Last Day In The Bayou and Admiration For Richard
My last day on the bayou wasn't going to be spent sleeping, that's for sure. I needed the sleep, of course...but we had things to do, alligators to see! Joan, Kenz's mom, woke me up from the couch at 5:20am. I was up, drinking coffee, and writing before 6am. I enjoyed some fruit and a few whole cashews, with plans of more later.
Before I go one word further, I just want to say something. If you're a regular reader, perhaps having read every single post, you know how personal this daily diary can become. Through it all, I've learned valuable lessons and discovered where certain boundaries should never be compromised. I know all about setting up boundaries, having just gone through an emotionally tough divorce. With that said, I wasn't expecting to allow anyone into my heart for a very long time. But sometimes—you can't stop it. You can't deny it. You can't ignore so many wonderful connections and feelings. Kenz understands me and I understand her. We respect each other completely. I really didn't have to say a word, because the pictures of us together say it all. I'm crazy about her. She inspires me to be the best Sean I can be. She's beautiful, smart, talented, and she makes me smile. This is as close to that boundary line as I'll get. But I didn't want to not say this---because this is a daily diary, this is my life, my transformation---it's all a part of this fortunate and amazing ride from the five hundred five pound man I once was.
OK---Let's travel back into the archives, shall we? I often sing the praises of Richard Simmons—and it was this day a year ago when I explained my admiration of him:
Now, I said the listeners of my show were always kind and supportive, however, one of them decided to call me a name while commenting last night's blog. I was a “kiss *ss” according to Joe. Here's the copy and paste version of what Joe had to say:
“Your such a kiss *ss to richard simmons. Doas he pay you or somthing! good stuf-what u write-i just dont get the constent mention of how great richard simmons is. are you gonna start weering shorts and tank tops too! i listen to you every morning on klor, joe."
Wow, my spell checker is throwing a fit! Sorry for the jab Joe, I couldn't resist, much like you couldn't when you left this comment! Before I respond to this, I already know that my comedy buddy Cruz in LA will be upset with me for even giving this comment the time of day. Cruz was upset with me for devoting almost an entire blog to my imprisoned childhood bullies back on Day 53's “Childhood Bullies and Me.” (That posting comes complete with their actual prison mugshots! I don't know how to do a hyperlink, but you can find it in the November 2008 archive) I understand why Cruz feels that way, I do, but really...I don't mind explaining my admiration and respect for Richard Simmons, so Cruz buddy, relax, I got this...
I first remember watching Richard Simmons with my mother when I was a young child. My mom lost 100 pounds back then and part of her exercise routine involved watching and working out to “The Richard Simmons Show.” That show was unlike any workout show I'd ever watched before or since. Richard was very real, very compassionate, he would talk directly to the camera and let you know that you wasn't alone in your struggles. He sent hope and inspiration through the TV screen with every episode. I may have only been eight or nine, but his sincerity and never ending love for helping people wasn't lost on a little boy named Sean. I got it.
Over the years I watched as Richard's career and popularity exploded. And through it all, he's remained the same caring, compassionate, and real person I remember as a child. His success couldn't be helped. You see, I can't imagine that he ever created a weight loss system or series of workout videos for the sole purpose of making money. He developed these products because he knew they would help people with their struggle to be free from obesity. That genuine caring and compassion is exactly why he is where he is today. Can the number of people he's inspired over the last 30 some years even be calculated? I'm positive that it's a tremendous number. So when I say things like “The weight loss industry is a waste of money,” I want to make it very clear that there are some fantastic exceptions to that statement, Richard Simmons is at the top of that list. I know that my attitude and extreme criticism of the weight loss industry will never win me even the smallest of endorsement deals, and that's completely cool, I wouldn't want them anyway, because I've discovered that losing weight isn't about the products you'll find in the “weight loss” section of the store. Losing weight is about honesty, compassion, understanding, and really digging deep to change our life long bad behaviors with food and exercise, and you can't get a price-check on that at your local discount super store.
CJ, Kenz's step dad, drove us to the swamp tour today. It was so cool to see and feel the swamp creatures in their natural habitat. I highly recommend taking the tour if you're ever in the bayou. It was so worth our precious time together. We held live alligators with our bare hands! It was phenomenal in so many ways. I sincerely appreciate CJ taking us there, it was a highlight for sure.
As the day grew old, I knew we were approaching the moment we would have to say goodbye. We shared a mushroom and cheese omelet and some watermelon, and had a wonderful visit with the neighbor across the street. People down on the bayou are so wonderful. They're extremely smart, hard working, and always carry an amazing passion for friends and food. It's heartbreaking to hear about the impact that the oil spill is having on this entire area. Visiting with these incredible folks who are facing unfortunate and tragically dramatic changes to their way of life—and still feeling their kindness and warmth despite it all, really says something powerful about their spirit.
Even staying an extra day wasn't enough. But the time came to make that long drive to Louis Armstrong International Airport, and it was just Kenz and me along for the ride. We exchanged some meaningful items to remember each other by—and we talked about the next opportunity to see each other. We talked extensively about our journeys and where we're headed and what we want. We discovered that we had enough control to enjoy a salty road snack in a responsible way. And then we arrived at the drop-off point. Usually you'll find airport police officers hurrying people along in this area, but not today, not now. I didn't see one. It's as if they understood, we needed a moment. And they graciously allowed us to take the time to say our goodbyes. I watched her drive off and then I turned to the doors of the airport, knowing that I was changed in a very deep way. Too much? Ah, give me this one, ok?
Thank you for reading. This whole transformation road is simply unbelievable---and I'm living it. I must remember to give thanks above every single day. Goodnight and...
I had things to get done back home via telephone this morning---and I found this very nice reminder note from Joan. It was the sweetest thing.
On the porch swing together.
Kenz with her mom and step dad
In black and white---hmmm, I like that.
Kenz holding a real live alligator!
A really big, really old resident of the swampland.
On the boat in the swamp
Alligators love marshmallows. Good calorie value for sure!