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Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Caller-A letter from a Video Interpreter

Dear Caller, 

I have known you since you first turned on your first video phone. I remember how excited you were to make a call to your mom using your hands, how baffled you were at the simplicity of filling your own prescriptions through the press of a button. I remember, with more joy, the first time you made a mobile call. It was awkward for us both as you tried to figure out the best position for your phone hand. Signing one handed never felt so strange, I am sure. I have to admit, I was polite the first time and didn't want to embarrass you, I saw more of your nose hairs than your hands. We figured it out though, didn't we? And now you make calls from the grocery store, mall, park, doctor's office, and sometimes to test my cardiac health you make VP calls from your moving vehicle. Nothing says equal access quite like mobile VP, in my opinion.

Caller, I remember when you got your pet. They were so sweet and cute. We called every single one of your family members to tell them all about it. You were so excited and held your pet up for every VI to see, with pride. I remember all the calls we made to the groomer and the vet. I remember thinking of you and your pet when I would see someone walking their dog or petting their cat in my everyday life. One of the hardest days of my job was the day I had to call and tell you your pet had died. I am so sorry that you received that news. I am so sorry that I am the one  who had to deliver it. But, at the same time, I am so glad you didn't have to hear it alone, and I am so very thankful that you let me in to even the most intimate and trying moments in your life. 

I remember the first time I saw the inside of your office instead of your home. Placing highly technical conference calls for you has always been a pleasure of mine. Many people in the interpreting community would argue that Video Interpreters don't see the same level of challenges as a community interpreter does, I beg to differ. Thank you for filling me in on all of the technical terms you would be using. Working together, as a team, really made the call so much more efficient for both of us. By the end I felt accomplished and proud that you had kept up with your peers because of our teamwork. Another perfect example of equal access and how VRS really helps you achieve that. 

Caller, I know that there are times when I am less than stellar. As a human I can't possibly be on my A-game all the time. I know you don't know that my husband just lost his job or that my relative just passed away. I know that it is not your fault that the previous five callers were irritated as well. I know that we all have good days and bad days and I am just grateful that you give me second chances and understand that I am here to provide the very best service I possibly can for you. You make my day, honestly. I love this job and I could not ask for anything more than to provide you excellent quality customer service for all of your calls. 

I could go on for days. I spend 36 hours of my week in a cubicle interpreting phone calls for you and other callers. Some are super happy calls, some are super sad. Some calls are the best experiences of my life and others are just another call. Some callers like to thank me for my work, and others prefer to just hang up. Every call is important. Every caller is important. I work for you. Thank you so much for helping me every day to be a better interpreter and, more importantly, a better person. 

With so much thanks and love, 
Manda-your VI 

This letter is to no one and everyone. I felt an urge today to write a thank you note to my callers because I get to be a part of their lives on even the most intimate of moments. I feel so blessed and grateful every day to have the opportunity I have to provide a service to the deaf and Hard of Hearing community. I am also so grateful that I was shown the path so early on. Being an interpreter is really so valuable to me.

Also, I am grateful to ZVRS for being the best employer I have ever had. To some people it may just be a job, but to me it is a family. I care so much about my colleagues and my consumers, both hearing and deaf.

Thanks for reading.

Much love,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All In Challenge: A Word on Self Efficacy

All in challenge is going strong. It is day 10 and we are starting to really feel great. I personally am starting to feel that dreaded fog lifting while I am at work, making me ever-more capable of doing my job! So... Let's talk Self Efficacy shall we?!

Self Efficacy is defined by wikipedia as: The extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks or reach goals. 

This term was brought up during the All in Challenge meeting at our gym on Monday. Our awesome coach Chris had 4 points he shared (from It Starts with Food and from his extensive experience in self-motivation work). These points are characteristics are someone who has self efficacy.

  1. Looks at a challenge as difficult but can be overcome
  2. Interested in activities that interact well with their goals 
  3. Makes a solid commitment
  4. Recuperates quickly from setbacks and stumbles. 
If someone asked me if I displayed qualities of self efficacy I might be unsure in my response, at first. But then, after looking over this list and thinking of what I have accomplished in my life, I can tell you that I do.

Over the years I have struggled, as we all do, with being HUMAN. Sticking to my physical health goals is not something that comes naturally to me. I have had to work really hard at it to get as far as I have. As I've mentioned, many times, my addiction and eating disorders have made it really challenging to maintain a healthy balance for very long.

After a meeting a few months ago with my other coach and friend Annie, I came to realize that a lot of my setbacks are inspired by the fear of the unknown. I've never consistently had a great relationship with food, or my appearance. As soon as I got close to a really healthy place; started feeling peace within myself, I suddenly became overwhelmed with pressure. I feared that people might expect different things from me that I wouldn't be able to provide. I feared that I will lose all that I had worked so hard for, and then feel the rush of shame that comes with it. I feared that people would view me as a role model or put me on a pedestal, where I didn't feel I fit because I am not perfect. All of those things and more are the reason I have fought so hard with my battle toward better physical health.

The point that Annie made, a point that Stefani Ruper makes in her book Sexy by Nature, is that I CAN DO IT. I am strong enough to do it, by far, and other people don't matter on MY journey (as long as I am not hurting them). That I have done so much for myself in both this and other fascets of my life is PROOF that I can work through the fears that have plagued me. I left an abusive relationship when I had NO idea what was on the other side. I have taken many leaps without a net in sight, trusting my gut. I am willing and capable of doing those incredible things because deep down inside I KNOW I AM WORTH IT!

So let's review:

1. Looks at challenges as being difficult but can be overcome:

I take on challenges every day because I feel life is worth living by my standards. I don't let challenges drag me down, I let them fuel my fire.

2. Interested in activities that interact well with their goal:

I surround myself with people who help me to be healthy EVERY SINGLE DAY. Some of them are able to be in my life in a local sense, others, thanks to the amazing technology we have, support me and surround me with their love from a distance. I immerse myself in books and videos, knowledge is power. I continue to go to a gym where I am loved and respected for who I am inside and out.

3. Makes a solid commitment:

I'm often described as persistent and resilient. Like I said, my physical health journey hasn't come easily to me and with culture and society to fight against it can be difficult. It is important to know, I will never give up, ever.

4. Recuperates quickly from setbacks and stumbles:

Chris said that this takes time, resilience, and practice, but it does get better. When he was talking about this point my face felt hot with shame as I thought he was speaking directly to me about my own stumbles and setbacks. But then, suddenly like a breath of fresh air, he said something that relieved that stress and lead to a bit of an epiphany:

The first time might be tough, it might take 2 years to bounce back. Then the next time it might take 6 months. But if you keep going it will take 2 months and then only 2 weeks, soon only 2 hrs and 2 minutes and then finally you will realize that there aren't any more set backs mentally, emotionally or physically because you've bested them. 

This, mixed with the messages from Sexy By Nature I realized that the 4th point of self efficacy is NOT  about shame at all... it is about LOVE!!!! If you love yourself through the tough moments, they will be shorter and shorter, they will be further spaced. Until, one day, there is never a time when you're beating yourself up and turning a cookie into a 3 month binge. SELF LOVE IS EVERYTHING!

On that note. If you have made it this far, and you haven't read her post about this yet, check out Stefani's post on why LOVE IS THE NEW SKINNY

Anyway, Self love is sexy, y'all! It's not vain or crass or conceited, It is healthy and CONTAGIOUS!  And, with all of this, I have learned that self love and self efficacy are one in the same. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

All in Challenge: The Dreams

So the Challenge started on Tuesday. Since then I have been hit with a (TMI) UTI, outbreak of my Autoimmune Disorder and a cold... that happened in one day. I am not sure which weakened my immunities first but it is obvious that something was up with my body, and this was its way of telling me. I am going to go with that it really just wants me to be healthy again... and we'll go from there.

First off I want to give you an idea of how things are going. In order to do that I will mention where I have been. Many of you know that I have had an on-again off-again relationship with the paleo lifestyle. It isn't for a lack of will, desire, or knowledge... it really comes from my emotional dependence on food. I have been very clear about my addiction to food and the satisfaction that it seemingly brings me, but learning more and more every year about how incredibly important it is to bring my mind and heart back to the basics. My body wants the foods it wants out of necessity, unfortunately it was introduced to the wrong version of satiation. Now, I am showing it how incredibly strong and satiated it can be under the correct food systems. Not processed over sugared foods.

Anyway, this isn't about what I am giving up. I don't like focusing on the negative... this is about what I am gaining. I reiterate that I am doing this to prove to myself how well I can do. I am doing this to heal my body and spirit and mind. I am doing this to reward my body and mind for all the hard work it has done for me. I am doing this to regain strength over my own decisions. There are so many reasons I am choosing to do this. To lose weight, is not one of them. To inspire confidence in myself and others, definitely is.

So now that I am eating clean the only thing that haunts me are my dreams. Partially because I worry about being DQ'd from the challenge, that would be really disappointing. But mostly because I would be really devastated if I gave up on myself again. When I first quit eating Ice Cream (because of my addiction) I would have breakdowns and horrifying dreams of just eating gobs of it. Every Ice Cream commercial had the power to knock me to my knees. To this day (2.5 years later almost to the day) if I am having a bad day and drive by an ice cream shoppe I struggle with my desire to abstain.

Since starting the challenge I have not had cravings, but there have been dreams. Usually it is Ben disappointing me by giving up and I feel like I must follow with him (he wouldn't do this, of course, but my dreams know my weaknesses.) In one he ate Doritos and soda and was saying how if no one knew the wiser it didn't matter. It all lead up to me having pop and ice cream in my dream last night. Granted, I am sick, so it might just be my body because I am ill. But really, the dreams are real. If you have them too, you are validated by this. But don't worry you are making the right decisions for your body and mind.

Thanks for reading,
Much love

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

All In Challenge--Earlybird Special

This is the first of hopefully several posts about the CPMFitness All In Challenge. It is an understatement to say that CPM is "More than a Gym" it is a home, it is a family, it is a place to be held accountable... The beat goes on. 

This is our SECOND challenge with CPM... Our previous results were incredible... Ben took Third, I took Second... We were both very proud and on top of the world. It is hard to believe it was 5 months ago already, nearly. We have had our own personal trials and tribulations since then, but really that is unimportant at this time, we are focusing on the future...

This challenge is slightly different. The parameters of the previous Challenge was essentially a Primal challenge, in that we were encouraged to do as much as we could Paleo wise, but 80/20 was acceptable. Really people could eat what they chose but had the requirement to document it. This time it will be an ALL IN challenge... documentation is required (although more detailed) but the real difference is that this will be the Whole 30 only.(I will get into more about the differences between the two more in the blog)  So here we are... Titled by Mr. CPM himself, Chris Mello, "The All in Challenge Earlybird Special" 

To do the ALL IN CHALLENGE we must approach it as something different instead of a conversion from SAD (Standard American Diet) to "Paleo". It is a way to show WE CAN do the healthiest thing for our bodies, even when it is difficult. Without having to do a detox (ie. the lemon juice, maple, cayenne detox) or take meds/pills, we will be detoxifying through healthy eating, lifestyle and decision making.

This is different from the previous challenge for so many reasons. The first is the last challenge a participant could choose to eat whatever they wanted as long as it was documented. This time is much different because a participant can choose to eat whatever they want, but that would also mean forfeiting their participation in the challenge.

Another difference is the duration. Previous challenges were 45 days long. This one is different, because it is only 30 days long. The idea of 30 days seems so simply doable. Anyone can do anything for 30 days, even if it is more strict.

For me, personally, this challenge is different because last time I was determined to just FINISH. Not only did I finish the challenge but, as I mentioned above, I WON! This time I know I can do it, I have already done it. I am pushing myself harder but it's because I need/want to be back to where I was.

Finally, I am approaching my health in a new way this time. Differently than I have ever experienced, and something you have never witnessed. I've often struggled with where to get my self-worth, and how to value myself. I have felt ashamed when I see results and start to feel confident in my own skin... Sometimes I got my self-value from partners, sometimes family or friends, other times it was strangers. I have had a huge change in my personal life. Since the previous challenge (namely in December) I learned that god loves me. Not only that but it doesn't matter what else is going on in my life, my value can come only from God. Also, with that, is god's unending love for me.

Now this may come as a surprise to some, but I don't mind, anymore. I was once afraid of what people would think, when I realized this is what I believed and how I wanted to live my life... Now I know it really doesn't matter. I love you all regardless of your beliefs, and I assume you feel the same way about me. Thank you for that. I also realized that sometimes other people's opinions (or the way I perceive them) can be more of a hindrance on my growth than anything. It is better for me to just let go of my fears and let them be handled by someone far mightier than I.

I was having some hesitations about this challenge, mainly that I would work really hard and regardless of my results I would not be "allowed" to win again. This is not the case... I know that if I earn a spot on the leader board again, it will be because I worked hard and made significant progress. that is really what I want to see, and show. Regardless, though, of if I win or not, I will be a winner. Going all in on something like the Whole 30 is life changing. I haven't given Paleo my all since I discovered it in 2010... I say it is about time to re-experience the love I have always had for it.

I am reading 3 books presently to help me along the way. The first is by a dear friend of mine, Stefani Ruper called "Sexy by Nature" (you really should get yourself a copy). The second is of course "It Starts with Food" by the Whole 9's Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. And the third is the "Made to Crave Devotional" by Lysa Terkeurst which has been really game changing for me. I feel that with the knowledge packed in these three books, the determination I have to succeed, and the care, love and support of my gym family at CPMFitness. This challenge will be a great experience, and a great kick start to propel me even closer to the future I deserve. Full of health, happiness, confidence, and grace.

I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity to explore what I CAN do and how I can continue to grow in my relationships with myself, food and God.

Thanks for your love and support, I treasure all of you deeply.