There will always be some battles that are fought over, and over again. However, every time we meet the strategy will be new because we will have experience on our side.
I am a different person then I was then.
Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books. It’s up there with The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet and Fahrenheit 451. I remember when JP saw my copy and he said, “that’s a book too?” I said, “that was a book first.”
I believe the best kind of change is the one that comes on slowly, it comes in stages. It’s more lasting this way. Change can happen in a minute, it can also take days, weeks, months – years. Regardless of how long it takes, it’s completely okay that it occurs.
Change is what makes life interesting. It makes it scary, but it also makes it exciting.
Alice explained to a character of Wonderland that she could step them through her day, but to go back further would essentially be a waste of time. Her time in Wonderland had opened her eyes. She faced things she never imagined.
“I could tell you my adventures – beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
How did I get here? Alice fell down a rabbit hole, and while my path may not have resulted in the same darkness, it had quite few turns that I never dreamed of.
What decision led me here – this is something I ask myself in both good times and bad. It’s something I talk to clients about as well. We try to analyze our steps and figure out how we could achieve success beyond our wildest imaginations. At the same time, we look back thinking something wrong happened, how do we deserve such success. Or the opposite happens, we look back thinking every step we took was wrong and everything is our fault. Regardless, we’re just verifying.
As a child living in an abusive home, there were times I couldn’t see past the moment. There are moments that are so vivid that I can smell them, taste the adrenaline, feel the pain and get nauseous. When I think of that little girl and what she’s become, I can’t say it enough that I am proud of her. If only I could talk about myself without the third person.
I self-harmed as a teenager. I was in abusive relationships prior to college. I didn’t know that love could come without strings attached. I didn’t know that friendships could come without strings too.
When I think back to those days, I remember feeling that if I couldn’t love myself then no one else should either. I had a hard time finding reasons I worthy of self-love.
I know now, that it wasn’t that I wasn’t capable of loving myself, but I was looking for the wrong reasons to love myself. I was absorbing the word of those around me. I had a hard time weighing my beliefs of myself effectively against the beliefs of others.
I still am working on this, but it’s a bit better now.
I found lifting at a time when I felt lost.
I felt that I couldn’t give the world more energy and I needed to focus within. I found something all consuming that filled me up. I found myself every time I lifted the barbell, success came from showing up. I found relief knowing that this new goal was for me and about me.
This was the first time that I didn’t think “I’ll show them.” Before this, I had shown them what I was capable of – I’d shown a lot of thems a lot of different things. At this point, I needed to show myself. I was the last person standing who was still in disbelief.
I’d be lying if I said that my last season of competing wasn’t about showing them. Something I loved, something that helped me find myself, became toxic.
There’s a number of reasons I decided to not compete: physically, the level of leanness is a huge new monster in the sport now (at least in the NPC), mentally, it’s grueling and after three seasons, five shows and a two fourth place placements, I felt like I had proved enough to myself. While it appears that everyone is a competitor the truth is we, they, are still a minority – I had done something that few do. I have some shiny plastic trophies, I have some sparkly bikinis, I have photos. That’s enough for me.
Throughout my health story, my weight loss journey – whatever, we want to call this – I have changed my methods and tried new things. I’ve learned new perspectives and changed my mind. I’m allowed to do that, and so are you.
Every now and then, the disbelief creeps back in. The feeling to prove myself, the feeling to look back and examine my steps.
About a month ago, I got an email with the cover of my eBook and I just smiled. Jillian had taken the photo that JP had snapped of me and made it magical.
I had gone back and forth on the title of the book, but seeing the cover solidified that I made the right choice in name.
I had gone back and forth with my name. For the past six months, I’ve spoken with both my therapist and JP about my concerns.
I’ve never used my last name openly because my previous career required some separation of my personal life. When harassment ramped up on social media, it was clearer that I needed to protect myself.
I kept having this fear that I couldn’t be myself, I couldn’t use my name because someone out there wouldn’t like it. I feared that it would be used against me. I can’t change how people are going to behave – I can hope that they get bored and walk away. If I continue to allow the paranoia to consume me then I will never be able to be my true self. So when JP asked if I meant for my last name to be on my eBook cover, I proudly said “yes, I’m not hiding.”
I am owning story – the good and the bad. I’m hoping that others find strength in it to fully live theirs. For those who question and mock, I hope they are perfect and don’t ever fuck up.
I’m so proud of the person I’ve become and the person I strive to be. I don’t think that little girl could’ve dreamed up a tale like this.
Be kind to strangers – you don’t know their story even if they tell it to you.
Be better than you were yesterday and know that change is necessary for progress. Without progress we’re stuck.