December 16, 2009.
That was the day I sat at a table in my classroom and cried after school. Well…I sobbed like my heart was broken.
It was, but not in the traditional sense. I was crying because I hated my job. I hated my life and I hated the dark path I was spiralling down. Between that day and January 11, 2010 my life is blank. I cannot tell you what happened or who I spoke to or why I did things. I can’t tell you because somehow, I have erased it from my thoughts. I suspect it was to dark and sad to bother remembering.
Why January 11? I started a conversation with someone that day that changed the way I look at things. I didn’t know it then, but January 11th was the first day of a brighter future for me. I learned about running. I didn’t take it serious and still thought it would never be for me. But it interested me.
I began listening. More importantly, I began thinking.
A friend of mine who would become the most influential reason for change, asked me a series of questions one day. They required answers to questions that I had never thought about. Things that made up me. Books I read, movies I liked, favourite foods, activities I enjoy. It sounds inane, but for me I called this the interview.
The interview required me to examine myself. Look at myself in a light that was honest.
I don’t remember doing that before.
Looking at myself this way required me to examine my life and actions and discover why I was loathsome. Why I behaved the way I did and why did I always put myself last. The ironic part of this whole scenario was – my friend who asked me these questions, asked because they thought I had it all going on and wanted to learn from me.
They soon learned that we were the same except for one small detail: I aspired to change at faster rate to achieve a level that would put me on equal footing with them.
Did it work? No.
I realize now that we were equals. I never saw myself equal to anyone. I saw myself as less than average. Less than normal, and less than what I could possibly every hope to be.
3 years ago I never thought I would be a University graduate. I never thought I would ever run a half marathon, nor would I ever be working at a job I didn’t hate.
2 years ago I never thought I would be starting a foundation that would assist researchers that can find a cure for a disease that changes the lives of children and families in ways that is to painful to imagine it happening to you. I never thought people would stop me on the street because they recognize my face and know my story. I never thought I could do things independently and still be accepted by friends and family.
1 year ago I never thought I would work in the fitness industry. I thought I would always be discriminated against because of my weight. I thought pretty things were never meant for people who looked like me. I thought fitness clothes were just for gazelles and gorillas like me had to wear ill fitting mens clothes. Never did I think I would influence an entire industry and see the change happen in the spring and because I had the courage to speak up and ask for something I think I deserve.
Today I sat and cried just like I did 4 years ago, only this time I am crying because I do not recognize that place where I was. I cry because I turned dreams into goals achieved. Dreams without goals and a plan are just wishes. Wishes are just fireworks that go up in smoke.
A woman came into work the other day because she had heard I was working there now. She wanted to meet me. She wanted to hear my story. 4 years ago I just had a sad story. I still have dreams. Not all of those dreams will get goals and steps to work on. Why? Because I have learned that not every dream comes true because you out grow them. 4 years ago I had different dreams. None of them came true and quite frankly I am happy about that because you never know what is around the corner.
I don’t expect all my dreams to come true, but I have steps in place to make them a possibility.
Possibilities are endless.
This is me 4 years ago.
This is me 2 weeks ago. My new shirt with the Foundation’s named and my new look never would have happened without a goal with a plan. It made all the difference…and so did the interview.