You don't own Me

When I came to they were cutting my clothes, slashing my favorite pair of shoes off, shoving tubes down my throat, and sticking needles in my arms. It faded black again and I was gone.  Once again I woke up in a strange place. Blinding lights were overhead and they were sliding me on a silver slab, my bare back was chilled and my body was limp. No matter how hard I tried to move my body laid still. No matter what I said they couldn’t hear. I remember feeling terrified. It was a terrible nightmare, infact the worst kind, the kind you can’t wake up from. I woke up thrashing about trying to pull my leg from the traction pullies and I ripped the pin in my knee holding my leg up.

When I finally fully came too it was almost Thanksgiving Day. The hospital room filled with people for support.  Cards from everyone in my school and letters from close friends.  My mom looked at me with such a heavy heart.  It was her that had to explain what happened,  it was her that had to relay the message that I would never be the same. Doctors around the clock and nurses too. I remember saying to a nurse as she tried to help me go to the restroom “I’m 14 I don’t need your help, I can walk.” And as I tried to take a step I fell to the ground. It was then I realized that I was broken. My mom helped me up and we both wept. 

The thing you have to understand about me is even at 14, my world was outdoors. Everything I did was outside. I ran the woods with my friends, rode my bike on dirt tracks we built every summer, I lived and breathed tomboy. I was a wild one and I was proud of it.  I would chant to the boys “Anything you can do I can do better.” if I couldn’t, I would not give up until I could.  

Photo Credit Allyssa Austin

 Until the crisp fall night that a drunk driver threw a wrench into my life. My whole school year was put on hold as I was in rehab. I had suffered a brain injury, multiple broken/ fractured ribs, my femur broken, a lacerated spleen, and I was in a coma state for 2 weeks.  Not only was my leg broken and I needed rehab to walk I also needed rehab to help me talk right again.  My brain was jumbled and I couldn’t process simple words. I was starting all over.  

Doctors told my mom it would be a while before I would be able to play sports again and even longer for me to ride BMX again.  So much “she won’t,  she can’t, she shouldn’t” I was discouraged.

They released me the 2nd week of December. Much sooner than anticipated,  but I would continue home therapy, I would be in a wheel chair, and I was not allowed to start school again until doctors released me to walk down the halls. They had a fear that if I was bumped wrong I would crumble like the great Achilles.

Wheel chair bound, still enjoying recreation therapy.

My first weekend away from my parents I went to my friend Hazel’s house for the weekend. I walked couple miles accrossed the snow and ice on  my crutches to see another of my closest friend, Bubba and his family. I was tired of being cooped up in the house. The cold hurt my leg. I shivered uncontrollably both from cold and pain, but I needed to be outside. I NEEDED to ride a bike, go fishing, and walk through the woods. I was determined that when summer came I would be myself again. I continued my therapy and I contiued to push.

8th Grade Graduation night, 82lbs

 

When summer came, I felt like I was recovered, but The first time I went to ride a bike it was excruciating. I failed, I wasn’t myself. The pain was strong, but I was stronger. I fell only to get back up.  I cried only to push through. When the physical therapist told me he had cancer and we could fight together, the rage in me to be stronger grew like a wild fire.  He lost his hair, but contiued to push me.  He said to me ” The cancer doesn’t own me, it never will. You’re an extremly strong young lady, don’t let this own you. Fight”. 

Fight is exactly what I did. I fought to enjoy the things I did before. I pushed to be better than I was before. Freshman year came, I was still in therapy 3 days a week. I struggled in school because much of my 8th grade year I spent in a hosptial bed. 

 Freshman year I was angry and confused.  So I would stay home from school to sneak outside when mom left.  Breath the fresh air, climb on my bike, and just ride.  I had not been released to ride my bike yet. My femur had not completely healed and one wrong fall I could rebrake it. I knew better, if I could just get outside and back on my bike, I would heal. My broken spirit would come back to life. So I skipped school to walk in the woods, ride on the trails, and listen to the sound of my tires hitting the ground.  

Sophomore year the rods were finally removed, so once again they put me on restriction. And once again I pushed and I didn’t listen to them. I was strong willed. The words “Dont let it own you” repeated in my head like a box of firecrackers.

Shortly after sophomore year I heard that the cancer had taken Brads life. He fought with me and he pushed me, and he was on my side. I know he was saying all the way to the end “You don’t own me” Brad had his own battle,  but that didn’t mean he’d give up in mine. Brad pushed me to say “YOU DON’T OWN ME”.

In loving memory of Brad, thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me that nothing owns us unless we let it.  ❤Mickey 

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Looking the Part

Toned muscle, low body fat, and bad-ass abs! 2013 I walked across the stage to complete my first and last competition. I had a snobby ass attitude to go with my purple crushed velvet competition suit. My friends and family cheered as I walked across the stage and completed my well rehearsed routine. It was my time to shine. It was my time to sell it. I was in fact a mom of 2 who lost 80 lbs and defeated the “mom bod”. Yes, I was a bad mamma jamma!

 

In fact the words bad mamma couldn’t begin to describe my downward spiral and loss of self identity. My kids 5 and 3, my husband serving our country in Afghanistan, and me drowning my self in workouts and secret binge eating. The words “You need to look the part” pumped like a heartbeat in my head. I was not worthy yet to be a tier two personal trainer, because my body fat still sat at 20%, you couldn’t see muscle striations, and I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to push more and I needed to eat less. I needed to be more than myself, because my self wasn’t good enough. I needed to look like the women in “Muscle and Fitness Her’s” Magazine. I needed to be able to say I was a fitness model. But really I was just a momma looking for a sense of accomplishment. I needed to prove doctors wrong about my strength. Doctors whose opinion should not have really mattered to me. Doctors who were long since out of my life. “LEG DAY NOV 21, 2012-100LB sumo dead lift! Get it! They told me nine years ago I wouldn’t! ha” I posted and bragged on instgram. What the hell did it matter what was said 9 years ago? I proved them wrong the first time I ever road a BMX bike again and that was in 2004, less than a year after my car accident.

20170801_225101Why was I steady trying to prove greatness. As if I needed anyone’s approval besides my family, who I abandoned so I could workout and binge eat in secret. I pushed everyone aside and thought of no one, but my self. I was a selfish nightmare who was constantly seeking approval of people who didn’t matter. Everyone loved me, but me? No, I hated myself. I hated that I wasn’t small enough, I couldn’t lift enough, and I still had stretch marks. I was never good enough.
I wasn’t a good mom and I failed at being a good wife. I failed at every aspect of life, but I sure did “Look the part.” That’s what mattered to me? Who was I kidding? Who was I trying to impress?

My kids didn’t want someone else to put them in bed at night because mommy was completing her 90 minutes of cardio and her 60 minute weight lifting session. No they wanted their mom to read them a story and sing them a song, but mommy was too busy posting “flexy” pictures on instagram and striving to look the part.

20170801_225123 They wanted mommy to take them to the park to play, but mommy was too impatient and had too many workouts to write. That’s right I was a bad mamma jamma. In fact a horrible one, I greeted my husband with anger over skype, meanwhile he was serving in Afghanistan not guaranteed tomorrow. Yeah, I was bad mamma jamma. He built me up and I tore him down.

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2014 I lost twins to a miscarriage and it didn’t matter if I looked the part. No it didn’t matter if I looked healthy, because I really wasn’t. Improper nutrition and secret amenorrhea took its toll on me. Who cares that I was really healthy as long as I could lift and compete? All of that training and carb cycling for what? I wasn’t fooling myself anymore. I was not healthy at all. In fact I killed my self in the gym and hurt those close to me for nothing. I trained to look like something I wasn’t. I couldn’t fool my body by the way I looked. Now, it was not a fact that my “fitness” habits had any bearing on my miscarriage, but I am sure they didn’t help.

Photo credit Krystal C. Photography
http://www.krystalcphotography.com

Since 2014 I haven’t trained to look the part. No I have trained to be healthy. I have trained so I can keep up with my four kids. I have trained to hike up a couple thousand feet and recover without regret. I eat to fuel my body and not shape it. Yeah, I don’t “look” the part anymore. I look like a mom who loves to be with her kids, a wife who adores her husband, and a woman who loves her self with all her flaws. No, I don’t have that bad-ass six pack anymore or that 12% body fat, but I do have endurance and strength to carry 2 kids plus essentials up the side of the mountain. I don’t have 25k of personal training revenue a month any more, but I do have the time to spend raising my family. No I don’t look the part anymore, I am the part. I am the trainer who loves training clients to feel and move better. To teach them that the real value comes from feeling and moving better, the looks are a bonus. When someone tells me they want to look like some one else, I discourage it with every fiber of my being. You don’t need to look like someone else, because you were never meant to be someone else. When someone tells me you don’t look like a mom, I tell them looks are deceiving.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Bindi Irwin