Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Obesity Help Event: Atlanta 2012

Yesterday I found out about the Obesity Help Convention/Event in Atlanta this fall, and I really wanted to go. In the past I would have wanted to go, but would have completely dismissed it for a few of reasons.

First would be getting my big butt to Atlanta. Driving from Oklahoma would mean extra days off work, and a lot of extra miles on the car. And flying would be out of the question because I wouldn't run the risk of being a) forced to use a seat belt extender and b) wedged into a seat beside someone trying my best not to crowd them, or worse, c) being forced to buy a second seat. I've only ever had to use a seat belt extender once and have never had to buy a second seat...but the one time with the extender was mortifying enough that I never want to have to go through that again! And being forced to buy the second seat would not only humiliate me beyond belief, it wouldn't be financially possible. So getting there would be reason one for not truly considering going.

The second reason would be the room situation at the hotel. It's a two day event, and pretty much requires a two night stay. It's $95 a night for a room. Options include a) getting a room to myself and paying the full cost for both nights or b) rooming with someone I've only met online in order to cut the cost of the room. Option A would cut too deeply into our trim budget. And option B would have been a terrifying thought for me...constantly worrying about what the other person might think of me, fearing being seen by this person in my frumpy fat girl jammies, with no makeup, and hair a mess, basically a total lack of self-confidence.

The third thing that would have kept me from going would be the fact that the only people I "know" going are people I "know" from online. That would have shut me down very quickly. I would have convinced myself that while I post in our online support group and interact with these people on pretty much a daily basis online, they wouldn't actually like me in real life. In fact I'd probably convince myself that they are only being polite in the support group, and probably don't actually like me in there either. And it probably would have lead to me talking myself out of being in the group at all.

And lastly I would determine that even if all the things above were not true, I really don't deserve to spend so much money on myself and go off and leave my family at home for a weekend. That would just be too selfish. And while yes, it might benefit me to hear what the speakers have to say and actually get to know some people one-on-one, it's just not something that I deserve. I mean I don't NEED it. It's not a NECESSITY, so why waste all that money on myself?

Those are the thoughts that a year ago would have gone through my head as I read the posts in our group inviting people to go to this conference. But that's not what happened yesterday. You see, this same support group, The Bariatric Bad Girls Club, has several members going to Las Vegas for a convention and what sounds like a fabulous time in May. I would LOVE to go, but just can't make it due to money, us moving, and me needing to finish out the school year here. So, I've been kinda bummed that I wasn't going to be able to go to that. Because I really want to meet some of these women. They are hilarious! They are kind and tender hearted! They are feisty! They are supportive! And they are always there for each other! I really want to meet them!

So when I found out that I'd have another chance in the fall, I forwarded the link to my husband and told him I'd like to go. We talked about the details a little last night, and I checked to see what the discount rates would be for the convention. When Hubby saw the discounted price, he gave me the credit card and told me to order it. Nicole of Beauty and the Bypass fame was looking for a roommate, so he told me to see if she still needed one...and she did! So she and I will be roomies! Yay! And Hubby even started checking the cost of airline tickets. It happened so fast I couldn't believe it! One minute I was talking to my husband letting him know I wanted to go, and the next I had a ticket and a roommate! And I love it! I'm not panicked or scared! I'm so excited!

You see the issues that would have stopped me last year aren't there anymore! 1.) By October my butt will be small enough to fit into an airline seat with no problems!! 2.) I'm excited to get to know Nicole better! Even now, before I lose all the weight, I feel confident enough in myself to not worry about how I look, or how she might see me. I've learned to love and accept myself the way I am! 3.) This follows right along with #2...loving and accepting myself means I am more confident about meeting others, even in a larger group setting like this one. I may not become BFFs with everyone there, but I am confident I will make friends, get along with others, and have a great time! 4.) Finally, I now KNOW that I am worth it!! I had to believe that about myself to go through with the surgery to begin with. It took a lot of time and effort on my part. I missed a lot of work and much of it without pay. I had to be away from my students. And my family had to pitch in and take care of me...all for an ELECTIVE surgery. I believe I'm worth it, and my family and friends have shown that they believe it too! And things like this convention will only help me succeed in the long run. After all this isn't a "diet" I'm on, it's a whole new way of life! I need to stay up to date on information. I need to network with others in this lifestyle. I need to make friends with people in this lifestyle. And I need to let my hair down once in a while and just have some fun and do something for ME!

So, I'm going to Atlanta in October! If you are going too, I want to meet you and I can't wait to see you there!!


Melting Mama said...

:) See you there.

Michelle Jackson said...

Can't wait to meet you in person, Beth! :)

Holly from 300 Pounds Down said...

That's fantastic! I am SOO happy for you! You deserve this!

Michelle Jackson said...

Thanks, Holly!

jfabulous43 said...

This is such a great entry! In years past, I would not have even considered going, but this year I am toying with the idea. I travel a lot for business, so I have to get seat belt extenders every time.

My biggest and only reason for not going would be that I am VERY shy and I do not know ANYONE. I would not do well in that situation. I could not muster up the courage to speak at all to anyone all weekend long.

Michelle Jackson said...

jabulous43, I understand the shyness thing! I understand it very well! Only recently have I come to a point where I'm coming out of my shell. After talking to a good friend of mine, I have learned that I was much more social and outgoing when I was younger (and thinner). So it seems the weight changed all that, and I withdrew more and more. Hopefully, you will get over some of that shyness as time goes on. And if you come to Atlanta, you can talk to me. :)

LuLu Kellogg said...

See you there Michelle!


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