Today I invited a boy to the party! Whaaat??? That’s right. Not only females struggle with self love. WE ALL DO. I think it is important that we acknowledge that negative body image, mental health issues, and self love struggles affect us all. We are all in this together. That’s not just a song from the Disney Channel.
I asked my POP Instructor friend Mac to share his story, and he had a great one to tell. Before you read, I wanted to say this…no matter who someone is, or how they live their life, we all deserve love and kindness. You are more than welcome to disagree with someone and their life choices, but it is not our place to judge. Judgement is detrimental to every kind of love, including self love.
Please be kind to one another, and be kind to yourself.
“Once I told myself that ‘you are worth it’, I’ve been unstoppable.”
Thank you for making me this weeks Self Love Sunday person you’d love to talk about. There is so much that I could talk to you about, I don’t even know where to begin!? Let’s start with the basics…when you first meet or look at me. You think to yourself that he’s a confident, sure of himself, strong, brave, and doesn’t care about what people think or say about him.
Well would you ever believe that the person behind you has had secrets of his past that still haunt him to this day? Would you ever figure out that you are reading about someone who was severely bullied that he had to get counseling because he had attempted suicide…more than once!? Would you ever believe that this is someone who has recovered (twice) from someone being in physically, mentally, verbally and emotionally abusive relationships? Would you ever believe that someone who you may look up to has a weak and soft side but is afraid to show it? This is all true about myself and to this day, I sometimes get down on myself for not being good enough. But once I told myself that ‘you are worth it’, I’ve been unstoppable.
Growing up for me, has definitely not been the easiest. I came from a loving family who has done nothing but have the utmost support, respect and love for me. I always knew that I was a “different” child growing up but couldn’t figure out why. I never really liked anything the stereotypical male child would like and always seemed to hang around more girls than boys. Anytime I tried to make friends with guys, they’d always shoo me away or never include me in activities that were considered “for boys.” I always loved Dance and Theatre as a kid (and now) and there were my ways of escaping reality. I could put myself into someone else’s shoes and be a character or dance to my favorite music and just forget everything negative going on in my life and I would just fit in right at home. It was like this euphoric feeling inside of me you know? That high you get when you just did something or went somewhere where you just feel at home. But apparently, not other boys liked that and thought I was “gay” or a freak of nature for liking and enjoying things that made me happy!?
Fast forward to middle school…let’s just start off this by saying that I went to a Catholic Middle School, puberty was kicking in and it’s the awkward stage of life. These were also the worst experiences of my entire life and would never want to go back to that point of my life EVER again! Throughout middle school, I was bullied even more than what I was now. I would have gotten notes from classmates telling me that I was a faggot and that I shouldn’t have existed. I was the kid who was always picked last for sports because them and myself included was never any good at it. I was the kid that didn’t have a date to his 8th grade prom because no one would want to go with a weirdo like me. I was the one where teachers and colleagues would explain in religion classes that being gay was a sin and that I was going to hell for it and feeling upset but didn’t know why. I was the kid who was never invited to any events and would either spy on the kids through a distance crying and upset that they would never invite me over to celebrate the summer or whatever with them. And mind you, my class had only 7-10 people graduating from that grade.
And when I told you dance was my way of escaping reality, at that point of my life….it was like my place where I felt comfortable being myself was slapping me in the face. Even the Dance studio folks who went there wouldn’t want to be with me and I was annoying for wanting to be their friend or something. I was at an all time low and hurt and down on myself.
The pain got so bad inside of me that I have on multiple occasions took knifes to my wrists, throat and heart and wanted to kill myself. I felt like I was a nobody and when I told my mother what I was doing…she had never felt such pain in her eyes and heart and immediately enrolled me into counseling. I was so hesitant at first and didn’t want to go and that I was a problem child or something ridiculous. I said to myself, “I don’t need counseling” “only freaks go there and other weird thoughts in my mind” But when I went, it all made sense to me and she helped me realize that I am a lovely human Being and that I belong in this world! So it did help for the most part.
Fast forward to high school, I still remember not being as fully comfortable in my skin because I knew that something was missing. Like I was hiding from showing my true colors to the world. I always liked hanging around with girls and girls liked hanging around me but it didn’t click to me until junior year of high school that I was attracted to men and that it was okay to be gay and love yourself for who you are. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way album did wonders for me in high school.
Now, let’s get into freshman/sophomore year of college, I had just recently became a fitness instructor teaching Zumba classes at this very small holistic studio in my hometown. My dance studio owner told me about Zumba and said that it was right up my alley and that I should check it out. After I went to a few classes as a student, I had this aha moment and realized that I should be teaching classes. I don’t know why even to this day why I decided to become an instructor but I’m very thankful that I did for many reasons.
I had recently got into a relationship with someone who turned out to be a nightmare come true. At first, things were starting off really well between us but then I noticed changes in his behavior. From someone who told me he was a 25 year old teacher living on his own, I found out he was a 19 year old college student studying education who worked at a nursing home at nights. He turned into someone who would constantly come over to my house or only want to talk to me when he had too much to drink because I looked better. He was constantly putting me down telling me that what I do is stupid and that I’ll never be successful doing what I’m doing. Verbal abuse doesn’t even begin to describe the stress I went through with him. But thankfully, I found out the ways of him and he went bye bye like *NSYNC
But when I was with him, I would sometimes get down on myself and get those self thoughts in the back of mind saying “was I really meant to do this?” Did I spend all this money for nothing? Maybe I am not as good of a fitness instructor as I think I am? But you know what, I stuck through it and I pushed through!
Few years later…I promise this is the end! LOL. This also will tell you a little story about how I became a POP instructor. So to make a long story short…well maybe. LOL.
I came across a Blogilates workout video called the Lower Belly Flattener because I wanted to work my abs because I probably felt like I needed to work them but wanted some new ideas. At first I’m like, “okay, this chick is way to peppy for me and has a voice that was like nails on a chalkboard” 😂😂 But eventually I started clicking on more of her videos and I got emerged within the culture of her Popster community. I found her to be such a positive role model for people wanting to get healthy and live a happy lifestyle. Plus, being so creative with the moves that she comes up with like WOW.
So when I found out that Pop Pilates was going to be a Format I was like…Oh my god i need to get this cert like right away because I’ll finally be the first instructor in my area to be teaching this format. Well at the time, I was dating someone (a different guy, not the one from before) who surprised me with a trip to the Bahamas for my birthday! I was like…I’ve never had anyone do something so special for me before. But throughout the last portion of the relationship, he started being really condescending towards me, everything I did whether it was how I was dressed or did certain things, everything had to be his way or the highway type of deal. And when I saw that the pop Training was the Saturdaythe day I was leaving for New Orleans to go on my cruise. I was so bummed out! I was like, why did this have to happen for me?
But then all of a sudden, things started to get really bad between the two of us such as like no communication between the other for a week after you have a mini argument that could’ve been settled in a week. It was so crazy! So eventually, to make this short I ended up not going on the trip and scrapped up all the money I could to still go to the pop Training and let me tell you, it was the best decision I have made. I had a feeling that I was meant to go to that training because things weren’t going to work out for you and your lover. And with being a pop instructor. Came wonderful opportunities and friendships.
With all of the struggles and hardships I have gone through, I have learned and told myself these two quotes, “I’m beautiful in my way, cause god makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby I was born this way” and if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else? And while I may experience these struggles and feeling not in total love with myself at times, I’ve learned that through positivity and happiness through others that I am a successful person and that I want to leave this earth knowing that I have touched the lives of people through fitness and dance.
And to all of you reading this who are going through hard times right now, just know that you re worth it and that you’re all beautiful in your way!
I love you all! Mac.
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Thanks for reading!