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This is Me Hurt and Discouraged

This is one of those pieces that you start to write and ask yourself, do I really want to share these thoughts and feelings with my readers?

LittleDSSpeopleFor me, the answer is a resounding yes, and let me explain why. I made a promise when I started this blog that I would share my journey with you, that includes the times when the journey isn’t fun or exciting and it includes times that I feel hurt and sad.

Today I feel hurt and sad and discouraged. I feel like this journey is teaching me who my real friends are, who really cares about me, and who really supports me. It’s funny my friend just posted a picture on Facebook as I am working on publishing this entry that said “You don’t lose friends, you just find out who your real ones are.” ( Thank you Claire you remind me so much of my Daddy )

Now let me start by saying that I realized there are lots of facets to my emotions and my feelings right now. First let’s talk about my life here in Portland. There are a lot of people in my life, people who I interact with on a regular basis that call themselves my friends and have no problem asking me to do something for them, or inviting me to do something with them. But you know what, when things start happening for me and I ask for help and support in the mere form of a COMMENT on a page that it is REALLY important to me, they can’t be bothered to help me. If you look at the page that I’ve publicly asked for support on, you’ll see the same people who have been supporting me for years in real life. My best friends Debby, Ashli and Heather, Debby’s husband Colin, and that.. is it.

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You have no idea how heart wrenching that is to me. You don’t see my family on there, you don’t see my friends on there, you don’t see local friends that I have done things for, supported, tried to help with their own endeavors on there commenting.

Now there are a few people in my life, like my “Second Father” as I call him, Tom, who is in his 70’s and just isn’t part of the social media world, and my Aunt Beverly who isn’t really computer proficient. Those people I understand, but the rest of them. No I’m sorry I don’t.

Frankly, the next time someone from my everyday life here in Portland asks me to do something for them or with them that could not bother to support me when I BEGGED for it. I’m going to say “I’m really busy right now but thank you for inviting me.” so when you get that response from me, you’ll know why.  That’s my approach, I’m not one to pick a fight or get into a big dramatic thing with you over it, I’m just the type to go away and give you back the same emotional vacancy sign you just handed me with your clear display of lack of support. Now if you feel that you fit into this box, then really, maybe you should ask yourself why you decided that something that I asked of you, something that was extremely important and exciting to me, meant so little to you, that you couldn’t be bothered to add a quick comment to a page that I asked you to.

Now that’s, the real world. But there are other spins on this too, and once again, I’m going to be honest about my feelings. But really, my online world isn’t that much different. There are people who read my blog on a regular basis, who have seen something in me from the beginning and support me. I love you guys, you are the very reason my blog exists.

529967_355878714449811_2000093436_aBlogging really isn’t my thing. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s not like I set out to be a blogger. I set out to share my story with others that were battling the same issues and that sort of made me a blogger. It’s not my dream though. I’m not after a 10,000 reader following or a blog that makes money with advertisements. I don’t make anything off my blog, the couple of sponsors I have are people who believe in me and what I am doing. NWFitness and PaceSetter, and their sponsorship isn’t in the form of cash, it’s in product. PaceSetter gives me running shoes and socks and tips on how to improve my running. NWFitness is trying to get as much of the equipment as they can for my start-up business as a personal trainer that I am lunching this year. And these sponsors weren’t even ones I found, they are sponsors my friends found for me, because they took the initiative to start looking for people to help me get started. It’s not my blog that I am focused on, my blog is my way of communicating my story to others, what I am out to do is help other people on their weight loss journey by teaching them that exercise can be fun, and to help the weight loss surgery community discover the benefits of exercise on an emotional level, as an emotional outlet, stress reliever, and, a damn good option in the battle of cross over addictions. Exercise has helped me so much, becoming a trainer and helping others find that is extremely important to me.

NWFitness125Every event I go to, everything I do right now comes out of my own pocket and of course the time that I am investing in it takes away from my normal job. But I believe in the WLS Community and I want to be a part of t, and those few people whose lives I touch and help with what I do, usually give me more motivation than I need to go on.

But I won’t lie to you, I won’t sugar coat stuff and paint it with pretty colors to make people like me. I’ve been that big girl who was invisible to the world for so long that if you decide you don’t like me because of what I have to say, that’s ok, I can live with that.

But seriously folks, I don’t think you understand how disheartening it is to ask your community to do something for you and pretty much get ignored. I don’t pretend to be one of those people who has a following of 5000 or even 500, but I have a couple hundred of followers on the social media networks and you know what. EIGHT of them, took the time to post a comment on this page when I literally begged. And really… I wouldn’t think asking people to go to a page and encourage a famous fitness guru to get involved in our community and come to our events would be such a hard thing for my friends in this community to do. But apparently it is, and I’m not going to lie folks, it’s hurt my feelings.
DSS-PostLogo3bFor the first time, I honestly am second guessing my involvement in this community. For the first time, I am wondering if I want to continue pressing forward to build a fitness career focused on the WLS community specifically. For the first time, I’m starting to think that maybe I should just be focusing on building my new career in general and not so much on just the WLS community, even though I am extremely passionate about it and care about the people within it.

One thing that I know right now is that for the last 6 months I have written letters to my Hero Chris Powell that were answered. He was listening to my voice, I had gotten his attention.

So many things were happening for me, and when I was Honored with the Ms. Fabulous 2012 title I thought, OK  here is my big shot to make a go at this and actually write Chris Powell and ASK him to come to some of these events and recognize this community. I thought it was really a good shot to work on fighting the misconception that weight loss surgery is the easy way out, and of course, help promote fitness in the WLS community because that is what I am all about.

DSS-PostLogo4bI feel right now, like I sort of wasted my one big opportunity. I feel like I should have waited to ask Chris Powell to do something. I feel like instead of asking him to support a community that can’t take the time to show him that they WANT to be supported I should have just kept that little open line of communication with him to myself and held on to it until there was something I wanted for just me, not the entire community. I know that sounds selfish, so be it, that’s the truth about how I feel right now. I feel like I’ve really pushed to get his attention, his wife’s attention, and his management teams attention, and I asked for something big, and got a pretty positive response. But, even when this community could SEE that positive response ( I mean you can see his responses to my letters on my website and obviously on the post on his Facebook page that I asked for support on. ) only EIGHT people who are not 5-10 year-long friends of mine could be bothered to support me. It hurts my feelings a lot because there are so many people in this community that I thought really cared about me and respected me, and when I see that they can’t take 5 minutes to make a comment, or share a post for me it just really hurts my feelings.

I pay close attention. Especially to those that sure has heck don’t mind it when I do that for them. I’m very good at hitting the like button, commenting, sharing, retweeting, replying, and let me just tell you honestly guys, the lack of support I feel here, it’s not encouraging.

Now I will be the first to admit my own issues and own my own stuff. Is my reaction to this warranted?  Is how hurt I feel right now justified? I’m 100% positive that I am even more sensitive to the lack of support I feel from the WLS community because of the lack of support I get from my own Family. But you know, I’ve been honest about the lack of support from my Family and my poor relationship with them. I’ve been very honest about my “chosen family” and about how I very much see the WLS community as part of my family. And the fact that I didn’t get the support I thought I would from my WLS Family really broke my heart.

I’m going to be taking a few days to lick my wounds and re-evaluate what I am doing, how I am doing it and whether I need to go into a different direction.

My best friend Ashli arrives for a week-long visit on Wednesday and you won’t see any blogs, or social media presence from me while she is here. I’m going to take some time to consider where I am going to focus my energies and spend quality time with the women that have supported me for years.

DSS-PostLogo5I feel like my dream is unreachable now. I realize that after what I asked Chris Powell to do and how hard I tried to show him that the weight loss surgery needed him, he’ll likely never respond to me again now. The fact that I probably lost the ear of my biggest hero by asking him to get involved with this community rather than just get involved with me and potentially blew any chance I ever had of meeting the one person whose words of praise mean as much to me as my Father’s is just crushing to me.

Right now, my instant reaction is to withdraw, to go focus on my education and my life and not worry so much about blogging, Facebook and Twitter or being friends with people who don’t really care about something that meant so much to me. But I know that reaction comes from a place of hurt and emotional response and I won’t make any decisions until the smoke alarm stops sounding and I have time to really analyze all the emotions involved in what I am feeling.

For those of you that did support me, and did comment. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking the time. I will never ever forget the eight of you that tried to help me, and as always it’s an action I will pay forward somehow, someday, someway.

My blog has gone silence once before when my Father passed away. I felt like I needed time to grieve and heal before I could move forward. This time it won’t be as long but I feel like a dream of mine died with this part of my journey and I need some time to get over that.

People often ask me what I do when something happens that hurts me or discourages me. This is it, I step back, reevaluate and re-approach, I’ll see you all in a week or so when I have my head back on straight and the hurt is a little less new and raw.

Related Links:

Chris Powell answers my letter. Please help make my dream come true.
My spin on WLS Advocacy – What I am doing to help
A Letter to Chris Powell
Chris Powell Responds to my Letter

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My spin on WLS Advocacy – What I am doing to help

A lot of people have asked me about my involvement with the Flab to Fabulous Pageant since segment aired on KOIN6 Local News on January 11,2013 about my weight loss journey didn’t really go into great details and they didn’t air any of the details they had about organizations that I am passionate about.

Last week, I was named the Ms. Fabulous 2012 Honoree and invited to the pageant week in Atlanta GA scheduled to take place May 26 through June 02 of this year. 

I’m very passionate about the Weight Loss Surgery community and always eager to do anything that I can to help it grow and flourish. A passion of mine, that I have often spoke of on my blog is to raise money for people who are not lucky enough to get their insurance to cover the costs of plastic surgeries the way mine did. My insurance has paid for all of my plastic surgery, that is pretty much unheard of in the weight loss surgery community, and because of my great fortune I am passionate about paying that forward to my community. My goal is to one day have my own Personal Trainer Business with Vendor Booths at all the events and be using my work and my passion to help pay for other people’s skin removal surgeries. This is something I am extremely passionate about. And that is exactly what the WLSFA does. The WLSFA, Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America, is a non-profit organization that funds grant recipients for patients that need these lifesaving Bariatric Surgeries and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeries after they have achieved massive weight loss so that they can take their lives back from obesity just the way I have.  When I first set out to start my business I mentioned things about how I wanted to help pay for people’s surgeries, I even talked about wanting to set up some sort of Scholarship Donation Program in my Father’s name someday as a memorial to him since he is one of the biggest inspirations in my own weight loss journey. It is this passion, this love of my Father and his down home Texas, “Treat others the way you wish to be treated,” upbringing that drives my passion to make sure I give back to the community the things that the universe has so generously gifted me with.

oca-logo-footerIt is this same philosophy that drives my passion behind the OAC.  The OAC, Obesity Action Coalition changed my life and my participation at their Inaugural Your Weight Matters Convention in Dallas Texas gave me things that I never would have had prior to going. The professionals at that event gave me the confidence in my business approach, what I want to do, and where I am going with career as Personal Trainer as well as the education and empowerment to help me move past some of my own unhealthy body dimorphic issues and the guidance and direction that would empower me to attend one of the most respected schools in the country to obtain my certification. It gave me the opportunity to start making friends within the community, friends that I would bond with and that I know I will be friends with for years to come. It allowed me to meet some women that I looked up to an admired for their voices on their blogs; The World According to Eggface and Waning Woman. It allowed me to get feedback from my peers and it motivated me to push forward even faster with my goals as I truly saw that others were inspired by my success and determination, it allowed me the opportunity to get my voice heard by more women and some of those women are on Chris Powell’s Facebook page today asking him to get involved with this community and help us fight against the stigma and bias that people look on Weight Loss Surgery patients with. When I see a woman stand up and say that I am her WLS Idol, I am humbled, I am honored and I am even more driven because I am seeing first hand that my story can help inspire someone just starting out in this journey and help them know that they can make it. The OAC opened doors for me with their convention and that is why I have done things like volunteered for their committees this year, put myself in DC for a week on my own dime just hoping they can use me and my passion to share my story in an effort to help others get the sort of medical coverage that I did. That is why I have gone to my own Bariatric Surgery Center, and my own Bariatric Surgeon, Leslie Cagle , M.D., F.A.C.S. with Pacific Surgical Specialists and personally asked her to get involved with the OAC and sponsor all of their Bariatric Surgery Patients with OAC Memberships.

My Goals in 2013 Remain the same as always, which is why I am taking an entire week in February, pushing pause on my life here in Oregon and heading out the Dallas to go to the Cooper Institute and take their Certified Personal Trainers course in person. The opportunity to do this comes from a gentleman that preferred I not mention his name publicly  who has followed my blog since I first started it and who wanted to support my career change and saw that I was struggling with the intimidation factor of having to “study” and learn and pass a test again for the first time in nearly twenty years and wanted to give me the opportunity to learn in an environment that I will be more successful in. His gift came with a note that read “Because you wish to support others in their WLS and journey and success and I wish to do the same for you.”

I think that the Ms. Fabulous 2012 Honoree title is an amazing title to have. I was given the title after a couple of hours of conversation with the Pageant Director, Charlie Brown, because we just sort of clicked and my story touched her and my positive attitude, desire to help others in their weight loss journey and overall approach to “Life after Weight Loss” embodied the vision of what she has for Ms. Fabulous.  I see the Fabulous Pageant as a way for the weight loss surgery community to stand up and band together.

DSSAdvocacyFunDSS: Advocacy Through Fun. Please Join Me

One of the things that people love about me is that they respect me because I say what I think and I call things like I see them. And something  that I can tell you honestly as both a person that is trying to come into this community as a professional trainer and as a blogger who passionately cares about this community and the men and women that are members of it is that the stigma against weight loss surgery patients is unfair and biased. Weight loss should be celebrated equally on all levels, whether you lose the weight through diet and exercise alone, or whether you needed a program like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers, Whether you were doing Atkins or Carb Cycling with Chris Powell, or whether you had weight loss surgery once, or even twice, the point is not HOW you lost your weight. The point is THAT you lost your weight.

The point is that you found what worked for you. Let me ask you something, if someone was standing in front of you dying of cancer and they had several options to try to attack their cancer, and they decided to choose the one that would go at it as fast and most aggressively as possible; would you fault them?

Obesity is a disease. I was just reading in my Cooper Institute Textbook last night that the leading causes of death in the US today are Cardiovascular Diseases, Cancers, COPD and Diabetes and we all know that obesity causes co-morbid conditions. I had Diabetes, I had Sleep Apnea, I had High Blood Pressure, I had Chronic Back Pain, I had constant skin rashes and sores, I had constant shortness of breath, and I had limited mobility. Gastric Bypass was my chosen method of attack on my taking my life back from being morbidly obese and being able to live a happy and healthy life my father wanted for me.

As Ms. Fabulous 2012 I had the opportunity to sponsor candidate for every category in the competition. I’ve got three contestants that are going to compete under my sponsorship and who I will be helping try to get the sponsorship funding they need to go to pageant week if they make Semi Finals. Two of my contestants are local Oregon WLS Patients who both had their surgery at the same hospital I did, though we had different surgeons and they are both success stories for two of the local Portland area Bariatric Surgeons. I am so excited to have them representing Oregon and I’m thrilled that they are both so passionate about telling their story and helping the weight loss community that they were both more than happy to volunteer to donate any cash prize money they receive throughout the pageant to the WLSFA Pacific Northwest Chapter.

I’ve always been the kind of person that likes to pay back to my community. I love the fact that I get to help some people of this community maybe become the next Mr. or Ms. Fabulous (or Active Fabulous) and help them showcase their own weight loss surgery stories. The fact that I can use this title to try to help our community by raising money for a cause I believe in excites me and the fact that I can hopefully draw attention to something that we all want to fight against, the stigma of Weight Loss Surgery from the general weight loss, fitness and media is unfair and unjustified.

That OAC Convention gave me all this confidence I have right now as did all my friends in the WLS community to really get out there and go for my dreams. There was a Bariatric Surgeon there named Lloyd Stegemann who introduced a room full of weight loss surgery patients to the concept that standing alone we are weak, by taking a chopstick and snapping it in two. Then he held a large group of them together and demonstrated that he could not break them and reminded us that together we are strong.  It is my hope that since you all know what my goals and aspirations are; you will really get behind my endeavor to use this 2012 Ms. Fabulous title to unite our community.

My mission is to prove to the weight loss, fitness and media industry that weight loss surgery is not a dirty word and that it isn’t the easy way out. The Fabulous Foundation chose me as their Ms. Fabulous because I have a story that when I have the floor to share it, disproves that concept several times over. I am living proof that even after WLS we work as hard as anyone else for this sort of transformation.

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KOIN6 Local News Segment Aired on January 11, 2013

Please, go to this link and use the comments section to lend your voice to my mission. Share your WLS Success Story and help break the stigma. Share the stories about struggling with regain and just how NOT easy this journey is. Share the stories about how you now run 5ks, 10ks and half Marathons. Share the stories about the people you reach through your blog voices, share about your struggles to find good protein shakes J — share…. Comment… and take the time to let Chris and Heidi Powell and their Management team know that we want them to stand behind this community too. 220,000 weight loss surgeries are performed in this country each year. Surely I can get some of you to put your sticks with mine so that they can’t be broken?

My Letter on Chris Powell’s Facebook Page: I cannot tell you how much this means to me. I am begging my friends and family to take the time to go comment on this page and help make this happen. If you take the time to read my stuff, please take the time to support me too.

http://www.facebook.com/realchrispowell/posts/10151226631791864?comment_id=25326741&notif_t=feed_comment

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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.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out!

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