it's been a hell of a year.
Step forward, step backward, step forward
If I could truthfully wrap up the person that I have become in the past year since I've moved home, I'd have a hard time trying to put it into a few words.
It's been a hell of a year.
July 2nd marked 365 days back in Kelowna to start my life over again. I went from having a successful job in the big city, doing life by hanging onto this crazy carpet of life, to nothing but two full-time jobs and a fresh start.
It felt good.
My life was absolute chaos, and I loved it. I was handling the past that I left behind here one slap in the face at a time, and it felt good. My old life was finally getting put to rest. There's a new Shelly in town... brace yourselves. I had a goal in mind to save my money and learn to appreciate the little things in life. It felt so incredible to take a step back and let myself float.
I had a new relationship that kept me on my toes, pushing me to be the best version of myself. He was exactly what I needed at that moment in time.
What I didn't have though, was a goal. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, I was confused as to where I was supposed to be. I sought out coaching but unfortunately it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear.
When the relationship was taken away from me, I had never been so hurt, driven, and motivated in my life. I challenged myself, trained my ass off and started thinking about 2018.
To compete... or not compete... that was the question.
staged mind put to rest
I started competing in 2014, back when it was just starting to gain its popularity. Being that I had danced almost my entire life, competing to me was second nature. I loved the challenge, motivation and mental strength I was beginning to experience all over again, just in a different setting.
November 2014, I qualified for BC Provincials in 2015.
May 2015, I competed in BC Provincials and placed last.
September 2015, I competed in another novice show and did not place top 5.
...seriously? Fuck this. I'm done with this bullshit hobby.
May 2016, my mom competed in a novice show and did not qualify. Seeing her disappointment motivated me to do another show, so I said "Mom, we're doing the new Vancity Showdown natural show in October. You don't have a choice."
October 2016, we both qualified for Natural Provincials.
May 2017, I qualified for the CBBF-IFBB Pro Qualifier in 2018/2019.
But January 2018, I hung up my heels for good. I realized that after I had surgery and learning how to workout again basically as a person who had never stepped foot in a gym, that I appreciated a different aspect of fitness that not many competitors get to experience.
I began to appreciate my health. My wellness. My balance. My mentality. I appreciated a whole new 'process' because learning how to workout again was a fucking struggle and a half. I hadn't felt this frustrated with my physique in god knows how long. I hated that I had to let my body rest and allow it to heal all over the place. I wanted to jump out of bed and run and do things and be lean... But I couldn't. For the first time in almost four years... I had to let my body rest. For the first time in almost four years, I didn't want to compete. I was done.
Finding my reason why
In and amongst all these days of feeling high and low about the fact that my fitness had been put on standalone for a hot minute, I realized that the reason why I wanted to compete again was simply because I qualified for Nationals. I didn't want to do it because I enjoyed the process anymore, I didn't want to do it because I wanted to be on stage. It was this mindset that I almost felt like I had to compete because I qualified. Now what I want to make clear is this, amongst many other reasons, shouldn't be a motivator for anyone who is in the competitive world of Bodybuilding. You should want to compete because you love it, because being on stage is your passion, and showcasing your physique is something that makes you proud.
I'll tell you one thing, getting my body fat percentage down to an absolutely disgusting number and watching my comfortable bodyweight drop from 120lbs to 104 makes me queazy. Sure, I look back at some of my old photoshoots and think damn, that version of me looked good. I'd like to add though, if I didn't get to eat my 3oz of chicken, 100g of broccoli and 100g of rice every three hours, you were dead to me. I was not nice.
Yeah, a body like a ferrari, but my insides were about as poor as a 1993 burnt out pontiac. Needless to say, that period of rest that I experienced not only gave me an oil change, but I also flushed my transmission fluid and got a new alternator. You feel me?
I started running, I've done some yoga, I started stretching, meditating, reduced my cardio to about 30 minutes per day give or take, and I've started focusing on muscle development rather than seeing how much I can throw on a rack without breaking my back. I eat whatever I want (...INCLUDING GLUTEN), and don't feel guilty. This... is what balance is. This is having fitness as a lifestyle.
I started thinking about what I want to see out of my fitness career. My instagram has gone from being #fitspo and #bikinicompetitor, worrying about maintaining my excessive amount of followers, to taking a step back and enjoying LIFE. I thought about getting married and having babies, and thought about what it was going to take for my kids to look at their mommy and daddy and think "wow, my parents are dope because they enjoy fitness as a lifestyle"... what more could I want out of that?
My fitness, to this date, is by far the best that it has ever been in my entire life. I feel strong, I feel motivated (most days), and mindfully rested. I could even go as far as saying that I have been re-anchored by fitness.
Thank you sweet baby Jesus.
our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable
Back in February, I stepped back up into management with the company that I work for. After about three months of trying to figure out where I was supposed to be, I had to have a conversation with myself.
Richelle, you're smart. You have everything going for you. Why are you wasting your time wondering what's next? Why are you doubting what you're capable of? What's wrong with giving it a shot, and diving in?
Back into management I went. I was scared shitless, don't get me wrong. I jumped down this waterslide where I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to drown or fly out the plastic slide into a pool of endless opportunity. I regret nothing, and it's a blast. I don't know what to expect, it tests my level of OCD because no, I actually can't know everything that is going to happen next. It challenges me to better myself, to develop myself and others, and opens up an incredible door of opportunity.
Following my mom's footsteps, I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset. I love that I am self-sufficient, financially independent and have great work ethic. Living in Vancouver taught me how to take my work ethic to another level where it was almost uncomfortable. I became relentless. I felt like if I didn't complete the task that I had on my plate, I was done for. Not that this was actually the case, but that's the expectation that I learned to set for myself, and have since kept that standard at an extremely high level. It's incredible knowing that this stage of my life is setting me up for my future, and I have a handful of amazing coaches that are helping me become the best bossbitch I can possibly be.
I'm incredibly grateful.
How do you love yourself
you are more
It's a battle learning how to love yourself. I hate social media for that aspect. The problem with our society is because of social media, it has created this disgusting and over-sexualized image of what we are supposed to be, how we are supposed to act, how we are supposed to portray ourselves.
I am absolutely, 100% guilty for falling into this whirlwind of how to display myself. If I look at how my Instagram account used to be, a prime example would be when I used to compete - it was full of hashtags and photos of me in the gym or modelling, whatever I may have been doing. All I know is that it was exhausting. So when I moved home to Kelowna last year, I knew I had to change something. I made my account private, and closed myself off to what the world thought I was.
I am not a fitsporation. I am not a fitness model. I am Richelle.
I have a name, I have a personality, I have a body, and I have a mind.
That... is what I want to make clear.
So do you.
When I think of what I want to be remembered by, I think about what I love the most about myself. I want to be remembered for who I am as a person... Who I impacted. I don't want to be remembered because of an appearance, that's just not who I am anymore.
Don't get me wrong, I still have so much respect and appreciation for myself in my fitness journey. I look at old photos of how I was, but I have a different thought towards them. I no longer look at the girl in the photo. I look at the art that the photographer was capturing, and how beautiful I felt in that moment.
That all said, is how I will begin to love myself.
...it's a goddamn process, okay?
What I'd like to make very clear with all that was said above, the point of this post is to say that this year has been full of learning experiences, personal growth, and many ups and downs. I am working on me. I am striving to be a better person.
I am just doing Shelly for a while. I just need to float.
Please, be patient, and let me be me.
Providing you with the knowledge that I encounter on a daily basis through my fitness lifestyle.