You know it’s funny, when I look at myself in the mirror sometimes, I don’t believe what it is that I’m seeing. Your eyes can get SO used to seeing yourself daily that when gradual changes are made, often you don’t always notice it. Like sometimes I feel like I look the same as I always have. Then there are days that I TRULY see and appreciate how far I’ve come.

This journey has been one of sweat and tears. No blood thankfully lol. Today as I worked my hardest, dripping with sweat, pushing through the pain, I can barely believe that this same EXACT time last year I knew nothing really about the journey I was about to set foot on. So much I thought I knew, so much I thought I knew about myself. So much I had to learn, and so much I have learned and grown from. I’m amazing. I’m in awe. I’m happy. I’m focused.

It’s been hard as of late. I’ve been basically in full prep more since January. So that’s pretty much 8 months now. But because I’m in good hands and also know what’s right and what’s not right when it comes to training, I have been able to maintain my health. Even as I whittle my body down to this tiny little frame, my muscles have a fullness and my energy is most of the time through the roof. It hasn’t been easy. As it shouldn’t be. If it were easy, I’d get bored. To rest on the laurels that I may have good genetics and to show up how I think I should, what I THINK is my best wasn’t/isn’t enough. But to actually GO TO THE WALL, to go BEYOND IT, to challenge myself in new ways, to change and morph my body into whatever it is that I want…. That’s where I find my joy.

I had to drop my ego to get to this point. I had to realize that I needed to change, that my best wasn’t good enough. Because if it was, I would have turned pro already. It wasn’t good enough. I had to embrace dropping the heavy weights and pick up the 5 and 10 lbs dumbbells with fucking pride, and kick my own ass harder than I did when I was lifting at least 20x that amount. I had to lace up my shoes and hit the hills and trails in nature to transform my 100m sprinter’s physique to that of a 400m runner. Long, strong, lean, still fast, but one that is extremely streamlined. I had to get back into the studio and stand at the barre, twisiting my body into the positions that built the base and foundation for what I have in the first place. I had to step outside of the box and train myself with a new perspective and protocol. I had to pull from EVERYTHING I’ve ever done athletically and artistically. I had to pull from all of the knowledge that I had from years of studying the body and nutrition. I had to quickly learn and devour new methods I may have not considered. I’ve grown. And I’m proud.

So here I am. 3 days before my 32nd birthday. A year that seemed to me to be a monumental moment in life all of my youth. It’s like by this point, you ARE an adult, yet still so young with more lessons in life to learn. I think back to my prep for last year’s Tournament of Champions. How much I could taste just having a small piece of what I’ve been able to achieve for myself both off and on the stage. And the things that I imagined… I’ve made a reality, and I’m still creating that reality.

2 weeks from today I’ll be on the same stage, in the same show that started it all for me. I couldn’t be more proud, and I cannot wait to go to the Cheesecake Factory afterwards to celebrate my victory, no matter where I place.

You’ve gotta “see it” before you “see it” or you never will “see it”… – Karen Clark Sheard from the song “It’s No Over”

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