So Now I’m An Infomercial Star

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:

Todd Payne – Enneagram Coaching | True Self

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!

Terri/Dorry 😊

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

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

Although 2022 was a difficult year, I still have a lot for which to be thankful. Even the very heart-cracking episodes of the past twelve months have generated abundant blessings. I am not advocating that the experiences I encountered in 2022 are for everyone. In fact, I do not think I am even advocating that they are for me.  Make no mistake, change is hard. It is especially hard on this gal’s heart.

I am a paradox tangled in a coverlet of fragile positivity. On some intellectual level, I have always acknowledged that God can use the worst experiences in life to bring about great growth. I have experienced that phenomenon. It is just difficult to have faith in that notion when one is right smack in the middle of the worst experiences. Growth means change and change is hard, especially when you are trying to grow and change while still navigating through the life one has always known. Over the past couple of years, I have massively transformed my outlook on life and on myself. As exciting and triumphant as that feels, it has been a painful process at times. Most times, if I am truly honest. I find myself running towards this new, healthier, more beautiful version of myself while all the time terrified that I am going to trip and break a hip.

I’ve talked about some of the circumstances that have created this crucible of discovery and self-development. The life coaching process I’ve been working through has played a big part. The life coaching is a microcosm of what I mean by a paradox tangled in a coverlet of fragile positivity. The thoughts and feelings that I’ve found inside me during the life coaching process have often been painful- even heart-fracturing. At the same time, I crave them because I have learned the tremendous release, joy, and wholeness they can bring.

The illnesses and death of my brother has been much harder than I would have thought. I miss my brother. I miss the feeling of family I had when he was still in the world, even though we did not often have satisfying communications. I miss my memories and vision of what my past was like.

I have backed off relationships that do not serve me… or anyone else. It has been hard to let connections sever. I have faced guilt and shame and some bruising of my ego (I’m not indispensable to ANYBODY.. who knew?) On the other hand, I feel excitement rise in me when I realize that I have time and energy to invest in other, more excellent relationships. The same has been true of activities. In the past, I have concentrated more on what others needed rather than what I had to give when I said “yes” to a request. I enveloped myself in a lot of thankless, tedious, non-productive busy-ness instead of using the same internal resources to find service that feeds me as well as the recipient.

The biggest change in the past year is how I’m starting to think of myself. I think 2022 was one of the most significant years in my life in terms of learning. This is a powerful statement for me to make and I do hesitate in making it. I do not know that I have completely learned all the things that 2022 has started to teach me, but I can definitely feel them incubating in my psyche. The experience has often been challenging and painful, but I have grown so much, I cannot regret a moment of it.  Here are some of the most important things 2022 has shown me:

  • I learned that two-thirds of American women wear a size 16 or above. I wear a size 16. I am not a freak of nature.
  • I learned that the standard of beauty that we see glorified in our society is not a universal preference- only about a third of people are attracted to a type that we typically picture as traditional beauty.
  • I learned that my needs and even my wants are sometimes more important than other people’s.
  • I learned that, just because someone doesn’t value what I want to give does not mean that what I want to give is without value.
  • I learned that I may be quirky and weird, but for many people, my authentic quirkiness and weirdness make me appealing, rather than undesirable.
  • I leaned that I am the center of only my own universe.
  • I learned that it is possible to change the way I experience and react to life.
  • I learned that I am far stronger and more resilient than I ever imagined.

My wish for 2023 is that these concepts will take root in my soul. I want them to flourish to enrich my life and what I can give the world. I ask you all to pray for that for me. I pray for all of you that 2023 will bring you satisfaction, love, and joy in being the person you were always meant to be.

What did you learn in 2022?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can send me an email to

Have a enlightening day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Independence Day

Our country celebrated its independence this week. It is exciting and humbling to remember the people and events that created a new nation founded on freedom.

I am celebrating a bit of an Independence Day myself.

Most of you know by now that I have been seeing a life coach to help me with the anxiety and other issues that rob me of joy and keep me from being the person God created me to be.

I have reported that the coaching has proven to be effective in dealing with my anxiety. It is difficult for me to really explain how significant the impact has been for me. Last week, I talked about the pervasive fear with which I have grappled most of my life. I have always been afraid of pretty much everything. Being a reasonably courageous person and being a person who puts a high value on having a rich life, I spend a lot of energy trying to overcome fear in order to do the things I want to do… or feel that God has called me to do.

With the help of my life coach Todd Payne, I have been able to fundamentally change the way I manage my fear. I am not going to say that I am no longer afraid. I am, certainly, much LESS afraid that I was. I am also learning not to dread fear so much. Fear is like a rumor. It is information, but it may not be totally true. Sometimes, fear tells me something that is completely false, and I am learning to think critically about that. Sometimes, fear tells me that there is something important underneath the fear that I should explore. I am just trying things out now. I feel a little like a newborn colt. I know how to walk in this new way with fear, but my legs are still pretty wobbly. Most colts do learn to steady their legs and run at some point.

The other huge issue that has haunted me all my life and seriously impeded my life is my image of myself. I have shared some of this with you all before- my certainty that I am unattractive, unsexy, and unlovable because of my appearance. Part of that is body image, but it is more pervasive than that. It is really about virtually every aspect of my appearance, although the weight is the most obvious. I did not think I was ever going to be able to slay this particular dragon. It felt way too entrenched and vicious to ever evict from my spirit.

Todd uses the enneagram model as a basis for his coaching. I am a type six. I had a tough time figuring out that I am a type six. This is hardly surprising because the hallmark of unhealthy type sixes is self-doubt. The way to health for type sixes is to develop the quality of self-determination. In other words, my goal has been to see and assess my worth based on my own sense of self… and then to decide what I want and take steps to make it happen. In the past few weeks, I have started to experience a true shift in my mind and heart. I am saying this very quietly, as I don’t want the feeling to get scared and go away.

It started with a couple of very rough sessions where I came face-to-face with some fairly mind-blowing truths about the way I think about myself. For instance, based on the enneagram, only about 33% of all people even acknowledge any external standard of beauty. In other words, 66% of people do not even think about the vision of acceptable appearance that I grew up with in my head- the beautiful people in the magazines and on tv. About half those people do not expect to be attracted or not attracted to any particular type or standard- they just get attracted based on what appeals to them specifically. The other half are more likely to be attracted to someone based on how that person reflects an appealing place in the grand scheme of things. Theoretically, about 67% of people could be attracted to me, even though I look nothing like the industry standard of beauty by which I have condemned myself my whole life.

In another revelation, I found out that nearly 70% of American women wear a size 16 or above. What size do I wear? A size 16.

The hardest session had to do with my compulsion of looking for external validation for my wants. I never thought I could ask for what I wanted because I did not deserve to want anything. I was barely entitled to my needs, much less any wants. I wanted so badly for my coach to comfort me by telling me I was beautiful and lovable and valuable-  in general, but also in his opinion. The compulsion was so strong that I was in physical pain. I knew he was not going to give me the assurance I wanted in that moment  because it would not help me to develop what I really needed to develop… a sense of self-determination. He has always been supportive, and it is not like he has never gives me any positive feedback. He does. I think we both knew we had reached the point in the coaching process where I had to find that support within myself if I was ever going to crack the ceiling of our progress. I would like to explain how Todd led me through the process that day, but it just feels too private and too complicated and too unique to me. I still do not really understand how a conversation could make me feel so rejected and also so supported. I certainly was not able to explain it that day. I could not even articulate what I felt that day. My brain knew he was doing his job. My brain knew it was the right thing. What my heart felt was an ugly, disoriented, knotty mess of uck.

It was a pretty horrendous fifty minutes that day. We were able to mop up a little before we ended. I was not out on a ledge or anything. I did not feel hopeless. Todd did not leave me distraught, but he did leave me emotionally addled and in deep thought. A few hours later, I began to feel so much better… actually, better than I have in years. My mind opened up and thoughts came trickling merrily through my brain. The fruit of my thoughts seemed so much clearer than they had. I felt such a sense of relief. I decided to live in that relief and rest a bit- not try to motivate myself to do anything I did not want to do, not try to push the revelations any further. I just let my head, heart, and body rest from the workout they received during the session. A surge of excitement flowed through me, getting bigger and bigger with each moment.

A couple of days later, I was sitting in church, and it struck me. I am as appealing and cute as anyone else there. While part of me thought this idea was madness, most of me was actually embracing it. For some people, this may seem like a relatively minor realization. For me, it was HUGE. I have NEVER thought I was as attractive as anyone else. In fact, I  always think I am distractingly unattractive. That I can sit there and believe, at any level, that I am attractive is a miracle. I wondered if it was sacrilegious or disrespectful to be thinking such things at church. But what better place than church to suddenly become aware of a miracle?

A few days later, I attended a meeting that did not go the way I expected it to go. It was challenging. There were a lot of people there who clearly did not agree with my perspective. They were people whom I have been trying very hard to please. I felt their displeasure viscerally at the meeting. A few months ago, I would have shrunk from the encounter and gone into hiding. Now, I could simply say what I wanted to say, understanding that I am entitled to my perspective and there is no catastrophe if others disagree. Just because someone disagrees with me does not make me wrong. I was able to sit in the moment, listen, be curious, and respond productively. It  honestly did not bother me that people were annoyed with me.

Today, I was thinking about what I might want to pursue in my life. The thought came to my head that I am appealing, attractive, and desirable. I have not completely integrated that notion into my sense of self, but I am no longer dismissing it. For now, the notion is blanketing  the top of my psyche. I am hoping it will start to sink in.

So, this is the story of my own personal Independence Day. I am declaring myself independent from the fears and insecurities and pain that have had tyranny over the best parts of me all these years. Just like with our nation’s independence, I know that I can declare it on a specific day but that it will take a lot more than just saying it to make it so. I know it will be a life’s work. And I am okay with that. I honestly cannot think of a better way to spend the rest of my life.

Have any of you come to an important realization later in life that you wish you had known much earlier? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a miraculous day!

Terri/Dorry 😊