Boy, I tell ya, I had a really weird experience last weekend and it left me a little dizzy. I mentioned it on Sunday night, but we had a Young Living event last weekend: White Out! This was a major event for our team and over 500 people came together to learn about toxins hiding in our homes, the devastating effects of using them, and the importance of getting rid of them. It was quite an event and I met a lot of new people!
After the event, our team had dinner at a local restaurant. My wife and I arrived relatively early and decided to sit outside because of the phenomenal weather. As people started to arrive, we invited them to join us as we waited for our event hosts to arrive. Due to the length of time I have been involved with Young Living and the size of the event, I only knew a few people, but we all wore white so it was easy to spot people that were showing up for dinner.
The first person that arrived was a young lady named Megan. She introduced herself and her son and then I introduced my wife and myself. Megan quickly responded she knew me from a weight loss group that I am in and my blog. It was fantastic to meet someone I didn’t know that has been following the blog. We sit together for quite a bit trying to keep her little man out of trouble and entertained. As more people arrived, it was so enjoyable to get to know more and more people that share my new passion for alternative routes to wellness.
Later, at dinner, a few other ladies came up and introduced themselves and shared that they, too, read this blog. We even spent a few minutes discussing how it is weird to meet someone online and then feel like strangers when you meet in person. As we talked, one of them joked that our chatting was like meeting a local celebrity… most everyone present at dinner has been exposed to my blog or knows about my weight loss journey and I knew only a couple of them.
That’s when I realized a very unnerving truth: I was meeting people that I knew NOTHING about that knew quite a bit about me. The power dynamic in that situation is definitely unbalanced and, to be honest, a little unnerving. As a person that has ALWAYS struggled with social situations, I found myself extremely uncomfortable to know that REAL people have access to all of my weakness, my vulnerabilities, and struggles, and I may meet them at any point in my day.
Blogging my vulnerabilities online has always felt somewhat anonymous despite the fact that a lot of friends and family follow my blog. My family and friends already love me and know several of my weaknesses. However, in my head, the rest of my readers have always been faceless people in the vast universe of the world that I will never meet. That false sense of anonymity had created an environment that protected me from the realization that I’m actually speaking to real people that may know me or may know me in the near future. An environment where sharing my vulnerabilities was without consequence. Suddenly, I found this environment shattered and I was left with several days of disillusionment. In turn, I avoided everything that had to do with this blog.
As the struggle raged on, questions raced through my mind and my gut reaction was to shut it all down and hide. What if someone I work with in the future has found my blog and read about the worst parts of my struggle? Will I be prepared for discussing my vulnerabilities in an area where I am supposed to be the professional? Will I be mentally able to maintain focus if an uncomfortable truth is presented from my blog and I am forced to handle the interaction on the fly?
A month ago, I had 80 some followers and 99% of them were my friends and family members. However, thanks to you guys sharing my site with others over the past few weeks, the number of followers has skyrocketed to over 450 people and, now, the majority of people that are following my Facebook page are not people that I am actually friends with on Facebook. Since I am not friends with them, I know they exist, but I don’t get any more information than that. Those 350+ people could be from thousands of miles away or my next door neighbor and I would never know.
My avoidance continued through to this morning when one of my inspirations called me. She confronted me with love and wouldn’t accept my evasive interactions as she stubbornly persisted until I found myself facing the topics I had been avoiding all week. As we talked, I peeled back more and more layers of unaddressed worries and fears and finally reached a point of understanding that my fear and avoidance was based in the remanents of my failure identity hiding in plain sight.
My discomfort was that people would know and reject me because they have a window into the information I hide from people in everyday life. This information compromises the mask that I show the world. The mask that I have created and put forth to others as the LOVEABLE and ACCEPTABLE version of myself. By building a following and practicing regularly transparency on my blog, I have been giving people access behind the mask. When that was tangibly experienced in everyday life, it was like a bomb went off and I had no idea why.
As our talk came to a conclusion, I was filled with hope and confidence as I was reminded that I am only human and people cherish people that are honest. Despite my profession and the very efforts that I have made throughout my entire adult life, I am a completely fallable man, it’s okay for me to accept that, and there is NOBODY on the face of this planet that I need to kill myself to please or earn their friendship . If someone chooses to reject me, whether online or in person, I am who I am and I have nothing to be ashamed of and I have no shame in continuing to be real on this blog.
My conclusion to this conundrum is that I hope it continues. I want to reach people and I want people to find inspiration to live healthier lives and engage in their own weight loss journies. I can’t grow if I’m not authentic. I can’t grow if my friends and family didn’t share my story with their friends and family. I can’t grow if those friends and family don’t share my story with their friends and family. As a result, it is a very real possibility that local people will find this site and they may know quite a bit about me before I ever open my mouth. If that is the cost, though, of reaching and inspiring more people, then I consider it a very small price to pay.
So, share my story! Share my story with everyone you can! If you know me or if you have friends that know me, share my story! If you don’t know me, share my story! If everyone took a few minutes and invited friends to follow my Facebook page, I would continue to grow and reach more people. It may result in more surreal introductions, but I welcome it! I want my story to reach everyone that struggles with weight issues whether they need to lose 5 pounds or 250! The more that I hear about people that have found inspiration and have started losing weight, the more I am encouraged and desire for my blog to grow.
For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…
- September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
- Today: 352 pounds
- Total loss 98 pounds (36.7% of my total excess body weight)
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