I grew up as a pretty active kid with expectations of being active. My mom was always doing something, whether it be going for walks with other mom or biking from Duluth to Minneapolis. My dad had a weight room in our basement that rivaled the local gyms and was a high school football coach. I grew up playing 3-4 sports a year, most of which overlapped at some point. I was a decent athlete but I really do not remember those memories as a kid.
What I do remember is “Ray’s the fattest one of us all” or “We have summer weights and winter weights, Ray is just always fat” and “Why is your upper back ripped and the rest of you just fat?” I remember all these comments still to this day. I knew this, but to have other people point it out before the age of 12 stings a little bit. This was also around the time that the person who had been sexually abusing me had stopped. So to say the least, I was a little confused. Throw this on top of entering Junior High, puberty, girls, sports, riding the bus, bullies, holy shit I was a mess. I missed class a lot in 7th grade because I had “headaches” but more so I had anxiety and I didn’t know what that was or how to verbalize it, so I lied and said I had a “headache”. It got to the point that I missed so much school that my parents got the truancy letter stating that I had missed too many days of school. My grades suffered as well, I was a A-B student up until 7th grade where I started getting D’s and C’s. I knew enough to know that I didn’t like how I felt and I needed to do something. Well after a shit show of a year of 7th grade, that summer I started lifting weights at the other middle school as part of a summer program. My confidence improved and I stopped trying to fit in with people who were complete shit bags now that I look back on it (If you are reading this and are wondering if it’s you, it’s probably not because I am not friends with you on any social media). I also started to get good at sports, mainly football because I loved it so much.
8th grade was probably the most fun year I have ever had in school including high school. I was confident, sports were good, I liked my friends, girls noticed me and I was a year clear of being abused.
……Fast forward to adulthood.
I thought my issues were behind me but I still couldn’t shake the anxiety. I tried everything: lifting more, pouring my soul into powerlifting, running marathons, sleeping around and being a man slut, treating people like shit, doing everything in my power to protect part of me that was broken from never confronting what was really wrong. I had no idea who I was or what my purpose in life was. Well enter meeting Jolene; she was the woman who completely changed my outlook on life. I don’t even think she knows the impact she had on me from our first date. She brought out what had been missing inside me, I deserved to be happy. I don’t know how this happened, I really don’t. She really didn’t do anything spectacular to make me feel that way, but somehow it happened. We dated and my feelings of insecurity weren’t there from the beginning. I trusted her. I hadn’t fully trusted a girl since I was 16 years old. We supported each other from day 1 and she pointed me in the directions of a running program as I was training for my 1st half marathon. She also encouraged me to stop placing my finger in the bottom of my shirt to prevent it from sticking to my belly.
……Fast forward to now.
We are married and have a daughter. I never thought in a million years that this would happen to me. I am completely happy in my personal life. Ya, it’s fucking tough sometimes when daycare calls because Sutton is sick and we need to drop what we are doing to go get her, but we are an awesome team and get shit done.
My purpose is to help people. I have figured this out in the last month or so. That is my true purpose. I am pretty good at it too. I work as a health coach 20 hours a week helping people pretty much deal with their health issues/mental health (life is crazy AF). I am a personal trainer in person 15 hours a week, working with people to become their best self. I work as an online personal trainer pretty much every waking hour because I don’t make people wait. I respond as soon as possible to text/DM/emails/calls. It drives Jolene crazy because I am glued to my phone but I do not know any other way. I work with 1stPhorm just as much it’s become part of who I am as a person, the mindset, the culture. The passion is who I have always been, now I am just ok with showing it to the world.
I am not sharing this to look for pity, I am sharing this because I know there’s others out there that feel like they don’t deserve anything because that was beat into their head. I am sharing this because you can pick yourself up, dust off and kick fucking ass in life. It took me 21 years to realize this, but you know what, I am ok with everything that has happened to me in my life because it made me who I am today.
So thank you to every single person that made the last 21 years hard. I will forgive you but never forget.