Thursday, May 29, 2014

She is a Lady

This picture made me think about a situation with my Dad I will never forget.  I was sitting outside at my house on the porch with a boy I liked between my legs on the step.  As my Dad's truck unexpectedly turned into the yard, we jumped up quickly hoping he didn't see us from our long driveway. Later that day I was afraid of him fussing at me, but he said to me so calm and relaxed, "Be careful what you allow a man to do with you and to you because those actions are how he will view and value you.  You are a lady and deserve to be treated as one.  Do not let a man treat you any kind of way."

Those words still stick with me to this very day because they came from my Dad.  He was in no way perfect, but he is perfect to me because he loves me. He gave me flowers every Valentines Day growing up, he carried me to bed and tucked me in at night, and he told me I was beautiful.  I am a Daddy's girl and even at the age of 28 and engaged, I turn into a little girl that grins from ear to ear from her Dad's hug and smile. 

I say all of that to say this.  Fathers talk to your daughters.  Tell them you love them and tell them they are beautiful Spend time with them to show them how a man should treat them.  You are the first man your daughter will ever love (or hate for that matter).  Be an active figure in her life. Your relationship will impact the relationships she has with men for the rest of her life. If you set a solid foundation with your daughter, when you speak to her, she will listen.  Those words will stay with her.  She may not heed them the first time, but she will recall them when the time is right. 

My Dad, one of my sisters, & Me

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sticks and Stones and Don't Be a Bully

OK people like I have said before I am really big on self love, being positive and uplifting to others.  This is a big reason why I share my fitness journey and started this blog. I hope that I can inspire someone to do what they thought they could not do.  I am so thankful for the positive feedback that I get from people who encourage me.  With that said, I know that everyone will not agree with my lifestyle and is entitled to their opinion.  I wanted to share with you an example of a disagreeing opinion and my response to it. 

Background info: I posted the picture below on my fan page after my haircut and blowout I received to prepare for my graduation. A person whom I do not know nor share any ties with decided to comment and say Ewwww I look like a man.

So does this mean a man with less muscle than me looks like a woman? I thought as I laughed at her comment.  Now I responded to her and avoided bashing her because I seriously looked at this as a teaching/learning moment.  I have no children of my own, but I have nieces and nephews who I will give my life for and I will always make the greatest attempt to put my best foot forward especially with some of my nieces having social media accounts.  The positives I take out of this situation are the following:
  • Exposure. I do not know this woman, but somehow my page reached her meaning my page is growing and my name is getting out there and can open me up for positive opportunities such as sponsorship.
  • I matter.  Someone took the time out of their day to talk about me.  Whether it was good or bad. I meant enough to be their subject. This is to be expected because of what I do. I want my page to grow to the point those negative comments get buried in the positive.
  • Growth and God's timing. I have grown spiritually. The old me would have said some horrible things to her and put her on display with her name so that others could give her a taste of her own medicine LOL. She made this comment initially on my graduation day. I thank God for not allowing me to see it at that point in time.  This prevented any attempts the devil made to spoil the celebration of my academic achievement.
  • Stand up for yourself. You can stand up for yourself and not sink to the other person's level.  I will sleep well knowing I did not have to make myself feel better by attacking someone else. Below is her response after I called her out:
I have accepted her apology though it came 5 days after her comment and contradicted her initial comment.  She had plenty of time to delete it even before I saw it.  Again I think this was an opportunity for me to prepare for what's going to come in the future as well as be a teaching moment for all who will see this post.  Depending on the person, this can be viewed as a form of cyber bullying.  Which is not acceptable in any way.  Yes adults have to deal with immature behavior as well. I did not make my body this way to please her or anyone else.  I am thankful I am marrying a man that loves everything about me. I am thankful I am whole enough of a woman that this will not in any way break my spirits.  Women we have to do better to uplift each other and leave the cattiness behind.

Please share this post in hopes that this can be a bright spot in someone's day.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Bodybuilder

I am a bodybuilder.  When I tell people I do it, they stare at me because I am not what they consider to be a bodybuilder. See that's the thing, before I started competing, I would not have seen someone like me as a bodybuilder either.  When I thought of a bodybuilder, I thought of these huge muscular men and woman who looked abnormal or not as feminine.  I did not think it was cute at all for a man or woman.

There are different levels of competition and different types of physiques.  Some are super ripped and muscular  and  others have firm bodies with less muscle and more "feminine" curves. I put feminine in quotes because I believe it's defined by the eyes of the beholder.  The common factor is they all took hours of dedication; something I thought I was lacking. I am now in the gym 5-6 days a week and I love it.  It has healed me physically and is a great stress reliever.

Those who may not totally understand this lifestyle tend to give their unwanted opinions and that is very unfortunate. If you date or are friends with a bodybuilder, here are some things that may help you understand our lifestyle.

Support us.
Whether it is helping us with our posing, or eating your non-competition food away from us shows us that you care.  Even if bodybuilding isn't your "thing," the fact that you take the time to learn and understand something that is so big in our lives means the world to us.

We are vain, but there is more to it.
Bodybuilding is not about someone staring at themselves in the mirror for hours in awe of their looks(that's just one aspect we like :-)). Others think it is vanity, but to us, it's about noticing the smallest changes in our body we can find.

Please do not feel as though you have to explain why you're eating bad if you run into one of us.
Not to sound mean, but we don't care what you are eating; especially if you don't.  If you have asked us for advice in the past and you aren't following our suggestions, it's no sweat off our backs.  We have our own diets to worry about.

Don't expect us to eat just fruits, veggies, and "healthy" foods.
We eat just about whatever we want.  The difference is, we have those "cheat meals" in moderation and/or healthy substitutions. We also burn those calories off in the gym.

We are not starving ourselves to lose weight.
We eat more than the average person.  I eat more than my fiance who outweighs me by 60-70 lbs. Losing weight does not mean you skip meals.  You actual eat at least 5 to 6 meals a day every 2-3 hours.  Eating those meals kick your body's metabolism into gear which promotes weight loss.

Keep the jokes about our lifestyle respectful.
We all like to laugh and are OK with laughing at ourselves, but those jokes can get old quick.  You aren't the only one with those jokes for us so be mindful.  Just know that if you dish it, be willing to take what comes back to you.

Respect our decision to compete.
Bodybuilding is not for everyone. If you are a friend to someone who competes. Respect their choice to compete if it is a positive influence on their life.  You don't have to agree with how their body looks, but it is their body and their choice.  We get enough "ewww" and "that's too much," or "she looks like a man" comments from everyone else.

We do not always have to talk about gym and healthy eating.
I am an engineer. I love watching ESPN, I  love mixed martial arts, and I love to sing just to name a few things.  Bodybuilding is just another aspect of my life.  We do like to talk about other things.  So don't be afraid to change the subject.

On stage at my first show.
Backstage after winning my class and the entire show.
After becoming nationally qualified at my second show.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Love & Marriage

When I was a young girl, I did like most girls who dream of being married.  Each boyfriend I dated, I would write my name with his last name to see how it would look (as if how my name looked could decide if he was my husband LOL).  As I got older and experienced life and relationships more, I changed my view of love and marriage.  I believed in the idea of marriage. My issue was finding a man I trusted who believed in it too.  I didn't want to think about marriage until I was so close to 30 that it would scare me. I guess I spoke my fate into existence because I will be married at the age of 29.

I dated really good guys who were good to me, but I felt something was missing. I dated guys who weren't honest about their true intentions and who lied and cheated on me.  After each relationship I took the time to understand what exactly happened to cause it to end.  From there, I looked at MY hand in the demise of the relationship. I've learned that I could only be better for the next person.

I had one relationship in particular that had a rough ending for me. It threw me for a loop. I had to find a way to get myself together.  I did that by getting my priorities together and taking time for myself.  I continued to stay active in church and I deepened my relationship with God.  I moved into my first apartment and all  I had was me. I honestly loved it. I had the freedom to what I wanted. I spent time with myself. I took time away from dating and fell in love with myself. I learned what I wanted from my next relationship.  Eventually I started to date again, but it was easy to let them go when things were not right because I knew the guys were not what I needed.  I did not look for the guys just to fill a lonely void with something physical. I kept busy, and dated myself.  Hung out with my friends and stay involved with church.   

The first conversation I had over the phone with my fiance Nygel lasted until the sun came up.  It was the best conversation of my life.  I enjoyed my time with him.  He really became my best friend.  The problem was I was afraid to commit to him because of some personal things of my past.  He was strong, caring and I felt safe with him.  I took a chance and it was the best choice of my life.  Now I seriously look forward to marriage. We are a team and I would not rather have anyone else by my side.  He does not complete me.  I am already whole. He compliments my life in the best way where I may be lacking and add to the good things I already have. 

For those who are still looking for their Mr. or Mrs.. I can only tell you a few things of what worked for me: 
  • Understand yourself and what you need.
  • Find your best friend.
  • It its OK to make mistakes as long as you learn and move forward
  • Spend time with yourself and be alone.
  • Learn to love yourself.
  • Don't keep the old around because you don't make space for the new.
  • Don't look for someone to occupy your time if they are not worthy.
  • Do not have someone around just for the physical. Make way for the one God has for you.
  • Get to know God and his love.
  • Learn to trust and step out on faith.
  • Don't bring your past into your present or future if it does not positively influence it.