It's Never too Late
Regardless of which stage in your life you are right now, it is never too late to pursue and live your dream
Competing has granted me some unexpected positives that go beyond the physical.
I remember watching my first fitness competition years ago and feeling an immediate sense of motivation and empowerment as the ladies competed in a new division called figure. I knew at the time it was something I would love to do but always waivered and procrastinated to take it to the next level due to various reasons. Initially, my reasons consisted of fear of judgment and disapproval on the part of others to then becoming fearful of walking on stage in front of everyone and being able to have the diligence required to do a contest prep. Conversely, knowing all the while this lifestyle WAS me! I had always been athletic, competitive, goal driven and extroverted. I would not hesitate to wear a bikini and high heels, always a fave! LOL
When I finally set out to train for my first show I found out several weeks into training that I was expecting my first child. During labor my daughter suffered a massive stroke and my entire life changed. The next couple of years were challenging to say the least. She had no use of her right hand and suffered massive seizures. At times, going to the gym was my only escape from the depression and stress I was going through. As time went on her body began to heal. The seizures went away and everyone was amazed at her incredible progress. God blessed us with another child and I began to explore other avenues in my career. Formerly a family counselor and behavioral therapist, I had now chosen to become a personal trainer because of the freedom it allowed in my schedule and the joy it would mean doing something that I truly loved to do. At the gym I would frequently get asked if I competed. It was at that time I knew if I didn't follow through with doing something I had always wanted to do I would regret it for the rest of my life.
I stepped onto the NPC stage for the first time in 2010 at the Pittsburgh Pro Show. I placed 5th and had an amazing first experience with the NPC! The feeling of successfully following my diet and training preparation along with being able to step on stage and have confidence in myself doing so is inexpressible! As I continued doing shows I was also given opportunities to do fitness modeling and/or jobs with various photographers. Suddenly, I was no longer solely defined as mother or personal trainer but competitor and fitness model.
I am a people pleaser by nature and many people began to have opinions that were not always good in regards my new lifestyle choices. Whether it was a family member or friend the outcome wasn't always a good one. This is where this industry began to grant me a gift that no placement on stage ever could. The gift was one of mental strength to stand up for myself and allow self-acceptance in lieu of the non-acceptance of others and continue to do what I love. Once this was clear in my mind I felt like screaming from the mountaintops, "This is me and what makes me happy as a person. I do not define myself by anyone else's standards except my own. Like it or leave it! It's your choice and your loss!" Wow!
After struggling so long with being held by the confinement of wanting to be accepted and liked I found that there is no better strength than your OWN true self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves for who we are, we are able to become more self-assured and secure in who we are as a person. I have never been as happy as I am currently in this phase of my life. I can't say I have overcome every adversity related to this but I have improved by leaps and bounds compared to how I used to be! Remember, it's NEVER too late to revisit a dream or passion you have always wanted to accomplish. In the end you may be surprised at the unexpected value it may bring!
Love & Blessings,