each other and most important live today as if tomorrow is an uncertainty, because it is.

I’m planning on taking my niece and nephew for a walk tonight, after I get a little nap in. Exercise is an amazing way to process everything going on around you and a natural anti-depressant. Making sure my chosen Family utilizes that outlet is on the top of my to do list. Who wants to support us and get their fit on too?

DSSPostSig

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

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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