Trophies are cool. I love trophies. I love them so much that I have been collecting them. I have a storage unit full of them right now. But, honestly it’s really not about collecting them. It’s about what they represent to me and now they have such a different meaning than they did before.
I have been an athlete since I was a kid and have been competitive most of my life. In the past years, training for these shows has given me a place to express that part of myself in a creative and athletic way. I was going hard with my training, and when I won it represented my hard work, discipline and the little extra sass and stage presence that I cultivated over the years.
In 2018, these trophies started taking on a whole different meaning. As my life changed and everything began gradually getting more complicated, it was a struggle to maintain that level of production, much less even being able to get out of bed and function normally.
It was no longer about the competition anymore. It was about the battle in my own mind. Having won previous titles and putting some pressure on myself to show up, show out and represent myself as a defending champion was the only thing that, at times, gave me the slightest bit of motivation to keep going when I was at my worst; many of those days I didn’t even want to be alive.
In 2019 and 2020, I Michael Jordan’d em and had 3 peat (sort of). I won the 2019 Fitness Universe Sports Model Champion title in Miami, followed by the same at Fitness America later that year in Vegas. The ‘20 Universe show was canceled because of Covid (I would love to have thought I would have taken that one, too), but won Fitness America 2020 in November.
But unless you were there, saw it online or I called to personally thank a few sponsors who had been supporting me, you wouldn’t have heard it from me. I didn’t publicize it. The world knowing what I had accomplished 3 times was none of my concern. Those victories were for me and I needed them to be for me.
So why am I talking about this old stuff now? While I was able to gather enough points to become victorious and was presented my awards back then, I truly felt like I didn’t really earn them until NOW!
I love the rush of competing and being on stage, but it’s more than getting up there and strutting my stuff. There is so much to it, and I was doing it all to get to this moment… the place where I am back out of the darkness and truly embody the sparklyness that I can put on for the stage -To live as a real fitness champion coming from a truly holistic place where my mental health is as much if not more worthy of the gold as my physical.
Don’t get me wrong, any kind of working out can be a potent remedy and step in the right direction. Something has got to take you out of a bad place, and that tends to do it for me. I love super hard workouts because I get my natural high – all the hormones and neurotransmitters activating and making you feel awesome after a great workout. That is especially helpful when you aren’t producing enough serotonin like I me. That is a set up for a bad time. . But, there are so many pieces of the health and fitness puzzle and I absolutely believe true wellness is holistic.
We are multifaceted beings and all of that needs attention. Working out is a good start, but it’s a start. The stuff that I was drawing out at the gym didn’t just go away. You can’t squat away things that need attention, because while the conscious mind may forget, the subconscious has it stored in parts of your body. That stored energy can create all kinds of problems and manifest in different ways when ignored.
So… back to trophies! Yes…I will probably always push myself to be 1st in whatever I do and add to that collection for the rest of my life. But with these, from the past few years… I don’t just see, Yasss Queen, You are the Champion! To me, right now they say, “Yasss Queen. You have won something far greater. You rose from the dark abyss and are here to talk about it. You have just won Life!”