If you follow me on social media, you've probably seen me post tons of pictures and selfies. Sometimes, I probably look pretty self-centered. I can assure you that's not the case at all.
I have hated myself the majority of my life. I've never been comfortable with who I am. I've constantly struggled with self-image. I spent my teenage years battling an eating disorder, which I've written about in the past.
I'm done being "that" version of myself. When I started my journey last December, I was disgusted with the person I had become, both mentally and physically. I barely slept, I ate anything and everything I wanted to eat, whenever I wanted to eat it. I looked in the mirror and wished I could be someone else with someone else's body. I wished I could be happy and feel good about myself. I wished I could stop feeling so depressed all the time. I wished I cared about the things important in my life. There were days I didn't want to get out of bed because I couldn't stand the thought of facing another day living the way I was.
One day, I woke up and I decided enough was enough. I went to work and the Musclemania Colorado team was recording a segment for the new year. I saw their confidence immediately. Their positive attitudes were a light and I was instantly drawn to them. After the segment recording, I spoke with Tiffany, explaining how I would love to compete. She didn't hesitate at the thought of taking on the task of helping me get ready for the stage. She encouraged me, inspired me and motivated me to get my mind and body healthy again.
So why do I post so many pictures of myself? Well, for one, posting pictures helps me stay accountable and see my progress along the way. I don't post the pictures to seek attention or gain approval, I do it to inspire change in other's who might be feeling the way I once did. Sometimes all it takes is one person to help change everything. One person really can make a difference in this world.
Every time I look at my before and after picture, I realize how far I've come on my new journey. Not just my physical appearance, but my mental health. I feel inspired to keep going and keep fighting. I have gained a new confidence and hope for life that I once thought was never possible.
Does posting pictures of myself in a bikini make me feel better about myself? Actually, it does the opposite. I cringe every time I think about someone looking at me in a bikini. I do it for the messages that say "hey, thanks for posting, you have inspired me to change my life."
Getting healthy doesn't mean you have to put on a bikini and step on stage. For me, it was a really exciting goal to work toward on my journey. Plus, I'm a super competitive person and I like to push my limits. Someone once told me that pressure creates diamonds. So here I am, working on becoming a diamond.
It's crazy to think about, but I started this new lifestyle journey less than a year ago. I feel like a completely different person now, with a totally different outlook on life. I can't begin to thank the people who helped push me to where I am now!
On November 4th, I competed in my second fitness competition, Musclemania Colorado. It's an all-natural competition, which is amazing. The incredible men and women backstage feel like a second family. I truly feel like I was in the best shape of my life when I stepped on stage. I finished 4th in Model and 5th in Bikini Open.
The biggest thing holding me back now, is my posing. I'm not the most coordinated person on earth. I used to not even be able to wear high heels. When it comes to poise, I'm more of a duck than a swan. With that being said, practice makes perfect and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to take my stage presence to the next level.
Many people have asked me, "What's Next?". I'm quickly becoming addicted to competing. I love being able to push myself because I feel like it inspires others.
Will I compete again? Probably. But money is the biggest thing holding me back. From entry fees to theme wear, to a competition bikini, spray tan, hair and make-up. That's just the beginning! I desperately need to hire a posing coach and let's not forget making sure my nutrition is in check.
I want to keep competing. I want to become a Musclemania Pro! I want to do it because it will inspire others to feel like they can achieve any goal they set their mind to!
In order to keep competing, I need to find a sponsor. Becoming a sponsored athlete won't happen over night, but it's my biggest goal right now.
Whoever gives me the opportunity to be their sponsored athlete won't be disappointed. From my passion for success to my incredibly strong social media presence, to my outgoing personality and my eternally optimistic attitude, I will dedicate 110% to being a fiery bright spot for any brand.
The number one thing I've learned on this journey is that anything is possible if you work hard enough. This is just the beginning of my journey. Thank you so much for being a part of it! I can't wait to crush my next set of goals!
If you're interested in becoming my sponsor, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I work in news. It's my job to be aware of what's going on in the world. Today is different. Today is a day where I'm doing everything in my power to block out the news. I can't listen to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony. It has nothing to do with whether or not I believe her. It has nothing to do with how I feel about sexual assault or how long a victim remembers the trauma they went through. It has everything to do with me. I can't listen because it is an extremely painful reminder of what I went through when I was 12-years old.
I was raped.
I can still remember almost every painful detail of how it happened, nearly 20 years later. Some days it feels like it happened yesterday. After it happened, I ran to my neighbors house. She was a few years older than me. She told me that I could never tell anyone what had happened. So I didn't.
That night, the man who raped me, a man who had two young boys my age, died in a drunk driving car crash.
When that happened, I felt like the world was somehow taking care of me. I thought I was just going to move on and forget what had happened and never have to face the reality of it.
That was a great lie I told myself.
Over the next four years, I became a different person. I hated myself. I felt disgusting. I felt worthless. I started starving myself. When I got hungry, I would eat and make myself throw up. I remember being in high school, sneaking off to the bathroom after lunch every day so that I could throw up. I figured that if I didn't eat, people would ask questions. No one ever did.
I was depressed. I tried everything in my power to make myself feel better. I had a different boyfriend every week because I thought that if someone "loved" me enough, maybe I could learn to love myself.
That was another lie I told myself.
After four years of holding on to the pain of being raped, I decided it was time to let go. I was at church camp and I told my camp counselor what had happened. I still remember telling my mom in the car on the way home form camp. We both cried. She was so sorry.
I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders by finally telling someone. I also felt so much pain. There were so many days when I honestly wondered how I was going to keep living life. I felt like I didn't deserve to live because I was disgusting. I hated myself so much.
If people knew what happened to me, they would hate me. They would think it was my fault. They would think I deserved it. They would think that I provoked the man by wearing a swimming suit.
But that wasn't true. My family surrounded me with love. They showed me my worth. They gave me hope.
I'm 29 now. I'm a different person. I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor. NO ONE DESERVES RAPE.
I still struggle with self worth but I know I'm NOT what happened to ME. I'm here on this earth for a reason. I will not let ONE person, who made a BAD decision, DICTATE what I become.
Depression...It's a word that hits me especially hard. Sometimes you feel fine, other times you feel like you're spiraling out of control. When the darkness sets in, it's hard to find the light. The inner demons find away to burn you up inside, make you believe things that aren't true. They take hostage of your mind and suffocate you, inside to outside.
With the news of a second suicide in one week, I feel like I have to open up, get some of these feelings out. We all know someone who has committed suicide. I still remember the first time it happened when I was a child. I couldn't understand how someone would want take their own life, especially when we all loved them so much.
But that's the problem. We get so busy, we get so wrapped up in our own worlds. We get so wrapped up in our own battles and forget that others are also fighting their own battles. We forget to remind our friends and family that they're important to us, that we love them more than anything, no matter what.
I've shared about my eating disorders in the past. Many of you also know that I was raped as a child and assaulted while in college. Those are things that happened to me, they aren't me and they don't define me. They are a part of who I am. What you don't know is that those things still manage to eat me alive inside. It's not every day, it's not every second. Sometimes those feelings sneak up out of nowhere and they make me feel so worthless.
How can someone love me when I don't love myself? How can someone love me when these things have happened to me?
I feel disgusting sometimes. I feel worthless. I feel like my life isn't important. My tunnel vision gets so bad that I can't see the light, I feel like my vision is clouded and it feels like it's never going to get better.
On those days, I have to fight so hard to see the light, to see the positives in my life. I'm so thankful for the life I do have and the people in my life. I don't always know how to fight off these feelings that I get. Writing has really become an outlet for me. I feel like if I'm open and honest about what I'm going through, maybe I can help someone else. Helping others makes me feel good, it makes me feel like I'm doing something with my life.
We all have our demons, even if you can't always see them. It's so important for us to work on building each other up instead of constantly tearing each other down. Life is hard enough without having criticizing someone for being different or having a different opinion than our own.
Not one person is alike. We all share differences of opinion. We all have different passions, hopes, dreams, ambitions, goals.
We need to be better. Better at understanding. Better at listening, better at providing comfort, better at building each other up.
This is my plea to you, wherever you are, show love and support to others, even when you don't understand why they are the way they are. Encourage others to seek help if they need it. Be a friend. Remind the people in your life that you're there, that you love them and that you care.
SUICIDE PREVENTION: suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 1-800-273-8255