Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"What I Didn't Say" aka "the one where Steve & Sue make me cry" #JustTrollin

WARNING: this is a long one, folks.
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Fitbloggin 2014-photo by Carrie D Photography
Yes, I still have more Fitbloggin posts to write. Recaps of the conference in general (which I'll probably do on the podcast) and sharing my experiences in Savannah. But before I do, there's some unfinished business I have to take care of. Stick with me, I'm...
I was really lucky in that I pretty much loved all the sessions I attended during Fitbloggin. Having years of experience at this blogging business has helped me hone my "session-picking" skills at these types of events, so I rarely end up feeling as though my time was wasted. That doesn't mean that every session was a barrel of laughs or a wealth of data. Sometimes the most valuable sessions are the ones that force you to take a good, hard look at yourself. "Fitblogger Tough Love" was such a session.

Sue dishes out some tough love as Steve takes names!
photo by Carrie D Photography
Moderated by 2 of my favoritest people, on or off-line, Sue and Steve, this session challenged the Fitbloggin community "to examine the different ways we can maintain the supportive, judgment-free atmosphere, but build in more real, plain, honest accountability." You can read the liveblog of the session HERE, but basically we talked about supporting each other by not enabling one another's bullsh*t and honestly offering a listening ear and help when needed.

At the end of the session we all promised to take a deep look inside, calling ourselves out on behavior that may not be in our best interest. And then post about it. Terry came up with the great hashtag #JustTrollin, because we all agreed that there's a difference between calling it like we see it out of love and, well, trolling.
Now, I've been very fortunate to be doing pretty well on the health front these days. I could incorporate some more toning and not be such a big baby about trying new things, like running. But other than that, I've really been pretty good, health-wise. However, on the "friend and Fitblogger" front?
Way to dish out the homework, Steve and Sue! 
See how excited we all are?
photo by Carrie D Photography
As I sat in the "tough love" session, it slowly dawned on me that I am doing so well at the moment largely because I do have people in my life (including in my Fitbloggin family) who care enough to be a good influence and tell me the truth-even when I'm not ready to hear it. Sometimes it's months before I realize that a friend was right, even when I was absolutely certain they were wrong in the moment. I'm very lucky to have these people in my life. Not everyone has that. 

And even though I can see that certain members of my Fitbloggin family have been struggling lately, even though some of them were sitting right there in that session with me, even though I knew they'd be there with the truth for me if I needed it, I said nothing. It was stupid, but I made an assumption about everyone in that room (and we all know what that does).  Because nobody else voiced what I was thinking, I assumed they weren't ready to hear it. And it's been eating at me ever since.

So here's what I didn't say:

Dear beautiful people of Fitbloggin (and whoever else is reading this, this goes for you, too),
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First of all, I want you to know that I genuinely care for each and every one of you. Just knowing that you are here motivates me and helps me remember that I am worth caring for. I hope you experience even a tiny fraction of that motivation from my being here. I really think about you guys every day, hoping you remember that, no matter what choices you've made, no matter how daunting the road ahead may seem, no matter what anyone else says (even you), YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

So here's what I'm not going to do:
-I'm not going to call you out when you post food porn (because I don't know what you eat the rest of the time).
-I'm not going to tell you you should be working out instead of watching OITNB (because how do I know what else you've been up to today?).
-I'm not going to volunteer to email you every day at 3pm to nag you to...anything (because I don't want "disappointing Margo" to be added to your list of worries and also I already can't get to my emails).

But I will:
-listen (or read with patience) when you post about your challenges without attempting to "fix" you.
-answer honestly, even if I'm not sure you're ready to hear me.
-CELEBRATE your EVERY victory with you, no matter how seemingly tiny. I am excellent at applause-I love giving it even more than I love getting it.

Because here's what I couldn't stop thinking during the "Tough Love" session, here's what I just couldn't bring myself to say (this is the part where Steve & Sue make me cry):

Fitbloggin is 5 years old this year. And that's AWESOME. Each of us is AWESOME for making it to any of the last 5 Fitbloggins, no matter where we are in our "healthy living project". I believe we are enough of a family to make it to "Fitbloggin 2019" (that'd be 10 years, right? I'm terrible at math #JustTrollin).

However, because I am a bit older than many of you and have, frankly, experienced some sh*t, I also know that if we do make it to Fitbloggin 2019...
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there will probably be some BEAUTIFUL people in this photo who won't be alive anymore.

And as someone who has lost way too many people to unhealthy choices, I can hardly bring myself to imagine any one of you not being there. Especially if I or any other Fitblogger could have said something that would have helped you make a better choice. It would suck so much to ever have to say, "This Fitbloggin is the BEST yet! I only wish ________ could be here for me to hug. Damn, I wish I'd let _________ know how I felt about _______ while I had the chance. I saw it, why didn't I say anything?" 

I've never met a Fitblogger who hasn't lost someone they love to unhealthy choices. In fact I've never met anyone, period, who hasn't. Don't believe me?

If you've NEVER lost a single person you care about to something preventable, I want you to post a comment letting me know. In fact, post a comment if you've only lost ONE person. Let's see how many comments we can rack up here. I honestly hope it's the most comments I've ever gotten. You have no idea how happy it would make me. 

Please remember that I and the rest of your Fitbloggin family care about you. Really. No, REALLY. 

YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR.  Whatever your goal is, there's always some laughably small choice you can make right now to help bring it closer to you, even if it's just standing up when you finish reading this sentence. And no matter how long it takes for you to achieve your goal(s), I know you can do it. We all know you can.

So please, please, keep fighting. Because we want to share ALL the Fitbloggins with you.
And if you're not ready to hear that right now, that's okay. Just know it's truly meant in the spirit of #TribeLove.*


Wishing you love with extra cheese-
Nacho Mama

* #Tribelove was the other hashtag we came up with for those times when even #JustTrollin may be a bit difficult to hear


Toledo Lefty said...

I'm glad you shared this because I wanted to reference this in my post tomorrow. It really got under my skin when you talked about it at Leopold's and I couldn't believe it hadn't occurred to me before, especially with my dad's health problems.

You could never be a troll, though.

All the hugs!

Margo Porras said...

Thanks Jen, that makes me feel better. And thanks for being such a good influence among all those pralines and cocktails!

Fun and Fit: Kymberly and Alexandra said...

I know I will lose my Dad at some point to health issues he could have prevented. I try to console myself with the fact that he's at least made it to 84 so far. P.S. I love you right back.

Toledo Lefty said...

I'm not as afraid of dying young as I am of the long, slow decline that I have seen in some people I love. I don't want to be limited by illness and I don't want to see my friends have that happen to them either.

Steve Gray said...

This was an awesome post, even if it was very much a punch to the gut. You're absolutely right about the prospects for 2019, and that's terrifying.

Outside of Fitbloggin, just about every one in my family is doing something to shorten their lives, whether it be due to obesity, drinking, tobacco, whatever. That's terrifying as well.

I know in the end we have very little say on when our time will come, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for what time we do have.

LutherLiz said...

Cut to the quick. Thank you Margo.

TheDailyMel said...

I'm one of those people who has been struggling ... a lot ... for a while. I keep using the excuses of being busy (work, commuting, school, etc.), but it mostly just comes down to apathy. Reading your post today was exactly what I needed to read. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us! xoxo

Brooke Birmingham said...

Wow, Margo. Way to cut to the chase.

You're so right though! I want to see all those lovely faces in 2019!

Kay Lynn Akers said...

Thank you for this post. I've lost many family members due to lifestyle choices and it is so painful to have them die before their time; the last being a 50 year old cousin.

I called myself out and hope others give me #tribelove when needed.

Pinky said...

The reason I recommitted myself (again) in 2009 was because my dear friend Michael, who was 40 years old at the time (and overweight, and a yo-yo dieter and again the heaviest he'd ever been) had a pulmonary embolism and died. I can't help but wonder if it had anything at all to do with his weight (we'll never know) or if it was just a random thing for me to lose a friend at 40, but for me it made no difference - I wasn't going to take any more risks with my health. I still think about Michael nearly every day, I hear "his" songs on my playlist when I'm running and I still shed tears. I don't want to lose anyone else "my" age. We can prevent so much, we just have to stop making excuses and get off of our duffs and do it. For ourselves and for the people who would be impacted if we left too early.

Bari said...

Love this post. I'm still working on mine and I'm strugging to find the right words. I read so many blogs before (and even after) from people who felt they didn't deserve to be at FitBloggin because of X Y or Z. That broke my heart.

If just one person reads that they are loved and valued and BELONG, that will make me happy.