The number one lesson I want to teach my two boys, is to love who they are, quirks and all. My oldest son Trey was diagnosed with Autism when he was 6 years old. My youngest, Jaxon is my mini-me, and at the age of 6 is already struggling with his weight. I have heard Trey call himself “stupid” and I have heard Jaxon refer to himself as “fat”. They certainly are not hearing these things from me, so it leads me to believe they have heard these things from others; perhaps in a school setting or on the playground. My concern isn’t where they hear those things. Most of us have had cruel words spoken to us and spoken about us. My concern is teaching my boys to not believe the lie that they are not good enough just as they are.
My little guys are my heart. How could anyone be cruel to these rad dudes!!!
My parents have always allowed me to express who I am, be it through my appearance or art. Except for the time I was 13 and my Dad drew alien antennas on my Marylin Manson shirt with puffy paint, and almost allowed me to go to school like that. I was pissed, but he replaced it with a Blink-182 shirt, so I let it go. They thought it was just a phase (Marylin Manson was), but I showed them otherwise! This is me. Almost 35 years old with crazy hair, piercings and tattoos. I get looks a lot, but it doesn’t matter, because even if I didn’t look like this, people would find something else to criticize me about. It is the society we live in, and it doesn’t look like it will change any-time soon.
I’m definitely not “America’s Sweetheart”.
I have always been compared to others. I took dance classes for many years as a young girl. There was one other girl in my class that was a better dancer than me, and she always got the solo routines. No matter how hard I tried, I was never good enough to get the solos. Because I lost my self-worth, I gave up dance. My dad and both of my brothers are amazing at playing guitar, but because I didn’t pick it up as fast as they did, I gave up, because I wasn’t as good. In high school, I loved painting and making art. I would spend all my free time in the art room, but there was one student that was the star and because I wasn’t as good as she was, I gave up painting. A few years after high school I ran into a friend who owned a tattoo shop and gave me an awesome opportunity to apprentice with him. I had this passion for art and tattoos and I practiced on anything I could, including myself. There weren’t many female tattoos artists in the area during that time, but there was one who I was always compared to. Maybe you have seen her shows on TLC, America’s Worst Tattoos and NY Ink. Her name is Megan Massacre and she is one of the best. My self-worth was so low, that I gave up because I was never going to be as good of an artist or a magazine cover model like she was. I told myself these lies over and over and over, until I believed them.
I used my bad back as an excuse to quit tattooing, but the truth was I didn’t believe in myself.
Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, not tear you down.
I would say, that for the most part, no one knew about these insecurities because I hid them well. Maybe if I would have been honest with my loved ones, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to find my self-worth. Surrounding yourself with a great support system is the first step to building and recognizing your value. Right after graduation I joined my first gym and it was terrifying walking in that building by myself. I sucked it up and went for a few weeks, but then quit; because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t think I belonged there. Fast forward 13 years, I was living in Germany and went to my first class at CrossFit Ansbach. Luckily I was with my friends, Sarah, Michelle and Nessa and they helped me build up the courage to go in the first place. My first introduction was taught to me by this gorgeous, sexy and sculpted German woman, Susi. I was so intimidated and feeling so down about myself, until she uttered the words that may have changed my life and the way I look at myself. She told me I was strong and she encouraged me to push myself. I went to visit my family in the States for three weeks, and every day I was there, I went to the high school track and worked out. I never ever worked out by myself, in open, for all to see. That one interaction set me on a path for success. When I returned, Rob (Susi’s husband), Susi, the other coaches and the community began to show an interest in my progress as well. They inspired me, pushed me and encouraged me to do MY best every day. Not someone else’s best, MY best. My best was good enough for them and I realized that MY best was good enough for me too.
Rob and Susi are my inspirations. They are who I inspired to be. Strong, supportive and with a heart made of gold.
Be your own best friend.
Don’t go crazy on me yet. Hear me out. We go out of our way to take care of others and build them up, yet we talk ourselves down. We say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t even dare to say to others. We all heard the phrase “I am my own worst critic”, but we should change that to be “I am my own best cheerleader”. When you start creating these negative thoughts, ask yourself “If a friend was coming to me with these same thoughts, what would I say to them?”. Think about all the things you love about yourself, and that your friends and family love about you. Figure out if there are underlying emotions triggering your self-doubt. For example, if a friend of mine says “that dog is fat”, I immediately think about all the years I was called fat, called myself fat and so on. Instead of becoming angry with myself and allowing it to attack my self-worth, I realize that I may have more work to do emotionally concerning my weight, but I also take time to appreciate everything I love about my body. My strength, my flexibility and my endurance gets better everyday. Even if I never lose another pound, I love myself just as I am. Remembering what you love about yourself, will eventually drown out the things you might be less than fond of. Aside from body image, focus on other traits you are proud of. Be proud that you volunteer your time to help others, and that you are kind and compassionate. Be proud that you are awesome at your job, and are reliable and helpful. Be proud that you are a happy person, or a grounded person or that you just have a good sense of humor. Just learn to be proud of who you are, just as you are, right in this moment.
This guy. My heart. My love. He has always loved me just as I am and he has helped me see the good in myself.
So, that’s it? Of course, not! That is just the beginning. Everyone has their own struggles, that take time to overcome. These are just the first steps in building and recognizing your self-worth. When you recognize this, everything else starts to fall into place. You start to want to do better for yourself and your loved ones. It’s kind of remarkable.
Until next time!
Life Worth Living
Yoga Teacher/Lifestyle Coach