Last night there was a battle of epic proportions. As some of you know, I’ve had a bikini fitness competition on my to-do list for a long time. My brother knows how long exactly. I’ve started and stopped. I’ve talked myself out of it. Downplayed it. Called it vain, dumb, silly, judgmental and yet I’ve been drawn to it like a magnet the entire time. Turns out I’m one of those people who is drawn to my fears like a moth to a flame. I don’t like having any fears. It bothers me. It pisses me off when I feel afraid. I’ve faced so many things in this life – things far scarier than wearing a bikini on a stage. So what is this fear about? Why was there a battle?
In any battle there is an offense and a defense. An attacker and someone being attacked. It doesn’t always have to be David and Goliath. We love those stories, but that’s not always the way it works. Sometimes there are two giants. Sometimes it’s Goliath and Goliath.
I watched a YouTube clip the other day where someone spoke about defending yourself. He mentioned a pink elephant. If someone calls you a pink elephant, you would laugh. So what? Okay, so I’m a pink elephant, whatever. It’s kind of absurd. But if someone calls you a liar or a thief or says that you cheated and you don’t brush that off with the same blasé “that’s absurd” kind of whatever, but you get defensive…then that’s something that maybe you need to look at. That’s where you need to go. That’s the work that you need to do within. If there was no truth in the statement, it wouldn’t sting. It wouldn’t raise your back and your defense.
Last night there was a lot of name calling. I encountered a Giant that I know all too well. I was told I wasn’t good enough (again). I was told I was doing it all wrong…that “they” were all doing it better than me. That I would lose. That there was no point. That I should quit. I was able to laugh and brush most of it off until he said the word quit. It stung. It stung because I’ve quit before. I’ve talked myself out of things that I wanted right and left because “it was too hard” “it was silly to want it” “it was never going to happen for me” “I wasn’t good enough” “I couldn’t do it”. He said I was vain and contributing towards everything I was against. He said I wasn’t in shape and people might laugh. Then once the attack on my emotions was over, he went after my logic and sensibility. It was too expensive. There were too many fees. I was an idiot for investing in something so silly. I felt beat down. Ripped apart. Not good enough. Never good enough.
But I’ve been through this battle before and I know myself.
Therein lies the victory.
If you know yourself then nothing anyone says can harm you, because you know the truth. To know thyself is the most important thing. With every battle I’ve been through in life, I’ve held a post-mortem. I’ve sat down with myself and sometimes family and friends – the people who know me and my tendencies better than myself sometimes – and talked it out, wrote it down, hashed it out sideways until I got to the root of what had happened. Where had I dropped the ball? Where was I frozen by fear? Where was I struggling? What story was I telling myself that was stopping me? Where did I still need growth and maturity? What did I need to do to accomplish that?
Our thoughts dictate how we feel. How we feel dictates how we behave. So our thoughts dictate our actions. But we get to choose our thoughts. In the midst of battle with a Giant we can forget this truth. If you have enough mud slung at you, it’s hard to see the light. Those negative thoughts from the Giant were making me feel horrible about myself. Which was making me want to back out of everything and throw in the towel. Thoughts=feelings=action.
But the Giant forgot something. He forgot that I know how to kick him out of my mind. I could choose another thought. The battle between Goliath and Goliath exists within me. I think it exists within all of us. Some might liken it to the battle between an angel and a devil but things aren’t always so black and white. Life is a lot of gray.
I’ve noticed in life that when I am doing really strong in an area, when I’ve finally cemented my resolve to accomplish something, that’s when the storm comes. That’s when Goliath shows up to take me down. I have to fight my own resistance.
I knew this was coming. I told you I’ve quit before. I’ve quit before I even STARTED in the past. Our minds are dangerous places if we don’t master them. So knowing this, I already had cavalry in place. That cavalry was you and you didn’t even know it. My brother knew, but I told him ahead of time that I knew this might happen so I was taking precautions. There is a point where excited runs out and fear steps in and I wanted to be ready. I created a Facebook invitation for my bikini competition and I invited everyone I’d want to impress. Trainers I respect, guys whose prowess I find intimidating when it comes to athletics and fitness, and my closest friends and family. Not that they even need to show up, but them knowing I was doing it was enough.
Sometimes the ego is our friend. Quitting would be such a blow to my ego. Telling you about it was my safety net. This was my strategy against the quit. So when the onslaught of negativity and name calling hit me last night, I fell into my safety net that I put into place and then I reached out to my best friend on the West Coast who knows me so well. She called out the Giant within about 30 seconds. She called me on my bullshit. She cut right to the chase and asked me if I was afraid.
She reminded me that I’m not competing against anyone but myself. I can’t compare my beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s my first competition. I’m not going to start perfect. She reminded me of how far I’ve come and reminded me of all the people that I help and inspire to be healthy. She reminded me that I’ve built my body on veggies and raw food and what a testament that would be for others to see. She reminded me of what I tell all of my clients, that strong is healthy. Strong is sexy. She reminded me of my resolve. She put a glaringly bright light on my insecurity and told me it was okay to feel that way. Every line that I repeated to her from the Giant, she shot it down. She even offered to fly here and beat up anyone who laughed at me…which she also said would be absurd for anyone to do. She reminded me that I was brave and had so much courage to even do this in the first place.
When I set out to do this event, I wanted to do it MY way. I am about health above all things. I’ve always said I would never do something for a purely aesthetic reason that was harmful to my health. Some people talk about water depletion and crazy diets and all of these things to achieve this lean sought after look. But for me, it’s all about health. It’s always been about health and what felt best for me. Good nutrition, fitness and consistency with both is what will get me there. I know I won’t win the competition. There are stunningly beautiful girls in it who I am sure are way more “ripped” than I am and you never know what a judge is looking for. But that’s not what this is about for me. It’s about feeling strong and healthy in my body and facing my fears “of what people might say” head on.
I’ve struggled with body image issues my entire life. I battled eating disorders for years. I’ve yo-yo’d up and down and been overweight. Switching to raw foods and eating a natural diet close to the earth that is full of raw fruits and veggies, that’s what gave me my freedom back and that’s what helped me beat the EDs that I battled in the past. Then I got my nutrition certification in plant based nutrition which further cemented for me how to prevent and reverse disease with a plant based diet. It’s what I help my clients with every day.
Obtaining my personal trainer certification gave me the fitness knowledge that I needed and learning how to lift – well that makes me feel strong inside my body. I’ve never felt stronger or more in control of myself and my ability to MAKE MYSELF than I do when I am lifting.
Real whole foods and fitness – they are the tools that have changed my life. They are what I am so passionate about helping others discover and utilize in their own lives to change and forge their healthy path.
I have a scar on my abdomen. A couple years ago I found out I had giant tumors and I had to have a C-Section to have them taken out. I dropped around 10 lbs between surgery day and the day after. They were big. They were benign. I was okay, and grateful. But during this surgery my ab wall was lifted out and everything was taken out and moved around and put back together again. Humpty dumpty style. I’ve got a cool vertical scar where you would have the zipper on your pants, from below my belly button down. I had to work really hard to get my core back. Really hard. But I ran a 5k obstacle course 3 months after the surgery, because fuck that shit. Being stubborn has been my saving grace in life many a time.
Last night the Giant reminded me that I had a scar on my lower abdomen that everyone would see if I did this competition. The Giant told me that my core still wasn’t what it used to be. That my body still wasn’t good enough. This vessel my spirit travels around in and helps other people in, still wasn’t good enough.
I woke up this morning and told the Giant to go fuck himself. Because my core is BETTER than it used to be. And who doesn’t love a scar? Scars are damn sexy.
So that’s what I wanted to share with you all. The battle ensued last night my friends. Goliath fought Goliath. I fought myself. Hard. We went a few rounds. I got knocked down a few times. I burst into tears. I ate gluten-free oatmeal with too much peanut butter in it. I put a stop payment on the event entry fee check when Goliath started on me about wasting money for this. Yes. I did that. I backed that far out. But I have until the 20th so I can resend it. I felt like Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man this morning, just hanging on the ropes waiting for Goliath to take that swing again so I could pop up and clock him sideways. Him – Me. Me. We’re part of the same person. When I can finally cross this off my list – this event – I’ll be free of this Goliath. I’ll be free of the Giant who cared too much about what others though. Free of the Goliath of negativity inside of me that tries to stop me from doing things. This Goliath of perfection. Thoughts might dictate feeling and action – but a solid action can create new thoughts as well. I’m showing this Giant who is boss.
This morning I remembered all of you, my friends, readers and fans and how you’re not judging me and how you’ve got my back. I remembered that I am my own worst critic. I remembered that I’ve basically gone through the movie alien and survived 2 giant tumors and a recovery. I’ve backpacked through Europe with my best friend Jodi. I’ve helped my Mom beat breast cancer. I’ve helped clients lose tons of weight and turn their lives around. I’ve published a smoothie book and have a full book on the way. I became a personal trainer. I started my own business. I learned how to surf. I learned how to ski. I’m learning how to skateboard. Each time – every time I set out to do something new, Goliath told me I couldn’t. And each time I’ve faced Goliath with Goliath and I’ve gone to war.
Mother Theresa didn’t go around complaining about the size of her thighs. She had shit to do.
So on Sept. 27th, I’ll be wearing a bikini on a stage, showing off the fittest, healthiest version of myself that I’ve ever been able to achieve up to this point – that I am incredibly happy with. I’ve fought wars to get here. It sounds silly but it’s true. And when I FINALLY step one foot out on that stage, I win. Scars and all. It won’t be someone else’s version of fit and stage ready, but it’s mine and it’s where I’m at. And that’s good enough. Perfect doesn’t exist. Perfect is what stops us from doing things. Perfection is an illusion. I won’t live paralyzed in the shadow of an illusion, and neither should you.
When I first called this blog Raw Is Sexy – it was all about Raw Food. But now it means so much more than that. Being raw means being real. Raw is saying the things I’m afraid to say out loud. Raw is letting you in.
We all have scars and cellulite and cuts and bruises and lines and broken bones and wheels we ride on and some of us even have titanium. And we are all good enough. No, more than that. Much more.