Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Transparency, Advocacy, Sharing Your Heart

Transparency, Advocacy, Sharing Your Heart are all things I desire to do with my life. I truly believe they are some of the gifts that I've been given and by using these gifts I am fulfilling my place in this world if you will. It is funny how often things come together. This week at Bible Study we were talking about sharing your heart and being transparent and how that imapacts our lives. Advocacy is something that is always near and dear to my heart and I'll share how I've grown in being in advocate with a story here in a moment, but at the end of the day these things help me understand my true purpose. I feel if I'm not being transparent I'm missing a teaching or sharing moment with others. If I'm not advocating in some form or another I'm not using my gifts of words, empathy, caring, input, and knowledge. If I can't share my heart and be true to myself then I'm not being me. Lissa wearing a mask isn't Lissa. I'm me...just plain ole Lissa (if plain is how you would describe me!)

Over the last few months I've been fighting this notion that "i'm too transparent" from someone I work with and I think that it isn't that I'm too transparent it is more that she is not used to my being open with my life to students. I can't be any other way and don't get me wrong there is discretion involved always, but I'm willing to share my hardships, what I've learned, and my story to assist others when needed. I'm also a very open person and that has taken the last four years to truly see. It is because of the Spring of 2009 and the trials I went through that I chose with my husband to be open, honest, and transparent about the good, the bad, and the trials that make life up and down because we all are human.

Advocacy is something that I find is naturally in me. I never truly realized it until I started working deep in student affairs and others pointed out that advocacy is natural for me, but there can be good and bad to being an advocate. You have to be willing to be open. You have to be willing to be vocal. You have to be willing to be rejected, deal with ignorance, and handle yourself with confidence because you are battling the fight of lack of knowledge, bias, and other things (depending on the situation). I truly am an advocate for WLS patients. Obvious = here is my blog, but I've lost enough weight and blend that if I don't know you and you haven't gone through my journey with me / knew me before that you would never know that I was grossly overweight.

Friday night we were out on a double date and we got to talking. There was some assumptions made about me being a "non-typical" TCU girl which is a hole other post, but that led to me sharing that yes I'm not typical and that I used to be almost 500 lbs. Our friends face showed he didn't believe me. I pulled out my license picture that was right before my surgery where I'm over 300 lbs and he was shocked. He then made the assumption and compared to me to someone who sits around and eats 300 cheesburgers with a vat of ketchup. Instead of getting angry, mad, or even frustrated I've learned enough to be frank and honest and open. I explained my WLS and the reason I had it. I explained my journey of disease and co-morbidities and I also explained that even though in the past I've enjoyed my fair share of cookie dough and cake batter that I never was one to sit and gorge all the time. I lovingly taught this person something about me, my life, and more importantly to think before he judges (hopefully.) I know that he wasn't being mean. He doesn't know me like that, but I felt so good that I didn't go to anger or to defensive mode. I got to advocate for people like us...WLS patients pre and post op....that maybe when he meets another he'll remember my story and how I showed him reasonsing behind this rather than just shooting out assumptions.

Yesterday I had the awesome opportunity to share my story...the realness that is where I am at 21 post op. Check out Sleeved Princess link here I'm under her photos! She is collecting stories of where we've been and where we are. So if you are a WLS post op hit her up and share your photos!

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