Who do you want to be?
I have asked myself this question a lot throughout my life. And like Sylvia Plath, my favorite writer, I saw life stretch out before me like a fig tree with so many branches, so many options. Instead of watching the figs wrinkle and fall down to the ground I have taken a bite out of as many juicy figs as possible.
My obsession with travel, with trying career after career, life after life (if you are new to my story, I have had a plethora of careers and lives in different locations) kept me going over the years.
I fought to find light everywhere because I was no stranger to the dark.
I have always struggled with depression and have coped in many ways: my eating disorder, isolation, drinking and unhealthy relationships.
Travel and exploring new versions of myself was one of my healthier coping mechanisms. It taught me a lot. I've been a nanny, worked in a food truck, scrubbed floors, starred on the food network, was sent first class to Japan for travel writing, produced shows for the Discovery Channel and was the girl behind the camera asking the Bachelor contestants "how they really feel." I've stayed in five star hotels and I've had five dollars to my name and no permanent address or home for months on end.
I've pursued every wild dream I've ever had and have made it work.
After years of running from place to place - all the while knowing I am here to help people and do something bigger than myself - I landed in Monterey, California, with a good man who loves me, and a career in health and fitness.
I worked my way from the ground up to get into this career.
I slowly got into fitness at the beginning of my relationship (I was still rebuilding my life after divorce and a year of vagabonding) and realized hiking with a hangover hurt. That I was making memories I wanted to remember. That I was with someone who deserved the best part of me - not the second hand version I had started serving cold.
So I got real with myself. I cut out the crap. I committed to eating better and doing 30 minute workouts at a studio gym that let me trade for marketing work. I walked an hour each way to get there in the dark rainy Vancouver mornings, committed to making a change.
Then I signed up for a gym membership. I started with my 30 minute workouts. Then I bought a book on strength training for women and started taking it to the gym with me every day after work. I started carefully lifting weights under the guidance of my book and many google searches on form. When my coworkers went out on Friday night I'd be there, at the gym, determined to deadlift without rounding my back.
Slowly I moved up in weights. Joined a bigger gym. Decided to do a bodybuilding competition. I was nervous as all hell in the weight room but something about the weights grounded me. It turned off my restless mind. I breathed more easily. My body changed but the biggest change was mentally.
When I moved to California I walked into the best gym on the peninsula and introduced myself. I wanted to learn from the best. Coach Cater put me to the test, and before I knew it I was interning, and under his eye doing workouts I never thought I'd be doing: 100 deadlifts, 100 pull-ups, 100 everything followed by hill sprints in the blazing sun. Anything he threw me I accepted. He was impressed, and eventually accepted me as full on staff. I woke up at 4 am every morning to commute there while balancing other work in the afternoon to pay the bills. I made it work. And in that time I learned more than any text book could ever teach me.
Early this year my lifelong desire to create my own business got louder and I lovingly left the gym and broke off on my own. GYB Strength was born.
GYB - Give Your Best - is for anyone who wants to be their best despite it all.
My mission is not only to empower each individual in all areas of wellness, but to create a community who empowers and supports one another.
I have come to a point in my life where my mission is clear: bring light to others. Create community. Create conversation. Bring light to mental health. Take the shame out of the things that make us human.
It's not about me at all, but about us, giving our best and bringing light to every day darkness.