Tomorrow is the Washington Ironman NPC bodybuilding competition. It was 7 years ago that I stepped on stage for the very first time at the Ironman in 2008. It was supposed to be a "bucket list" thing and it quickly turned into a passion, a distraction, a coping mechanism and mostly, a way of transition from one life to a new life.
I was married at the time of my first contest (you can go back through the archives and read the contest prep blogs for that specific show which was what inspired me to start this blog in the first place) and I was very miserable. Unhappy would be an understatement. I was miserable and I was not living, I was surviving what felt like hell on earth. Preparing to compete provided a worthy distraction and an outlet for me to meet new people who would eventually empower me to make the changes in my life that were long overdue.
I kept competing because I really loved the way it felt to be distracted from my misery. I loved and craved the positive attention that I got from people that I was not getting at home. After I divorced I continued to compete because I still needed that distraction from the struggles of being a newly single mom, dealing with a toxic ex spouse and trying desperately to heal the wounds of years of verbal and emotional abuse.
19 shows later, I was still as broken as I was when I started competing in 2008. Competing provided me a means to thrive as a fitness coach, working primarily with local moms. It gave me the opportunity to make great connections with people who encouraged me to pursue my dream of owning my own gym. I found my passion in the fitness industry. I was hardcore and I thought everybody else should be too. Hardcore served me for a period in my life. I don't regret it and I think it was necessary to an extent. But now that I look back, I see that it was a means of transition for me from a very sad life (that still doesn't feel like mine) to a new life that allows me to live in balance and help other people transition into a more fulfilling life.
Last fall, I got on stage for contest #20. It was in a local church and it was a very different process preparing for the contest than I'd ever done before. I was not extreme. I was not obsessed. I also did not share the journey publicly...which was a first. I got on stage that October morning last year and I felt like I was somewhere that I didn't belong. Not because I wasn't ready - I was. I just knew...that I knew that I knew...that my passion for competing and my need to get approval from others was gone.
6 months later, almost to the day, I was baptized on that same stage I stood on the fall before. I never thought I would end up attending that church, nor did I anticipate my baptism. On the stage last October, I knew I was being called to pursue something different. I knew that my bodybuilding had done it's job serving as my transition vehicle and now something else was going to step in.
I'm still kind of waiting for that...I know the direction but the path is still a bit unclear. Transition is uncomfortable and sometimes physically painful. It's not easy. It's awkward and it there is so much uncertainty when we crave absolutes in our lives. There are none. So for now, I sit in that awkward place of transition as I go from a career in fitness to something new and very different.
His plan is so good.