I’ve boxed up my figure shoes for what may be forever. After the Ironman last fall I decided that I had gotten the gifts from competing that I needed and that life, well, actually, it was God. God was calling me to do something different with my life. I don’t know if it was the venue (Gold Creek Church) or what, but as I stood there on stage I was clearly being directed by God that this was not the place I needed to be anymore. I no longer need the validation of a panel of judges. I no longer need or desire to have my body compared to those of other women. I’m good with me because I know God is good with me.
Six months, exactly, after the Ironman I was baptized at Gold Creek Church on Easter Sunday. It was definitely the most incredible experience of my life and I am so excited for all of the ways God is going to use me and my story to help other people.
Even though I’m not planning to compete, I’m still planning to keep blogging for Craig Productions. There are some negative aspects of competing, but for me, competing saved my life. Truly it did. Without a lot of detail – I was in a very, very bad marriage that I had to leave. Staying was not an option for me or my children. Competing helped me to find a strength in myself that I didn’t realize that I had. Through competing, I met people who would empower me and instill the confidence in me that I needed to make the biggest decision of my life – become a single mother of 4 children. That’s a scary place to be, let me tell you!
I have been reading through old blogs as I write my book and I found a post from the summer of 2009 about competing that I wanted to share with you all. We all go through really tough situations in life. Storms are just a part of life. There’s no way around it. We all have different ways of coping. Some are healthier than others. It was easy for me to become “addicted” to competing because of the way it made me feel. It was the one place I really felt empowered. And I’m totally okay with that.
In July 2009, one year after I started my first contest prep and 4 shows later, I wrote in my blog:
I figured, if I was going to give my husband “one more chance” that I might as well compete while I had the chance, knowing full well that single-motherhood was more than likely on the horizon for me. I have been blessed to have met some amazing people over the last year in my competition journey. People who have empowered me and helped me to realize my inner strength. Without even knowing it, these people helped me find the courage and confidence within myself to do “that which is necessary.” I really believe that the competition process is what led me back to myself and really helped me realize that I can do what needs to be done. It made me realize that the power is within me to do anything I set my mind to doing. I’ve always been that person, but after years of allowing another person to take that power away from you, it’s easy to forget that it really is still within.
As I prepared for my spring ’09 shows, my coach told me more times than I care to remember…”you’re gonna have to suffer. You’ve never suffered before during your prep. You’re going to learn what it feels like to suffer.” Yeah, he was right, I suffered. And I thank him for that. Thru suffering comes victory and I deeply believe that the suffering I endured in preparation for competition is part of what taught me that no matter how much suffering I will have to go thru in my personal life, there will be victory (aka: happiness) in the end.
There are many negative aspects to competing and if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, you are likely to experience those. But if your heart is in the right place, I believe that bodybuilding offers a place for great personal growth.