It’s been exactly 1 year, 6 months and 7 days since I was shown my MRI and given the results: a severally herniated disc between my C6 & C7 vertebrae. I sat there failing miserably at holding back tears as the doctor explained to me what the images meant. He said I would need to be careful with sudden neck movements while performing, that I would have to give up running for lower impact cardio, I needed to stop pole and aerial training and the bonus, I would never ride another rollercoaster for the rest of my life.
I was devastated, simply devastated.
At the time I had just given resignation to my full time job in the Fashion Industry to further pursue my burlesque career. My plan was to pick up more shifts at the strip club I had been working weekends at for the past year as my main source of income. As I cried my way out of the office all I could think was how was I going to do this now??! How could I possibly still strip full time when fingers are numb and neck muscles are in painful knots. How would I be able to perform at the same capacity when I was told not to make any sudden or drastic neck movements while dancing? Was this really goodbye to hair flips? I thought I had just made the biggest mistake of my life by quitting my day job and the cherry on top my health insurance just ran out.
I spent the next few months with painful knots in my muscles and tingling shot down my arm if I held my neck in certain positions for too long. I slept on a heating pad most nights and practically bathed in tiger balm. I was so afraid of injuring myself more I was to scared to go back to the gym. I truly thought I would never be free from the constant pain I was in. With these increased feelings of hopelessness and depression looming around every corner I decided that despite my fear I had to do something. So, six months after my diagnosis I signed up at my local gym and invested in a personal trainer. I went through a couple trainers before I met Winsome White, an ex-stripper, ex-body builder who whipped my ass gently but firmly enough in our first session for me to know…
This was my new trainer!
Winsome was exactly what I had been looking for, she pushed me hard in every workout but listened when my neck and shoulders were tense, or a particular exercise caused a ripple of tingles to soar down my arm. She would make modifications during every workout to fit my needs. She slowly helped me lose the fear of working out not to mention what a relief it was to have a trainer that I could talk freely with about my jobs, who understood where I was coming from and that had experience relevant to my lifestyle.
Leg days quickly became my favorite because I could challenge myself without trepidation and the gains came much quicker than with my weak upper body. The first few months my neck would always tighten up after an upper body workout but as we slowly strengthened the muscles in my back and shoulders I had less and less pain. It was only a few months into my new workout regiment that I started living for the gym and how I felt afterwards. I needed my workouts, if I missed a Monday my whole week was thrown off. I finally understood all those “Never miss a Monday” Fitspo posts all over the internet. Now just over a year since getting back into the gym I’m stronger than I have ever been and can complete weight lifting routines I never would have attempted pre-injury. To my amazement the thing I had feared the most, getting back into the gym, turned out to be exactly what was healing me. Funny how things work out that way.
Though despite feeling great again, I was still struggling with my long term “career” goals. What the hell did I want to do in conjunction with being a burlesque performer because I realized I can’t be a club dancer forever, nor do I want to be, but it’s great for now. I did a lot of exploring and researching just about everything under the sun before it dawned on me that the gym had become my happy place. By taking that first step of getting back into the gym, by meeting and working with Winsome, my life had completely changed. It’s then that I started to realize I wanted to do the same for others, but specifically women in the exotic arts of burlesque, stripping and all those aligned. I wanted to do it in a way that celebrates body positivity and being your own fit. I did some more research and finally purchased the materials I would need to get my fitness certification.
That’s where I am now, that’s why I’m writing this blog, sharing my journey of what I’ve learned over the past year and everything I’ll learn along the way to obtaining my certification. I want to offer that relatable voice of understanding the stresses of juggling multiple jobs, staying out late for gigs or work only to have to be up early the next morning, the constant battle of how to eat and stay fit while traveling for shows and everything in between. I plan on sharing recipes that can be adapted to multiple dietary issues (I’ve got plenty of issues myself), tips and tricks for organization, weekly workouts and fitness inspiration to help mix things up, and overcoming the struggle of living a double life. I want to help you with your journey of ….
How to live the hustle life as fit & focused as possible.
If you have questions, comments or concerns you’d life to share please leave me comments for contact me further via the contact page.