Scars are a funny thing.
They tell the story of pain, accidents, and the places you've been.
Usually with every good scar there is a story behind it.
But with my scars, they weren't always visible.
You couldn't see any of mine in the pictures from my bikini competition, but there's definitely a story that I want to tell.
I used to be a very closed off person.
Bullied as a kid, subjected to verbal abuse growing up, bullied in the nursing profession, and my heart broken many times,
I carried a lot of hurt.
As a classic people pleaser and overachiever, I just wanted to do good and have everyone like me.
It led to dating the wrong men, choosing the wrong career, and living a live of constant anger, frustration, and anxiety.
But I was raised as what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors.
So from the outside, I appeared happy.
But it was never a sustained happiness.
If I wasn't the best at whatever I was doing or I wasn't at least liked, I felt completely worthless.
Love to me, was based on achievements and what you could do for other people.
So 5 months ago, when on a whim, I decided to enter into a bikini competition,
I knew this journey was going to be HARD.
At almost 35, after a C-section, working full time as a Nurse Educator, running my fitness and nutrition business, and growing a personal development brand with a published book, in hind sight, it wasn't a good idea.
But there is never a perfect time to do something that scares you.
Some athletes compete for vanity, some for the body, some for the fame, some for the sponsorship, or some are just passionate about fitness.
I did it for a completely different reason.
I knew that by doing this, it was going to force me to re-open some scars.
It was going to force me to take a hard look at my post baby body.
It was going to challenge my limiting beliefs and those voices of the bullies inside my head.
It was going to test my discipline, time management, drive, and courage.
And this journey was going to hurt.
With each minute of cardio, each squat, each pull up, each push up, and every step I took, my willpower was tested.
And I had a choice, every single day.
Give in to the voices of my past that told me I'm not good enough, or show up like the woman I knew I was meant to become.
I literally took this journey one step, one day at a time.
But the difference in this goal than any other, is that I allowed myself to feel it.
After I had my C-section, my scar was numb.
It's easy to try to forget something that happened that wasn't your choice,
But just like any wound, you have to heal from the inside out.
So this picture represents so much more to me than a 42lb weight loss.
It represents a women who is OPEN.
Open to love.
Open to growth.
Open to failure.
Open to judgement.
Open to hardship.
Open to celebration.
Worthy of love.
Because now, my self worth is dictated by myself.
I got up on that stage, smiled, and I was proud of where I was at, right at that very moment in time.
I didn't think about the past.
I didn't think about how much more weight I have to lose.
I didn't even care to ask the judges feedback.
Up on that stage I had everything I needed.
A smile, confidence, and drive to keep going.
But not first without celebrating that I did it.
I plan to keep on ripping off band aids from my past.
Because it's the only way I will heal.
What do you need to do to show up stronger for yourself and the people you love?