So it finally happened. The crazy man that has pushed me daily, via Skype, arrived in Chicago. I know I’ve spoken to Ray daily since July 18th, but I still found myself getting nervous about meeting him. That quickly dissipated when we met up at Nordstrom downtown.
He had been informed by my BFF about my make-up love affair and had walked around a bit trying to find me before texting me. When he finally found me, I got a huge bear hug and then we went on our first “date” – i.e. feeding him. I had had a protein bar because we were meeting up with friends for a super late dinner. Any nerves I had quickly went away as the usual teasing came out (he was shocked at how short my 5ft 2in was in real life), and we just proceeded to get to know more about each other.
Since his arrival on Thursday, I don’t think I realized just how much time we would spend in my car this weekend. Good ole Chicago traffic made sure we had plenty of time to talk about all sorts of things. We truly talked about anything and everything! Ray’s had a lot of time to tap in to my passion points, my nerdiness and my core values.
So imagine my surprise when this brilliant man turned my weight loss goals in to a civic engagement project.
Yes, you read that right – Civic Engagement.
If you know me personally, you know that I am a die hard Democrat who is actively engaged in the political process. I’ve worked in politics and the US government and nothing gets me more riled-up than learning that someone isn’t participating in the political process at all.
I am a woman of color who is standing on the shoulders of thousands of pioneers who sacrificed their lives to give me the opportunity to vote…to have equal rights…to be the person I am today. I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants who came to this country to give their children every incredible opportunity they could in life. My sister and I have had adventures that no one could even imagine being our story, and it’s because our parents made the difficult decision to leave everything they knew to come to Chicago. I don’t take any of their sacrifice lightly…I can’t.
So when Ray confessed that he had never even registered to vote (EVER), I was shocked but mostly truly disappointed. We talked about his decision to not engage politically, and I obviously expressed my disbelief that he would take this privilege for granted.
And that’s when he got me. His most brilliant move to date.
In our time together, Ray has learned a lot about me and quickly assessed that this is a hot spot for me. And let’s be fair to Ray here a bit….he probably has the exact same disappointment for folks who never work out because they should care about their health.
I get that…I hear that…and well, I’m currently doing something about that.
So we made a deal I REFUSE to lose.
Ray obviously thinks it’s really important that I blow my weight loss targets out of the water. I, obviously, think it’s super important that he register to vote and participate in the general election this year. So how do we bring together our passions collectively? Well Ray upped the stakes and made a new deal with me.
If I lose 30 pounds by October 1st, he will register to vote.
If I lose 42 pounds by November 1st, he will actually vote.
Winning this bet is more important to me than any weight loss goal. As I learn to develop better habits physically through his training, I hope that my determination and hard work will make him actually start to want to learn a little more about why he should be politically engaged.
Now…do I want him to vote along my party affiliation? Absolutely but I can’t demand that. I want him to research the candidates, get informed, and vote according to his beliefs and value system. I’m happy to help influence and educate from the Democratic perspective, of course, but I just want him to see and exercise the value of his vote.
So I like to think yesterday’s conversation put us on equal footing. We are going to help change each other’s lives for the better by working on this “side” project of teaching Nubia to make better choices physically.