So myself and 4 other members of our school Special Education team attended a conference last weekend in Colorado Springs called Courage to Risk. We saw some rad keynote speakers and learned a lot about the benefits of movement and environment for children with special needs. I also attended a luncheon session for a speaker who discussed helping students discover their resiliency. Two things that resonated with me that the speaker, Christian Moore, discussed was that first, we become resilient when we have that one really crappy thing that has happened to us or that has been said to us (let’s call this “Ground-Up Resiliency”), and second, knowing that someone else depends on us to be successful keeps us resilient (it’s called “Relational Resiliency”).
So why the bejeezus am I writing about this today? Well, I totally believe it! By latching on to these two forms of resiliency, I have been able to finally lose weight and become healthy. I want to share how I’ve used the negatives from my past and my current relationships to drive me towards accomplishing my wellness goals, so that maybe some readers can tap into these motivators as well and help them achieve their goals.
For the first form of resiliency, Moore brought up the case of Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech. Now, it’s a 23-minute speech if ya’ll have nothing better to do, but I’ll give the quick rundown. In the speech, Michael Jordan talks about how he didn’t make the Varsity basketball team when he was growing up and the negative things the head coach said to him after the tryouts fueled Michael Jordan to prove his coach wrong. So he practiced and worked his butt off and became the best basketball player ever because he used that negativity to fuel his passion for being the best and reaching his goal.
I have three major driving negative experiences in my past that I remember so vividly like they happened yesterday that I have used to motivate me. When I finally reach my goal, I want it to be a huge middle finger to those negative experiences, as if saying, “You! Yeah, you! Thank you. THANK YOU for making me feel so angry and damn-near suicidal that I had to work the hardest I ever have to prove you wrong.”
My first negative experience from my past I have already shared in my very first blog post, about the boy in 3rd grade that teased me during school health checks because I weighed in at 120 pounds. I remember his name, what he looked like, the layout of the school. I’ve been using this horrible experience as fuel. I never want to experience that again. Thank you, Lewis (the little boy’s name), for helping me become my best.
My second negative experience happened when I was in maybe 5th or 6th grade. By this point, I must have between 160-170 pounds, I don’t know for sure, because I pretty much stopped weighing myself by this point. I was riding the bus home from school in the afternoon, sitting up towards the front. The roads were icy and the bus kept getting stuck when accelerating. One of the high school boys was sitting in the very back of the bus next to a person whom I knew very well and thought would have my back should anything happen on the bus, asked this person what my name was and started yelling at me. This high school boy yelled, “Hey, what’s that fat girl’s name? Joanna! Hey, Joanna! Stand up! Stand up and jump around on the bus! It’ll help us get moving!” He kept yelling at me and everyone on the bus was laughing. I remember putting my head down and crying, sinking into the seat on the bus, pretending not to hear, hoping he would just stop. Eventually he did. Nobody stood up to help me, not even the one person sitting next to this horrible boy whom I thought would support me. Thank you, Marcus (high school boy’s name), for helping fuel my fire.
My third negative experience happened when I was a sophomore in college. A couple years before this I had my first boyfriend. We went to Senior Prom together and dated in college for a few months my freshman year. We remained friends after that. A year or so later, I found out from a friend that he told her he only dated me to help me feel better about myself. I confronted him about this a few months later and he pretty much told me it was the truth, that he had always viewed fat people as disgusting (I was about 220 pounds at this time) and he dated me because he wanted to help boost my self-esteem. This crushed me, to be honest. But, thank you, AJ. Thank you for doing two things. Thank you for fueling my fire and anger towards you to prove you wrong. Also, thank you for helping me find a man that has more compassion, understanding, and love than you will ever possess.
Phew! That was hard. I’m putting all of me out there, folks. These three instances are burned into my brain and I use them every day. I’m never going to let this happen to me again. I never want to feel like that again. I’m proving all those people wrong. I was down at the bottom, but then I found my strength in my anger from these experiences and have used them to motivate me.
The second type of resiliency, Relational Resiliency, is when you pick yourself up and keep trying because others depend on you to succeed. This one is much more heartwarming. My source is my husband. I want to live a long and happy life with him. He depends on me to be healthy and grow old with him. The speaker, Christian Moore, showed a video during his session about Team Hoyt. Dick Hoyt is a father who competes in Iron Man competitions with his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy. It is heartwarming and inspiring. Dick Hoyt keeps going because his son depends on him. Wow! Wow! Wow! You’ve gotta click that link and watch this video.
So there ya have it. My two forms of resiliency that I use to keep on going, to keep on eating healthy, to keep on working out, to not get bummed out and give up when I find I’ve put on 5 pounds. If I need a burst of motivation or a reminder, I think back to those negative experiences or I think of my husband, and I keep going.