This week I had a few realizations. It’s nothing ground breaking and it’s something that we all say. It’s stuff that I say all the time, but I don’t necessarily listen to clearly.

  1. happiness is relative. it means something different for everyone.

Something I’ve been struggling with the past few weeks since Connecticut is owning my happiness. There was a lot of negativity that I didn’t expect after placing and it made me question why I compete and what makes me happy. So, let me reiterate.

I compete because Cristina at over 240 pounds never thought she could do great things.

I compete because I like the challenge – it’s mental and physical all in one.

I compete because I love the glitter and sparkle that comes fleetingly on show day.

I compete because it let’s me become a character I never thought I could play.

I don’t compete for the trophy. It’s a nice addition, but that’s not my purpose. Just showing up and being present is enough for me. But I know it’s not enough for some people.

I started believing that I was never going to do better than 4th place. I started believing that my placing was meaningless. While there were so many positive comments, the ones I remember are the opposite. Someone told me that I still looked fat and my back still had rolls and posing didn’t help. They continued and said that I needed to stop telling people like me that they can accomplish anything because I’m making the sport a joke. I started to absorb that and I started to believe it.

But you know what, I’m getting on stage in 2 days for my 4th show in my 3rd season and I don’t see many people doing what I’m doing. So until someone drags me off stage, I’m going to absorb that 10 seconds of spotlight.

2. goals are relative. they can change weekly and so can the definition of success.

I don’t expect every person I talk to to have a  desire to compete. On the contrary, I am shocked when I meet other competitors because there are so few. When someone tells me they want to get healthy and find their path, that lights me up because that kind of change is tough. I’ve been told I’m inspiring even though I’m a competitor, I don’t know what the fuck that means, but I think EVERYONE can be inspiring in their own way. Take away the actual goal and you have left a person with dedication and drive. Take away age or gender or competition and you have a hard working person who focuses on their shit.

You don’t know someone’s story from glimpses at their day and maybe getting out of bed was a win. Maybe that morning getting their kids ready on time was a win, which allowed them to get their own personal goals moving along. Maybe success was seeing something from a different angle and deciding that they needed help.

Everyone has a different goal for their health because it’s defined differently for every person. Success looks different every week because you don’t always know what is going to be thrown your way.

3. it can be hard for people to understand how someone can be happy when there’s bad stuff happening around them.

I am not happy 100% of the time. I am not happy all day, every day. But I do find happiness most days for portions of the day and I think that is the balance in finding happiness. It’s not about expecting every day to go according to plan or being happy all of the time. I think if perfection is the expectation then you’re going to be very disappointed and see failure around every corner.

I’ve written about happiness before. I actually bought another psychology book the other day about creating your own happiness and how relative it is. The book says we have control over about 40% of lives. 10% is circumstance and 50% is genetics, you can’t control those, but 40% is what you actively are seeking and engaging in. I know so hippy-dippy, whatever. My money.

Bad things happen every day. Terrible things happen every day. I hold onto anger and frustration, but at some point you need to also be able to work through it and find something that makes you smile when all you want to do is scream or cry. Because really, what does screaming or crying do other than provide temporary relief.

Take the same energy and do something good.

Some of the littlest things make me happy like JP doing the dishes while I make breakfast because that means they aren’t piling up. A client texting me that they’re having a great day. A new PR in the gym. Reaching my step goal on days when I feel like I’m just sitting around. Being able to participate in class because I understand the material.

I’m excited because I have my 4th show in 3 seasons this weekend and the season isn’t quite over. I’m going to give up what I’ve been absorbing the past few weeks. Because really April has been great overall and I’m not letting anything stop me.

I hope you find happiness every day, around the corner, in front of your face. I hope you figure what works for you and hold onto it. I hope you use your energy for something worth while. I hope you find a cupcake that fits your goals that day or time to take a nap and relax.

I’m heading to class and then packing up for the weekend. Vermont is calling my name. I’m not scared for the outcome, I’m just excited for the opportunity.

Also, side note: I had this realization last night – the top 5 placing can go to Jr USA’s and Jr Nationals if they want to and the top 3 can go to Nationals. My goal was to do my best this season and give it my all, and get as close as I could to a national bid. Well, I guess I did that already. Now, it’s just about having some fun.

❤ Cristina