“I Did That.”

JesicaTMP-38

I do this thing every year where I book a vacation on a few days short notice. I tell my clients, do not tell my friends, and venture off on my own to a sunny destination outside of America where I can turn my phone off, fill up on vitamin sea, and disconnect from the rest of the world. Some find it odd, some find it impressive, some find it admirable, some find it weird; I find it necessary.

On this particular day I woke up in paradise to the sun shining through my windows gently hitting my (very sun burnt skin) and the rhythmic swaying sounds of the palm trees outside my palapa.

Yes, I woke up in paradise, but the reason I awoke was due to a dream; one that often haunts me at times. I don’t talk about them often, as I don’t want to give too much light to situations that I don’t have much time for in my everyday life. It’s a reoccurring dream to some degree and has been happening for years.

In this particular dream I was somehow back with my ex-husband. We were in the kitchen and had recently celebrated something as the large cake in the fridge had suggested. The fridge was a reminder that despite being back together there were still trust issues. There were old photos of girls from the past, post it’s attached to the outside of the fridge with magnets (yet the blank side of the post it was facing me), and I had an unexplainable feeling of disconnect. I knew that if I tried to talk to him and ask about these things that I would immediately be shot down, and that despite whatever he may have said I wouldn’t feel confident trusting in his responses.

It was throughout that period of my life that I trusted others more than I trusted myself. I allowed their words to be more bold, more confident, and hold more value than my own.

When I realized what was going on I knew I had two choices; continue to try and sleep and attempt to determine where this particular dream was headed, or wake up. Waking up was the clear choice, however not always easy, I view it as more than a physical state but a metaphorical one as well. As I took a stretch and I found myself in a state of appreciation I was reminded that those particular happenings were no longer a part of my life, they were no longer a part of my life because I made the ultimate decision. I chose to leave. At the time I didn’t know exactly what that would entail and what feelings would arise in the short term, and long term, but I knew they were much, much greater than the feelings that would have continued to develop had I stayed. I reminded myself that years ago I had a choice in the matter even though in that moment the pain and agony was so strong that I didn’t quite feel that way.

While continuing to wake up, I told myself over and over that I no longer had to live that life. Yes, it may come back as a reminder of what I had to grow through in order to get to myself in the present day, but that’s all it is; a reminder. We have a tendency to get caught up in the past, and allow our past experiences  to define or put such great emphasis on our future that we get stuck in the same cyclic cycle without any sense of forward motion.

Although those dreams are not warranted and aren’t pretty, and can be rather redundant it allows me to be reminded that no matter what I’ll always have a choice. The choices and the way that they present themselves aren’t always easy ones, but they are ultimately ours for the taking. …As I threw on my clothes, brushed my teeth, and grabbed my laptop to write this post, I headed to breakfast on the beach overlooking the sea, and was pleasantly reminded that; “I did that.”

No, it’s not always going to be easy but I’m creating a life worth living, I get to decide who I’m going to be, and that my voice doesn’t necessarily have to be the loudest in the room, it just needs to be loud enough to make an impact.

So, for all of you that are struggling with where you want to be, and which direction you’re headed—remember that you have a choice- you have a say in this thing called life and you deserve to make an impact. Know that your life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be proud!

Jayel_Sig

The Body Issue Part II

JLF_0015-3441036671-O

“I refuse to believe that the processed beauty that I see around me, is what I have to be.” –Rae Smith

We live in a world where waist trainers will give you the perfect mid-section in a matter of days, detox teas will help you release all toxins thus making you skinnier, body wraps will burn belly fat, thinning creams will make your skin glow, and miracle pills can do just that…while all of these fallacies claim to do the unimaginable they’re all just a ploy to make you feel better about yourself, yet at the end of the day you’re left feeling worse because these things don’t work. There’s no quick fix to real, lasting, change.

All of the aforementioned products may change your appearance for a short period of time but that’s where the problem lies. Nothing lasts. Pills, teas, detoxes, and wraps don’t transform you, they merely condition you into thinking there’s something out there that’s easy, that’s quick, and will give you the results you want.

The idea of beauty, of perfection, of looking like someone else, or a better version of you, that actually looks nothing like you is all part of the problem.

If there were a magic pill, or substance that could do that – there’d be a lot more millionaires out there. But the real problem is that people aren’t willing to put in the work or the effort, people also aren’t willing to accept their body for what it is, what it’s capable of doing, and what it does on a daily basis.

We want quick fixes because they make us feel good, but at the end of the day were left feeling like we have to start all over again because the results we were insistent on acquiring are fleeting and short lived. It’s because the true work comes from within. You can’t expect to change your exterior without working on the interior. It doesn’t work like that. When you spend less time focusing on your looks and more time on the way you treat yourself and others you begin to accept yourself, you begin to welcome yourself with open arms, you begin to apologize less for the way your body looks, you begin to stop allowing society to tell you how or why you should look a certain way.

Have we failed to read the memo that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes?

Jayel_Sig

THE Downward Spiral

DSC_8815

 

 

 

We’ve all been there, where we are living in the moment and something changes. For the better, for the worse, or even something that we’re not quite able to tell just yet.

We often picture the worst case scenario/s. I myself am guilty of this and picture myself homeless, and on the street as my friends pass by. While this may sound overly dramatic and unrealistic it’s a thought process that I’m not alone in. As I’m more open with my clients, they’re more open with me. My personal struggle with things going well and then BOOM…worst case scenario is something that plays out more often than not.

It seems as though quite a few self made independent women have had this lingering thought at some point in their life. Knowing that I’m not alone helps, but knowing the origin of this thought process is much better.

We get caught up in our own struggles, in our own so called “failures” and only think of all the things that could go wrong. We rarely visualize the best case scenario. The truth of the matter is that it comes down to internally processing and visualizing what we not only want, but will work for our “best” case scenario to be.

As soon as we let in negative thoughts we open up the flood gates, which attracts negative people, negative vibes, and overall an unclear sense of self. I used to think that if things didn’t got exactly according to plan that it was unfortunate. The only unfortunate part is that we’re so set on our “plan” that if something doesn’t go the way we anticipated it to, we’re left feeling empty, perplexed, and without a solution.

The solution is;  picking yourself up when you feel like people are pulling you down.

The solution is; not allowing yourself to be in an environment where you will not thrive, where it no longer serves you, and your purpose is no longer clear.

The solution is; being able to walk away from negative Nancy’s that will allow you to “downward spiral” because they themselves are unable to see the best case scenarios. It’s easy enough to block people on Facebook, make it a point to block those same people that rob you of your positive energy in real life.

The solution is; not looking at what has gone wrong, but putting more emphasis on what has gone right.

The solution is; not saying yes, when you really want to say no.

The solution is; not comparing yourself, your accomplishments, and your overall success to others, because we all know that comparison is the death of joy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (even for my own sake), we have so much more control than we give ourselves credit for. We need to remember how much power we truly have…and use it.

Jayel_Sig

You are your biggest enemy

You are your biggest enemy. That statement couldn’t be truer. I am the worst enemy I could ever have. I put myself down; I don’t take chances because I fear failure. It’s a mind struggle every single day. There is no reason that I should be hard on myself. I grew up with two loving parents in a prestigious neighborhood and had lots of friends. To this day I am still close to many of them.

When I decided to write this blog post, my first reaction was I have nothing to write. I love fitness, but there’s nothing that I can write that will inspire anyone. I lack inspiration, so I thought. Again, putting myself down. I really can’t tell you why I do this with every small thing that comes my way. I haven’t failed at anything in my life. I mean of course some math tests here and there but who hasn’t?

JLF_0014-3441036633-O

As I get older I’m starting to realize how strong I’ve become. Recently my mom has put herself in a pretty terrible financial situation that has forced me to take the role as parent. At 29 I am in no position to be a parent.  This put me in a state of depression that went undiagnosed for almost two years because I honestly felt like I didn’t deserve to feel that way. I refused to get medication at first, feeling like I had no reason to be depressed and that I was too weak and un-deserving of help.

Fitness helped me get help. I have always been active and loved sports growing up. Field hockey, indoor and outdoor track, basketball, even rugby just to name a few. As I got older I started running half marathons, lifting and spinning. Most of these activities gave me such strength; physically and mentally, but spinning stood out to me. The feeling I got after taking a class was unmatched. The music, the group atmosphere and sweating all at once was enough to make me want to eventually teach. I say eventually because it took me almost two years after I became certified to actually start teaching. Once again, I was terrified of failure. Public speaking horrified me, like it does to many others. When I finally convinced myself to take the step and teach my first class, this lead to many sleepless nights.

It’s so funny looking back and remembering how much stress I put on myself. I feared I would be a terrible spin instructor.  I needed to remember that even if I messed up here and there what was the worst that could happen? People walk out? So what?! I overcame my fear and anxiety and I’m so grateful spinning allowed me to do this.

This then transpired into me finally getting out of a job that was eating away at my confidence with every passing year. I was absolutely miserable with where I was in my career. I was at a place where I felt I was trapped. I knew I was unhappy but I didn’t think I could find something else because I didn’t believe I was a valuable employee to have. After six and a half years I didn’t think I had any marketable skills. I had such a hard time with my resume. Making it sound good was difficult. I didn’t think I could do anything that employers wanted. It’s really crazy to think that. Feeling worthless is one of the worst feelings you can have. As I started teaching more classes I started to realize something; I can really do anything I put my mind to. If I just set some attainable goals, I can accomplish anything. I also realized that I am far from worthless. So I decided that before the next yearly reviews at work, I would be out of there.

JLF_0060-3441037922-O

 

The day finally came when I left that job for something else where I could utilize the skills I was best at and I have never felt better. I’ve heard many times how fitness can bring confidence, but I always associated that with physical confidence. For me this was completely mental.

Submitted By: Reem Jawad

“I Have a Dream…” & so does everybody else

JLF_0026bc1-3441037069-O

It’s when the world seems to shut down, the hustle and bustle has come to a halt for the day and everything is quiet. That’s when I think…before the sun comes up and when the sun goes down. It’s during those times that I find an inner peace. One that can often keep me up well beyond my bed time but really allows my brain to be, to just be. No outside influences, no text messages to respond to immediately, and no other real form of communication. Just me, and my thoughts…


As I watch the rain hit the pavement from my window I begin to ask myself a series of questions, followed by a series of answers that I didn’t necessarily anticipate. 


We always hear people talking about living out their dreams, whatever they may be. Each person has a different mindset, different goals, and envision what their dreams coming to reality may actually look like. 


Upon college graduation my dreams were quite basic in my opinion; get a job, fall in love, be happy. What was so hard about all of that? As time went on, all of those things came to fruition. I got a job, fell in love, moved away, and appeared happy. This lasted for quite some time. I then got married, moved to a new country, got a job, and fell out of love..then moved back to America, got a new job, and a divorce. 


As I type this at the ripe age of 29 I’m beginning to realize what life is about. It’s about chasing your dreams…right? The way I see it, or view how it was for me quite some years ago is that I was chasing the wrong dreams, the dreams that were made up for me in fairy tales, in movies, based off of others opinions. I was chasing something that although may indeed be realistic wasn’t for me at that time.

Too often (in my opinion) we’re chasing someone or something that we’ll never actually obtain because it was never ours to chase. There’s so much pressure from all aspects to be this or be that…but why can’t we just be?


Despite wanting all of those things I didn’t necessarily need and/or want them at that point. And it took all of those harsh realities that I’ve faced to this day to realize this. 


My dreams were to;

Get a job; where I could grow.

Fall in love; with someone that would never betray me. 

Be happy; …yup, still working on a condensed definition of what that actually means.


The point I’m trying to make is that we really need to think about what we want out of life, how we plan to get there, and if our dreams are valid. If they are in fact our dreams and our dreams alone.
I now have a different outlook. Some of the same dreams but a very realistic mindset of what they actually mean. For so long I was wanting a dream of someone else, a made up fallacy, but then reality set in. 


Whatever you want out of life be honest with yourself, show compassion towards yourself like you would towards others and live your life for you, not your friends, not your family, and certainly not for the fairy tales that realistically never have a happy ending.
Chase YOUR dreams, and your dreams alone, because those are the real ones that truly hold the power.

Jayel_Sig