The last couple days have been a whirlwind of emotions both positive and negative. It started with a calling for change, an unnerving nagging and thirst for more that I couldn’t quite quench. I feel like I just haven’t been living up to my own expectations, but of course I am a perfectionist so no one could really live up to my expectations, but if I had to ask myself honestly, I have been a bit lazy and docile when it comes to my new years fitness goals and especially my dieting. I had to ask myself, “Is this really something you want to do? I know you think it is, but is it REALLY?! IS IT?! Because this is going to be hard and a lot of the time it’s going to suck really really bad.” The resounding YES echoed off the deepest chambers of my heart and washed life back into my limbs in the form of goose bumps all over. I need this. I am meant for this. I am so freaking able! Get behind me, Satan, for I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind! Can I get an, Amen!
That same day, I contacted my new coach, John Harris, and told him that I am ready to get started. I have been telling myself and others that I was going to wait until January to hire a coach, determined to go at this goal head first and on my own. I wanted the credit. I wanted to prove something to myself - and I wanted to save money ;b But my good friend, Pastor Dave, has reminded me a lot these past couple months to give over my pride and give God the glory. I have learned from past experience that I cannot reach this goal on my own. I have successfully lost weight and reached all new levels of fitness, but never on my own. When the going gets tough, Michelle hates confrontation and she jumps ship! So in my dream world that demands from me Consistency, Resilience, Strength, Determination, Motivation, 100% Commitment to myself, short-term sacrifice for long term gains, and Faith, I cannot waiver and I literally cannot “carry the weight” alone.
So I thought to myself, “I need to tell more people. I need to stop pretending this is in the future, instead of making it my present and my future. This IS who I am becoming. This IS who I am right now and who I am going to be tomorrow and 6 months from now. And I need to live and act and move like I want it. Like it’s already mine.” I decided to reach out to my women's group, my best friends and sisters in faith. Most already knew that figure competitions were a dream of mine, but I wanted them to know how serious I really am to making this goal my reality this year. I will be turning 30 years old in March and cannot think of a better way to celebrate than getting in the best shape of my life and strutting my new mom bod confidence across a stage and bringing home that medal or a chance at championships and pro-cards and “elite” labels and checking more BIG boxes off my bucket list. Of course, they were all super supportive and excited for me.
One in particular, my friend Tina, offered to take some more Before photos for me for free, so I could have something to look back on as I make my big transformation. I immediately took her up on it, even though I knew how awkward it may be, in my still pudgy and round body walking around her photo set in my thong bikini and stripper heels! Trust me, it was a sight to be seen! But, let me tell you guys… I have never felt more confident and excited and exactly where I am meant to be inside my own skin at this very moment, then when I opened up the zip file she sent of all the photos she captured today. I even prayed before opening it up. “Lord Jesus, my booty may be as white as a ghost, my legs may still have cellulite for days, and my belly may still have excess skin from carrying two beautiful souls inside my womb, but God, I pray and ask that you let me see Beautiful. I know that I am, Lord. That like psalm 139:14 proclaims, “--I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Please let me see through loving eyes and know that I am exactly where you want me to be and trust that with you, we can accomplish my dream. In your holy name, Amen.”
And there before me, Beauty and Confidence. All curves and thickness, yes, but strength, femininity, and overwhelming joy too. Because I was doing what I wanted to do. I was living TRULY within my own skin for the first time. Some of you are going to look at my end game, and disagree with my version of Beautiful and that is ok. The important part is that I love me, which is, sincerely, a challenge in today's society. How often have you spoken those words? At all?! Let alone saying them in your head without instantly feeling guilty or conceded or wrong. We are trained to put ourselves down and the Devil wants us to believe that we are not enough on our own. That we need things, money, or relationships to have worth in this world and friends, it is all LIES! You are everything you need to be right at this very moment and he is moving the air and bending the skies and earth behind the scenes to bring you joy and peace and love and everything your sweet soul requires.
Below you will find a slideshow of photos from today's shoot. I did not post them all, because I want to save some for later as my body changes each month, I hope to post more for comparison. Also the back and booty photos, I’m having a hard time posting for the ENTIRE WORLD to see until I have a really good AFTER photo to go along with them. Yes, I know I have to perform on stage for a crowd and judges in a sparkly, thong bikini, but today. Is.. Not. That. Day, friends! Haha! You can wait 6 more months, right? ;b
I’ll leave you with this. Something I learned today through an unlikely source, “Be Kind and Believe.” whether that is in yourself or in a power greater than yourself. In all things, be kind and believe.