wonderfulLast Friday I was talking to a friend that I ran into at the gym. We talked about men, Jiu Jitsu, working out and work. As we were talking about a professional situation, I made the statement that “It doesn’t make me happy enough.” Now, I believe that said friend is very smart and gives great insight on different situations. The look on her face when I said that read disgust. In my head, she looked at me like I was a naive 25 year old who had no idea how the world worked. She probably did not mean it like that, but it made me take a step back nonetheless. I immediately tried to explain myself and that I did not mean that my happiness should be above all else in every situation. Only that I meant that maybe the current situation isn’t the right place for me. She went on to tell me that no situation is perfect. That her current situation is also not perfect but she tries to make the best of it every single day. I felt like a naive 25 year old, who had no idea how the world worked.

For the days to come, the words “happy enough” ran through my head a million times. The thought that maybe I was being totally ungrateful also popped up. The advice that I give about “be happy with what you have while working for more” has been something that has been totally lost on me over the past few weeks.

I went to a book store yesterday and as I was looking for a planner, I saw an inspirational quote calendar. The very first quote was “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.” All the thoughts about being happy enough came rushing back. The next quote was “Some people dance in the rain. Some just get wet.” Gah. Thank you calendar for dropping the truth bombs on me. I sat in the bookstore for 15 minutes just contemplating if I was just being a brat. The answer was yes. I’ve spent SO much time complaining about my current situation that I have not even been grateful for it at all. Although it is far from being ideal, I realized that I would not be in this position if it wasn’t an important stepping stone in my life. I’ve also been trying to figure out a way to put what I learned from a look and a calendar into an intelligible article, but it’s harder than it seems.

Have you ever gotten so wrapped up in the fact that you aren’t “happy enough” or that something isn’t “enough” that you forget how to be even a little happy? The “not enough-ness” of one thing leaks into every other aspect of your life? This negative thought is like a cancer that spreads into all the things that DO make you happy. It’s irritating really. You are usually so happy and thankful, but *insert situation* just isn’t fair. Then one day you get slapped in the face by a look and quote from an overpriced calendar and you wonder how did you let something so small turn into something so big?

I think we have all been there. Where we realize nothing will ever be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy. Where we realize that we have been taking things for granted. So what do you do next?

For me, I made a few lists. Yes, I know. I am not original. But it worked. My first list was of all the things in my life that piss me off and that aren’t fair. When I really stopped and wrote it down, there were like 3 things on that list. Seriously. THREE things were making me this unhappy and stressed. Geez. Brat. My next list was of all the things that made me happy. There were 20+ things on this list. 20 vs 3. You do the unhappy math. It equals brat. The next list I made was of all the things I wanted out of life. Not just financially, but mentally, physically, and spiritually. There were a lot of things on this list as well, but when I compared my happy list to my goal list, I realized I already had quite a few of the things already. What an eye opener. My negative thinking stopped me from realizing how many great things were standing right in front of me.

I think sometimes happiness is choice just like anything else in life. I think the old adage of looking on the bright side, although sometimes annoying and played out, still rings true today. If you think there is no bright side, just make your own list and see what happens.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought “I am going to lose weight. I am going to change my body. I am going to be healthy.” But then you see all these posts about fat and fit shamers going to hell or listen to “All About That Bass” and think “Nah, I am happy with my body.” If you are more than 20-30 pounds overweight, I am sorry to break it to you, but you probably shouldn’t be.

Yea. You read that right. In this new politically correct age of loving yourself just the way you are, I am the bitch who is calling bull s***.

I know what you’re thinking. “Did she just say loving yourself is BS?” No. Not by a long shot. No I am not fat or any other type of shaming, but here is the truth.

Our generation and our nation is literally the unhealthiest it has ever been and people are just okay with that. Now THAT is BS. We have become a society of complacent, entitled, unhealthy assholes (last cussword, I promise.)

Yes, I believe that the media has skewed the vision of what true health is. They make you think that women have to be skinny with thigh gaps (whatever the hell that is) and guys have to have huge pecs and a six pack to be considered “in shape.” I get it. This isn’t okay. For some (like me) we will never have a thigh gap. I mean have you seen my legs?

But on the other end of the spectrum you have people who have taken such a stand against those visions that they are telling us to love ourselves no matter how overweight or out of shape we are. And that’s not okay either!

Where is the middle ground with all of this nonsense, you ask?
It’s loving ourselves enough to want more for our bodies, mind and spirit. It’s accepting our body type and knowing what it’s capable of but then working to make it healthy. Not everyone will have a six pack and a thigh gap but wanting to make a change to become a healthier, happier version of yourself is an amazing thing! And I think our society is trying to make it into a bad thing!

The point of this post is not to make anyone feel bad, but to say that it’s ok to have a goal of being two sizes smaller, if being two sizes smaller is what you want. I feel like it has almost become taboo to say that you want to change something about yourself. Even if that change is for the good. When I tell people I want to lose 10 pounds and have a six pack, I often get “You should just be happy with how you are.” Well, F that. I want a damn six pack and I am going to work for that. (Sorry, I lied about not cussing.)

The phrase “Be proud but never satisfied” is my personal mantra. Sure, two years ago I went overboard with that mantra and even at 116 pounds I hated my body, but gone are the days of self-defamation and self-doubt. I have a healthy relationship with food and my body now, and although I am healthy, I still set goals to push my body to the next level.

The truth is, you are beautiful. You are amazing. And your size does not define that. But if you are not taking care of yourself by eating right and exercising, you are doing yourself a HUGE injustice. Don’t you think that if you really loved your body as much as you say you do, that you would do anything in your power to really take care of it? Being beautiful is not a dress size or a number on the scale, and yes beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but if you aren’t completely happy with yourself, don’t be afraid to change!

Octavio: “Very good Michelle. Good patience.”

Patient has NEVER been a word that I would actively use to describe myself. But Jiu Jitsu has changed me.

If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with Jiu Jitsu. Even as just a lowly little blue belt, it consumes most of my attention. I know that I am no different than the other Jiu Jitsu practitioners out there who feel the same. (And I am glad because I don’t feel as crazy.) I delight in blogs like JiuJitsusavedmylife.org and the AMPLE amount of fan pages and hashtags that go along with being forever changed by Jiu Jitsu.

With my two year BJJ anniversary just under my belt, I have been deep in the feels about how different of a person I am since I have started doing Jiu Jitsu. I love it for so many reasons. It’s complex. It’s like a puzzle or a chess game. It’s one wrong hand or foot placement and you’re going down. It’s learning the hard way and becoming a better person because of it. It’s patience and discipline and finally having that breakthrough. It’s stripping away your pride so that you can truly learn and grow. It is where you learn to give up things that aren’t worth ruining what you work really hard for. Stepping on the mat is all consuming. And it has to be. It is where you learn to drown out the world and focus solely on what is right in front of you (or behind, to the side, or on top of you.) If you lose focus during a roll, you get caught.

Doesn’t what I just said sound a lot like life? I am sure my fellow addicts can relate.

Before I started Jiu Jitsu, I was high strung and impatient. But more than that, I was hell bent on impressing everyone. I wrote on my Instagram the other day why BJJ changed me.
Here’s the post.

Today is my two year Jiu Jitsu anniversary! Yes, I celebrate this day because it signifies an important day in my life!

It’s the day I found my true passion. The day I let go of the things I thought I “had” to do and started doing this one thing for myself. And because I do this for myself, it’s something that nobody can ever take away from me, that I’m constantly driven to do! A bad day at the gym never discourages me. It only makes me more motivated.
Now that’s how you know you are truly doing something you love!

Before I was a BJJ athlete, I was a figure athlete. I got into bodybuilding because someone said to me one day “Hey, you’re in great shape. You should compete. It would help get you more clients too.”

And for the years following, that statement was burned into my brain. I thought I HAD to compete for anyone to take me seriously as a trainer. I thought I had to be the most intense, most driven and have the best body to get anyone to listen to me. But my heart was never in it. I was totally faking it. I fake loved bodybuilding. Have you ever fake loved anything? It is hard to pretend to love something for a very long time.

But at the point I was at, that was what I was known for. Not that I was even good at it. But hell, I was known as a competitor.

But everything changed. One night I went to a fight with my then boyfriend to support his teammates. That night I saw four women fight. I distinctly remember that moment. I was getting ready for a national bodybuilding show at the time. In the midst of the hunger, fatigue, and general hatred of my own body, I was inspired. Sure, I had watched my (then) boyfriend fight before but it wasn’t until I saw these girls giving it everything they had in that cage that I knew I wanted to do the same.

Shortly after, chaos ensued as I revealed that I wanted to fight and no longer wanted to compete in figure. People were disappointed. I got judged. Broken up with. I was even told I was too weak to compete. The person who told me that obviously had never done MMA or BJJ before.

But through all of that, I still followed through and went to my first Jiu Jitsu class. I let go of all of that negativity. I let go. I did it. Me! This high strung, obsessive girl let go of all the BS. I did this thing for myself even though I was being mocked all along the way. But from my first class I was hooked. I was obsessed with the complexity of Jiu Jitsu.

Before BJJ, what people thought of me ruled my mind. It was the thing that was all consuming. There were days that I literally hated myself. I wasn’t lean enough. Or strong enough. Or fast enough. I didn’t know enough. I was never enough.

But finding BJJ helped me focus. It helped me drown out the negativity and focus on this awesome thing that was right in front me. That mindset. The Jiu Jitsu mindset then transferred into all aspects of my life. I stopped caring that I gained 10 lbs because I had to eat carbs to survive 2-3 hours on the mats. I stopped caring about what others thought of me. Whether they thought I didn’t belong there or thought I was just dumb for letting go of bodybuilding. I did not care. Because I knew that this new thing that I barely even knew about was IT. I didn’t fake love this. I LOVE loved this. I then let go of all the things that did not serve me. I ate food to fuel my body. Not to be lean. I took supplements to help with recovery. Not to help me get even leaner. I did CrossFit to help me stay strong and fast on the mats.

Fast forward two years and I still don’t care that I gained that 10 lbs. I still know that Jiu Jitsu is IT. I still eat and train to perform. And all of the Jiu Jitsu principles have made me a better person. I am still a little high strung at times, but I would, for the most part, consider myself a patient person. In life and on the mats. Where I used to believe that I knew it all, when I am on the mats, I see how much I still have to learn. I let my bad days and my bad rolls fuel the fire. I am hard on myself. I am also proud of myself. Because no matter how hard of a day I have, I can always look in the mirror and I realize that I am good enough.

I am enough. Jiu Jitsu Saved My Life.

As the title would suggest, yes I have created yet another blog to go into cyberspace. One that will probably be read by my relatives and maybe a few friends. Oh. Let’s not forget the people who hate seeing others happy. Those people too.

But here I am. Still attempting to start a blog. Why?
Well. Although I talk A LOT and have a lot to say, this blog is only partially for me.When I first began my fitness career, I had another website but got so bogged down because I am technology illiterate and made the process more complicated than it should have been. I did not realize back then that WordPress dummy proofs everything for people like me. It’s probably a good thing I did not blog back then though. I was still an incomplete version of myself and I would have tried to put the whole world on a diet of fish and asparagus.

Any who, let’s get back on track.

I have always wanted a blog because I felt that it would be my way of reaching out to people. To help others who need some serious motivation from a girl who was NEVER athletic who is now trying to make it in the fitness world. I used to be SO obsessed with how I looked that I always put aside how I felt. I would eat no carbs, workout 2-3x a day and take things that no human should ever consume. Just to step on stage. Just to have a body that looked fit and healthy but was definitely NOT healthy. Just because I thought that was the ONLY way anyone would ever take me seriously. Little did I know that I was an F’n joke. And rightly so. I went from fat a$$ to fit to fat a$$ to fit and the cycle never seemed to stop. No matter how much I preached it to my clients or prayed that I would just wake up and not have so many issues, my life and my diet constantly spiraled out of control. For the most part, I could get it under control, but food is something I have always, and will always struggle with.

One day I woke up and realized what was missing. Balance. Moderation. Inner peace. Yes, all the things that I had been teaching others about was something I completely lacked. I would go into things so head strong and gung ho that I would burn myself out so badly that it would eventually wreck me.

That’s when I realized I had an eating disorder. Me? Are you kidding me. A f***** eating disorder. I am supposed to be “fit and healthy” now!! In high school and college I battled the same thing on a much smaller scale. I didn’t know about nutrition back then so I would lose weight and when I got to my goal, I would binge and gain the weight back. Then I would stop eating and lose the weight again, and the cycle continued. But then I found fitness and bodybuilding and it was supposed to “cure” me of this cycle. *Sarcasm*

In all actuality, it magnified this cycle and it helped me put myself out there so all the world (well all of MS) could watch as I struggled daily. This time, instead of not eating then overeating, I would overeat then I would over exercise and eat next to nothing and call it my competition diet. I was drained. Done. I cried a lot. My hormones were f’d. And it was my fault, I know.

I have been called too weak to compete, a fake, a fat a$$ and much more. But the truth is. I am none of those things. Because I let go of something that I thought I needed to be validated, I became real. I became strong. I fell in love with myself and I conquered the cycle that kept conquering me.

Because I am real. Because I am finally strong, it’s time to write.

(Side note: I think that having a goal to compete in bodybuilding is an awesome and epic thing. But it is NOT for people who struggle mentally with food and body image.)