Finding Myself in ‘Missing Richard Simmons’

For the last month, I have been keeping up with the latest buzzed-about podcast, ‘Missing Richard Simmons.’ In this six episode series, host Dan Taberski goes on a journey to try and uncover the whereabouts of the famed fitness trainer and motivational speaker with a larger than life personality. In 2014, Simmons abruptly closed his Beverly Hills fitness studio and disappeared from the public eye. Throughout the series, Taberski interviews close friends and family members of Richard, attempts to visit him and his loved ones, and wonders how Simmons could unceremoniously leave the many friends and fans who followed him. Provided with short clips of some of his work in the past, and commentary from those close to Richard, it becomes clear that Taberski is chasing one who doesn’t want (or need) the chase, and Simmons is just fine.

Listen to the podcast at missingrichardsimmons.com, or on any of your favorite podcast apps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my biggest takeaways from this series is that I totally understand where Richard Simmons is coming from. Without spoiling the series for any of you who are interested and plan to listen, we learn that Richard is a highly empathetic individual who seems to serve others in overdrive. As a person with similar sensitivities and tendencies, I’ve learned my modes are simply “off” and “on.” When I’m on, I’m everywhere: giving, serving, loving, extending myself beyond myself. “No” is not part of my vocabulary, because my main drive is to help everyone I can however I can. Like Richard, I’m a helper, a giver, a feeler. Strangers meet me and tell me life stories. People consult me for all things. My heart gets invested in people. However brief the interaction, I want to leave people better than I found them. I say yes and yes and yes and yes, and have sometimes struggled with how to balance all of my yes-es.

In recent years though, I’ve learned how this kind of over-extension can lead to burnout, and that sends me into “off” mode. When I get here, I go relatively missing. The people that know how to find me can and will, and my commitments become much firmer and contrary to what is typically expected of me. I put myself first (for once), and place all priorities on recharging and taking better care of myself. I’m taking longer showers, spending more time reading, delving into a series on Netflix, paying better attention to my health, and offering myself some much needed tlc. When here, I’m trying to find balance in a different way. The overwhelm is strong here, and I’m attempting to give myself the grace I find it much easier to extend to others before myself.

Listening to the series, I found myself livid at times (as some of my tweets would suggest). One of the questions Taberski repeats through the series muses upon why Simmons did not inform people of his need to disappear before he just did. I found myself defensive of Richard, and sometimes yelled “RICHARD DON’T OWE Y’ALL SH*T!” in the way that I will talk back to podcasts I particularly get into. How dare people feel owed something from someone who gave of himself so freely in the first place? What else did they want from him? I was outraged, and this is where I started to wonder: was I mad for him, or mad for myself?

What I have learned about us over-extended, highly sensitive people is that the drop off is never announced. I think that this happens mostly because we just try to keep puttering on for the benefit of others, until one day, the off switch has come on and taken over. Perhaps autopilot is the best way to describe it. Something inside of us that knows we need this break rises up, takes over, and gets us through the days until we’re better enough to be fully back “on.” Balance between the two modes are hard, and I am still trying to figure out the best ways to navigate between the two. This is, of course, part of a larger journey. In the meantime, I have my people (much like Richard) that I can check in with, provide updates, and be completely true to what I am in the moment, and not the more polished-up version.

Maybe in his time away, Richard Simmons has found the secret. Regardless, he has turned his switch to “off” mode on his own terms, and I respect him for it. When I began listening to this podcast, the only draw was my passing curiosity in the title character and the possible uncovering of the story behind his disappearance.  I never imagined that I would draw such parallels between myself and Simmons, and learn that the two of us are a bit similar.  I have always admired his commitment to sequins and glitter, though. Now, I believe we’re kindred spirits, trying to live our lives the best way that we can. Maybe I needed to hear this series to allow myself the space to do the same.

 

We Get It: You Don’t Care

Royal news got you sluggish? Try a Snickers. 



On this joyous of occasions, when I have decided to pull my space (no Tom)  out of semi-retirement, I have decided to delight you in some of the things that have been garnering my annoyance as of late.

Today’s topic: The person(s) who never stop talking about how they don’t care about something.

I’ll admit: I am currently watching the Royal Wedding, and though I didn’t really commit to participating either way, my curiosity drew me in. For me, the viewing began a learning of traditions and customs that I wouldn’t necessarily find in my home country. As an added bonus, I got to see old money at work.

What I didn’t get, though, is for days now, the stream of tweets, facebook statuses, and the like about how they don’t care. Statements such as “I’m all out of dambs/f***s to give about the royals” and the like permeated my timeline(s). The only thought I could muster up in response, though, is “If you don’t care, why must you keep saying it?”

Perhaps it’s just me, but when I genuinely do not have an interest in something, I let it go. No talks, no tweets, no facebook statuses. In fact, if I’m really in an uncaring mood, I’ll even log out of all of my social networks and do something that I take joy in, instead of bringing the gloom and doom in honor of showing my disdain for something.

Of course, there are the arguments of how the news coverage is extensive. My question to you: When has it not been for event like this? We bawled and hugged for our President’s inauguration; we juked and slid all across the country, starting at the Apollo Theater, when MJ passed (during the five year interim between his passing and burial) ; and of course, whenever a former President passes away, the WHOLE WORLD STOPS to pay respects. What I see, however, is a lack of… I don’t know what to call it. Tact? Tolerance? Give a care about something else that may or may not necessarily be in your bubble? Let’s go with the last one.

I know it’s hard to pretend as if we’re happy for other people in the world, especially when regular news is going on all day, every day. What about the regular people getting married today, also? I wish them well, too. If I could Google them, I’d satisfy my curiosity in that area, also. You know what, though? We don’t have their names. What we do have, however, is a bit of a distraction- a glimpse into a little bit of happy, in a world that continuously emits sad. For this, I’ll take those few hours. Knowing that once it’s all over and done, and the Duke and Duchess (among their other titles) kiss, I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled life, and so will they. It’s not idolatry or any other word you can think of– just entertainment. An escape. Does it mean my heart is any less interested in the tragedies from the recent tornadoes, or the clusterfarce of mess going on with our President and the birthers, or the major marathon taking place through my city this evening? Not at all.

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Truth, courtesy of @CheapSeatFan

Seriously, though? We’re going to take the fun out of a traditional event, because other stuff is going on? I mean, whenever the Real Housebabymamas competing for the love of some b-list celebrity’s facial secretions is on, people tune in like it’s a life or death situation. Any time there’s a football, soccer, hockey, or table tennis game, my timeline is filled with reactions. Do I care? Not really. Do I spend days echoing the statement? …FUH WHAT?!

Anyway, I said all of that to say we get it. You don’t care. You don’t know them, you don’t to, you’d rather watch Coming to America, sip Crown Royal, or extract your toe jam. On a scale of never to one, your level of uncaring is beyond the low point. I suppose it would be bad for me to say that I don’t care that you don’t care, then, eh?

*drops mic*

Congratulations Duke and Duchess. Or Earl and Lady. Or Baron or Baronness… whichever titles they prefer. I hope their marriage is full of love and all of that other stuff no one will get to see. 
Have a good weekend. I’ll be back with another minor annoyance next week.

Don’t call it a comeback,
Beez (or, for the remainder of the day, the Duchess of Cornbread *adjusts monocle*)

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