Today in a workshop at this conference, we learned about helping our clients and students by letting them author their own story. This couldn't have been a better topic for me to listen to. I needed to be surrounded by people today that are not in our business for the red tape, the correct political answer, or the "who has the appropriate title to do this job or meet with this client" mentality. Today I listened to a very wise, and I hate to say it, but I'm going to - "seasoned", career counselor. He has an amazing career, with a long and respected history. He said many wonderful things, all things that I wish my hand was fast enough to capture while scribbling my notes in his 2 and a half hour session. Two things I did scribble were:
"If everything goes as planned, you have no story".
"Find your pain, look for the hole in your heart, and it is there that you will find what made you strong enough to be you".
He also asked, what is your cliche message or tag line? What saying do you find comfort in or buy into? For me, it's "Everything Happens for a Reason" and/or "Trust the Process". Now from what I gathered during his very informative talk, these two sayings I gravitate towards because of early issues of control I developed. I probably find comfort in them because they allow me a quick escape to bring sense, logic and delusional control to whatever situation I am in. I'm done self-diagnosing those for now, but plan to revisit why those 2 popped up immediately in my head when asked. In another session we were asked, if you were any box of cereal on the shelf, what would you be and give 3 reasons why. You're probably asking yourself - what the F do these career counselors do all day... but I promise there was a reason behind it. That will most likely be the topic of a future post. I did survey some friends, family and loved ones to get their opinions. I'll report those to you all when the results are in. Current front runner... Honey Bunches of Oats.
I'm going to divert for a moment, so just follow me...
The other night, I was asked to speak at our support group for WLS patients. About 2/3rd's of the room was pre-op people or recent surgery people and the other 1/3rd was veterans.... yes, at 9+ months out we are considered veterans. Anyway, the overall topic of the night was how to prepare, handle and survive the holidays. I focused on a few messages. One was: prepare yourself for the reality of only having control over YOUR expectations, not others. So much about our WLS process is about controlling and managing our environment. 2 things I love spending my time on (controlling and managing ;). I'm not sure I have this down yet, but it's worth talking about and helping others become aware of it. We talked about food choices and judgments that come with that: "Can you REALLY eat that?" or "Do you eat anything "normal" anymore???" Whatever those opinions, expectations or judgments might be - you can't control them. All you can control is what your expectations are and how you handle whether or not your expectations are met. Gone are the days of turning to food for comfort, answers or out of anger. Welcome to the new world of voicing those concerns, opinions, thoughts and feelings AND knowing that you deserve to have every single one of those!
Another message, one that I feel was my most important was this:
Celebrate, honor and thank yourself. Every version of yourself. Because without all those versions, you wouldn't be who or where you are today. (I don't think I was this articulate when talking to the large group - but it was my intention to get this message across).
Starting to see the full circle, Oprah "aha" moment that I had today at the conference??? Either way, keep reading... I appreciate it ;)
So many times, my friends from WLS group or those that I hear speak up say they are working so hard to leave that old person in the past. To get rid of their bat wings (flabby arms) or rid themselves of the tire (the soft doughy section of flab that will just not leave). This is hard for me to hear. I guess we all got to where we are in different ways and each need to come to terms with that in our own way. I would never want someone to LIVE in the past by dwelling, but what I would hope and want for people is that they RESPECT the past. And by past, I mean ourselves.
If you're anything like me, you remember your life phases, stages and milestones by the outfits that you were wearing. For example: 7th grade band concert, long red pleated formal dress with lace collar. I believe mom bought me the blue one (exact same) just to make sure I had 2 dresses that were extra fabulous - and I did LOVE those dresses. How about the green silk shirt in my sixth grade picture?, Oh picture day, a day that we all knew was going to be captured forever and would be a daily reminder of who we were on that day as we had to use our school ID every day for the next year. Moving onto high school, my size 16 denim shorts and size XL coral button down top that I wore to a bowling alley my senior year from New York and Company. Memorable because it's one of the last things I remember buying from a "regular" store. If Carley is reading this, she might remember the coveted pair of Calvin Klein denim overalls from VonMaur. Oh, those were downright amazing. I'm sure they'd be like today's ugg boots. Something where knock-offs are just not the same, but you wear them long past their due date. In fact, I think mine got chub-rub holes in the thighs. And that my friends, was a sad day...
I'm at a place in my life where both personally and professionally I need to start authoring my own story. I need to reflect on the past and put a voice to the future. I have a goal that this next year will be a year of reflection. I plan to tackle this by making a list of goals (Because I make LISTS dammit!) and whatever during the upcoming year doesn't relate to or affect those goals - I'm going to let roll. PS - I'm not ashamed of those lists. It's how I function, it's part of my "story". I promise not to go on and on through the blog about my story. What I can say is, I'll mention it. I'll mention my goals to help keep me accountable to my cyber friends. I'll reflect on the process - because as the title of this blog says, it's all about trusting the process. And finally, I'll be truly and utterly self indulgent (in the blog). It is only then, that I'll be able to become comfortable with myself and my story - whatever piece of that story I feel like sharing with myself on that day.
So in closing of this "novel" - something I could have continued writing for hours - I leave you with a picture. A picture that I would like to say THANK YOU to. This picture represents a version of me that makes me who I am today. It also represents all of those hard years I spent working towards that version of myself. And it was hard work. It's hard work for any of us to be us - we all have a story, and we all deserve to tell ourselves that story - any (self-indulgent and well deserved) day.
|Picture Day: June 2, 2009. I will always have my school ID to look at and say THANK YOU even when the mirror no longer looks like this.|