There has been a lot of feelings and emotions coming up for me lately, about why I am here (sharing my art with you all, not existentially)? What exactly am I trying to achieve and what is it that I am trying to say? 

My story is very unique (in my opinion anyway... but isn't every story?). I grew up as a very sporty child. Ask mum... At one point I was playing hockey, soccer, basketball (playing and refereeing), not to mention water polo, swimming and diving. I wanted to do it all. And my body became tired.

I had contracted Glandular Fever off of my then boyfriend. This started my battle with my body. I gained weight, it wasn't used to all that rest. Over the next few years I struggled with my weight. I yoyo-ed hard.  

This went on for years. Out of one relationship and partying like crazy... Seeking approval from men and using my body for sex because it made me feel validated somehow. I would sleep with men as my form of acceptance. If guys like me than I must be ok. That’s where i will find happiness… sleeping with nameless faces who appreciate me for my body.  

Next thing I’m in a relationship, eating bucketloads of dumplings and sitting on the couch watching the Sopranos. Because happiness is wrapped in a little wheat wrapper filled with pork and chives, smothered in Soy Sauce and Chilli. As with most young love, this too came to an end and I found myself at my heaviest ever. Now I am short... and 70kg didn't feel so great on my frame.

I wouldn't stand for it. I remember looking in the mirror and crying. The person I saw looking at me was sad and fat. I joined a gym close to work and decided to invest in a personal trainer. We set goals, I smashed them. I started losing weight, I started getting stronger… Physically and Mentally.  

As the months wore on I started to out grow my Trainer. I was lifting big weights… He specialise in weight loss, not powerlifting or bodybuilding. So when you put your needs out into the universe it comes back at you in strange and unexpected ways.  

After a left, left, right journey through Tinder I connected with a guy who trained bodybuilders. His little marketing plan was to find clients on Tinder. And look at me getting sucked in… I start training with a Coach. Someone a little more knowledgable about the body and how to sculpt it into peak physical shape. Like those bodies on the magazines.

32 weeks of dieting, cardio, posing routines some chicken and veggies… a little more cardio and a lot more posing, I was standing side of stage ready to step out and pose. In nothing more than a little posing suit and a whole lot of abs and fake tan, I take out 1st place in my category and 1st place over all. I am a winner! Was I happy? I probably would be if i was allowed shove the free Nutella donut in my face. But coach says no. There’s another show.

Two years of this wore me down. Two years of saying no. Two years of waking up at 4am. Two years of walking on revolving stairs, of eating rubbery microwaved chicken… I snapped. Sitting in front of a mirror in the gym halfway through a set of shoulder press and I start crying. Not just one or two tears. But whole body sobs. All of the exhaustion and the deprivation washed out of me that day. I picked up my towel, and my bag and didn't step foot in the gym for almost 6 months. Even now It makes me feel uncomfortable being there. I gave my life searching for acceptance and happiness at the bottom of a protein shaker. It wasn't there either.

After pulling away from exercise altogether, I started eating and finding myself back in old patterns of sleeping with men and experimenting with women for validation. I can tell you now... I hated myself. I don't throw that term around lightly. I still have text messages that I sent to my best friend detailing exactly what I thought about myself. I verbalised the negative voices in my head telling me I wasn't enough. I wasn't pretty enough. I wasn't good enough. I wasn't enough.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across the podcast Sexy Soul Radio by Caty Pasternak (who would also become my mentor) that I started to sit up and listen. One of the biggest messages that came out of it was “Would you say those negative things that you tell yourself to anyone else in life?” Absolutely not. So I started to change that voice. I started to work with my body and mind instead of against it. I forgave myself for all of the damage I had done… and the hurt I had caused. I started to repair the energy in my body and stop giving it to people who didn't appreciate the gift that I was giving them.  

I can tell you now that I absolutely love the person that I have become. I love my life and most importantly I love how beautifully imperfect my body is. I love the curves and i love the way it moves and the way it feels. I found happiness, not in the bottom of a Nutella Jar, but in my soul.  

@barenaked_creations