June 10th, 2014 It's Amazing What A Shift in Perspective Can Do
The search that started and successfully ended last night, thanks to the power of Facebook actually started several months ago. I visit with my mom on a regular basis and when I'm with her I rarely talk about me. I want to know how she's doing, mentally and emotionally. How she feels is important to me, not at all unlike the concern most of us have for a loved one, or several. You see, being raised by her, loved, nurtured, protected and seeing her in the most honest light, I've come to believe she is one of the most loving people on this earth. Proud son talking about his momma? Perhaps. But seriously...
Throughout the history of my entire life, I can count on one hand how many times I've heard her speak in a severely negative way about anyone. The only time I've ever witnessed her show any semblance of anger and rage was when I was challenging her to the extreme as a kid or when she was standing up for me. Her being the mother of a special needs son, I watched her patience spread thin with my little brother, but never breaking, always loving--always caring, always protective. I would do anything for her.
It was sometime last fall while we were having dinner and coffee at our favorite diner when mom asked me a favor. "What is it, mom?" I knew something was on her mind and she was hesitant to ask. I encouraged her and eventually she asked, "Will you find him for me?" (I've replaced his name with the pronoun in an effort to respect his privacy--after brazenly disrespecting it last night). I immediately asked "why?"
"I just want to see him one more time and say a few words," she said. "How would I find him?" "You have a lot of friends on facebook, maybe they could help."
I tried a few general searches using the information she gave me and came up empty every time. I was kind of hoping mom would forget this idea, but with every visit, his name would come up. "Mom, you realize he could be dead or happily married with a family. How would he react to this some 50 years later?" At this point mom would usually drop the subject. But it became more and more clear to me that this was something very important to her. What if something happened to her and I didn't at least give it 100% effort? She's never asked me for much, so why not give it a try?
I posted about this on facebook last night in the best way I knew how. The response was overwhelming. Thank you if you were one who participated. After over 200 shares and numerous comments, it was clear this search had immediately turned into a massive group effort. Less than three hours later I was on the phone with an investigator in California who specializes in finding people, mainly for class reunions. I had all of the details I needed to make contact. He was alive and well. Since that conversation, four others have correctly ID'd the person of interest.
He answered the first number I called today. I spoke to him for one minute and thirty-six seconds. I was apologetic for bothering him, identified myself and my mother. I asked if he remembered the name and he confirmed he did remember. I then proceeded to tell him why I was calling. "The intention isn't to try to rekindle or revisit something from a half century ago. I just wanted to know if you would remotely consider a short visit, even if it's just an hour over lunch?" There was a slight pause and then, "No, no I would not."
I immediately apologized for bothering him, told him I completely understood and then apologized again for the contact. And that was it.
Afterward I sat alone in my studio pondering this whole situation. And after some counsel from the very wise investigator known as "Sherlock" in California, I realized it was okay. Unleashing a social media storm in an effort to find him was certainly effective but it wasn't necessarily fair to him. Out of respect for him, his family and their privacy, we're going to leave this be once and for all.
I spoke with mom not long after and her first words were filled with gratitude for everyone who helped me fulfill this request of hers. She seemed upbeat and positive, despite the news. And we had a wonderful conversation about how and why this response was normal and okay. And a deeper conversation about the importance of focusing on the future instead of the past. Mom is a young 68. She's in relatively good health, considering--with a few treatable ailments. And God willing, she has a lot of life ahead of her. I love her dearly and I so badly wanted this to turn out differently. But honestly, it may have turned out the best possible way, anyhow. I plan on visiting mom this weekend and once again we'll discuss things important to us both. I feel good in knowing that this is one subject we can let rest...just let it be, let it go and be okay. And we can learn from it in wonderful ways.
I planned and prepared my food today as always and that's good, because that was one less thing to think about today. We had a big party hosted by the broadcasting company I work for and the invite list including every member of the local chamber of commerce. This event is an annual thing. A few years ago, at goal, I donned a tuxedo at this event. Last year, I donned a noticeably larger tuxedo and this year, no tuxedo. I was just casually and wonderfully me. Not once did I fret over seeing some of these people I hadn't for over a year. I confidently shook hands and smiled and made my way around the room talking to as many as I could. It's amazing what a shift in perspective can do.
If this event would have happened two months ago, I would have come up with some reason to duck out or not show up at all. The interesting revelation is...
What would have kept me from enjoying myself had this event happened two months ago? It really wouldn't have been the fear of what people would think of me after weight gain, it would have been the self-punishment found in projecting how I feel about myself onto others, without their knowledge. Let that marinate for a minute.
How we feel about ourselves is a very powerful thing. For someone as sensitive as me, projecting how I feel about myself onto others, without their knowledge, has been a source of a lot of needless shame, embarrassment and guilt. Newsflash: We're all human! The great news is, it works both ways. I projected a genuine feeling of peace and confidence this evening and I projected it toward everyone around me. Not once did I feel the negative emotions that once upon a time came so easily. I pray this feeling stays with me forever. I will continue doing the inside work needed to maintain this non-physical part of my transformation.
I did leave the party slightly early in order to make my 7pm Tuesday night group conference call. It was once again a great experience. Afterward, I cooked dinner, enjoyed it and then headed for a late workout at the YMCA.
Tomorrow is weigh day! I can't wait to report the number I find. I'm keeping a very level head about whatever the scale says tomorrow. Regardless of the number, I'm not stopping this positive momentum I'm building. If the number is a big loss, I must remind myself to keep my feet on the ground. If it's small or a gain, I'll do the same--with a little help from my friends. Taking back the emotional effects of the scale is important. The numbers don't define who we are. It's for statistical purposes only. And perhaps those statistics can occasionally help inspire small tweaks here and there if needed.
You're welcome to check out my Live-Tweet Twitter feed of all my food and exercise. Also, if you have MyFitnessPal, friend me if you wish, my username is SeanAAnderson.
Thank you for reading,