Growing up in a very regimented household, I was allowed very little wiggle room to make decisions. Likely, it made my parent’s job easier to just tell us what to do and skip the step of helping us learn why and how to make decisions. Their ways did not prepare me for the world. 

I didn’t know if I liked dresses or pants, boys or girls. I didn’t know what my talents were—or if I even had any. My parents made every decision for me. When I moved out and engaged in the real world, I soon learned that I didn’t have the tools necessary to acquire answers. I maintained the status quo, allowing others to make decisions for me just as I had always done.

It was easier that way.

I’ve always been a goal-driven individual, despite the trappings of my childhood. Perhaps having a goal in the privacy of my head was what kept me going when my world fell apart. Whether I was in a relationship with some guy I knew wasn’t good for me or getting myself out of some other self-made mess, I was always thriving for something else. 

I knew that knowledge was power. Mom taught me that. So no matter where I ended up, I enrolled in classes at the local college, eventually acquiring seven transcripts! Whatever it took, I was determined to make it happen.

I dropped out of school in the first semester of ninth grade.  When I turned 18, the first thing I did was get my HSED. That following semester I applied and was accepted to a local community college. Due to my lack of study skills, I started taking classes that taught me how to take classes, such as how to study and take effective notes. 

Because I didn’t have a high school education, a basic science class that may be challenging for some meant twice the amount of work for me. I always had to work twice as hard as my classmates, so I bought similar textbooks from secondhand stores on the subject to find a different explanation so I could better understand the material. I put in twice the effort to get the same grade. After a while, I grew accustomed to the increased workload.

Like most of us who grew up without guidance, along the way I sometimes fell off track. I’d get a bad grade, or worse—have to withdraw from the class altogether because I wasn’t able to keep up. 

I would try so hard and sometimes I would fail the class. In my first Chemistry class, I went into the final with an F. But darn it, I wasn’t going to quit! I repeat Botany twice to get the same darn grade: D+! Some may say it’s okay to fail. But at that stage in my life, failure wasn’t an option. I had too much was on the line. I had to graduate, so I could get a good-paying job, so I could stop relying on the irresponsible people I surrounded myself with to help me make irresponsible decisions. 

Today, my world is no longer life or death. Over time, I learned to go easier on myself. Today when I struggle with something, my first instinct is to sit with it. I decipher my feelings and the facts. Then, when I have some clarity, I bring it into meditation.  In stillness, I’m able to realize what my gut is telling me. That’s where I feel the Divine presence. I check my motive. 

Am I afraid of something? 

Am I afraid I’ll lose something or someone will go away? 

Am I doing it for someone else? 

Is it really something I want to do?

Source guides me today and that’s how I know I’m on the right path. I’ve learned to adopt the belief that it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. When applying these three phrases to a situation, the judgment is neutralized, which also helps me see the bigger picture. 

I’ve learned to believe that nothing in God’s world happens by mistake. So if I “fail” at something, it wasn’t by mistake. There was something that I will take away from the experience to assist me later. Instead of judging something as a success or a failure, I ask myself the following questions. 

Did I give it my best? 

Was I 100% honest?

If the answer is yes, then it turned out the way it was supposed to.

People often ask me how I set my goals. Just like most of us, I have an inner desire to achieve something; so I look for that feeling that tells me that if I put enough work in, I can make it my reality. I’m a big believer in the power of intention so I love to create manifestation lists. 

I list my goals in detail and watch to see what comes into my path.  It could be a conversation with someone.  It could be a book that is listed on my suggestion list. It could be new people who come into my life who can help. It’s quite exciting to witness as I’ve found that when I’m in line with Source, things fall into place almost effortlessly.

But it isn’t like I wish for things and they just fall into my lap. It’s far from that. For instance, I have a bodybuilding competition coming up in September. I can ask Source to please let me do well. But if I don’t put in the work, it’s not going to happen. 

To stay on track, I hired a coach. I asked Source to bring me someone I could trust to help me achieve my goals and Chris came into my life. Every week I send him check-in pictures along with my weight. He adjusts my diet for the upcoming week. Sundays, I grocery shop and meal prep for the next seven days, which helps keep me on track especially when there’s nothing else to eat other than what I’ve prepared. 

Cardio is probably the hardest part of preparing for a show. It can be brutal, especially those last few weeks. Every morning 20-30 minutes of fasting cardio on the Stairmaster can be daunting but this is where the real work comes in. The encouragement of others no longer has any effect on me, as it once did. It’s between me, my mind, and my body.  So to assist at this stage, I listen to motivational YouTube videos from those diehard athletes on the grind and know exactly what I need to hear to push through the wall in front of me. It’s exhilarating to lay my head down at night knowing I gave my 100% to that day.

I have a sign on the inside of my front door that reads, Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, “Oh crap, she’s up!”