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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