Competing requires a lot of attention to the physical, but it also challenges you emotionally. Be sure to pay some extra attention to the person inside
When doing an interview the other day, I was asked if there were any lessons I had to learn the hard way. I am normally quick to respond, but for some reason this one baffled me. Then, I thought about the time I was 12 years old and my brother convinced me I should Nair the hair on my lip. I listened to him, and the result was third degree burns on my face. Definitely one of many lessons learned. But these experiences all seemed too shallow.
That’s when I thought about my pro debut experience. Following the USAs, my relationship ended, and I had about six weeks to go until my pro debut. I decided that I wanted to do any and every IFBB Women's Physique shows left in the year. I felt like I needed to stay in front of the judges and work on my stage presence. Despite all of the discouraging comments from people about the sport being full of the self-centered and skin-deep, and how I need a ‘break’; I was dead set on competing in the last two shows of the year. In my mind, I felt like competing in one show after another was proving a point: I was super strong and made of stone. No breakup was going to rain on my parade. However, I realize now that I continued my prep in order to avoid dealing with the end of my relationship. I’m always the first person to tell my clients not to compete unless all of their stars are aligned. I should have taken my own advice.
Sure, my body could have kept going, but my heart and mind needed a breather. I pushed and pushed, and I made it to my pro debut. The week before everything began to fall apart, I was taking antibiotics, I was exhausted beyond belief, and the stress was brewing and boiling up inside of me. I lined up backstage for prejudging and after the callouts came around, I knew I had not done well at all. I loved what I had brought to the stage overall, but I also knew I could have been tighter. I hadn't given it my all. I hadn't given myself a fighting chance, because I wasn't taking care of me.
So, Friday night when I got back to the hotel room, I washed off my tan, put on my pajamas and climbed into bed. Luckily, a good friend of mine who was competing in figure roomed with me that weekend, so we talked and watched television. It was then that I realized I had acted too quickly.
It’s fine to go right into a show when you are at the bottom of the totem pole again, but I was focusing so much on my body I hadn’t realized I was in need of some self-love. The next day I went to have my makeup and tan done, and when finals came I was smiling ear to ear. I was psyched to do my routine, and I knew that I was going to have to give that day 110%. I was going to worry about tomorrow later. I rocked out my routine. I had a blast with everyone backstage. The show and the venue were amazing, and the city was beautiful. There was no use in beating myself up, because negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts. I came back to Maryland and spent time with family and friends, even managed to get in a Ravens game.
After I regrouped and really thought about my life, I have made the decision to compete in October in California, and this will be my last show for the season. I said I was going to do it—and I will. Only this time around, I will pay some extra attention to the person inside.