This post is going to be a little bit scary to write. I debated whether or not to write it and how much I am comfortable saying. But I am an enneagram type 6. My life coach, Todd Payne, tells me that the gift of the type 6 is courage. What that all means is that I live with basically the same anxiety level as a whack-a-mole on a bad acid trip… who continues popping up to face real and imagined giants wielding heavy mallets. Despite my fear of emotional concussion, I always keep on keeping on. I am functional and productive. I kick butt and take names. Part of my work with Todd has been about minimizing the anxiety, believing in my well-honed ability to dodge said mallets, and using my natural courage to thrive.
Speaking of my life coach, he is the impetus for this post. Last April, Todd asked me if I would be willing to record an interview that he could use as a video testimonial on his website. The idea was frightening, but I wanted to give him this gift. He has done so much for me, and I have grown so much. Most of me was excited to do something that would help him and would show off the new person I am becoming, but it was a big thing to ask of myself. Todd and I talked about it a lot, in terms of how much I would share and what I would not share. We talked about the kind of questions and the level of control I would have. We talked about the appearance and body image demons I fight all the time. The mere mention of appearing on videotape for the world to see triggered the emotional switchblades to begin slashing at my flimsy self-image. During these discussions, I realized I wanted to make the video for Todd, but I also wanted to make it for me.
The interview seemed to go well, from my perspective. Todd also expressed that he was pleased with the results. He told me that it exceeded any expectation he had. The next step was for him to send the video to his editor and then, to show the finished product to me. With my agreement, he would then post it.
The timing was a bit wonky. The editor finished it right before Todd and his family made a major move. The video ended up in the digital equivalent of one of those bulging cardboard boxes you pile high in the spare bedroom after moving… with the full intention of unpacking them “when you get to it.” I was not too concerned. I asked about it once but did not pursue the matter because I figured that, if it never showed up, it was probably meant to be. The interview was a gift from me to Todd and, as the recipient, it was his to do with as he wished- even if what he wished was nothing.
The other day, I received an email from Todd, sharing the completed video with me. He seemed a little chagrined about it taking four months, but I was more worried about what the whole world was going to be seeing. I immediately opened the file.
Now for the spoiler alert… I was…pleased.
I did not hate the way I looked. A couple of years ago, I am sure the video evidence of my appearance would have sent me running to lock myself away from the world for several days. I was convinced I was the least attractive looking person on the face of the planet. Really. That is not an exaggeration. In the video, I thought I looked… almost pretty. If not pretty, at least not distractingly ugly.
Listening to myself, I thought I was warm and engaging. I was articulate. I made all the points I wanted to make but also sounded genuine and spontaneous. It all felt very natural when I was doing it and it looked very natural on screen. Todd did a fantastic job briefing me ahead of time on what sort of structure and development he wanted. He also asked great questions to cue up my most authentic responses.
All in all, I thought that, if I was just some stranger watching this random interview on Todd’s website, I would think to myself that I really liked that girl and would like to be as healthy as she seemed to be.
Of course, growth is not a one-and-done kind of thing. Since April, I have been through four months of life with some special challenges. I AM much healthier than I have ever been, but I am going through another growth spurt right now. Again, I am dealing with some issues that I should have processed many years ago. I am doing very well. These issues are not nearly as gut-crushing as those I tackled earlier this year during my Lenten miracle ( A Lenten Miracle – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement) but they are still uncomfortable to face. This video reminded me what it is like when I feel strong and valuable. The “delay” in sharing the video with me was not a delay at all. The timing was absolutely, exquisitely perfect. I think Todd might have done it on purpose. He’s smart like that.
So, anyway, here is the scariest part. I’ve been trying to decide whether to post the link to the video. I was not sure I wanted to draw attention to it. I think, though, that, if I want to maximize this gift to Todd and myself, it is best if I do post it. Of course, that would give the most exposure for Todd’s practice. It would also be good for me to own this moment and be proud of it. So… here it is:
So that is the story of my brush with infomercial stardom. Don’t worry. I’m not promoting a multi-level marketing scheme. I am not selling ginzu knives on late night tv. I am not shouting, “but wait, there’s more!” I am simply sharing an amazing experience that has made a huge impact on me. I am sharing this experience because, first of all, this is my blog and that is what I do- analyze the wriggling mass of minutiae in my soul. Secondly, maybe someone out there will recognize themselves in this video and will reach out for help. Not hurting all the time is really great.
Have a mentally healthy day!
What do you think of my video interview? Please be tactful, if not kind. Remember, I have that flimsy self-image. Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.