Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)

The excitement was killing me. It was my favorite place to exist. It was my favorite place to escape. Hurry up. Hurry up. Almost time. Saturday morning.

Winter was over and spring was beginning. It was the new season. The fun season. Something to do on the weekend season. 

I was in grade school, probably 5th or 6th grade, possible even junior high. We lived at the Prospect house during that time. We actually moved to that house when I was in 4th grade. 

The corner of Euclid and Capitol was the place to be. Every Saturday morning.

This is where the cool kids hung out. I remember getting there early because I was so excited. It’s been a curse my whole life. I can’t do late and on time is late to me. I have always been places early. I never disappointed.

Was it still going to cost 40 cents? Was it still opening at the same time? I wonder if I would wear the same size. I just didn’t know and I just couldn’t sit around and wait to find out. I had to leave early and get there. I had to be in line. I just had to. 

I’m not sure if Sherry was with me or if I just went by myself, but I remember sitting on the sidewalk, taking off my shoes and the guy came out. He was the guy. The guy who took our money. The guy in charge of in charge. He always wore boots and jeans that seemed too high waisted. He always wore a belt and a t-shirt. He was tall and skinny. He was just different enough to be dangerous. He always teased us. He told us the price was $1. I about died. I wouldn’t have enough money. He must have seen that I was ready to cry. He said he was just kidding and started laughing. I wish I could remember his name. 

We had to step up the high step in order to get in the building. This was a boat marina in the front of the building and the basement had boats. The upper floor, behind the store part was the most amazing roller rink. There was a long counter, made of wood, with shelves behind it full of roller skates and then there was a door into the marina store. They had candy for sale. We couldn’t buy candy when skating. Well duh, because could you imagine if something got on the floor! The floor was a gorgeous, shiny and smooth. It was made of hardwood. You always knew which skates were the best and you secretly hoped you got the same ones every week. The sound of the skates being plunked down on the counter was music to my ears. It was loud and made me giddy. I remember the smell, musty. It smelled good. I remember how it looked. It was my favorite place. There were benches to sit down on all around the circle floor. I remember by the door going in there was just a huge pile of people’s shoes. And then jackets and coats, partially hanging up and partially on the floor.

The announcer — the guy, would play the music and would call out what kind of skate it was. It was forward, just backward, couples, and singles. Sometimes just girls and sometimes just guys. Sometimes three people would skate and most times it was just everyone. 

I remember the Badger boys. Gary and Merle. Badass motherfuckers. Merle had an eye patch sometimes. He wasn’t a pirate, he had a glass eye. All the girls wanted to skate with them and all the boys wanted to be them. They had swagger. They were fun to skate with. I skated a few times with Merle and once in a great while with Gary. Jim Hull and Vonda Thompson skated as a couple and they were both amazing skaters. They were skaters to watch because they were amazing and talented skaters. We called him Jimmy back then. I still call him Jimmy as I think about it. I wanted to be like them. I always tried to perfect the backward skate. That was always something to work on. You knew you arrived when you could skate backwards with the leg crossover. The whoosh sound of the air as we went faster and faster and faster. The music was loud. The louder the better. All different songs, all different artists. I clearly remember the guy playing Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)  by Looking Glass almost every time I went to the rink. 

We skated for hours. Non-stop. A short rest when we needed or we would sit out from couples skating. Tired and sweaty at the end of the time. I never wanted to quit. I wanted to skate and skate and skate. It was social, it was fun. Everyone was nice, nobody was a jerk. We all had fun. We all forgot about everting except skating. We had a blast. When the time was over, it would still feel like you were skating. The legs were tired and we were tired, but we never wanted to be done. 

I loved the roller rink and I was so sad when they moved it down behind McDonald’s. It was never the same. It just wasn’t as fun. The roller rink was located like I said above at the corner of Euclid and Capitol, the current Olinger Law Office building. 

I heard Brandy the other day. It took me back to skating and the memories came flooding back. Some of the other songs I remember were: Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me; Brand New Key; The Lion Sleeps Tonight; A Horse With No Name; Rockin’ Robin; Black and White; and Joy To The World. 

It was a simple time. It was a great time to be a kid time. 

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I’ve loved you since I met you. We’e been together since I was young. I think I was about 15 or 16, but I knew you way before that. I knew you when I was a little kid. It feels like it has been forever. In reality, it has been a very, very long time, just not forever. You drew me in with your beautiful smell. You drew me in with your amazing color. I loved it. I loved you. 

I craved you. I couldn’t help it. I became addicted. How could I not have? We did everything together. We woke up together. We spent the mornings together. We always spent after lunch together and even evenings. We did this for many, many years. But then you started causing problems for me. I started feeling weird and I started having issues with my body. You were harming me because I couldn’t get enough of you. 

I had to start hanging out with your less than fun younger brother. He wasn’t bad, but I liked you better. I loved you better. It just wasn’t the same. It took me a while, but I stopped thinking about you. I actually started to feel better without you. You left me alone for over six months, maybe longer.  I felt free. I really felt better without you.

One day, I saw you again. You were just right there. I couldn’t resist you. It was like heaven. We only hung out in the mornings though. It felt just right. You weren’t being mean to me. You weren’t making things go crazy. It was nice. I loved you again. You loved me again.  The weekends were the best. We hung out all day. Just like we did before. It was wonderful. 

But now, you are starting to not be so great again. You’re starting to drive me crazy. I can’t sleep at night. I lie there in bed, just staring at the ceiling. I think and think and then think some more. You are doing it again. You’re starting to be mean. 

I’ve come to the realization that we can only hang out in the mornings. That’s it, no afternoons or evenings. Even on the weekends, it can only be in the morning. The rest of the time, I will be hanging out with your brother again. He’s just not as good though. Why can’t he be just like you, except without the meanness? Why can’t he? 

I really do love you more, but I have to be disciplined. I have to be strict with you. Even though I want to hang out all the time, I have to stick to my guns. 

Coffee you have been so important to me. I really have loved you forever, but it’s back to your brother, decaf. I will see you in the mornings, but that’s it. I just can’t spend that much time with you anymore. I have to take a break from you. 

Zoom Out

It was about a month ago. Now time. Not kid time. I tried on five pairs of pants. All the same size. All fit different. None of them fit. Every single pair were too small. Or I was too big. However you want to spin it. They didn’t fit, plain and simple.

Old me would have been devastated. Now me is slightly concerned, but not throwing a tantrum. Not getting rid of all the food so I can starve myself. Not freaking out. The now me is bucking up and taking responsibility. I know I have been slacking. I have been eating too much and drinking too much wine. I know it’s time to clean it up. For me. I needed to quit eating whatever I wanted and however much I wanted.

It’s interesting how we let things slide. And now here is my point. Why do we have to slide? Why can’t we be okay all the time? Why can’t we just eat to stay healthy? Why do we feel like we have to eat all the things or drink all the things? Life is curious that way. Once we realize that we can stay in check and eat good food and drink once in a while, I think that mindset shifts and it is easier to stay on track. You have to nurture yourself. Take care of yourself. Think about what you are putting in your body. Do you really want to eat crappy and feel crappy all the damn time? I sure don’t. Take ownership of your eating. Understand how food makes you feel. Start with the basics and learn. Learn and then develop your skills. Zoom out. Take a hard look at what you want your life to look like. What you want to look like. Is it matching how you are now? If not. Do something. Take action. Make a change. Be positive and enjoy the journey.

I understand and I get it. Sometimes making changes is hard. We want to change, but actually doing the work and taking the steps and taking responsibility for our actions scares us. It just does. It’s easy, yet we try to overcomplicate it.

Well, I decided to take responsibility. I quit eating like an asshole. I started cleaning up my diet. And by the way, diet is not a dirty word. Diet actually simply means what you eat. Your diet. But, nothing can be simple in society, so it has been complicated beyond belief.

I actually started an online challenge and did the challenge right along with the people in the group. I gave them a nutrition plan and a daily workout. I stayed consistent, I ate well. I didn’t eat crap food. Like I said, I was consistent. I feel stronger, I feel better, I have more energy, I sleep better and I lost weight. Because I wanted to. Not because society told me I had to or because someone made a snarky comment. It was because I wanted to. It is okay if you want to change your body. It is okay if you want to lose weight. It is okay if you want to gain weight. Nobody gets to decide that for you, except you!

Just remember consistency is the key. You can consistently eat well and get results and you can consistently eat crappy and get results. It’s your choice, you get to pick. You get to own your results. Either way.

Angela

Angela Schweigert

My workout buddy

My work buddy

My drinking buddy

My recipe trying buddy

Her laugh

Her sincerity

Her

Her laugh was contagious. Kind of a snort but kind of not. You couldn’t help but laugh right along with her. 

She always named her cars.  At that time she had Cosmo. Her dad knew what the hell was up and he had that car running like a top.

We were in high school. She was at that time the best friend I had. It’s funny how people come and go, out and in, stay and play, and make their mark on your life. They touch your heart and they touch your life. They make your life better. You never forget them or the fun you had. They are special people. Truly. Life rolls on and you see things about them once in a while on Facebook. Or you see a parent passed. Sometimes you see the out of state plate parked at the parents house and you wonder how she is doing and wonder why you didn’t stop. But it’s okay, you just know. Because it goes without saying. It’s not necessary. Those are the best kinds of friends. That’s the kind of friend Angela is. Everyone needs those kinds of friends. They are the best. Always true. Always sincere. Always.

She was tall and lanky. She had long arms and long legs. She had a ton of long, wavy hair and a face full of freckles. She was a great listener and a great friend. 

We liked to work out. We wanted to be in shape. We used to ride our bikes out to Twin Bridges at least three times a week during the summer. It’s a jaunt. We used to laugh about the road kill we would see, unless it was a snake. That was disgusting. Other days we would go for runs or slap on some ankle weights and see how far we could walk, uphill, of course. On one of our runs, we stopped the Schwan’s truck and asked for ice cream. He obliged. We were happy. It was hot out that day. 

At that time the drinking age was 18. Not the hard alcohol drinking age, but the beer drinking age. It was winter and it was cold. It sucked. Angela’s parents were out of town, so we decided to make daiquiris. Yummy flavors. All the fruits. We had strawberry and peach and a couple other flavors. We decided to pretend it was warm out and we wore Hawaiian shirts and leis. Because that’s how we rolled. Why not make the best out of a bad situation. Winters in South Dakota, called for desperate measures. 

I remember another time we tried to make pita bread. The oven had to be extremely hot, like 500 degrees hot. I thought for sure we were going to burn down her house. It seemed like the oven was malfunctioning and the kitchen filled with smoke. I think maybe one of the 12 or so we made turned out. Obviously we weren’t bakers. 

We worked together at Sooper Dooper. We always had the dreaded 3-10 shift and 3-9 shift. It was terrible. It dragged on forever. We laughed though. We did stupid things so the time would pass. One time we put flower pots on our heads and customers thought we were crazy. Angela said we were pot heads. We got a good laugh out of that one.

We had a lot of good times. A lot of good friend times. Thanks for the friendship Angela. I will always, always remember how much fun we had and next time I see your car, I will stop and catch up. 

City Pool, Chicken Shack and Suckers

It was the summer. It was the Prospect house. Could have been the in between house, the Central house. I can’t remember for sure. It doesn’t really matter. It may have been 4th or 5th grade. 

Summers were hot when we were kids. Extremely hot. We went to the City Pool a lot. The water was blue and the sunburn was free. It was basically the only pool in town, unless of course your parents were members of the Elks Club and then you could go swimming there.

That pool was a really nice pool. We used to go there with the Kleins, Barb and Cindy. Luckily our uncle was a member, so when we said the name Friman, they let us in. Thanks Uncle Bob and Aunt Sandy for helping out your nieces with our summer shenanigans. 

The city pool was far away from our house. Not like Narnia far, just far. It was about a mile probably. Sometimes we rode bikes, but most of the time we walked, towel wrapped around our shoulders, wearing our swimsuits and clutching our money in our hands. It was all downhill. The best kind of walk. It sucked going back home after swimming though. Being dead tired from swimming all day and then having to walk home all uphill. We went swimming with the Klein girls, Barb and Cindy, a lot. They were our best friends. They were awesome summer friends. 

It cost 15 cents to get into the pool. It probably still does. I know it was not very expensive at all. The pool opened at 1 and closed at 5. The line would be long waiting to get in. We would try to get there early to be the first in line. 

The pool had a slide and a diving board. In order to use the diving board, which was in the deep end, you had to demonstrate to a lifeguard that you could swim across the pool and back. They obviously didn’t want any kid to drown. I would test it once in a while. I would go jump off the diving board in the deep end. Sometimes they wouldn’t ask me to test it. Sometimes they would. I remember it seemed like it took forever to do it. We never had swimming lessons, so it was just kind of a learn to swim on your own type of thing we did. I could dog paddle and I could American crawl, kind of. Finally, one day I did it and I didn’t die. I then had the blessing, the lifeguard blessing, to go off the diving board and to be in the deep end of the pool. Legally. My summer was made. 

When swimming time was over, every single time we walked out of the pool and down the street on our way home, we stopped at the Chicken Shack. Chicken Shack had amazing food. Chicken of course, but it was broasted chicken. The super crispy on the outside and yummy and juicy on the inside. You know, the full of grease, which made it taste even better. I don’t remember getting to eat out as a kid, but I do remember our parents getting Chicken Shack chicken. The smell was always amazing. The building was painted bright yellow. It was on the corner of Crow and Dakota. Everyone knew the Chicken Shack. Everyone went there to carry out broasted chicken and broasted potato quarters. In case you were wondering, the best way to eat broasted chicken is by peeling back the skin and shaking some Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on the meat. So delicious. Chicken Shack was the busiest place in town once the pool closed. Every single kid was in there buying something, anything, to eat, because we were starving after a long afternoon of non-stop swimming. 

We usually got suckers. That’s what we had enough money to buy. Once in a while we had enough for a candy bar, or a Chick-O-Stick. I always remember the suckers though. We would buy those Charms suckers. They were decent sized and cheap. A good treat for the long haul home. There was also another kind of sucker we would take our chances with. If you bought this sucker you could sometimes get another one free. It was a Tootsie Pop. If you found an Indian on the wrapper shooting an arrow at a star, you could get another one free. Score. Jackpot. We always tried it. We didn’t always win. 

Our adventures at the pool were always fun. We got sunburned and then the next day would have to wear a t-shirt in order to protect our skin. Apparently we never had sunscreen. We also got green hair out of the deal. Because our hair was so blonde, the chlorine would turn it green.  Green like slimy kale, not a pretty green the way everyone dyes their hair now. We were always so embarrassed, even though we didn’t need to be. We just hoped the green faded before the school year started…

Those were good kid times. We squeezed every single drop out of those hot summer days. 

Handstands for the break…

I practiced all the time. All the time. All the time. Obsessed. Obsessed. Obsessed. Handstands forever. Handstands for the win. Practice makes perfect, right? Until I broke my collarbone. Then it wasn’t so fun. Handstands for the break. 

I was 12. It was the Prospect house. The floors were hardwood and there was carpet in the living room. The giant dining room was in the middle of the house. It was kind of an odd room, now that I think about it. It was more of a family room in the middle of the house, but I think it was meant to be a formal dining room. We used it for listening to records on the cabinet record player. Simon and Garfunkel and the Carpenters. AC/DC too. My sister, Wendy, had Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I will never understand that.

We also used that room for sleeping in the summer before the remodel. Right on the hardwood floor in front of a box fan. No air conditioning. So when it was hot, we slept in front of the fan on the floor in the dining room. 

Gymnastics was my passion. Gymnastics was my life. I wanted to be great. I wanted to be amazing. I worked hard. I always did. That day I was doing handstands all day. I would put both hands down on the ground and kick up into a handstand and try to hold it. I kept trying and kept trying and kept trying. 

I practiced for hours. It was getting late and it was about time for bed. My mom told me to stop and get ready for bed. She kept telling me I was going to get hurt. Another one of those little voices that I used to never listen to. The intuition one. You know the one. I ignored it. I was 12 for crying out loud. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the voice telling them something. Since when does a 12 year old listen to the signs their body is giving them. Since when.

I continued. It was getting close to bed time. I kept going. One more I told myself. Just one more and then go to bed. My hands were planted on the floor and I kicked one leg up and then the other. My left arm gave out. I landed right on my shoulder. Shit! That hurt! I got up and noticed my left arm was quite a bit longer than my right. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew it hurt. I went into the kitchen all the while saying, “Owie, owie, owie, owie.” My sister, Wendy, was there and so was mom. They thought I was laughing. Ummmm, okay. 

Off to the emergency room we went. It was so painful getting the x-rays. I wanted to die. The doctor came back and said my clavicle was broken. Clavicle sounds kind of cool, but I prefer to use the term collarbone. It was broken all the way through. I probably should have had surgery, but I came home with some kind of brace. I was to wear it for six weeks. I was devastated. How could I practice gymnastics with a broken collarbone? The brace was annoying and uncomfortable. It pulled my shoulders back and supported them and I guess that was the job of the brace.

After we got home I got to sleep in mom and dad’s bed. I don’t think I slept much at all. It hurt so bad. They only they gave us was over the counter motrin or something like that. I remember mom stayed up with me pretty much the whole night. 

I couldn’t wait for the six weeks to be up. I needed to practice. I kept thinking and wondering how weird it would feel once I got the brace off. I wondered if I would still be able to do handstands or anything else. 

The day I got the brace off was the day gymnastics practice started. I was happy again. 

My collarbone did not set right and the end of it closest to the middle of my neck, where the ends are supposed to touch the sternum, is about two inches further down than the other side and it is kind of hard to find the end of it. I also have a problem with pressing and pullups. Not that I am an expert at pullups anyway, but when I attempt them and start the pulling movement, I twist a little bit and I attribute that to my forearm problems. But that’s life and things happen that you can’t do anything about. 

I still do handstands though. I still kick up into the handstands and do them against the wall. I don’t do handstands for hours and hours though. I learned that lesson. Handstands for the break!

Let’s try…

I sent out my weekly email on this morning and I got A LOT of comments, so I wanted to add to this a little bit and publish it here for my weekly blog. 

The fitness industry is an interesting thing. The industry preys upon people’s weaknesses. The quick fixes, the pills, the powders, the wraps, always trying to persuade the public to buy them. Always promising they work. We know they don’t. We know it’s a farce. We all know it. I’ve told you a million times eating good food consistently and exercising consistently and practicing patience will make all the difference.

I want to unpack this a little bit more though. I want to know why are we always wanting to change how we look? Why do we let ourselves be defined by a number? Why do we let ourselves be defined by what others might think of us? Why do we spend seemingly our whole lives trying to change? What is wrong with us that we feel we need to? Think about those questions. Think about how you react to them. 

We were always told from a young age to accept people the way they are. To accept our friends as they are. To not judge people. To not judge period. Yet, it seems like that happens more and more and more. People are getting judged for how they look or for how they don’t look. There are so many judgments being thrown at everybody. We are constantly judging ourselves as too. 

When did that become a thing?

Growing up, I don’t ever remember my mom worrying about how she looked or what she weighed. I do remember my grandma, however, always worrying about her weight and how she looked. Has being overweight always been something to hate on? Or do we know being overweight is not healthy and that may be why we are constantly trying to change how we look? Let’s take it one step further. How did we get overweight in the first place? If we were eating healthy and moving a little bit each day how did we get overweight enough that we feel we need to change? What is the tipping point?

We spend so much time focusing on our appearance that we forget to live. We are so obsessed about if this outfit looks good or if that outfit makes us look fat that we totally lose ourselves. We miss out on so much LIFE because we are living in a world of judgment.

How about we try and live our lives and stop stressing about changing. What would happen if you weighed ten pounds less? How different would that make you feel? Why did you want that in the first place? I just wonder what is different. Your confidence? Your self -esteem? Your whole life? Why?

One of the comments I received from an email reader was that for her it is how she feels in her clothes and how they fit. She also does not care about the size, it’s how she feels. I totally agree with this. Who cares if we have a bigger or smaller size than the “ideal” size for those judgers of our bodies. If it fits and you feel comfortable, who cares. 

Another reader said it was about health for her and not so much looks. I LOVE this statement. I think we all feel like we could be a little bit healthier. Me included. I enjoy my life though. If I go out to eat, I’m having the glass of wine. I’m not going to have 3 or 4 and I’m fine with that. I do not feel deprived at all. One is plenty. That took me a long time to figure out. I used to feel like one was not enough and the next one was too much. It’s all about perspective and mindfulness.

Another reader talked about how she feels way better eating healthier and working out consistently, yet will go back to eating not so healthy and then feels like crap. That usually stems from feeling deprived. That’s why I feel like it is okay to eat off plan. What usually happens is we are excellent eaters during the week and then here comes the weekend and the whole damn train derails. We feel deprived during the week and go all out like it’s our job on the weekend. Plan a few off plan meals or treats during the week and see if that doesn’t help you during the weekend. 

We all want to look good. We do. Don’t pretend you don’t. Don’t pretend. But my point is find a place where YOU feel good and where YOU feel healthy and where YOU feel confident and then rock it. Don’t worry about what anybody else says or thinks. This is for you. Make sure you find your reasons for change. Make sure you want to change for YOU. And if you don’t want to change, awesome!!! I love that we have the choice. We have the power. Find your reasons. Whatever choice you make, make sure it’s your choice. Change or don’t change for YOU!

I also think we all need to be a little less hard on ourselves. We need to be a little bit nicer to ourselves. We need to back off a little and just live. We need to learn to live without constantly worrying about how we look. We need to stop obsessing. Live your life.

Let’s try. 

Fear

What are you afraid of?

Does fear cripple you? Do you let fear cripple you? Does fear hold you back from life?

So many of us hold back from doing things because we are scared. We are afraid. We are fearful. Is that natural? Or do we learn to fear things? I really wonder.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Although fear can apply to anything, let’s use an example of working out. Are you afraid to work out? What is it about working out that you are afraid of?

The most common things I hear are fear of getting hurt, fear of looking funny, fear of judgment, fear of not being good at it.

Those are all very valid fears. But I challenge you. Remember when we were little and we were learning how to tie our shoes or we were learning how to ride a bike or learning how to jump rope? We knew we couldn’t do it the first time we tried. We practiced, and then we practiced some more, and then we practiced some more after that. We live in a society of quick fixes and instant gratification. Getting good at something and overcoming fear is not a quick fix. It takes practice and patience.

Instead of being fearful of working out, embrace that fear and start practicing. You never know what will happen. If you are afraid of getting hurt, start slow. Start with walking. It’s pretty hard to get hurt by walking. If you are worried about how you look, start working out at home. Hire an online trainer or hire a trainer at a private studio. If you are fearful of not being good enough, everyone starts someplace. It is okay. A good trainer will guide you and help you learn proper form before throwing you to the advanced versions of exercises. If you are intimidated by a gym setting, start on the treadmill, using headphones or watching TV. You have already won half the battle by showing up. That is a huge step and not an easy step.

When you really want something and you are justifying not taking action because you are afraid and because you think things are out of reach, that is when you need to keep going. Nothing worth having is quick. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes failure. Failing is learning. Failing makes you stronger. Failure helps you. Don’t be afraid of failing.

A UK study showed that 75% of women put off exercise because they fear what others might think of them. Can you believe that? 75%! That is just crazy. We certainly are a judge-y society. The women polled said they were afraid of their appearance, their ability, and the fact that people would judge them as mothers for putting themselves first. Isn’t that sad? I think so.

Fear stops them. Fear stunts their confidence. Fear and more fear.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Half the battle is showing up. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let fear be an excuse. Take off that lampshade and shine on!!

Strong Women – Be Them – Know Them – Raise Them

Today, I thought I was going to write Chapter 2 of the Sooper Dooper Chronicles. I have been working on it all week. I was all ready to write it tonight, until I saw something that fired me up.

Larry Nassar, the team doctor at Michigan State University and the olympic gymnastics team doctor for years, was sentenced today to 175 years in prison. He should have been sentenced years ago. He should have been stopped years ago. He should have been.

Gymnastics was my sport. I lived and breathed gymnastics. Every.Single.Day. There are so many things that we are faced with as children and if we have some common sense and if our parents warned us enough, we know when something is not right. These little girls that he molested, didn’t have that opportunity. But you know what? They knew something was wrong. They told. But nobody would listen. Nobody would help them. It continued and it continued and it continued. This monster continued molesting kids for over 20 years. He molested over 160 children. That number is only the ones who have come forward. I would bet money it is double that number, if not more. This monster was enabled by many many people and organizations to continue molesting throughout his whole career.

It makes me sick that this happens in the sports world. I know this is not the only instance, but I bet it’s the worst instance, and it’s the instance I am writing about here. In no way, shape, or form am I dismissing other instances of abuse.

I listened to the victim statements of many of these survivors. Heart-wrenching. Gut-wrenching. The abuse they endured. Not only sexual molestation, but cruelty by coaches. Physically, mentally and verbally. The abuse is shocking. I am going to link a blog post here of a gymnast named Katelyn Ohashi. https://behindthemadnesssite.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/dear-standards/  Ohashi writes about the abuse, her abuse. About not being able to eat. About working out until she looked ready to practice. About becoming bulimic. The body image issues. My God. Do people not know what happens to girls mentally when things like this happen. It scars. It scars for life. The scar may fade, but it never goes away. The words never go away.

When I was in gymnastics, I was told I needed to lose 10 pounds. I weighed 116 at that time. There was no way I could lose 10 pounds. As I have written before, this developed into a full blown eating disorder called bulimia. What makes it so hard and actually kind of twisted, is that we look up to these coaches. We want to please them. We want to do well, even if they are hard on us. We want to do what they tell us to. They are supposed to be there to guide us and help us make decisions. They aren’t supposed to be there to mess us up. They aren’t supposed to be there to make us be ashamed of our bodies. I never went out my senior year. I didn’t like the coach. I got the creepy vibe from him. Thank God I am pretty good at listening to my gut and intuition. There was just something that told me I didn’t need gymnastics anymore. One of my teammates and I were at practice and the coach told us to lay on our backs, which was probably our best position anyway. I couldn’t believe I was hearing those words come out of a coach’s mouth. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. It shook us up. My teammate got an apology. I never did. I was pretty much done after that. I just couldn’t do it anymore.

The sport I loved. The sport I cherished. What did I get out of it? An eating disorder and a perv for a coach.

My experience is NOTHING compared to these girls. However, it was my experience. We all have our own hell. We all have our own experiences. We all do. One way my experience has helped me grow is because of it, I am now helping other people overcome these hells. This is the positive that came out of my hell.

I hope now by shedding a huge, huge spotlight on these practices that it stops. I hope the abuse stops. I hope ALL the abuse stops. I hope every single person responsible for letting this monster keep molesting kids is held responsible. They knew. They knew. They could have stopped him many years ago. If they had listened. If only they had not hidden it, so many of these survivors would not be in court verbalizing their stories.

These now adult women are brave and strong to come forward. Even if they didn’t want to, they still had the courage to do so. Their stories were moving, and emotional and eloquent and sad. You can’t help but empathize with them. And really, why wouldn’t everyone. As little kid women, they tried. They tried to tell and were stifled. They were innocent. They didn’t deserve what happened to them. If there is a good thing that came out of this it’s that they are now strong. They are now loud. They are forever strong. What happened to them does not define them. It empowers them.

Strong Women – Be Them – Know Them – Raise Them

“Each time a woman supports herself…she stands up for all women.” —Maya Angelou

Ebb and Flow

As I was sitting down to write today’s blog, I was having a hard time thinking of something to write about. Sometimes, it just isn’t there. Most of the time it is. Today it wasn’t.

I started to reflect on 2017, so I decided to write about that. I decided to write about my 2017 life.

Life ebbs and flows. Business ebbs and flows. Eating healthy and working out ebb and flow. It’s a constant. It’s not any different than it has ever been with anybody. It’s the way of the world. Some ebbs are lower than others. Some flows last longer than others. All in all, that’s what happens in our lives though.

I had some things fade away that needed to fade away. I had some things fade away that I don’t know the reason why yet. I had a lot of progress in 2017, and a lot of good movement.

I learned a lot about myself. I worked really hard this year. I launched an online training business and worked hard to learn the ins and outs of all things related to it. I learned I could do it. It was hard as hell, but I persevered and did it. I built my own website and sent out weekly emails to a list I set up and created. I released training programs and sent out a lot of free content to my list. I also put together a Women’s Retreat, Body Image Without Prejudice, this past fall which was really fun and eye-opening. I believe women shouldn’t have to worry about how they look. I feel like we shouldn’t be told how to look. It is a super important issue for me. It is a passion of mine.

I wrote 65 blog posts. My goal was to write one every single week. I did that and more. My writing style is my own. I don’t try to copy anyone else. The words land on the paper the way I would say them if you were talking to me in person. It’s how I am. I feel I am real. I feel I am honest and kind and authentic. I don’t like fake and I don’t do fake.

I became a certified nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition. It is a habit-based nutrition program. Level 2 was a year long study. So was Level 1, which I finished in 2016. I also am working on a few other certifications. One is strictly geared toward women, specifically pre and post pregnant women. It is so interesting. It is just taking longer than I wish. I am also working on an online trainer certification, which is also going slow.

This year I learned that stress has definitely affected my health. I presume 6 plus years of 12 plus hours a day tends to catch up with a person. I wasn’t eating right, I was drinking too much wine and I was definitely not getting enough sleep. I have corrected those things and feel much better now. My body has been out of balance, huge ebb, and is now heading toward the flow. I am starting to feel more “normal.” I am progressing.

I have done a lot of forgiving this year and it has freed a lot of energy and creativity for me. I have let go of a lot of things from my past. I can’t control them and I won’t let them control me. It feels great.

I learned that I can do whatever I want to do. I learned to not hold back and to just go for it. I didn’t want to look back and wonder. I just didn’t.

Heading into 2018, my goals are simple. I don’t do resolutions. I do real. I do realistic. I want to continue to grow my business. I am going to be launching some exciting programs in studio. I want to read more. I want to finish up the projects I have going on now. I want to finish up the certifications I am enjoying right now. I want to finish what I started.