Monday, November 19, 2012

My Final Mamavation Monday Post

Sometimes in life you hold onto things because you want them to be the way they were. You figure that if you hold on long enough, everything will go back to being ok.  Then one day, something happens and you wake up and realize that's just not the reality of life. Sometimes in life, you have to move on. It's not necessarily because you don't care anymore. Sometimes it's because things have changed and they can never go back to being what they were.

Sadly, today is one of those days. Today, I am officially leaving the Mamavation group. When I first joined the group, nearly 2 years ago, it was a smaller group and everyone was really supportive of one another. It really was like a band of sisters working together to help each other get healthier and to lose weight. Over time, as the group grew, that support dwindled off. It may have been because the group got too big for us to be there for one another like we were previously. It may be because life knocked a few of the most supportive on our asses and we were fighting to be ok ourselves and didn't have the energy to be there like we had been. It could have been any number of things or a combination of a lot of things.

What matters is that the group changed. The dynamic changed. When my life fell apart, I turned to the leadership of this group and their response was pretty much, "Well good luck with that." This wasn't the reaction I was expecting, not from the people who I not only looked up to but thought were my friends. However, I took a deep breath and told myself, 'Ok, what you're dealing with is hard for people to know what to say. Maybe it's not a lack of support, but a lack of knowing how to help.'

When things started to balance back out, I eased my way back into the group. What I picked up on was a tension that hadn't been there before. Not only tension but pressure. I'll be honest and say that I considered not rejoining but some women were there that I dearly love and wanted to help support. Even after today, a few of those women will still be there and I hope that they realize that I am still their friend and still want to support them, but the group just isn't for me anymore.

Today, I was unfriended and blocked by the woman who owns and runs the group. There was no reason for it. I hadn't posted anything to her wall or publicly posted anything negative regarding her or the group. What I did do was post on a private group that she is not a part of that I hadn't felt the support that I needed within the Mamavation group. I am dismayed that someone took the time and effort to copy and paste a private groups conversation and sent it off to someone not within the group. However, I am even more dismayed that the group who has made it their official policy* that if there is an issue with leadership, they are required to go and try to talk to that person, has a leader who unfriended and blocked me without any explanation or conversation with me regarding this. Hypocrisy sucks.

Now, before anyone calls me out for not running to leadership whining that people weren't supporting me, let me make this clear. My issues originally weren't with leadership. Heck, for a while, I was a part of leadership. It wasn't until I stopped busting my butt because my butt was needed elsewhere that I started seeing the flaws. They weren't 100% the fault of leadership and I felt that leadership was doing their best with a rapidly growing group. Plus, let's face it. There were other places to get support..namely within myself because at the end of the day, the person I'm doing this for is me and not any group.

This week would have marked my first appearance back at Mamavation tv. I was going to dive back into the group and support as many as I could and work harder at being healthier. Then, this happened. Sadly, I cannot be a member of a group whose leader has rejected me for doing absolutely nothing wrong. So, this is it. My official farewell to Mamavation. I didn't want to go but I've been forced out. It makes me sad to know that I will no longer be a part of a group that had such amazing potential. However, I walk away knowing that I will remain friends with the true friends that I made within the group. I also walk away knowing that there will be those who unfriend me, block me and/or never speak to me again once I hit post on this.

So, for those of you who have been there on my very winding and bumpy journey, thank you. I hope that you will continue to stop in and say hi and leave your words of encouragement. If you would like me to stop by your site, just let me know and I'll add you to our friends of the site section so that I have a reminder. I'm not going to stop caring about anyone simply because I'm leaving the group.

This also doesn't mean that I'm going to stop trying to be healthier. It's no great secret that I've more than fallen off the horse. I fell off the horse and got run over by the hay wagon it was hauling. It's ok though. Each day is a new day and a new opportunity and I know that I can do this if I really want it. So, I'll be here and I'll be posting. It might not be every week or only on Mondays, but I'm not quitting and I hope that those of you who do read here won't quit on me either.

*When you join the group, they have you sign a contract agreeing to this. I never signed it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mamavation Monday: A Change in Habits

Another couple of weeks have gone by and I haven't stopped in to say hi. I could have. I should have. I have no excuse. Last week I sat here staring at the screen and I had no idea what to say. Something happened in my life that stopped me in my tracks. I won't go into detail here simply because posting about it publicly gives someone power who doesn't deserve it. They have no power over me. Their words are just that. They're words and I am stronger than that. So, I sat quiet and I grew stronger and I came through the other side and now I'm here again. 

I've had this graphic  for a while now and from time to time, I pull it out to remind me that no matter what anyone has ever said about me, I am the one who is the creator of me. Nobody gets to make me into anything. Not anymore. I am stronger than that. My weight seems to have become an issue for folks lately. I can count at least three times within the past two weeks where someone has mentioned it. The first time was to be cruel. The second was as a character description in a story and the most recent was to use me as a comparison to someone else. In the past, this would have crushed me. I'm stronger than that though. My weight can change. It can change but I have to make the changes. Nobody can do them for me. This is my body and my life and I can do this. 

I am lucky enough to know that I'm not alone out there in making these changes. Through Mamavation and other avenues in my life, I have met people who have lost huge amounts of weight, people who are trying to lose weight and people who are all over their paths to weight loss and healthier lives. 

One of those people, I met via my "day job" as a comic book reviewer. Sometimes you find people in what feels like the most unlikely of places and you become friends. I'm lucky enough that I get to call Keith Thomas a friend. I'm also lucky enough that he's allowing me to share this excerpt from his upcoming book. When I read it, I grinned because this is just so him. I also related to this post (does that make me a lesbian, Keith? or at least bi?) and knew that so many of you would as well. Remember though, you are in charge of your life and your choices. Wendy is a big girl (no pun intended) and can take care of herself. It's your job to take care of yourself.

Dear Wendy, 

We have known each other for many years but it has recently come to my attention in light of my recent pursuit of a better me, that our relationship has never truly been mutually beneficial. I have tried to fill the emptiness of my life with your tasty charms and chocolaty frosty wiles. In the end, all you've really done is taken my money and left me with potential heart aches such 
as cholesterol and weight.

My dependency upon you has spilled over and beyond, for in times that you were not near me, I satisfied myself by visiting the King, the Colonel and sometimes even that Clown down the street. This has brought my attention to the fact that you are not a love, dear Wendy, but an addiction. One that must be let go of and cast aside. You will tempt me no more with your delicious juiciness nor your cheesy smile you little harlot. Even though you encompass the three defining traits I love most in women, you are always available, cheap and easy, we are through.

Don't cry little girl, it's not you, it's me. I know that sounds cliche and maybe even childish but it's true. At first you may miss me, but with a population obesity rate of about 70%, you will find another like me soon.

Your former slave,

(A small excerpt from my forthcoming book about how I've changed my life, The Vanishing Elephant. There is no ETA at this time for the book's completion as it is a work in progress.)

If you're friends with Keith, you've seen some pretty humorous back and forth retorts between Wendy and Keith. I think that the poor girl really is going to miss him. Just remember though..that when it comes to your diet the slogan Have It Your Way doesn't mean you have to hit a drive through on your way home. Your way can be whatever you want for it to be.

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