Recently I made the decision to leave Phuket and move to Berlin.  I’ve received an overwhelming number of messages that I have not had the time to reply to yet but I am very grateful to everyone for their well wishes and support.

Leaving the land of Muay Thai was not a decision that was made lightly.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Muay Thai will always be my first love.  Despite this, I’ve had to make a choice between the two for now and it’s time to give MMA a run.

While Muay Thai fights are plentiful here, MMA fights, especially for woman are not.  The pool of competitors is small, given that MMA is still, technically, illegal in Thailand.  So regardless of what happens, I will need to travel to fight.  This puts me in an awkward position given that I have had no MMA fights to date.  Promoters don’t want to fly nobody’s (which given the costs involved is totally fair) so I needed to look into where would be a good place to go, to continue on this path.

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Second to that, is that living in Thailand long term (without a work visa or education visa) is becoming more and more difficult as the years roll on.

I was extremely lucky to meet the requirements for a 12 month working holiday visa my first year in Thailand so I had no issues and no evidence of visa runs (border runs) in my passport so I was never flagged at immigration.  I then replaced my passport at the end of last year so that there were no obvious flags.  Getting through immigration the first few times were a breeze.

When I came back from my trip to Europe (check out my photos on instagram @missmuaythai) I was immediately flagged at immigration, despite having been out of the country for 6 weeks AND having a brand new, valid, 60 day visa.  The officer flagged me by mistake, as his supervisor took one look at my visa and said, this is fine.  But the questions came.  “You come in and out of Thailand a lot?”.  “What are you doing here?”.  I was half expecting them to request a copy of my bank statement or an ATM slip (which, they can actually ask you for so you can prove you have the means to support yourself here).

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At this point in time, another tourist visa is not going to help my case much and if I need to fly out of the country (to go home or to fight) means I will have more issues coming back.

And finally.  I and ready to rejoin western society, to work a little and get back into the swing of regular life.

Thailand is a wonderful place, and I am so grateful for my time here.  I’ve made lifelong friends and made irreplaceable memories, but for me, it’s time for the next adventure.  And who knows!  I’ll probably be back again!
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The Andovers: towns located in the North Shore of MA, which have a very rich history and legacy dating back to 1642. In addition to the historical landmarks, it is home to thriving multi-generation businesses and is concentrated with top and elite prep schools in the nation. My family has been lucky to call this area home for many generations, as my ancestors immigrated and resided in Andover. Being featured in their premier magazine is an incredible honor, given the robust talent and events that are in the area.

This article is written by Dave Dyer, who has been covering my story since pre- English Channel days. In addition to being an athlete himself, Dave is an excellent writer. He always asks questions that make me take a second to think about, and accurately conveys the points. It has been an honor and privilege talking to such a talented writer over the years. image1

This article documents my journey and highlights those who have played a fundamental role in my swimming and more importantly, my life. I am incredibly blessed.

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Grrrl has withdrawn its sponsorship of Julianna Pena over Ronda Rousey comments.

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GRRRL CEO Kortney Olson has withdrawn her clothing line’s sponsorship of UFC athlete Julianna Pena over her public bodyshaming of former UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

Grrrl is the first clothing label in the world not to feature sizing, instead helping women to match their body-type to a range of global female athletes’ figures. It also has a manifesto unparalleled in its commitment to right the glaring wrongs in the fashion industry.  Kortney today commented, “At the end of the day, GRRRL clothing exists to empower women. Not to sell more tshirts. I was extremely excited to bring Pena on-board, as I believe she has the fierce spirit of a champion. And has the potential to dominate the division for many years. She’s hard as nails, but unfortunately, her nails are rusty.  

To call another fighter ‘fat’ completely contradicts who and what we stand for as a brand. And while it may cost us to miss out on the publicity of Julianna winning a world title, we think it’s more important to stay true to what we believe.  There will always be an element of trash talking between fighters. It’s a big part of the lure of the sport. Humans love drama. However, calling out a woman by referring to her “fat arms” when she’s experienced bulimia is unacceptable and I won’t have a rusty fucking bit of it.”

Kortney added, “Active wear and sports wear brands like to present themselves as empowering women. In reality, it’s just a cynical marketing ploy by corporations, mostly men, that do nothing for women other than reinforce stupid, harmful stereotypes. And we want no part in that. As much as we believe in Juliana as an athlete, we have to look beyond that.“The very brands that pretend to support women in our industry are actually abusing, demeaning and holding women back. If you think I’m exaggerating, I suggest you google Chip Wilson of Lululemon, or fat shaming and Lorna Jane.”“We’re tired of billion dollar companies masquerading as female-friendly. We’re tired of the hypocrisy of brands presenting as female-focused when they’re perpetuating female stereotypes.” #grrrlarmy #integrity #GRRRL #ufc GRRRL Clothing

The post Grrrl has withdrawn its sponsorship of Julianna Pena over Ronda Rousey comments appeared first on Kortney Olson >> Konfidence By Kortney.

Here’s what this blog is not: me pretending I’m a MMA expert. That would make me a lousy human being. Equally as lousy as the fight/ football experts that come along during a big fight/ finals season. Folks if you love MMA, NFL or NRL so much try watching a gazillion games during the regular season. Follow a team all season, you might even learn something about the sport.
 
 
ROUSEY vs HOLM
  
Let’s be clear: I have always been and will continue to be a fan of Rousey. Growing up, I can’t remember any strong females that weren’t superheros or video game characters that I had to look up to. For real, Wonder Woman, Mortal Kombat’s Kitana and Milena, these guys were my idols, if you could call them that. Rousey is like the female Rock but more legit, she’s transcended into film, is highly marketable and has become a household name. She is not afraid to stand up and tell the world who she is and her views on things. She’s done some great things not just for MMA but for women in general. I like that. The world is lacking strong, alpha female role models for our youth, I truly believe that. But we’re here to change that, read on.
  
There are people who don’t like MMA; the blood shed, the violence. I also feel that the majority of people out there are uneducated on the sport as a whole. I remember watching the original UFCs on VHS.  It was kickboxer vs jui jitsu.  There were no crossbreeds and no disciplines meshed. These days, we have these entire hybrid warrior freaks. With Rousey vs Holm, we had two world class athletes testing the skills they have spent their entire lives harnessing.  There is so much mental skill and toughness involved. Should there be a rematch? Highly likely. But this is Hollys time to rejoice and bask in her victory.
 
 
Brutal beginnings of the UFC. Image source Fox Sports
 
Me? I was stoked that Holm had a dominant, clear win. She did some serious damage landing head shots in Round 1 and completely dominated in Round 2.  It was not a close call, a lucky shot or a win that can be discounted by any means, she dominated Rousey the way that Rousey typically dominates her opponents with a clear one sided victory. If Holm had won on points or landed one lucky shot to seal the win, imagine what the online experts would be saying then!!? The media is brutal!
 
 
DON’T BE SHEEP
 
Here is what is not cool sheeple: jumping on the bandwagon to diss Ronda now that she has lost one fight; she’s human and that’s the nature of sport. Who in the history of the world was undefeated forever?! Come to think of it Laila Ali retired from boxing undefeated after 24 wins. When your favourite sports team is failing to perform do you jump ship on them? No, you stick by them through thick and thin endlessly (Chicago Bears fans, I wouldn’t blame if you jumped though). That’s loyalty. Ronda is still and always will be a legend despite the cocky way she handled herself leading up to the bout. I want all females to win and these ladies both have, Ronda has taken the sport to new levels for women and paved the way for someone like Holly to come through! I’m reading so much garbage online, trolling is not cool – if you’re someone who willy nilly leaves your negative comments just for the sake of owning a keyboard and internet connection wake up sunshine. Even Rondas arch nemesis Floyd Mayweather is being supportive, sheesh.  
 
I feel as though these online trolls could be the same commenting ‘looks like a guy’ on fit girls photos. Now it’s part of having a public forum that people will give you their input even though you may not give a single you know what about it. I have a few things to say to said troll, for now let’s refer to him/ her as ‘Weasel’…
 
 1.       No Weasel, they don’t look like guys they look like women, who exercise. Probably more than you.
 
2.       Weasel if you want people to take you seriously get a profile pic. You’re a faceless box and nobody likes to engage with faceless boxes.
 
3.       Perhaps society has failed to distinguish them as womanly because cultures have been so behind the times participating in womens exercise programs; most people don’t realise what a strong, healthy woman looks like.
 
4.       The world has evolved Weasel and chipmunks are on their way out. All your small minded comments do is prevent other women from lifting or working out and enjoying a long healthy life. Young ladies have access to the net you know, your comment might (god forbid) influence some poor soul. Has the world forgotten that children are always listening?
 
5.       In the future Weasel, don’t be a dodo, high chance that the lady who posted the image reads your comments, chuckles, envisages stomping on you wrapping your limp body in her loin cloth we’re all cave women. I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR! *Insert eye roll here*
 
People can get so tied up with what’s happening online. You’ll be judged on your appearance by others who are insecure about themselves. Don’t let online fool you. There’s people with 10 likes that have plenty of friends, there’s people with 1000’s of likes that are lonely as hell. There’s couples posting lovey dovey pics that are in ugly, deceitful relationships yet private couples with no photos online in divine, genuine relationships. There’s people doing things they’re uncomfortable with in an effort to gain likes that aren’t real to get recognition from people who mean nothing to them, if they even know them at all. There’s people who spend all their money on designer clothes who are broke as hell yet wealthy people who are outside busy making this world a better place for all mankind. There’s people with broken hearts who put on a brave face for the sole purpose of showing the person who broke theirs that they’re surviving without them, but they’re barely. Online is great as long as we use it for good, not evil purposes. For motivation not jealousy, for adequacy not inadequacy. Life’s moments of value are spent looking into eyes, skies or plates of delicious food, not staring into a screen.
   
 
 
 
HERE’S WHATS NOT COOL
 
Being a punk. I was not cool with Ronda not touching gloves. Trust and respect by others is hard earned, yet can be permanently lost over the smallest thing. Now it’s no secret I am a complete asshole on the gridiron but not touching gloves is the equivalent of not shaking hands with the captains after the coin toss. You can bet your ass I hate you while we’re playing, that’s just the competitive frame of mind I get into, but the moment that final whistle goes and we are done playing I respect any female that is willing to go into battle and face an opposition ESPECIALLY in a contact sport or a non-traditional sport for women to play. That’s the greatest part when you all line up, smile, shake hands, hug and admire one another. And it’s not always the winners you’re admiring, perhaps it’s the one who got the bejesus smacked out of her, got back up and ran the ball again. Perhaps it’s the one you overheard encouraging her team mates when they were all down. Perhaps it’s the tiniest person out there courageous enough to mix it with the giants. In case you haven’t realised ladies, we’re all on the same god damn team! It’s for equality, it’s to flip the middle finger up to all the haters and naysayers who think football, MMA, rugby, cricket or soccer are mens sports, that women shouldn’t be taking part in that sort of thing. We are in fact unique snowflakes! We should be building one another up, not tearing down and criticising one another. Hey you know what, you can keep doing your thing (whatever that is) while we do ours.  It’s time we stopped passing judgement on others, that’s cool if you wanna be a DNB  I ain’t hating on you I just know I want to do something different.
  
 
GRRRL POWER
 
I’ll let you in on a secret, even lil ol me this confident, ballsy woman comfortable in her own skin has insecurities. As an athlete you’re always chasing your peak performance and your peak physique. You have goals to reach in your off season, pre-season, during season and along with your training & nutrition comes physical changes. I’ve always trained for my sport, not to appear a certain way, the way I look is a by-product of my workload.  It’s tricky not to make that comparison to when you were in your best shape. So when you book a photo shoot there is generally that sense of ‘uh-oh I should look my best’. Don’t get me wrong it’s cool to love yourself and also want to improve. So I booked a shoot for November a few months back and in the lead up had some fairly quiet, back of brain, muffled thoughts of ‘remember you have that shoot coming up’. Thinking back even though I had those thoughts I didn’t alter my normal routine and I’m proud of that. Once  I came to my fucking senses I realised the brand I was shooting for believed that women have more important things to worry about than conforming to media stereotypes of what they should or should NOT look like. For too long the fashion industry has misled women about how other women look. Then in the days leading up to the shoot as I heard more about creative direction of the shoot I had anticipation, excitement, hope for all womankind that FINALLY we would have a brand that represented us!!! We who represent the brand are not strong female cyborgs, we’re strong female HUMAN BEINGS who still occasionally have these thoughts but we’ve learnt to muffle them. We hope that through sharing our experience and profiles you can damn well muffle or silence your negative voices too.
 
 
 
Hollys first release of shirts sold out quick. Image source: Instagram Holly Holm
 
The athletes working with this brand are so inspiring and remarkable not to mention bad ass. This is where Holly Holm comes in. Yeah Holly’s with us, but you CAN sit with us! Just don’t be swearing as much as I do cause she ain’t into that. This special group of GRRRL athletes from around the globe were all quietly rooting for Holly before the rest of the world decided to take notice after she won her fight. We are beyond proud of our GRRRL Holly and not modest in sharing how amazing our sisterhood is! I don’t put my name and face to many brands so you know this brand is the essence of me and how I live my life. I am actually so grateful they found me but that’s how the universe works right?

Image source: grrrl.com Arnaud Domange

 

 
 
I want to share a truckload of things I loved about shooting the GRRRL campaign but I’ll chop it down for ya’all;
  
 •I was allowed to look like me, it was my choice to wear makeup but they would have been cool if I just wore my soul.
  
•Their sizing is not S, M or L it’s a particular athlete size, see below.
  
•It is their STRONG belief that a woman has 100% of the decision making power over how she looks.
 
 •They agreed to NEVER EVER airbrush, photoshop or otherwise manipulate images of their athletes (in advertising or on the website) what other companies and media outlets see as “imperfections”. Women are perfection already. Period.
 
 Kortney Olson (you may have seen her crush watermelons with her thighs ) and David who are running the show are an absolute pleasure to be around. Arnaud Domange with his French humour and wit behind the lens made it difficult for me to keep a straight face and Sir Gino Payne waving his magic wand just creating magic as Spielberg does.  They create this incredible aura (probably unknowingly) that oozes positivity and non judgement and made me want to hang around all day.
 
 

It might take you a moment to get used to the sizing code, which athlete are you??

Go check out the site and get yourself some dope threads. Use 10% off discount code ‘shari’ and you’ll get your gear cheaper, even sale items.

 
YOUR CLIQUE
 
So Albuqerque New Mexico has another claim to fame, after Breaking Bad put them on the map, now it’s Holly Holm. The UFC promo footage of Holly training in the desert, did anyone else think ‘hey that’s where Walter and Jesse drove the van to cook meth!’ I digress. Holly is a hero to so many girls now, not just girls who compete, this kind of courage can transcend into anything in your freaking life. Holly created one of the biggest upsets in sporting history. She was distinctive, different even. Her aura was intriguing. People would stare. She was intimidating outside, but caring and soft inside. Holly talked alot about her team of coaches, her family that there was so much love around her. There was actually way more love for Ronda which is unfortunately human nature. Holly talked about how many times she would sit in her car and cry after training after a bad performance then get back in the gym that night and keep working on perfecting her weaknesses.
 
 
Image Source: hollyholm.com
Which is why this is so relevant to everyone reading this. If your inner team, coaches, friends, family, people who you spend your time with are not supportive and offer you the love and support you need in life its time to pack up and move on. If you don’t, how will you ever know how great you could be, whether that’s with your career, fitness or other goals. Know what you have to offer is plenty, anyone who wants to walk away from that is on them. I also think it’s important to accept the fact you will grow apart from people you’ve had significant relationships with. You should be able to understand when someone no longer positively affects your life and let them go. Don’t hinder your damn growth! Thoughts are powerful cosmic waves in the universal sea of energy we live in. Don’t you dare be put down by anyone close to you saying things like “who do you think you are trying to accomplish that”.
 
You know that self image that is formed of ourselves growing up? The one that’s unconsciously formed from our achievements and failures, our embarrassments, our victories, the way others have related to us (especially in early childhood). Our behaviour, feelings AND our abilities are always consistent with this self image. They’re not always valid thoughts just programmed from birth and now so ingrained they’re automatic. These thoughts aren’t “the truth”, they’re handed down through generations someone put them there a long time ago. They’re nothing more than SPECIFIC NEURAL PATTERNS in your brain. Neurological research shows 95-99 % of all your behaviours are automatic. This is why we set goals, but don’t reach them. Setting them is a function of the conscious mind. Reaching them is a function of the subconscious mind. The subconcious mind is in the driving seat. Not the conscious mind. My point here is if you want to, you can reroute your entire existence.
  
Now your outer clique, these are random people of the world who share their opinions with you, the ‘Weasels’  either inadvertadely or otherwise, face to face or online networks. WHY do you care so much for their opinion? If Holly listened or cared for the opinions of those do you think she would have won? No chance in world could she have those thoughts creep into her mind, that sort of negative self talk would have her completely off her game.  Whats the message here??? Others opinions do not matter one bit. If you think of all the times in the world when you’ve let someone elses opinion stop you or affect you, all for what?? Nada. Go forth and conquer my disciples. 
 
Dear Samantha,
 
In regards to your article 10 Struggles of Women with Big Thighs I must say I disagree largely with a lot of your points, in fact felt so strongly I have responded below. To my readers, feel free to leave your comments via my facebook page or here on the blog as I am interested in the thoughts of the population.
 
 
1.        My pants NEVER fall down with big thighs.
 
Yes, they are often loose at the waist from going up a size to accommodate the thighs, but the thighs are the catchment preventing them from ever falling down. Perhaps you’re into baggy fireman pants. But yes, jean shopping absolutely sucks; denim with stretch is a must, and generally a high waisted fit is superior, as they taper at the waist instead of cropping wider at the hip.
 





 
3.         ‘Just the act of wearing shorts in general is terrifying’
 
It’s not terrifying; it’s fabulous to wear shorts with big thighs. I hope you are trying to communicate that shorts are difficult to purchase for the thick lower half/ small waist girls, but surely a few unconfident women just threw another negative log into their fire. The real problem here is fashion labels and society are constantly catering for and promoting unrealistic ideals. Magazines and advertorials generally feature models instead of looking at how most women are truly built and making clothing that accommodates them. If we refer to the renaissance in museums all over the world, there is a full spectrum of how women are built.

 
 
4.              ‘A thigh gap was never in the cards for you ‘
 
We should NOT be promoting the thigh gap as a benchmark for women. Nor am I suggesting we promote the thigh chafe as a benchmark. In reality a thigh gap can be more about the angle that your pelvis tilts than how big your thighs are. Sure, occasionally they chafe, you could always try body glide: it’s not some raunchy lubricant; it’s an anti-chafe product providing non-greasy protection against skin problems caused by rubbing.
 

 

 

 

5.              I agree: running can literally be irritating.
 
I choose to take fewer steps at a higher intensity.  Up a hill, for example. No exercise is terribly comfortable, but it still has to be done.  Expect it or prevent it and get on with it.

 

6.         ‘When a guy has smaller thighs than you (which is pretty standard) you immediately want to curl up in a ball’
 
This is laughable – reality is the complete opposite he’s the one that wants to curl up in a ball. It’s absolutely a compliment to your distinctiveness and hard work. If any man has a problem with them, pop his weasly head (no jacked dude will have an issue with your thighs; he’ll be jealous) between your legs, gently squeeze his neck until his cheeks turn blue and his eyeballs start to rupture blood vessels … sorry, I got carried away there. I digress; the point I’m trying to make is that women often care far more about their bodies than men do.  Ultimately, confidence is more attractive than thigh gaps or lack thereof. Rock whatever thighs you have with a smile and leave the conversation with smaller thigh boy who ironically now has self esteem issues of his own, knowing you’re a BAMF (sorry boys, I’m generalising greatly here.  Equality at its best, I realise).
 
 
  
7.        Even if the rest of your body is tiny and fit, exposing your bare thighs to the world is your nightmare”
 
I could not disagree with this more! Rock your bikini bottoms and your curves in them, and perhaps pop a sarong around if you’re more comfortable. Hold your head higher and your shoulders back a little more and remember that you’re a magnet to every thought you think. We as women should be proud of our bodies – that means all parts of it. Instead of listing the things we don’t like, focus on the things we do and how wonderful it is to be a woman. It is never about how much I weigh, it’s always about how I feel; I will never search for validation on a set of scales. Scales cannot remind me of how infectious my smile is, how purposeful my life is or how great my perseverance is when tested. I believe it is your responsibility as a journalist delivering lifestyle/ healthy living/ fitness related articles via the juggernaut that is the Huffington Post to be a more positive force!
 
 
 
8.              I’m an advocate for Turkish sausage legs over hot dogs legs
I’m the poster girl for the former, but BOTH versions are beautiful! Women experience an average of 13 negative thoughts about their body each day, while 97% of women admit to having at least one “I hate my body” moment each day. That is appalling. Telling you to “love your body” is about as helpful as placing an opened packet of Tim Tams in front of you after a break up.  It’s time to muzzle your inner mean girl by combating those thoughts and topping up with a positive one. It’s proven that positive thoughts are waaaay more powerful than negative, so keep an eye on that self esteem invoice  making sure you go to sleep having paid the days bill for your thoughts!
 









If combating thoughts is proving difficult, you should start to seriously research how to rewire your brain! Our self-image is something we form while we’re growing up. It’s unconsciously formed from our achievements and failures, our embarrassments, our victories and the way others have related to us-especially in early childhood. Our behaviour, feelings and our abilities are always consistent with this self-image. They’re not always valid thoughts just programmed from birth and now so ingrained they’re automatic. Newsflash: these thoughts aren’t “the truth”; they’re handed down through generations from someone who put them there a long time ago. They’re nothing more than specific neural patterns in your brain. Neurological research shows 95-99 % of all your behaviour is automatic. This is why we set goals but don’t reach them. Setting them is a function of the conscious mind, whereas reaching them is a function of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is in the driving seat. Not the conscious mind. The point I’m making is if you want to, you can reroute your entire existence.
 

 9.         ‘When will thighs have their moment?’
WHENEVER YOU ALLOW THEM! My thighs are currently having their moment. All my thick friends thighs have been having their moment; every damn day! This gorgeous girl below Nicole Mejia  a model and fitness personality out of Miami, known for her natural curves and motivating perspective, has been inspiring women all over the world to accept and better themselves in a natural and holistic way. Nicole and her Fit and Thick movement are currently on a nationwide tour to bring the message to the women of America.  Nicole also started the hashtag  #thickthighappreciationday which I believe is on October 21.



Image Martin Murillo

Perhaps you’ll join the movement, we need more recruits if we’re going to get this positivity message through to a lot of ladies.

 
Sincerely,
 
Shari Onley
A woman with strong, thick thighs who loves every inch of them; whether they’re toned or soft, pale or tanned, covered or uncovered whatever they look like I LOVE THEM.

PS I briefly checked your website, some of your content is cool and light hearted so don’t take this too harshly, I think you’re alright  😉

‘Don’t be delicate – be vast and luminous’

 

 



I’m finally back in Sydney after being caught up in the fascination of Chicago. What a sublime city, I love so many things about the spectacular town and it’s charming people. I’m still not sure whether it’s like the brand new shiny toy that you love to bits until one day the excitement wears off. WARNING; this blog will make a hell of lot of generalizations so don’t get your titties tangled. It’s purely my experience. I’m sure I’ve only seen a fraction of what Chicago has to offer. 


Before I relocated to the Windy City my head coach at the Bliss said you’re going to love this city so much you’ll never want to leave. I already knew I would love it, every yank I’d met was awesome, dry sarcastic humour, loud and obnoxious, larger than normal humans and liked to swear… a lot. I’m an intelligent, classy, well educated woman who was perhaps a wharfie in a past life so I knew I’d fit right in.

Once I got to Chitown I realised, not only is the city visually stunning, rich in history and character, the mid west folk are friendly. My coach said ‘well you’re a pretty girl with a nice accent, of course they’re going to like you.’ Man they froth over the accent. Some team mates wanted Aussie lessons it was so popular (you can start by pronouncing it Ozzie). I was even told together with my eyes it’s an aphrodisiac, decent line right, we’ll get to the boys in a bit.


Chitown by night
Pic courtesy of Friedman Archives 
I was born and raised in Sydney, know it well. Whilst visiting 90% of Americans told me Australia is on top of their bucket list.  I am grateful to live 5 minutes from this breathtaking harbour. Now you yanks have someone to come and visit, me!

Sydney Harbour by night, ain’t no place like home toto
Pic courtesy of Layover Guide


Here goes….

COFFEE

Lets break this one into nations. The standard in US is drip brewed or filtered coffee, like you get on a plane. They pour water over roasted ground coffee beans in a filter, water seeps through coffee and passes through the bottom of the filter. Here they add “cream” (which is more like part cream/part milk) and sugar. While I could get my latte at Starbucks it was always burnt.

I did have the pleasure of sipping Costa Rican coffee fresh off the plantation while in Central America. A blissful, tranquil experience. Those beans were magic, the location may have contributed slightly. 

A typical Australian coffee is generally a latte or flat white. Coffee espresso shot filled with heated frothed milk add sugar. I fell in love with Malt Supper Club when last visiting Perth, the venue took me to an era I’m drawn to, through it’s music and the other wordly interior. I’d been up since 5am doing radio interviews, media and promos in the harsh sun. I was beat. I walked up to the bar wondering if they would have a coffee machine. I was greeted at the bar, ‘ciao bella’ a gorgeous Italian man dressed in a crisp white shirt, bow tie and braces. He took my hand over the bar and asked what I would like. If I wasn’t playing the Legends Cup the following day (have I mentioned we won?) my answer would have been your finest scotch whisky sir. Not only did he have a coffee machine he proceeded to make me an amazing latte, within a few minutes he had another 10 orders from my team mates. 

Winner: OZ When baristas make lattes all day long they get damn good at them. Anyone serious about coffee may find it difficult to get a decent cup in US.

Tally: Oz- 1 USA- 0


GYM 

I was a passport member at Xsport Fitness, I could visit any franchise across Chicago for $35 a month. The staff at my local Pipers Alley were super friendly and welcoming. The location had a lot to offer (albeit jammed into a small space) it was open 24hrs and came complete with a pool, indoor basketball, rock climbing, spa, sauna, beauty & tanning salons, yoga and crèche.

I also frequented Lifetime Fitness which was the absolute mecca everything Xsport had and more, a freaking creche for adults – lounges and plasmas everywhere, water slides, the works. Huge well kept facilities, everything you need to get distracted from what you should be there to do… hard work.


Interior of a David Barton Gym


David Barton Gym was an absolute standout. These facilities are opulent, Dubai nightclub luxurious. No expense spared on the fit out, décor and sound system. Bathroom products so quality we may have taken some home. A completely unique gym experience. Lighting so low it was a safety issue around free weights.



When I enquired at Lifetime about an olympic lifting platform or somewhere I could drop a bar from the overhead position he said I could anywhere. Dude Stop. At all Chicago gyms I visited the plates were jagged, they land unevenly and could jump out and seriously injure myself or those near me, not to mention the racket it would create without suitable flooring. Deadlifting for example; the bar touches on a jagged edge rather than flat edge on one of the plates, you’re twisted out of position on each rep. Resetting your foot position each rep is kinda fucking annoying.

I did have a great throw down with the cool cats at Crossfit New Lennox where the plates were round, unfortunately once I moved downtown the location was too difficult to get to.



In Sydney the plates are round everywhere, newsflash they don’t roll away from you. You can find gyms that aren’t crossfit with olympic lifting stations or bumper plates relatively easily. Although Sydney has 24 hour gyms they are the typically the fast food of the fitness world. As a side note you have to bring your own towel which you don’t in Chicago.

Winner: It’s a tie, I loved the luxury of spending my days training, recovering and relaxing at one facility before going off to practice at night. But Chicago you drastically loose points for those retched plates. 

Tally: Oz – 2 USA – 1


HOSPITALITY
 
You can be drunk in Chicago and still order drinks, you can be drunk, stumble into a bar and be welcomed by the security, you can be rowdy with your friends inside the club and not be warned/ thrown out. This is all via observation of course, I’m always on my best behaviour. You can do none of these things in Sydney. How is it Chicago is so much more laxidazy and I didn’t see one fight break out?


A special mention to Underground Chicago. Every club owner should take note of what these guys are doing. Every night of the week this place PUMPS. Different themes but one thing remains, the party is always on point. They call is the sexiest place in the world. Don’t know about sexiest, they lost that title when they let me in wearing gum boots after a festival but all the cool kids wear Hunters boots. The GM Scott is particularly personable. Always immaculately dressed in a three piece suit and oh so hospitable, the security guys are my favourite. I could go on but it would begin to sound like adoration.

Underground standard night

Rooftop bars are scattered all over the city, plenty of places are buzzing by lunch time with sky scraping views of Lake Michigan. Pubs, restaurants and bars are bustling on a weeknight, there is always something happening. 

Upon my return to Sydney I paid a visit to Kings Cross on a Saturday night, clubs were empty and I could easily get a cab at 3am. Whats doing? Lock out laws have ruined you. There’s no denying it.

As a side note to this topic customer service in Chicago is tops, retail stores, restaurants, bars, train drivers you name it. I actually felt like they genuinely cared about assisting me! They won’t monotonely tick a box and greet you with their nose in the air, unlike Sydney, they are heartfelt and attentive. 

Winner: Chitown lapped Sydney on this one. RIP Kings Cross nightlife, we’ll always have the memories


Tally: Sydney –  2  Chicago – 2 


THE MALE SPECIES

Overall American men are much more confident than Australians. They have to be to keep up with the women who are loud and outspoken, some self righteous even. Men seem happy to say exactly what’s on their mind at that point in time. No game playing just direct and upfront with their feelings. There’s an attractiveness about a man who can communicate so freely without regard for ‘how keen’ he comes across. So pleasant, charming and well mannered. It was easier to get to know people, I felt like the wall was removed and people were so personable. Ironic coming from me, a woman of many walls but trust me, there’s an element of it that’s rubbed off on me and I love it.
 
Let’s compare a bar in Sydney, you can make eye contact with someone. Half an hour later after he’s skulled enough tinnies to work up the courage he might trot over. In Chicago you’ve barely fluttered eye contact and he’s either over introducing himself or he’s sent the bartender to fetch your drink. I know what you’re thinking, hot blooded males with perhaps one thing in mind, but more times than not they’d shake your hand, pleasure to meet and off they went. 

Even the whipper snappers had game.  Got chatting to a (6ft mature looking) 18yr old in a hideous Hawaiian shirt on the train. I was studying my playbook, he peaked over my shoulder and striked up a convo about football. Even he was smooth enough to ask for my number. I had to laugh and say ‘get outta here kid’ they sure can talk the talk!
 
I am pleased to say chivalry is not dead, it is far more alive in US. Men open doors, get the bill before you’ve had the chance to offer not once but consistently every time. Men will make sure a woman is well looked after. Strangers in the street, men of all ages will open a door for a woman, offer to help with bags and expect nothing in return. They are organizers, happy to lead booking restaurants, planning a day with you, making you know they appreciate and value every hour they spend with you. They listen to you, are very inquisitive and well in tune with women’s Venus tongue. Okay they’re still on Mars but are located on the side facing earth…. Aussie guys are chilling over the Jupiter facing side of Mars. 

Admittedly if I plucked an American species and popped him on a Sydney street, with his smooth talking ways and forwardness he would come across creepy. But in his natural habitat he hunts awfully well with his species. 
 
US men openly appreciate women of all different shapes and sizes. They actually want their woman to have curves especially a butt. Women are tall, short, stumpy, obese, voluptuous, hippy, curvaceous but one thing in common, they are all confident. Australia is catching on slowly but a woman with curves is still the minority.


Winner: Chicago no question, for me a confident strong woman I’m well suited to a straight shooter. Aussie guys I’m sure would be a hit with the American girls, but more often than not the girls may scare the absolute shit outta Aussie blokes with how forward they are. 

Tally: Oz – 2  USA – 3

WEATHER 

The weather is opposite, when it’s winter in Chicago it’s Summer in Sydney. Lets take a look at the difference in temperatures.


Chicago weather is bipolar, one day it’s snowing the next sunny skies. When I first arrived it was minus most days, the nasty snow was coming to an end to conclude the worst winter they’d experienced in 130 years! I will never complain about Sydney being cold again. I would literally look down on the street at outfits to get an idea of which pill the weather took overnight. It’s crazy.

Cars abandoned on famous Lake Shore Drive Chicago during a snow storm. The snowfall from the blizzard was 20.2 inches
Image & article via http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-snow2lsd20110202071217-photo.html


I tried to improvise with outdoor training equipment at my coaches place when I first arrived. In between each set I’d have to run inside and thaw my fingers over the heating just enough to grip the bar for the next round in between my nose bleeding. I like going on little adventures so tried running after the sun went down. The tiny part of my face that was exposed burnt like a chemical peel. Icicles run from your nose, speech slows to a drunken slur.

However the central heating is on point, every building, home or apartment block was superbly heated. Once the weather finally started to warm up it was like the population in Chicago quadrupled, people on the streets, seated at sidewalk eateries, out socialising – they were like caged animals over the winter!

Typical winters day downtown, still magic



Sydney summer is ace, we get a solid 2 months of it sometimes more. Beginning of Autumn is balmy. You can still get outside in Winter without your motor skills ceasing to function properly.

Winner: Sydney, the snow is picturesque but it affects your day to day activities too much.

Tally: Oz – 3  USA – 3


LFL 
 
The LFL competition in US is fiercer than Australia. It should be, it’s their national game, they’ve been watching/ playing it longer than Aussies. The average American is physically bigger than the average Aussie. In a nutshell the game was faster, the hits were harder and the girls were more physical in America. I loved every minute of it, I didn’t travel there to play patty cake, I went to become a better athlete and break new ground in my career, like rupturing my ACL. Mission accomplished. 

Defence chilling in between plays


 
Winner: Chicago, that’s a no brainer.

Tally: Oz – 3  USA – 4 



ANIMALS

 
Sure we have kangaroos, snakes, spiders, crocodiles & sharks but so does USA (or gators) in particular regions. Let’s get one thing straight. If you visit the outback in Oz you are more likely to come across creatures that would kill you in the night, same as a night in the rocky mountain ranges could prove dangerous. Sydney is a city and it’s highly unlikely you will see any of the above mentioned animals unless you’re visiting Taronga Zoo. I’ve never seen a shark in my life, I grew up in the water, living in a beachy suburb, surf life saving- I’m yet to even hear a shark alarm go off.
 
Australia is ranked the 2nd highest to the US in terms of global shark attacks with 704 unprovoked attacks. Where we rank first is the number of fatalities, our sharks mean business with 202 of the attacks proving deadly. 
 

  1. Region

Total
Attacks
Fatal
Attacks
Last
Fatality
United States
(Excluding Hawaii)
1055362012
Australia7042022014
Africa339932013
Asia129482000
 
 
Winner: Oz wins we’re all thrill seekers, danger is interesting, nobody wants to live the safe life, really, do they?
 
Tally: Oz – 4   USA – 4
 
 


SPORT 

Everyone supports the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs or Sox there is a sense of patriotism and togetherness in this town which is magic. The people of Chicago are one giant mass, they’re not individuals, the city of Chicago is for the people.
They don’t just support their teams they are overtly passionate, loud and proud, wearing merchandise even on non game days. Tailgating at football games playing sport, everywhere, on weekends parks are jammed with adult softball and flag football competitions.

I got to several MLB games; White Sox at Comiskey Park and Cubs at Wrigley Field. It’s more a social event, fans go for the atmosphere rather than the game.



In Sydney we struggle to find a venue with a few TV’s that will show our LFL games on a Saturday night. I don’t recall walking into a pub/ bar in Chicago without a TV screen. We struggle to fill stadiums for AFL and NRL games, it’s expensive and inconvenient, people would rather watch from their couch.

The Bliss home games in Chicago drew around 2000 people, decent crowd considering our stadium was 1 hours drive from the city. What an amazing crowd, they would fire up with one word ….. let’s go ‘CHICAGO!!’ We were undefeated at home thanks to their support.

Winner: Chicago, it’s more than just a sporting game it’s a total experience, the atmosphere is electric even in between plays. 


Tally: Oz – 4  USA – 5

FOOD

I entered US with some visible abs, maybe 4, I left with one. I love my food, that’s no secret. I’d be the size of a house if I lived in Chicago the food is soooo delicious.

Severely hung


Notable mentions;

Garretts popcorn get in me!


When purchasing raw meat I had to be rather careful. Frozen chicken breast for example isn’t always 100% chicken it’s hormones and additives, some pumped full of chemicals, water and even pig skin. This isn’t just happening in US but I’ve never noticed it in Australia before. Grass fed beef in US is almost like a delicacy, I had to go to an organic store to source it.


Winner: Oz, you can’t beat Aussie beef.

Tally: Oz – 5  USA – 5


 
 
OTHER MENTIONS 
 
WI FI – Chicago has wifi almost everywhere, every store, stadium and bar. Nobody pays per data usage or download and they can’t believe when I tell them we do in Australia. Winner: US 
 
PUBLIC TRANSPORT – Between the CTA and the Metra trains, they arrive regularly and are reliable and safe. Sydney can’t say the same. Winner: Chicago
 
BEACHES – With the amount of majestic coastlines this one is easy. Winner: Sydney
 
I’m allocating an additional half a point each for the notable mentions section

 

FINAL SCORE
Oz – 5.5  USA 6
 
Says it all really, ain’t no place like home, but Chicago just pipped Sydney. I’ll be back for more one day Chitown, thank you for being so kind to the Aussie. X
 
I woke to text messages from more friends getting the news of my injury. Tears continued to flow, I felt exhausted. People I didn’t want to say goodbye to, I had unfinished business and cried at their individual responses. Such generous, genuine people I was so fortunate to call my friends. I had let my emotions run free until the early morning knowing today I needed to start the healing process. I wasn’t improving my situation moping around being sad and didn’t want to feel like I had the day before. My knee was sore this morning, more so than other days, it may have been the side I slept on. Last night both Allie and Chrisdell snored. I wondered if I snored when I was asleep? I listened to their snores with appreciation and gratitude. Just to be there in the same apartment as them I was thankful for. Every little part of them I wasn’t ready to let go of.
 About to go to war, the game day that changed our existence
I had begun to review my diet to optimize my healing. I made 3 basic changes anytime I was injured; 
 
1. Reduce grains. Digesting grains caused tiny perforations in the lining of the stomach. Essentially the more energy your body used repairing those, the less were available to heal the injury
2. Increase water intake. 
3. Increase Fish Oil. The omega-3 fats worked to produce beneficial anti-inflammatory hormones. 

 
Additionally to prepare for surgery I ate plenty of nutrient rich leafy greens like spinach. Also included fats, garlic, turmeric, green tea and pineapples since they were rich in nutrients helpful for combatting inflammation. 
 
Chrisdell sat with me before she left for work, hand on my knee she looked at my weary head, bloodshot eyes curled up in bed and said ‘I let coach know how I feel. You’ve sacrificed your body for us, you changed your whole life to come over here and play for us and spent so much money to get here. You are more of a vocal leader than anybody else who could travel to support and we need you on the sideline on Vegas. It wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t take you.’ 
Wrapped in a blanket stitched from Allies team jerseys collected over her career I played music from her iTunes, Sam Smith, Josh Kaufman. Normally these tracks wouldn’t be high on my rotation list, their not in my library at all but I wanted to savour every part of my experience with Dr Bert. My wife, my roommate, we had developed such a bond. A woman that if you ask others they would say she is scary, volatile. But underneath it all she was a big softie, just like me. She had amazed me since meeting her, such a walking, talking contradiction. In her residency as a dentist she famously fixed my chipped tooth after my Costa Rican white water rafting accident with such gentle hands I fell asleep in the chair. Yet watch her locked and loaded on the field coming up making plays like a maniac, or hear her roar viscously at whichever team mate had fucked up their assignment you’d swear it was a different human. Hybrids they called us.
Just being together was all we needed

 
Allie, Deena and I were like three musketeers, we would do everything together. With Deena and I rocking statuesque, visibly intimidating physiques Bert would constantly get called out ‘ oh do you play football too?’ She would respond by screaming something like ‘ do you want me to fucking choke you?’ She was 100% serious too. When we met new groups of guys I would set them up and encourage them to ask her if she played. She took the bait every time, would tear shreds off her victim, even after she saw me giggling in the corner. My dear Dr Bert said it exactly how she saw it, raw and blunt.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuqoDKJ1Ph0&version=3&f=user_uploads&c=google-webdrive-0&app=youtube_gdata]

 
A unique beast, with blonde locks beautifully cascading behind her. By her own admission she would win a loogie competition, hocking from deep in the throat looking a million dollars while she did it. She would pick up chips she dropped on the footpath while still holding a full uneaten pack in hand and quip ‘I’m not wasteful you know, waste not want not.’ The bridesmaid who would almost break her neck falling off a cliff trying to rail slide. 

Allie literally thought she was invincible


Her and I could sit at a bar and be so totally engrossed in each other’s conversation for hours and hours. No fire, disease outbreak or gaggle of men could penetrate the force field around us. We were all each other needed right at that time, both yearning to learn about one another – how did the US beast operate VS queen beast from Oz. I was from a land far far away but aside from some minor operating differences but we were hardwired so damn similarly, she passed my Klokov Expirement.

A team player like no other
 
She was assertive borderline aggressive, comical and precious to me, she amazed me everyday. It didn’t surprise me when she came home having concocted a plan to solve my visa issues, we bear a child in a lesbian union, since gay marriage was legal in the state of Illinois. She’d already thought through a response to her parents who would declare it a ridiculous idea. Whatever it took, we’d get the job done. 
 
My team mate Heather Furr text me saying she loved me like crazy, had shivers up and down her spine when she heard the news, was so sorry and was there anytime I wanted to talk to her. She told me how much of an impact I’d had on the team in the short time I was there. Heather reminded me of myself back at the Surge, always organizing events, sponsors, networking, making sure we all had the best gear. At the LFL you look after your own. She has devoted her life to the team as I had back home. She was a unique leader one who no matter what the chaos on the sideline had the ability to calm the team and lead them onto the next series in battle. One of those irreplaceable team mates I hold in the highest regard. Happy to admit when she’s wrong, no excuses just admission, progress and ultimately success. So sad there would be no more cubs games with Furrball.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2OVDBlDois&version=3&f=user_uploads&c=google-webdrive-0&app=youtube_gdata]

 

 
 
My phone rang, I screened calls, I wasn’t ready to speak with particular people. Unless they would pull me from where I was I’d speak with them later. I did take Staceys call, I had grown close to him. We met on my very first night out in Chicago. He’d been playing pro basketball in Israel for years so knew what I was going through being away from my blood, I’d spent holidays like Easter with him grateful for someone who took me in as his family. He reminded me about the cousin he’d introduced me to at the gym one day, played for the Bulls. 7 knee surgeries later and he’s still dunking vertical. He would get me his rehab strength program to take a look at. Stacey never sugar coated it, always gave it to me blunt, sometimes to a fault, but this time, he soothed & settled me, he knew exactly what to say. It’s no simple feat entertaining an alpha woman, whilst there’s many loads of positives she’s saucy, stubborn and can go from 0-100 in 2 secs flat! If the man says leave your bags, she won’t, she’s knows she’s just as capable of carrying them. The man has to grab the bags first or sensitively but physically remove them from her.  Knowing which moments are healthy to have her assert dominance, and which you need to interject is a damn fine art! I knew he would visit me before I left. He was a genuinely good guy, I would miss him and forever cherish the time I spent with him and his family.
 
 

I reached out to some substantial people in my life in Australia who gave me hope. Little feathers of hope which don’t weigh much on their own but joined together can keep you floating until you are ready to come up for air on your own. The kinds of friends you will have forever. The kind who know just what to say in the right moments, they know I rarely yearn for any type of help. Ever. I’m the independent woman who thinks she can do it all on her own. I hit up a few locals in Chicago, who had become close to me and broke the news. Everyone as floored as the next. But I hadn’t experienced the summer yet, the looong awaited summer the beautiful folk of Chicago had patiently been calling.


My coach Jason Gaffey at Surge told me to keep my chin up stay positive, something I always reminded him to do. We had build the Surge on positivity, constructive foundations. He admitted he selfishly wanted me back home anyway. There was a little glimmer of light when I thought of being back with my Surge family. Being home with them for some of the pre season I would have otherwise missed. Excited to see my coach Roger Fabri and re create those movement patterns, balance, something I had not sustained in Chicago. He was the expert, I felt a big loss not having him around to push me. 

 

Overnight the NSW Blues had won the 2 of the 3 State of Origin matches. This was HUGE news in Oz to break QLDs 8 yr winning streak, a monumental achievement. I immediately thought of the bro Josh Reynolds, Rugby Leagues nicest guy who had supported every step of my journey in NSW.  He had wished our season was longer so he could support at more games. I smiled at his achievement. Social media was going off but QLDers were very quiet…. ‘Despicable elbows and facials by QLD. Thurston is a grub! Hayne is a try saver! Greg Bird what a player. ‘ Another posted ‘Paul Gallen is one of the toughest athletes on the planet, I’m so convinced I’m on a website right now buying GHRP-6.’ I laughed. I love Paul Gallen he is the epitome of what I want to be as an athlete. Tough, determined, no bullshit, authentic, a spartan like warrior, no frills, a leader by action. How would he deal with this? I was inspired. My supporter the one who had my image tattooed on her arm, how would she expect me to deal with this? Often I was motivated knowing others looked at me as their mentor. I sat up straight out of my slump and thought to myself, It’s time to do what you do best. Go forth and conquer …. be the example. 

 



Ironic where your own motivation can rise from

 

 
The official game recap was released, we had a sloppy game, full of turnovers, a real disappointment to the city of Chicago and ourselves. We were the champs and whole lot better than this BS. But if we could tie the game with that many turnovers it was only up from here. Damn shame I couldn’t contribute to it. But I was healing.

Corey picked me up and took me to MRI of Arlington Heights Imaging. The last time I’d layed in a similar machine was for CT scans to test whether my melanoma had spread. This reminded me the knee was not going to be an issue. In the grand scheme of life it could be dealt with. We went to Tri Balance Holistic Health and Nutrition where Dr Andrew Hopkins chiropractor gave me an ultrasound to reduce the swelling.  We ate lunch at Whole Foods, I was a first time customer. A gigantic health goods store. A beacon in the night, a savior of souls amongst a country of over indulgence. 




We returned to SkyPoint Medical and waited In Dr Sameer’s office for the radiographers reports to come through. Dr Sameer had looked after my GP & prescription needs in Chicago, a genuine professional who made me feel very comfortable around him. We waited and waited until the sun went down and decided the next day would show more. I missed my first practice that night. Allie and ChrisDell came home and hugged me, we genuinely missed each other and had spent less than 24 hrs apart. Some players can be absent from practice and fly under the radar. I didn’t want to be one of those players, my team always need me, I need them. 

Waiting results at SkyPoint Medical

My body clock woke me at 7am, I ate my standard breakfast (1/2 cup rolled oats & Vitamin King protein shake), read my emails and caught up on how Dad had handled his knee replacement in Sydney. was anxiously waiting all day to hear from Dr Sameer so turned my phone on loud. I had my last Vicoprofen the day before at 7am, hadn’t needed another dose since. So why was I so tired? I fell back asleep until 10am.  There was an eerie weight bearing on me, on the room, on the apartment. Was it the suspense? Perhaps, but for now I just wanted to lay, I dozed back off after lunch for a 1/2 hr nap.


Waiting, wondering, medicated.

I played phone tag with Corey for a bit until I emailed Dr Sameer his lifting session for the night since I couldn’t get out to train him at the studio. He called me back immediately and said the radiographer report just came through showing a complete tear of the ACL. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had felt so positive, each day had been less painful, was now moving without crutches and felt so much improvement. In my mind I was already rehabbing for the July 3 Vegas game. My buddy Adam Curley would be in town to cover the UFC double header weekend, he was coming to watch me play, there were other Aussies in town and it was my first trip to the strip! I was devastated, mid food prep cooking chicken breast, trying to remove it from the oven with tears flowing, sobbing like a baby thinking don’t burn yourself, keep control, don’t drop the tray. With every inch of my being I had thought I was going to be fine. Everything you believe you attract, I get that, I had been envisaging good thoughts and affirmations, hadn’t I? Since you attract what you think about most it is easy to see what your dominant thoughts have been on every subject of your life. How had I caused this to happen?



I was completely dejected


I started to over analyze, women are great at that….where had I gone wrong? Your thoughts reverberate throughout the entire universe! Then it dawned on me. A friend had asked me to catch up with him Monday after the game. My response was ‘lets see where I’m at, so many things could happen’. The weather forecast was great, we were probably going to drink ‘winner piss’ (aussie slang for post match team bonding) for a few days before we knuckled down onto our next opponent. It’s sacred time we spend with our team mates and I didn’t want anything to disrupt that. There was a tiny iota that thought not specifically about injury but more so the body being so sore post game you don’t want to have plans except laying in a bath.  Your thoughts create the frequency, they create like pictures on the stage which is our life! I had caused this myself. In my head it was a simple mathematical equations I found my answer. 


I had a call from my friend Lovel Palmer a pro soccer player for Chicago Fire. He was new in town too having moved from playing in Salt Lake City. He had tried to phone me a few times but I hadn’t answered, he sensed there was something wrong. He’s the kind of guy who’s voice alone can calm you, an authentic guy with a positive, glowing attitude to life. His sister a Jamaiican Olympian track star with heart wrenching tales of her own was in the Sydney Olympics, damn they had some athletic genes. He told me of his knee troubles in Jamaica, an MRI report indicated a tear in ACL and tear in meniscus, they performed surgery immediately but after going under the knife discovered the surgery was unnecessary, the ACL was intact. Two lessons here…a) always get a second and third opinion and b) if you sense your friends need you they probably do. We organized to visit the top of the Willis Tower which overlooks Chicago from a completely glass sky deck before I left. 


The thought of leaving was heartbreaking


I reached out to Coach Hac, the man who made all this happen and coach John who had supported me with everything I needed once I arrived. They were shocked, disappointed, said nothing would be the same without me. We didn’t expect things to end this way.



Allie came home to me slumped in front of the computer screen reading the radiographers MRI report, She knew by my voice something was wrong. Knowing it was bad news she hugged me while I whimpered, told me she loved me and everything would be okay. ‘We were brought together for a reason, I don’t ever want you to leave me, I don’t want to go back to my life without you’ I sobbed uncontrollably. Neither did I. Not that life in Sydney was bad by any means, just different. Perhaps Chicago would get old one day and stagnant as my life had in Sydney, would lose the excitement and joy of something sparkling and brand new. But that day was not today.




I skyped my friend UFC Fighter Hector Lombard in Florida, he 
spent part of the call hanging upside down from some stretching machine. He could see I was hurting and made me laugh to take my mind off the situation, generally by being stupid but still made me laugh. He told me he’d pinched a nerve recently in his neck during a car accident. After taking a blow to the same area at training the condition was looking to impact his fight scheduled for August. Surgery was impending until Dana White hooked him up with a specialist who treated footballers. After some treatment he felt cured and was prepping for his fight without going under the knife. He warned me to get some further opinions before securing any plans. It turned out later he had herniated discs and unfortunate had to pull out the fight in the end. 






Corey phoned again and said they were teeing me up with an Orthopedic surgeon who looked after the San Diego Chargers Dr Brian Moss. I needed that piece of mind, I deal who are specialists in my sport, the best. They don’t waste time, know their content and treat correctly the first time. Corey could hear by my crackly voice I was still processing the grief ‘remember to breathe tonight, breathe deep, let it go and start the healing process when you wake tomorrow.’ 



Allie went asked me if she should stay home from her date that night, I told her to go and wondered if it would be as successful as the last one. Chrisdell had heard the news and came over to stay the night. She hugged me and told me to reach out to god, leave it in his hands. I would do that later that night. As I explained my situation, that I felt it was too early to leave her she could see I was hurting. She said ‘I look at you like my big sister, you’re always strong and sensible, my voice of reason, to see you so hurt is tearing me apart’ I couldn’t be strong now, I’m always the strong one for everyone, I stand and I deal. I knew tomorrow or the next day I would fine but right now I was a broken woman. I didn’t quite know how to deal with this flood of tears, so I let it go. Being a logical human being VS an emotional one had me struggling with these feelings. Together with news of ChrisDell’s uncle passing earlier
 it topped off what had been a horrible day for her. I felt selfish.

ChrisDell told me Shari I have a soft spot for you, I can never say no to you



ACL tears are so common in stop start sports. The NBA had blowouts all the time I was reminded of Chicago’s Derrick Rose. Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, New York’s Iman Shumpert, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, Oklahoma City’s Eric Maynor, Leandro Barbosa & Rajon Rondo Boston Celtics and Lou Williams Atlanta Hawks guard all went down. Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, New York Giants CB Terrell Thomas suffered the injury during pre-season practice 2012.






The hurt I felt was nothing related to having surgery or rehab, my body was a well oiled machine. I would lose my fitness and strength quickly but it returned even quicker. I’d had surgery pre Australian season. A breast augmentation, then a double groin hernia which revealed an often un diagnosed very dangerous spitzoid melanoma on my calf. Further surgeries to remove lymph nodes in my groin confirmed the cancer hadn’t spread but left me completely inactive for 3 months. Not just unable to train, unable to cough, laugh or sneeze without immense pain.


I was hurting because I’d played only one game in US, well one game and a few minutes of another. I’d sacrificed so much to get there and had not reached anywhere near my potential as a middle linebacker. I hadn’t satisfied that hunger, it hadn’t even touched the sides! Pain is temporary memories are forever. Right now I don’t want these as memories, I wanted them in my reality, my existence, my everyday. I’d grown very attached to my new friends in Chicago, the city, the people had done so much for me. That’s the part that hurt the most. The unfinished business, the relationships I’d started to build would be cut short. Some I felt a connection with and knew I would be friends with forever. I guess now pen pal friends from a distance. 

It was 2.37am and I was still blogging and researching. I took a vicoprofen hoping it would settle me off and calm my being. Typing slowed becoming more inaccurate as my lids dozed. Before shutting down the computer at 4.06am I came across a Zig Ziglar quote ‘How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in the past.’ Tomorrows another day and I saw a glimmer of hope.

This, is a public apology for posting a picture of your dick.

Because I live that ‘spiritual life’, I’m responsible for my actions.  I take regular inventory of myself and call myself on my bullshit when necessary.

Dick pics.  Lets talk about them.

Now some of you may have noticed I turned my messages off on my Facebook fan page.  Reason being, is on average, I’d get 2-3 different dick pics a day.  That’s not such  big deal, right?  But when you add it in with the countless messages from men I don’t know (wouldn’t matter if I did know them to be frank), about how they want to:

-plow my big ass with their cock
-have me smash their dick between my strong legs
-etc etc

It gets old.

I get it.  Men are programmed to be aroused differently.  Us women want to have a deep and meaningful conversation while we stare into each others eyes, then hope you start out by kissing our neck gently.

dick pic

 

That has always remained the same.  But- somewhere along the way after the birth of the internet, there’s been zero education on how to ‘act right’ online, via computer, phone, or any other piece of technology.  Now with virtually anything accessible at your fingertips, life’s a very different place prior to before the internet.  It’s become ‘normal’ for men to talk this way to women they don’t know.

Now, I do my best to not judge.  As most of you know I spent close to 3 years in the ‘muscle fetish underground’ world as a ‘muscle goddess’, getting paid to stand around and flex, or demonstrate features of strength.  Nothing surprises me anymore.  And most of my ‘fans’ I got to know extremely well.  I don’t see anything as “weird” or “gross”.  Just “normal”, great men with a fascination or obsession with “different” aspects of arousal.  The only thing I do know now, is that life is not what it seems.  ALL people wear masks.  Whenever I get pulled over by a cop, or need to stand in front of a judge again (hopefully those days are gone forever since I quit drinking 7 years ago lol) I can silently sit and think to myself “ah- yes… I know what you like to do when you get off work behind closed doors…. put on women’s pantyhose and get slapped around!”.  Or even the dentist…

I digress.

The point is, the dick pics get old.  And they aren’t getting you anywhere.

Now, here’s the apology. Kinda-

A few months back, I had a one-way conversation start in my personal Facebook messages with a guy talking about his dick.  Along with pictures of it of course.  I didn’t see it for months, because I can’t keep up with my inbox.  I hardly catch my dad’s messages.  I’m actually contemplating shutting messages off on my personal page as well.  Anyway, I gave this guy a really good reply, and decided to share it in a closed group of women whom I lead, since the topic of dick pics came up (again).

Not a problem, right?  If you send me a picture of your dick and continue to message me without me replying, that’s fair ground to put your shit out in public, isn’t it?  Well to some, maybe.  At the time it seemed fine to me.  But that changed.  And it only changed when the guy potentially found out about it, as he messaged me again and asked if I “blasted him on Facebook lol”.

Without blocking his name from the picture, this opens him up to anything.  And who knows, maybe he’d take his own life out of embarrassment by women being able to go and look him up publicly.  Although he has one of the most common names in the world, and his wall is covered in posts about the enormous size of his dick, the point is, all of my actions have consequences.  Potentially none to him, but other women may see that move as a display of character and that they might not be able to trust me.  So often we do shit without thinking all the way through.  Kind of like when I was still drinking…… “if I take this 10th cocktail, I miiiiiiiiiiiiiiight end up getting behind the wheel and running over a family of 4 walking down the street while singing to Prince too loudly whilst in a blackout”.  Never really thought about that shit!

Whilst I focus my life on empowering women not to judge other women, and more importantly, not to judge ourselves, I can’t have my cake and eat it to.  I can’t live my principles, and only apply them to certain classes of people.  As one of my teachers said, ‘by creating enemy’s we create separation”.

I don’t know this man.  I don’t know how he was raised.  Potentially without a strong mother figure.  I don’t know if he’s a drug addict seeking attention or help.

Upon taking regular inventory of myself, I can see when my actions don’t match up with how I’m aiming to live my life.  If I’m striving to be the best possible version of me, I have to address this stuff as it comes up, and realise the only reason why I checked my actions was because he potentially found out.

Lastly, a word of advice on dick pics.  Just as I said to this young man, “don’t bother”.  The single most attractive trait women find appealing in a partner, is quiet confidence.  I told him, “don’t attract women who just want you for your massive dick”, “whip it out when the time is right and surprise the shit out of her”…

In fact, here’s exactly what I wrote:

“No, i don’t think you’re sorry you sent a dick pic. i don’t know why i was compelled to look at your profile. you love toting that you have a big dick. let me let you in on a little secret: women love quiet confidence. stop chasing women who’d be interested in your big dick. much more satisfaction to hook up with a girl for reasons other than having a big dick. THEN whip it out (when the time is right) and surprise her. when you brag about it, it makes you look like a mark. confidence is the HOTTEST thing in another person. you have a big dick- and only you need to know that. rest assured in the silence that you have the biggest dick of all the land. and a lucky women MIGHT get to see it. don’t whore yourself out. Namaste”

As I read in a article the other day, it was suggested by this woman that men send pics of their dick as a power play.  They do it knowing that we can’t un-see it, and more than likely wouldn’t want to.  If you think about it, it’s not like a dick is a comparison of a beautiful bouquet of gorgeous smelling flowers.  Unless you’re a cougar who’s been locked up in a cage for years, and you’re in your prime, we aren’t going to view your dick pic as fresh meat.  Women’s brains aren’t programmed that way.  Yes there are some freaks out there who LOVE a dick pic, and that’s absolutely awesome.  But for the majority of us, it’s a strike out.  And we’re more than likely going to draw pictures on it and send it to our friends.

Namaste Bitchesssssssss!

And to the mystery man with the penis that hangs down to your knee, and Facebook wall with public posts about how massive your dick is, I apologise.

 

The post A Public Apology For Posting A Picture Of Your Dick appeared first on Kortney Olson >> Konfidence By Kortney.

If you’re not

A) A woman or,
B) A human being

then you might not have cellulite.

But, chances are, you are both, therefor rending you with some amount of dimple or ripple.  Some of us have more than others.  Diet, genetics, and level of activity all play a part in the amount.  For myself, I’m extremely active.  I work out 6 days a week, eat clean, haven’t drank or done drugs in 7 years, take probiotics and a lot of other supplements, drink pure aloe vera juice every morning (even on an empty stomach), sleep 7 hours on average a night, and more or less love my life.  However, I still find that I have a fair amount of cellulite on the back of my legs.

I know that a majority of it, in my personal situation, is genetic.  I also know that I create a lot of self perceived stress, and stress is the root of all evil in my life lol.  I also know that I take too many stimulants, and have jacked up my central nervous system over the past several years.

I write this to remind you that a lot of us forget the simple fact, that most women have cellulite.  Primarily due to the fact that most of us are not brave enough to post pictures of our ‘realness’ because we’ve been programmed to see it as repulsive, unsightly, and unattractive.  So what most of us see, are images of ‘perfectness’ from every other female, besides ourselves.  For example, here is a photo of me in the bathroom, from the side.  Looks pretty amazing right? (lol) <little too much side boob, sorry. get over it->

FullSizeRender (11)

 

But from the back with different lighting, it’s a completely different story, isn’t it?

 

FullSizeRender (12)

 

These particular pictures were taken in August, 2015.  For me to get from the above photo, to the below photo, took a lot of ridiculous, hard work.  Work that no one should ever have to do (aka, compete in a physique show lol).  I’m talking 45 minutes of fasted cardio every day, strict dieting, and aggressive weight training 5 days a week, for 4 months continuously.

 

IMG_6533

 

Point being, this didn’t last long. After a few months, the normal cellulite came back, despite the fact that I’m still, to this day, doing everything that I mentioned in the first paragraph.  So….. sometimes, this can mess with my head because I merely forget that

A) I’m a woman, and
B) I’m a human being.

Consider this your friendly service announcement.

:-)

The post Cellulite: We All Have It appeared first on Kortney Olson >> Konfidence By Kortney.

How I started a clothing company is not a simple feat.  Let me tell ya!

But, what I can say, is I NEVER saw it turning out the way that it has today.  You see, the problem we have when chasing our dreams, is that we give up simply because things don’t turn out the EXACT way we thought they would.

We do what Mike Dooley calls, “getting caught up in the cursed hows”.

Let me start at the beginning.

2009-2011 I stumbled into the “muscle fetish world” where I discovered an entire planet of men who would pay ridiculous amounts of money to experience some form of female strength  across the globe.  From arm wrestling, to wrestling, to being picked up and carried around, I had first hand experience that strong, powerful women were truly a “thing”, and that perhaps, all the Calvin Klein ads had been lying to me as to what is considered “beautiful” in society.  Ironic that happened to happen to a girl who had spent her entire life hating her body, her powerhouse.  Eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault…

2011-2012 I launched a brand called Konfidence By Kortney where I could start making videos empowering women about all the truths I’d learned along the way.  Also sharing my tools from 12 step recovery and battling addiction.  I started realising that women were systematically being programmed by ‘the elite’ to see each other as competition, as well as to keep us preoccupied with being concerned around losing or gaining 5LBS so we’d stay distracted to the issues that mattered the most.  Never mind global warming and women’s rights- be concerned with Kim Kardashian.

I also spent WAY too much time on youtube researching conspiracy theories. (lol)

2013 I started Kamp Konfidence: A prevention based wellness program for teenage girls.  The vision was a world free from all forms of self harm for females.  The mission was the educate with the 5 habits, principles, and lessons that lead to the development of self love.  Then, creating a sisterhood of bonded sisters. www.kampkonfidence.com 

Here is a screenshot of 2013, where I messaged our designer and dear friend, Kelda from Hjello Designs, about creating shirts for the kampers:

SHIRT DOCO

The Kamp was extremely successful.  One of the initiatives we rolled out during Kamp, was this thing called “The Peldge”.  After we did the ‘body awareness’ workshop, where the girls learned the truth behind media and advertising, and listened to Jean Kilburn lecturing with “killing us softly”, the girls would take the pledge in front of their peers, then get a special wristband:

pledge

Kamp K went for a good year and a half, before one of my two partners fell pregnant, and we put it on hold.  I continued to pursue my network marketing business, as I thought THIS was the way I was going to fund Kamp Konfidence. No more relying on outside funding, AND I’d get to empower women to make money on their own terms along the way.  I did however, find out network marketing wasn’t for after a long ass year of trying too hard.

2014 My partner got a “vision” driving home from the office one day about creating a clothing line of athletic wear specific for each sport.  We would have “run like a girl” “hit like a girl”, etc.  5 days later, the #likeagirl campaign rolled out from US based feminine product company, Always .  Next day we went out and registered, “Like A Girl Clothing” pty ltd.  It sat and did nothing for the entire year.

Along the way that year, I started collaborating with a colleague named Jed, about coming up with images of empowerment for Women.  I wanted to start reaching the masses, instead of just 8-10 teenage girls every other weekend in Australia, through Kamp Konfidence.

FullSizeRender (10)

Well, fast forward to August 2015 and that’s when it all happened.   www.grrrl.com

Now, today, we have a massive movement in motion.  Women all over the world are starting to realise that we are meant to be united, aka the #grrrlarmy . Women realise that there is strength in numbers, and that we must fight this war of equality together in order to win.

Below is a photo of our #grrrlarmy members in Texas with our “American GRRRL” muscle tees on, ripping shit up, and playing hard.

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“The Pledge” is now on GRRRL Clothing as a hang tag, available for all females around the world to take and upload a video as documentation when doing the pledge.

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So you see, things didn’t turn out how I initially envisioned in my head.  Along the way they kept changing, but one thing remained the same: I kept showing up with the end result in mind.  The end result of creating a unified group of females, all striving for the same thing.  Judgement free, supportive, loving, and caring.  Empowering one another to be strong, and break free from the programming of “not good enough”.  Helping each other realise our true potential collectively.

I can’t tell you how many times I got upset and thought, “FK THIS! THIS IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN”.  But the truth is, the universe has a plan.  SO as long as we don’t get caught up in how we THINK it’s supposed to work out (the fine detail), it’ll work our eventually.  Keep your vision strong, and your muscles stronger.  And it’ll come to pass.  It might take you 4 years like myself.  It might take you 10.  But if you want it, and you don’t EVER give up, be 110% certain that the Universe has your back.

Namaste Bitchessssssssssss!

and PS, if you ever get a chance to see Mike Dooley do his “playing the matrix” seminar, I highly suggest you do so!

 

The post How I Started A Clothing Company: Manifestation appeared first on Kortney Olson >> Konfidence By Kortney.

sorry

 

I’ve blogged about this a while back.  But apparently I need to write about it again.  Probably because I spent so many years of my life in the dark in regards to HOW powerful language and spoken word can be, especially on a subconscious level.  Come to think of it, I believe the last time I blogged about this topic, I wrote about the word “just”, and how women in particular need to eliminate this word from our vocabulary as much as possible.

In a nutshell, words we often use, we think have a particular meaning.  Then, after a while, they become habitual, and unnecessary.  Without awareness, we continue using words that aren’t even needed, and instead of getting our point across, they actually have an adverse effect.  For example, the word “just” seems harmless, but often it comes across to others that we feel like we have to justify ourselves for thinking or acting a certain way.  In business particularly, women can damage themselves with the overuse of this word.

Lets say you’re in a board meeting.  Conversations are going around what the next best move is for the company.  A couple of guys start chiming in with their opinion and you strongly disagree.

John: “I don’t think management needs to be policing these departments.”

You: “Can I say something, John?”, “I just don’t think these departments have the right leaders to not need policing from management.”

Instead of answering, “John, I don’t think these departments have the right leaders to not need policing from management.”

Can you see how much stronger the second reply is?

Not only are you not asking for permission to speak, you simply state the facts from your point of view without feeling like you need to justify why- In other words, you bloody matter, and your goddamn opinion is valuable, and doesn’t need justifying.

The same can be said for words like “really” and “very”.  Again, women in particular tend to overuse these words to feel like we need to hit home our point, and be heard.  When in actuality, these words take away from the point you are trying to make.

Your daughter: I beat a boy up at school today for calling my friend Sally a fat pig.

You: “I’m very proud of you Jessica Ann!”

Instead of answer, “I’m proud of you Jessica Ann!”

Can you see how very takes away from being proud?

Now, the whole point of this blog was to write about the word “sorry”.  STOP USING IT.  NOW!

When I was running Kamp Konfidence, and talking and texting to teens on a daily basis, I cannot tell you how many times I found myself repeating myself: “STOP FUCKING SAYING YOU’RE SORRY!  YOU DO NOT OWE ME, OR ANYONE ELSE AN APOLOGY!”.  (and yes, dropping f-bombs when talking to my girls, works for us. I apologise in advance for offending any readers, but I’m sure as shit NOT sorry!)

Lets say I sent my mini me, Courtney a couple of text messages.  I don’t hear back from her for 30 minutes.  When usually, as most teenagers do, respond right away because their phone is in their hand.

Me:  Hey shawty!  How was schoo?  Did you smash that math test or what bissssssssssch!?

Court:  Oh heyyyyyyyyy babe!  Sorry for the slow reply, I was in the shower.

Me: What the fuck are you saying sorry for?  I didn’t know you had to be sorry for taking a shower??????

Court: Oh my gosh!  I never even realised that!

Saying or typing “I’m sorry” without even needing to, subconsciously tells ourselves that we are in a constant state of, once again, needing to justify ourselves, explain ourselves, or any other unnecessary bullshit that takes away from our power.  The word “sorry” has become an empty, meaningless word most often used by people who are prone to speak passive-aggressively.

“Oh- I’m SORRY that you feel that way.  and I’m SORRY that you think I was a bitch to you-”

lol- you see where this is going.  Is that person truly sorry?  NO! Of course not.  Instead of taking responsibility and communicating like a win-win assertive person, and responding (not reacting) with “Oh- I apologise you feel that way.  Is there something I did to cause you to feel I was a bitch to you?  Because it certainly wasn’t intentional, and I’d like to resolve it straight away.  I don’t want to fight with you.  We both deserve to be free from guilt and all that other bullshiiiiiiiiiiit!”.

 

SO!  In conclusion, lets set some things straight:

  1. be mindful/aware when using the words “really” and “very”.  they are not needed most often and actually take away from what you’re aiming to express.
  2. eliminate the words “just” and “sorry” as much as possible.  Instead, if you actually owe an apology for something, say “I apologise”.
  3. pay attention to your self esteem.  when you take time to be aware of your communication style, the words you use, and tell yourself you ARE worthy of great shit, you will attract such.  (and I use the “foul” language from time to time when I write because I want you to know that I am an average woman, with not-so-average strength hahahaha!  I’m not some communications expert with a degree.  I’m simple a woman who wants to empower people to take control of their lives and help them realise that we are ALL worthy)

Namaste Bitchessssssssssssss!

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Ladies and Gentlemen….

I present to you….. a ticking time bomb.

I don’t have the patience, nor heart to write this blog right now.  But I’ve got to get this out.  My hope is that every parent, every sibling who has a younger sister (or brother for that fact- boys are just as high at risk as girls), or any person who has a friend that is incredibly insecure, shares this blog.

As most of you know, I spent nearly 3 years in the trenches developing and running a program for teenage girls called Kamp Konfidence, out in Australia.  I’ve seen and heard it all-  Times have changed from back in the day when I was in high school.  And although I and my fellow leaders had the same pressures of trying to fit in, and feel worthy, we did not have the issue of social media looming over our heads.  In fact, I believe this is why the educational system has not gotten up to speed with incorporating the appropriate curriculum (such as Kamp Konfidence) into junior high and high schools, because us adults haven’t really grasped the full impact social media is having on young people’s lives.

Today I came across an app that absolutely ripped my bleeding heart from my chest.  I literally became a photoshop expert in a matter of 30 seconds.  Below, you will find before and after photos that I created using an app (which I will not name because I don’t want this shit virus spreading any further than it already has).

The insane part of this little experiment, is that I used to look at these untouched photos I took with a best friend of mine last August, and see beauty.  Now seeing them next to this 30 second app hack wannabe photoshop job, it blatantly draws out all of the shit society deems as “aged”.  I don’t feel as “fresh”.  And the craziest part of it all?  I LOVE MYSELF!  I KNOW beauty is from within.  I’m beautiful because I’m a goddamn GOOD person.  Not because my eyes are shaped like tasty almonds, and my nose like a little button you just wanna squeeze.

But imagine a 14, 12, or even 11 year old girl who is scrolling across social media with ZERO level of self awareness and no idea what self talk is (yet).  How is she going to feel about herself, when someone as Konfident as I am, can look at these side by side and feel negativity run through my veins?  Despite consciously KNOWING it’s not real-

This app allows you to ‘stretch’, slim (makes your face thinner), cover acne/freckles, change tone, smooth (basically airbrush), and finishes off with INSANE filters that give your photos a look of something that just came out of freeze frame scene of The King of Thrones.

 

FullSizeRender (8) FullSizeRender (7) FullSizeRender (6) FullSizeRender (9)

 

Unless you actively are balls deep in the study of the impact ads and media play in our lives, and have your awareness switched onto it 24/7, these 1,000’s of ads we see on a daily basis, wreck havoc on our subconscious.  The mind is all powerful, and for most of us, is something we hardly look into in terms of how it actually works.  That being, how we create beliefs about ourselves, and how powerful our subconscious mind is.

Now, for us women born in the 1990’s and above, great news: we’re already semi scarred, and most of us working on healing.  It’s pretty much safe to say that we ALL have this blueprint belief that we are meant to look like the photo on the left hand side (minus the third one down… screwed that one up lol. it is KILLING my OCD hahahaha!).    However, if from an early age we were brought up without seeing ads repeatedly of what success and beauty looks like, ……………….. you know what?  I’m done writing this.

I’m not feeling it.  AT ALL.  Most of you don’t need me to spell it out.  Please talk to your friends, kids, partner about this.  With apps giving people the ability to photoshop their “selfies” in under 30 seconds with zero skills whatsoever, we are going to see more and more of this ‘flawless’ fake, unachievable world.

If you are going to keep it real, and know that everyone else is waiting for someone else to go first, start using this hashtag.  And if you do post photoshopped photos (which I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll be on the cover of some magazine with RuPaul, and I know they’ll photoshop that shit! lolololol), at the very least take the vow to make a disclaimer.

#therealness

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image

I may be biased, but in my opinion, girls who lift weights are like an absolute gem in this world. And I’m sure most men would agree. Girls with muscle send out vibes of self-sufficiency, confidence, good health, and strong minds because lifting weight requires dedication and persistence making it a hard, yet admirable grind. So it’s not rocket science that guys would be attracted to it. I’m honestly flattered when people take time out of their day to approach me and talk to me about what it is I do to look the way I do. But let me tell you, it gets old quick when some of the same questions and statements are repeated over and over and over again by strangers who half the time are not listening and only interested in what that booty do, for lack of a better term. Ladies, I’m sure you’ve heard a few of these questions time and time again. Here is how I answer these questions vs. what I’m really thinking:

 

IF I HAD A DIME FOR EVERYTIME A GUY ASKED OR TOLD ME…

  1. “Do You Work Out?”

My response: Haha yeah you could say that.

What I’m Really Thinking: *insert sarcasm* No Bitch, actually, I look like this by doing absolutely nothing. No big deal man, genetics hooked me up… Obviously, I work out dude. And I already know that you knew that so pick something a little more creative to break the ice next time because I’m hearing this so much that I’m starting to think that it looks like I actually don’t work out.

 

  1. “How Much Do You Bench?”

My Response: I don’t know. I never bench.

What I’m Really Thinking: I am an Olympic Weightlifter, NOT a powerlifter. I literally just spent maybe six minutes of my time that I could’ve spent rolling out this knot in my quad at the gym before training explaining to you exactly what weightlifting was and the different lifts and how its nothing like powerlifting at all and how I never bench, and after all that, you’re STILL going to ask how much I bench? Like why? Why?

 

  1. “You Could Lift Me Over Your Head”

My Response: hah Probably.

What I’m Really Thinking: I could power snatch your ass for a triple fool.

 

  1. “You Could Squat Me”

My Response: For sure.

What I’m Really Thinking: I could squat four of you. For reps… and multiple sets.

 

  1. “Are a Lot of Guys Intimidated By You?”

My Response: I mean, I don’t know, maybe?

What I’m Really Thinking: I seriously don’t understand this question, like I never know how to respond. What do you mean? Intimidated to talk to me? Intimidated to look at me? Intimidated to ask me out? Are you asking this because I’m single? Are you asking this because I intimidate you? Are you asking this because you want to ask me out? How would I know if a guy was intimidated by me? If he was intimidated by me, that would mean he would never talk to me, and I would never know him, therefore I would never know he was intimidated by me. You see how that works? It doesn’t, and neither does this question, so don’t ask this question. Stupid question.

 

  1. “You Could Probably Kick My Ass”

 My Response: Nah I’m a lover, not a fighter.

What I’m Really Thinking: How original. But seriously, why do guys say this? Like, it’s a little creepy. Do you want your ass kicked? Is this like a fetish thing for you? Or are you just trying to be funny? Because frankly, I think that’d be humiliating for you and such a turn off for me if I could actually kick your ass. But yes, I could definitely kick your ass. For sure. No doubt.

 

  1. You Make Me Question My Manhood”

My Response: Sorry? My bad?

What I’m Really Thinking: I don’t know what you want me to say to this one fam. Whatever it takes to be more of a man, you do that. I myself am a woman, so I have no advice for you other than to stop being a little bitch.

 

  1. “I Repped (insert number of) Plates on the Leg Press the Other Day”

My Response: Oh wow, that’s dope.

What I’m Really Thinking: I don’t even know what you’re talking about. What does that even mean? Why did you walk all the way over here to tell me this? Chances are, you’re probably not doing it right, and in reality, you probably can’t squat for shit because your mobility is so poor and your legs and back are so weak from sitting down in weight machines all day. Man, I almost want to ask you to do an air squat now just to see that form.

 

  1. How Do I Get Big?”

My Response: Not sure. Maybe high reps as heavy as you can go.

What I’m Really Thinking: OMG. Again, I literally just explained to you I am not a bodybuilder. I don’t know how to “get big”. I only know how to get strong with a lot of hard ass work. When you wanna mess with that, hit a girl up. And damn, do I really look that big today? Dooope.

 

 

…ID SERIOUSLY HAVE A LOT OF MONEY

 

The other day I was talking with a coworker about snowboarding telling him how badly I wanted to go this season. He asked if I wanted to make a day trip up to Big Bear. I told him about my training schedule and expressed that I wanted to, but I couldn’t and he said “what’s the point of living if you can’t do what you want.”

 

I thought about it for a quick second, and quickly changed my response. “Its not that I can’t, its that I CHOOSE not to.” He said, “fair enough, if you change your mind just let me know.”

 

All in all, he brought up a good point, something I am certain most, if not all, athletes encounter in their athletic career: how much are you willing to sacrifice to reach your goals?

 

I choose this life I live because I’m the only who has the power to do so. I make my choices and stand by them because in the end I control my own destiny and if I make a poor decision, I have no one else to blame but myself. I’ve missed out on a lot of shit. Yes, I decline invites to go snowboarding because I don’t want to risk injury. Yes, I’ve missed out on MANY nights out with the homies because I had training the next day. Yes, I’ve missed birthdays and weddings because it conflicted with training. And as a highly social person and a people pleaser, it’s hard to say “no” and reject invites and not show up to events. To be completely honest, sometimes, I feel like I’m missing out on life because I know I’m never going to get this time back. Every now and then, when the stress piles up, things aren’t going my way, I question if this is really what I want to do. Doubt sinks in. Do I want to keep making these sacrifices and give up all my spare time to this sport? Is it really worth it?

 

And then I think about training. I think about the excitement I get when I look to the board to see what’s programmed for the day. I think about the speed and power I feel when I lift. I think about the grind, good and bad, I get to go through with my team and I remember I have a goal that makes it all worth it. I don’t put in hours of work every damn day for multiple days a week for nothing. I’m here to build something. And in the end, choosing to say no to my dream would be completely unforgivable than choosing to say no to snowboarding trip. I realize that sacrificing things I want to do now for the things I really want to do in the future is never easy, but is necessary for the things I am going to do in the future.

My advice for reaching your goal/goals in 2016:

 

  1. Write it down

I never believed this to be true. Trust me, I thought it made no difference. It took me years of multiple people telling me to do it before I finally did, but when you write things down, they really begin to happen. Most days, the world will throw something new at you to break your routine, get you off track, and make you lose sight of your goal. If you write it down and have it somewhere visible, you can always refer back to it and hold yourself accountable.

 

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

As simple as it sounds, I know sometimes its easier said than done. But really, you are in control of your life. No one knows you, your goals or your grind better than you. And you can’t expect them to understand it either. If you think for a second it will throw you off track of where you really want to be, just say no.

 

  1. Be Consistent

The more routine you make your life, the easier it will be to achieve what you want. You’ll create a pattern that will eventually become second nature and that structure will become the building blocks to your success.

 

 

May 2016 bring all of you lots of success. And lots of gains!

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132kg/291lb clean at the 2015 American Open in Reno, Nevada

Growing up, I was completely self-conscious of my body.  #TeamThighs was not something I was proud of, and DEFINITELY not something I would have advertised.  Naturally, I was just taller and bigger than most girls my age. I mean, my dad is 6’5, it was inevitable.    When I heard any comment, negative or positive, about my legs, height, or my size, it would get to me.  And I mean REALLY get to me.  From a very young age, I was always the one people would come to, to find comfort or seek advice but the matter of the fact was that I was never comfortable in my own skin and I didn’t know how to express this to anyone. So I stayed strong and never let it show.  The absolute number one thing I loathed the most about my body were my legs.  They were big, they stuck out, and they just didn’t look like the legs that everyone considered beautiful.  But they were strong.  One particular moment I will remember forever was track practice in 8th grade.  One day they had all the girls learn how to throw the shot put so they could add the event into the big track meet at the end of the season.  So the coaches had us all stand in line to give it a shot.  A few girls went before me and made their measly attempts at tossing.  Coaches were unimpressed, spiritless, distracted, and all the girls were in line whining about being bored.  I was next.  I spun (with absolutely no idea what I was doing, and most likely with horrible technique as well) launched it, and the shotput flew.  I laugh now because thinking back it seriously FLEW. And I was completely mortified.  Completely embarrassed.  Embarrassed because of how strong I was.  I had never seen a head whip so fast as I had seen my coaches when he checked to see who had just thrown that shot put.  He paced quickly to read where it landed, jotted down something on his clipboard, and dismissed us.  He pulled me aside and informed me that I had broken the school record that had not been set since years prior (mind you, it was only middle school).  He told me that I should consider throwing in high school and meeting the coach.  Had I’d known then how much my life revolves around power and strength now, obviously, my answer would have been extremely different.  But back then, it was an easy and thoughtless “thanks, but no thanks” kind of deal.  Yet part of me deep down really wanted to meet with that coach because I knew I had potential to be great at something, but I was too afraid of what others would say and the way people would perceive me.  Point is, I spent my whole childhood and teenage life trying to hide my strength scared of people’s judgement.  I didn’t know how to embrace it.  What kind of girl would I be if I could throw a ball further than the guys? It just wouldn’t be normal and I did anything to reject my true talents and true self to stay in that lane of normality. 

            About two years after high school is where my perception of “normal” began to change.  I heard about Crossfit and decided to try it out with one intention in mind: to lose weight.  As time went on, without realizing it, my mentality began to change.  There was no exact moment, it just sort of happened before I even knew it was happening.  I was no longer going back to the box everyday for my initial intention, but rather to get better at being faster, stronger, and more efficient because pushing myself to be better was where my true happiness was radiating from.  I started to care less about my appearance and more about the time I was posting for every workout.  And more importantly, I had finally found a place where strength was accepted.  People admired me for what I could do with my body (uhh mostly how much I could squat) and ultimately, it allowed me to start loving my body as well.  Loving what my body could do.  And in turn, loving myself.  At last, I was comfortable in my own skin and it led to a vulnerability, finally a point in my life where I was comfortable enough with myself to open up to others. I was proud to talk about my strengths just as well as my weaknesses, with absolutely no shame.  I began to fully accept and embrace the way I was made and I found the confidence I had been lacking all those years prior, trying to hide myself. 

            Fast-forward three years to present time and it’s shocking sometimes at where I’m at now.  The strength I spent most of my life being ashamed of is now the thing I am most proud of and it is what my life revolves around.  The part of my body I was once absolutely embarrassed of has now become what I am most grateful for.  The sport of Olympic Weightlifting has given me the opportunity to come full circle because of the beauty and power it allows me to see in my body and myself.  It’s constantly pushing my body past the boundaries that my mind has previously set, teaching me the most important lesson I’ve learned thus far: Your mind is far stronger than your physical strength.  With a strong mind, what you and your body can do is limitless.  Be you, accept yourself, and love yourself.  Don’t settle for the basic because at the end of the day, who wants to be basic?

  

While compiling information and drafting “part 2” and the ending of my last entry: ‘what happens when the guy you’re seeing just can’t’ I smashed out this little banger because I had a few epiphanies. My goal in all of this is just to KEEP IT HONEST.  ????

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Can I be honest? I was just reading over my last blog post and I feel like a complete dick. I feel like a dick because I wrote about putting so much into liking someone else… And in that I’ve realised, in being vulnerable, I’ve forgotten how secure I need to be within my own person- especially when I’ve decided to wait who knows long for something that may not even happen (but I’m very hopeful ????) – ie a relationship with C.

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They say what’s happened to you in your past affects who you are today and how you view things: Fact.
This past few weeks I’ve found my insecurity getting the best of me and a little bit of jealousy seeping through the tight walls I THOUGHT I had built, in being hurt over and over again. My secure sense of self was diminished. And I literally felt myself spiralling in these new whimsical feelings, however not allowing myself to fully be present as I was constantly thinking about the future and worrying about “what I would do if (insert crazy situation here)” and it was only upon talking to a friend who is also male to make me realise… This kind of thinking will always make a male back the fuck off.

I also strongly believe the way we react to what’s in front of us, is by extracting parts of our past and gluing it together for an ‘appropriate’ response- and by ‘parts’ I mean the GOOD and the BAD. For instance, I was in a situation where I was seeing an older guy- let’s call him M. So we started as friends with benefits, we hung out ALL the time like 3 sleepovers a week. And he was never wanting the ‘label’ like ever. Absolutely not. But the vibe was there. Everyone said M was the ‘eternal bachelor’. And One day we woke up and he said ‘nope don’t want this anymore. Let’s be friends though.’ So I got to sit back and watch him go out with other girls, his house was on the way to work, so I’d drive past on my way to work and see different girls’ from the town’s cars out the front. A part of me believes that if I had of gotten the “label” that it wouldn’t have happened. So my reaction to C not wanting the label right now…. Makes me think back to this time with M. It makes my skin crawl… Even the THOUGHT of C sleeping with anyone else just like the times I saw girl’s cars outside of M’s house. Even though c has told me he’s not seeing other people, my reaction to the ‘not having a label’ thing is the same as when I was being shut out by M. I feel like sometimes I’m on edge and I don’t know how to trust- because really, all we have is a benchmark of all the shitty relationshippy encounters we’ve had before OR we see the outside of what our friends have relationship wise. That’s ALL.

It’s hard to learn to trust someone new. It’s even harder to trust someone of the opposite sex when you’re so used to being shit on over and over again (great analogy ha!). I’ve now realised trust goes way beyond keeping secrets. Trust is HARD. And it’s a process.

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Now, I’ve never been someone to take things slow- I’m all about instant satisfaction and going like a bull at a gate. But this time, I’m learning patience- I really have no choice. It actually feels like I’m walking on a tightrope sometimes.
I choose to wait with patience and with trust as I learn it day by day and take things as they come. I really just need to chill the fuck out and just realise that I know enough about C to know that if he didn’t want to talk to/ see me he would NOT. As I said in my last blog, I personally feel that he does what he can with what he’s got within his boundaries. And the truth of the matter is: I like him more than he likes me, simply because he can’t give me the ‘label’ like I want right now…

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Sometimes it breaks me down watching my friends in relationships.

Honestly, I feel terrible within myself for putting pressure on C and projecting expectations that he should deliver this or that. In realising my pressure-putting or expectation-holding I’ve realised no amount of times I bring it up is going to raise his interest in me. I feel like with me having expectations and being more invested than he is at this point, puts a certain pressure on HIM and I’m afraid he might sometimes feel that when I’m upset it’s his fault. I don’t want him to hurt at all. That’s not respectful or loving and I don’t know what I was thinking. As I write this, tears are falling from my eyes- not because I want to give up or feel like I’m not getting what I want from C, but because at this moment I’m just a little bit emotionally exhausted- and that’s OK AND normal (especially since it was the full moon in Scorpio 2 days ago).

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Putting expectations and pressure on a man is controlling and clingy and I don’t want to be that girl. Perhaps there is a fine line between wanting something so much, and pushing it a bit too far. Something I’m learning and cringing at thinking of how I’ve acted sometimes! But then again, I’ve never been in a relationship- Ive never known the difference.

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But I end this intermission-style blog entry, the same Way I ended the last one; by signing off and saying that I’ll keep waiting around and keep tracking the mini wins for my own brain bank ????. Oh, and just to learn to chill the fuck out and learn to trust a little more. Xo (and no your eyes aren’t fucked, it’s just a photo I blurred out, so I don’t give TOO much away ????)

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‘Find a man who treats you like a queen.’ – A statement girls everywhere out there tell their girlfriends, and their girlfriends tell them… But what happens when a guy your seeing just CAN’T? He’s just not that into you? Or maybe there’s some underlying reason…

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Meeting (or, to be more specific, catching feelings for) my guy, C, was one of the most unexpected things to happen when I swapped locations for my job. At the start, he was NOT what I would usually go for, actually the complete opposite to my ‘type’ but I felt the vibe and just went for it. However, knowing nothing about him and me being the way I was, we agreed to the ‘friends with benefits’ thing… Even though (being a woman AND and empath) the vibe and chemistry I was feelin’ was likely to turn into THE FEELS. Which, of course, they did…. Before we had even started being friends with benefits.

Now, I straight out told him I was feeling it, and I said to him ‘there’s not a doubt in my mind that you don’t feel the same way too’. This conversation sparked one of the 5000 conversations of ‘THE TALK’ we’ve had so far (it’s only been like 3 months? But that’s just me!!) where he initially told me ‘nope no way never going to happen’. But I stuck to my guns and persevered through it all and just stood back and waited, all while the regular insecurities set in AND he left his job at DJ’s where we both worked. Spark MAJOR insecurity and anxiety and abandonment issues (ha!) So fast forward a month and we’re hanging out and talking more than we did when we worked together: phone calls to one another-Sometimes 3 times a day minimum-  shit talking, advice giving, crying and stressing over silly shit (me) and catching up to just hang out.

ANYWAY, back to the queen treating. I’ve written before about knowing that a man likes you by how much effort they put in- this STILL stands! But, don’t get me wrong, everyone is different. Also, clingy men are REALLY fkn annoying! I don’t believe I need to live out of a man’s back pocket and he doesn’t need to live out of mine either.  My guy is still fresh-ish out of a long term relationship, which involved a young child… And a partner who hurt the poor muffin. Now, I know there are two sides to every story, but from my end and my understanding, the last relationship DEFINITELY impacts on any future partnerships… Especially in the early days of being single. (It also explains the slow pace of this ‘relationship’ haha!) I wasn’t expecting myself to get feelings for C at all… Let alone want him to be my boyfriend (which I’ve vowed to wait around for while he gets his own stuff together). Some may say I’m stupid. Even sometimes I think I’m stupid myself for waiting around for a guy…. A guy who sometimes distances himself. A guy who admits to insecurity. A guy who is no good with romance or affection. A guy who has 2 children. But so be it. I accept this, and how he is as a person. Again, not everybody is the same.

Everyone is different. Sometimes, when a man puts all he has into a relationship- all of his heart and soul, thinking ‘this is the one’, only to be told ‘I love you, but I am not IN LOVE with you anymore’ – the way he approaches a ‘next’ relationships is surely going to be a lot different than the way he approached the first one. He is going to be sitting there thinking ‘if I put all of my love and effort, heart and soul into a relationship the first time around and ended up putting my life into 2 suitcases and being crushed with that reality… Then fuck that!’ And I get it. I fucking get it. His whole definition of the word ‘girlfriend’ is changed. Tainted. Damaged. Ruined. So, it is only natural to back off a little when another girl is chasing you and wants to be your girlfriend. Fact: he won’t be out there treating you like a queen just yet. You, my dear, have to be the one to treat him like a king. Because as I said before, EVERYONE is different. Sometimes, our partner or potential partner speaks a different LOVE LANGUAGE to us. And that’s ok!

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By ‘love language’ I mean the way we express love and how we feel. Some say it, some express it through affection or other gestures… Like ‘treating a woman like a queen.’ Sometimes people in a relationship will text all day long and people think ‘oh he likes me because he texts me ALL day long.’ My friend L has a relationship in which her and her boyfriend text all day long. I don’t get any such thing from C. However, that’s just not in his nature.
But sometimes, when you see something in someone you have never seen in someone else, and you have basically everyone in your life begging you to give the fuck up on your guy- but you still continue to wait because you know it will be good when you get there, you take the mini wins. Like him answering the phone when he’s with the kids to talk for 5 minutes… Or him just calling to ask how your day is… Or him just holding your hand while walking around the lake when you know he hates hand holding, or him opening up little by little, or him expressing that he trusts you… Those mini wins are my favourite- and I really should keep them in mind when I start to overthink. THESE little positive notes are BIG things for someone who overthinks????

Sometimes, It’s important to try and redefine the ‘girlfriend’ label to guys who have been hurt, and who’s trust has been damaged. And to be honest, I can’t wait to one day show C just how different I am and how different I can be, to completely turn the ‘girlfriend’ label on its head and create only a positive experience for him…. Stay tuned, beautiful! X

 

I promise this will be one of the FEW food posts I write on here! I hate food blogs as I am NOT a foodie at all! I just NEEEEED to clear up some thangsssss! 

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Since my weight loss comparison pic, I’ve had an influx of people messaging me, asking about my food and recipes (happy to share some of the recipe’s I used to use!!) all my food is carefully monitored (in phases) by coach Stephanie Parsons. To be honest, there are no ‘recipes’ per se, my food comes to me in a rigid plan (just the way I like it) and I follow it, simples. This is a day of food for me (during phase 1) Roughly 1780 calories. Steak, kangaroo, chicken and vegetables. And yes, that is BUTTER, not cheese.

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I have dabbled with so many different methods of food and I think it’s great to keep the body guessing! I’ve most recently used IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and as much as I love this method and the notion of being able to eat ‘what I want’ so long as it fits my macros (protein carbs and fats), underlying binge eating issues were rising for me. I just can’t have ice cream or chocolate in my house. Even if I’m weighing it out to precision, I still know it’s there In The freezer… Give me a stressful situation and I’ve eaten that entire bar of chocolate or tub of ice cream in 15 mins without even realising. So until I fix my food issues, I’m not going to go back to IIFYM. I prefer a cleaner alternative with what I’m eating laid out for me daily, however, everybody is different. What I’m eating may not suit the next person. My BMR is different to everyone else’s and unfortunately I’m not yet qualified to write anyone a plan or tell you which option would be best for you… But as I said before I’m happy to share older recipes that are clean and delicious if you are looking to swap to a more cleaner way of eating:)
Clean foods make my body feel lighter and, well, ‘cleaner’. Much like when you put premium petrol in your car you can feel the difference, when you eat cleaner food you feel the difference. Mentally and physically. My energy levels are UP, those 3PM crashes are over and my metabolism seems to be on fire.
Also, yes meal prepping is a bitch. It bores me, takes up space in my kitchen and I’m so OCD about shit on the bench, and there’s plenty I could be doing with my time rather than sweating my hole out cooking steak and steaming broccoli, BELIEVE ME! But then again I know I am prepared for the coming few days and it makes it worth it. Please don’t use the excuse of not having time, I’m usually up to midnight meal prepping because I generally work 9-7 5 days a week, plus school 2 nights a week and all day Saturday. If you want something that bad, no excuse will be strong enough. Stay up that hour later, wake up that hour earlier, meal prep when your baby is sleeping during the day. Skip drinks with the girls (or boys) and get it done. Be stronger than your excuses ????????

do you really need to ask how I feel about ‘Valentine’s day’ ? It’s a money making ‘hallmark holiday’ that we have been conditioned to believe is the ONE DAY we SHOULD show over the top love for someone special…. Why are we not showing that kind of love DAILY?…

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Anyhow, since this is MY blog, I am going to share a lil conundrum I am having at the moment, and I called upon my lil special Mentor today to help pep talk me out of the negative headspace I was in. Soooo.. There’s this guy (isn’t there ALWAYS?!) whom I’ve become quite attached to, the sexual tension is there, it’s great, we get along like a house on fire, I told him I liked him, he (sort of) says it back blah blah . Anyway, there seems to be all these excuses; some valid, some seem a bit ‘cop out’ style and some just hardly make sense to me… But for the past few weeks I have felt like he’s pulled away a little, so we have the conversation and he fully whips out the ‘no relationship’ ‘no strings attached’ deal, which I FULLY admit, at the start, worked for me too, but as I got to know him, my feelings grew (typical female, eh?!) .However, he doesn’t want anything serious, so, I wondered to myself ‘what could possibly be wrong with ME?!’ And I’ve been doing these epic head miles for about 2 weeks now, fully convincing myself that I am not good enough. Telling myself ‘I need to change allllll these things about myself  to make him like  me’.

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Krista, Krista, KRISTA! What?! Listen to yourself speak, woman! Why are you letting the woman you built yourself up to be, question herself? Better yet, why are you allowing a MAN to let you question yourself?! So, I realised, the more insecure I got, the more clingy I got, and the more he ultimately kept putting space between us. The way Kortney explained it to me, was that I was striking him with lightening. Wanting something so damn badly, and manifesting it so powerfully, you add a bit too much snap, crackle and pop and you end up smothering the shit out of them and keeping them away with demmmm powerful lightening strikes.. Like the most annoying person to ever walk the planet who keeps messaging you and you just stop replying because they WONT. GET. THE .POINT? Yeah, that’s how bad my lightening was getting… Cool the fuck off!

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However, one massive thing I am learning here is not just that ‘I am indeed good enough for him, I am actually OVERQUALIFIED for him’ but just to love myself and to become secure with who I am and exactly what I want. Because, to be honest I don’t know what I want? I’m 23, I’m a baby! I’m studying, working full time, training, prepping to play football, spending time with family and friends and just getting to know myself. Without saying too much about this fella, he doesn’t really fit in there. To be honest, I think I just wanted sex and someone to cuddle me afterwards? Which, by the way, isn’t going to happen.

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The big lesson here is to just learn to love me. To Love Krista fucking Bednarz. To become so secure with myself and what I want, that it won’t matter to me if the person I like isn’t interested or doesn’t want to be with me or what-have-you. I won’t need to chase. To put my energy into finding myself and not chasing after a crystal when I KNOW I deserve a diamond. I read this the other day; ‘don’t remove jewels from your crown of it gets to heavy for your man to carry. You don’t need a smaller crown, you need a man with bigger hands.’ ain’t that the truth?!

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The past 2 years I have learned to love my own company ???? it’s fabulous. I was my own Valentine this year and it was amazing! However, developing yourself as a person and truly finding out what makes you ‘tick’, what you’re really into, likes, dislikes, sexual preference, and indeed sorting out some very old skeletons in your metaphorical closet that make you so uncomfortable to even think about… That’s where the real power is. Having developed yourself into this amazing person who is unbreakable, and has a shit-tonne of bounce back-ability!

Today, I read someone’s status that said ‘I found the love of my life when I stopped trying to fix others and fixed myself instead’. Read above. Fixing yourself, and finding who you truly are is the best thing you can do. I’m a massive empath, It’s a trait of mine to always go after ‘broken’ people in the hopes of being able to CHANGE them, or help them in some way, ultimately giving all of who I am… And in the end I ‘fail’ because (let’s be honest) people can and will only change when it comes from THEM. They will only be ‘fixed’ when they decide they want to be fixed.. Interesting thought, isn’t it??

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Another thing I would love to add about being insecure about yourself and being in a relationship is… It ALWAYS shows up. It ALWAYS brings the drama. It ALWAYS causes fights. Later on, I will touch more on the subject of self love BEFORE a relationship, but for now, I will say this; THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL EVER BE ABLE TO ACCEPT SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE IS IF YOU FORST LOVE YOURSELF. Cliche bullshit? Sounds like it… But the truth? 100 fucking percent. I bet anyone who is in an insecure relationship right now is stressing out that your partner just liked something on Instagram that offends you (ie: liking another girl’s picture)  when you should be saying ‘he likes me every day- why does one picture matter?’ Believe me, I’ve been there????

if you feel confused, my great friend Tegan sent me the link to this Amazing article; it reads about the ‘types’ of men to stay away from (ie; players and fixer-up-ers) obviously, you can see it from another point of view and read it from the ‘types of women to avoid’ of course! It’s great and made me giggle as I can see my patterns of choosing the same type of man over and over again…

Anyway, my little rant is over, I’m tired and need to meditate. #sorrynotsorry for all the little pics that depict my situation. Anyone else just save them up and display when the time feels right? HAHA! I’ll leave with just ONE more…

NB: I will note that not ONCE has the man mentioned in this post ever asked me to change anything about myself. He’s actually mentioned before that he likes who I am and how driven and determined I am- it’s just my own head telling me I’m not good enough..image

 

 

Never allow the opposite sex (or your ‘love interest’ whether you be straight, gay or bi-sexual) determine your self worth. Please, just don’t. 

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First of all, anyone making shitty, cop out excuses is never worth your:  time, energy or tears (especially when, as a woman, I pay $58 for a mascara.) stop giving away your power, doll!

Know YOUR personal worth and stand up for what you believe in. Have high standards and never settle for anything less… Even if your ‘potential’ is a totally babe but they are presenting red flags, yet you believe “but he/she looks exactly how I want my partner to look!!” DO NOT fall into that trap.

You are literally worth so much more than to settle for someone’s looks; it is very important to realise that beauty will fade with time, but nothing will ever crush a beautiful heart, mind and soul… And I’m sorry, but integrity shits all over superficial shit and sweet nothings. PLEASE remember that.

 

????????ANY person in life who makes you feel intentionally jealous is not worth having. ????????ANY love interest you may have (who admits it’s ‘mutual’) should never be making you ask questions about where you actually stand. Just know that if someone truly has feelings for you, they will make like Beyoncé and ‘put a ring on it’ (OK, Metaphorically because it’s weird if they’re proposing in the early dayzzz. That’s a red flag, stay away from that!) However, they will make it VERY known to you that they do like you. They’ll make that time and effort in the early stages. They put in the work. Driving or getting transport out to you is not an issue at all. For instance, this guy I like…. He will happily drive 45 mins out of his way for a ‘fuck buddy’ he previously had (or probably still has, I do NOT want to know.) but won’t bother with a (probably equal amount of time) trip to come see me just to hang out, eat food, chat, and the like. ???????? THAT’S a red flag. And it says more about him than he knows. Actions speak louder than words… This is alllllll the truth and whoever once told me actions spoke louder than words, and I dismissed it- I am so sorry! You were right!

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I just want to make it known to you, Incase nobody has reassured you… You are an absolute King/queen and you deserve that attention and affection that you believe you do. None of that shit should be half assed. AND IF IT IS????  SWERVE! Dump that and go on a quest to find someone who actually appreciates YOU and all that you do and are (and has better grammar and punctuation skills, HA!)! Or better yet, just do you. Love yourself and let that self love radiate to the world and show others how you SHOULD be treated. Work on a project you love. Have a facial. Start to study something you really want to study. Go for a walk, have coffee with a  friend, go on a road trip. Learn to love who you are. Truly, madly, deeply.

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Honestly though, in the end, if you don’t believe in yourself and love yourself..who will?

During my training for 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim (120-mile Marathon Swim over 7 days), I incorporated Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) into my recovery techniques. I was able to work with both Judy Malcolm before the event, and Meaghan Murphy (who recommended the practice to me) during the event. I had never done FST prior to this, but rather was familiar with other therapies like massage and gentle individual stretching. I wanted to demo FST pre-swim, to see how my body would react to it. Judy was very thorough in her explanations of what she was doing, and created a very relaxing environment. Everything she did, she made sure to check in with me and make sure it was something I found beneficial, not painful or “tweaky.” It was important to try FST pre-swim because it gave me a sense of how effective it would be for me during the actual event.

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When doing an event that requires a heavy load of taxing mileage on the body via swimming, FST is incredibly useful. During my rest day after stage four of eight bridges, Meaghan came and worked with me using her expertise in both swimming and biomechanics to perform an FST session that was very effective in keeping me loose as well is ready to go for the next day. After stage four, I was experiencing some pain in the bicep and pec areas from the repetitive motion that is the swimming stroke. When you swim 7 marathon swims over one week eventually something will have an ache or pain. When I met with Meaghan she evaluated what areas were causing problems and created an effective FST session that allowed me to loosen the other muscles around the areas that had pain, which as a result relaxed and loosened the areas of concern, and allowed them to heal and rest. Meaghan never directly stretched the area of pain which was a relief to me because that would obviously be an uncomfortable experience which may further promote the problem.

Later that evening I noticed the pain lessening by at least 30-40% and then again In the morning even more so. The next day I was cautious when I entered the water, however I felt much stronger, and less tense/clenched than any of the stages before. I could apply more pressure during the grab portion of my stroke which I wasn’t able to do before. This was so important because that stage lasted 8 hours, and It would have been miserable if I had been experiencing the problems from the stages before.

Unlike massage or static stretching, where you worry about overdoing it and causing even more muscle breakdown and thus need more time for recovery, FST is dynamic, loosens and stretches the muscles in a way that cannot be achieved by doing independent stretching or just through massage. Allowing someone to move your limbs in a way that provides a gentle stretch is both relaxing and important. I was able to let Meaghan take over, and take my mind off having to do something active with my body. Meaghan wasn’t trying to increase my range of motion more than it’s ever been, she was trying to get it back to my personal baseline, which is an important distinction. In my experience, I needed quick recovery to perform back to back at my best. FST was the perfect recovery intervention along with rest and ice. Both Meaghan and Judy are fantastic and I would recommend FST to endurance athletes who are looking to stay loose between events.

Check them out:

Meaghan: http://www.Coachmegswim.com and http://www.stretchtrainachieve.com

Judy: http://www.perfect-fit-pilates.com

 

My friend, Smith College teammate, and “self appointed sister”, Abby Bergman’s Catalina Channel attempt is this Sunday, July 24th overnight to July 25th. I have had the great pleasure of working with her there past few months as she has been preparing, training, and (soon to be) attempting this great feat.

11781773_10152969256150976_3043710916417440375_n.jpgWhen I asked Abby about how she feels pre-swim, she said she’s “ready and excited.” Abby says she’s ready because “I put in all the grueling training and I trust in my abilities.” She mentioned that she’s most excited to be able to take a moment while swimming Catalina, and realize the enormity of what she is doing, and simultaneously excited to complete the swim and have a moment to think, its over. (Spoiler alert from Paige…. it’s never truly over:) )

 

I can honestly say Abby was an absolute pleasure to help mentor and be a support swimmer for. When I would offer her things to consider and plan, Abby would reply back with her multiple considerations and plans of action about the given topic…. basically a dream swimmer to work with. The number one lessons she feels she learned about herself during all this training is “to stay relaxed and approach any endeavor with confidence…in doing so, it will always work out”. In addition she learned that “approaching a goal without a specific outcome can actually help you focus. When I think, ‘I can do this, I will perform well and try to rank high,’ I end up performing my best.”

How does Abby feel about being newly labeled “ a marathon swimmer?” She says, “It’s all about the mindset. It feels good to get to be officially recognized after all this training…and hey, now I get to be part of this super secret club of crazy people.” I couldn’t agree more. She’s also incredibly grateful to her support crew, whom she say’s “I couldn’t do the swim without.”

Over these months I’ve seen that Abby does something every day to make herself better. This is hugely important not only in marathon swimming, but in life. She always thinks of all sides of an issue, and has a great sense of self. When combining these qualities with her workhorse work ethic, she is a force to be reckoned with, and one that will not disappoint this weekend.

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To me it’s funny… you can spend hundreds of thousands of hours, millions of miles, and years of thinking about a goal, but in the end, it comes down to the 39, 11 or 9 hours that you are gritting it out in the inferno…can you get it done when its time to do your marathon swim.

This summer, the gritty “Smith College Marathon Swimming Fempire” was formed. This fempire was created spontaneously: Abby Bergman ’18 was training to swim the world renown Catalina Channel (20.1 miles), Eliza Cummings ’17 was training to swim the rare Plymouth to Provincetown swim (19.1 miles) and I, Paige Christie ‘15 was training to swim the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim (120 miles). The order would take place as such: myself, “the Veteran”, going first with the 8 Bridges swim from June to July, Abby “the Open Water Enthusiast,” going second at the end of July, and Eliza, “The Shark Whisperer” going third in August. Abby and Eliza were both going for their first marathon swim, and I was testing my rebound abilities after my English Channel Swim in 2014. In addition, the three of us were serving as either support swimmer or mentor for each other’s swim. A chain of sisterly support.

The three of us celebrated in each other’s successes and were the sounding board for many of the uncertainties that come with marathon swimming. A month before my swim, a vintage plane went down in the Hudson, a week before Abby’s swim there was a massive sewage spill in the beaches just south of where her swim would finish, and Eliza’s swim had many shark sightings prior. You need a supportive network of strong-minded individuals to help get the best version of self out of each other. No doubt, the success that snowballed from each other’s training and marathon swims propelled each of us forward.

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Now that the three of us have dried off from our respective swims I was able to ask some questions:

Why did you pick your specific swim?

Abby: I have wanted to cross the 20-mile Catalina Channel ever since I was 12 years old and read Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox. Reading about other people working hard to achieve their goals inspired me to put in the effort to reach my goals. I will be swimming the English Channel in 2017 and I thought it would be a way to test myself by completing another portion of the Triple Crown, prior.

Eliza: I picked the 19.1-mile P2P because I wanted to do a marathon swim that was a comparable sort of distance to one of the Triple Crown swims but was more financially viable. I was looking primarily at the east coast for possible swims and David Barra (famed open water swimmer) actually was the one who recommended the P2P to me. It was the right distance and the kind of channel challenge that I wanted to undertake. Before my attempt only 7 people in the world had successfully completed the swim so I was also drawn to the P2P because it was a fresh, exciting challenge.

Paige: I live by the philosophy, if you going to do something, you might as well do it right and go for the highest standard…raise the bar. My first swim, the English Channel was and is considered the “Everest” of marathon swimming. After having done that, I thought, “lets go for the longest, most challenging swim out there and put myself to the maximum test.” Regardless of the outcome I wanted to leave the water having learned something about limits, support, and life.  Fast forward a year and I found myself becoming the 6th person to ever swim 8 Bridges, the longest marathon swim in the world, in one of the most historic rivers in the history of our nation.

Do you feel your time at Smith has prepared you for this kind of a challenge…a challenge that is beyond the Smith lecture halls and Dalton Pool?

Abby: Swimming with Coach Kim Bierwert has taught me that anything can be accomplished through hard work and passion. I really appreciate his belief in me and his support of my goals.

Eliza: I would not be the swimmer I am today without the guidance of Coach Kim and the support of the Smith College Swim & Dive team. As an incoming first year I was one of the weakest swimmers on the team but three years later I was able to accomplish something I never would have imagined being possible. The passion, hard work, and dedication of the athletes and coaches at Smith pushed me to become the swimmer I am today.

Paige: The Smith network is unmatched. The support I felt from Smithies past present and future was a huge motivator that symbolically poured the gasoline over the flame of my determination. To top it off, I had the support and wisdom from my 4-years under the guidance of Coach Bierwert, “the mastermind,” who is the epitome of a dedicated and inspiring coach.

What was the most challenging part of your swim?

Abby: There were two parts of my Catalina Crossing that were particularly difficult. At about 3 hours in I started to really feel the mental strain of swimming alone in the dark in the middle of the ocean. I started to think, how am I going to do this for 8 more hours, but I convinced myself to keep swimming. The other hard part came when I could see the shore but it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. By that point, my shoulders were aching but I knew I was so close to shore so I kept swimming.

Eliza: The first three hours of my swim were really tough because it was pitch black at the beginning and I didn’t realize that due to the position of the safety boat I was inhaling fumes. The fumes made me really sick. Once the sun rose and I figured out what was happening I had my kayaker reposition us away from the fumes. Quitting or getting out was never an option but the beginning was definitely tough.

Paige: There is nothing easy about swimming seven, 15-20 mile marathon swims for 7 consecutive days. The muscle breakdown, logistical preparations, emphasis on recovery, sunburn, and exhaustion that occur when one swims for 39 hours can be overwhelming…. and that’s not even talking about the courses, weather, winds and currents! Without my support system of my family, knowledge and positivity from my kayaker, alert and intelligent race directors, and the synergy from the other swimmers, this wouldn’t have been possible.

What advice would you give a future OW swimmer?

Abby: Don’t let doubts (your own or other people’s) get in the way of achieving your dreams.

Eliza: Do it! Open water swimming is not for the faint of heart but it is a challenging, rewarding, and exhilarating experience. It is incredible what you can accomplish when you dedicate yourself to a goal. The human body is resilient and it’s really your mind that you have to get on board, but once you have the mental toughness, you can do anything.

Paige: You know yourself best. Make sure you are clear on the “why” before you get started. That “why” will help power you through your most vulnerable times.

How did it feel to be a part of the “marathon swimming fempire”?

Abby: The support of other Smithies during my training was invaluable. To be able to talk to Paige and Eliza daily helped me to get through all the ups and downs of marathon training.

Eliza: The best part was the support, love, and empowerment you get when you are part of a team of strong women! Even though marathon swimming is an “individual sport” it takes a team and environment of positivity and guidance to pull off any of these swims, and that’s what Paige and Abby gave to me everyday. Overall, I am so proud of the nine individual swims, and the three records we accomplished as a marathon swimming fempire this summer.

Paige: Abby and Eliza reminded me of how exciting it can be to plan and train for a marathon swim. In life, it’s always more fun to be able to share in success with others. I am grateful they allowed me to be a part of their journeys and narratives. It further proved to me that Smithies run the world.

“Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction.” 

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