I stood in the shower hours after giving birth to my son. I was nineteen years old, and here I was standing in the shower of McMaster Hospital looking down at my deflated stomach. I remember feeling absolutely mortified at how gross my stomach looked. Shouldn't I be elated that I had a perfect baby boy sleeping in his bassinet beside my bed? Instead I was grabbing the excess skin on my stomach wondering how I was going to get rid of it. These are the things that other Mother's don't dare talk about.
Landon James. That's what we named our son. He was perfect from the moment he arrived. I knew I was going to fall in love, but what I didn't know is how my entire life would change from the moment he was placed into my arms. I looked right into his eyes, and I knew my soul was forever intertwined into his. We had our moment right away. The tears welled up in my eyes as we stared at each other, and I promised him in that moment that I would love him with all of my heart.
Just because we have children doesn't mean that our life is over. Women are shocked when I tell them I am a Mom. They look at my body as they pick their jaw up off the floor. My son is eleven now, and there's no excuse why after eleven years I shouldn't be active, and healthy. Having children is not an excuse to let yourself go. I was back in shape in less than a year after having Landon. This either inspired other women, or it floored them. When Landon was a toddler, I was often asked how I looked so good for being a Mom. Being fit gave me the desire to inspire other women. I figured if I could do it, so could they. I started helping others in 2012 when I became a personal trainer at GoodLife.
A couple months after having Landon, I decided that running would become apart of my daily routine. I picked a route, and I began running every afternoon. I started to recognize buildings, and stores as I ran by them each day. The one that stood out the most to me was Joslins on Concession. It was a Mixed Martial Arts studio, and everybody in Hamilton knew that Jeff Joslin's family owned it. Jeff was a big deal at that time. It was no secret that he was given the opportunity to fight in the UFC against well known Josh Koscheck. I started to imagine myself as a fighter. It wasn't long before I mustered up enough courage to walk in, and sign up for twenty kick boxing classes.
While kickboxing was fun, I enjoyed throwing punches more than anything. Unfortunately Joslin's didn't have a strict boxing program, but they were kind enough to lead me to a place that specialized in boxing. Premier Fitness with Brodie Boone. I walked in like I owned the place, but I was put in my place very quickly after doing thirty minutes of pads for the first time. I ended up with my head in the garbage puking. I promised myself that day I would quit smoking. But I didn't. It would be many years as an on again/off again smoker before I finally quit for good.
I struggled for many years, and boxing would continue to be my saving grace. While searching for my purpose, I got lost in the chaos. Having bouts, and tournaments smartened me up for weeks at a time as I prepared to fight. As soon as the fights were over, I was back to making poor decisions, and putting toxins into my body.
There were life lessons throughout my twenties that I had to learn the hard way. I lost friends along the way. Some were lost tragically while others just went their separate ways. I coped with my pain by masking it. Drinking on weekends was one way, toxic relationships was another.
I hid my disastrous lifestyle from Landon by pretending everything was okay on the days I had him. I tried my best to shelter him from my poor choices, and bad relationships. I used to joke around to people that I had a double life. Looking back, it's not funny. I was clearly unwell, and needed help. Luckily through the darkness, my faith led me to the light. It took me ten years to dig myself out of the chaos.
Life as a boxer has been the most rewarding challenge of my life. If you gathered a hundred people, I bet you one out of a hundred people has what it takes to be a boxer. Maybe even less. Yes, that is correct. One percent of people has what it takes to be a boxer. That's not a statistic you find on the internet. That's just my opinion, and educated guess from the ten years I've been doing this.
Boxing saved my life. There were times I felt so numb to the pain. Boxing made me feel alive again. Boxing kept me sane. Boxing gave me a purpose. When I felt I had a purpose, that's when I worked my hardest. When I worked my hardest, I was proud of who I was, and what I was teaching Landon.
What started as a way to lose weight turned into a lifelong commitment. I have spent the last decade dedicated to the sport of boxing. Whether it's coaching, or training, I have poured my heart and soul into boxing.
Boxing has been apart of every single day since I found it. There isn't a day that goes by that boxing isn't on my mind. It has become my therapy, my career path, and the dream that just keeps getting bigger. From amateur boxer, to pro boxer. From boxing instructor, to boxing coach. This sport has led me to my purpose. My purpose is to help others using the sport that saved my life, and made me into the best version of myself.
I will continue to challenge myself as an athlete. I don't plan on being the best boxer in the world. I plan on being the best boxer I can be. I will continue to challenge myself as a coach. I don't claim to know everything about boxing. All I know is that I want to help women become the best versions of themselves. I want to coach women how to love themselves. The best starting point is giving them an outlet: Boxing.
To my son Landon: You can be whoever you want to be, but make sure you find your purpose along the way. You were born to help others. Your soul is beautiful. Follow your heart, and let me walk beside you as you make your dreams come true. You can have anything you want in life if you're willing to work hard for it.