April 10th, 2010




April 10th, 2010...


Whenever this memory pops up I reflect on what a ride it took me to get “here”, for this picture, and then to reflect on how the years have been to me after 💕


... Leading up to 2010 I was a

  • chainsmoker

  • gambling addict

  • buried in debt

  • was involved in toxic relationships

  • worked 3 jobs at times to feed my addictions (gambling,smoking,partying)

And I was in a vicious cycle to try and be a good mom, but had the fear of missing out, was scared to be alone, yet I compromised who I was as a person and took what I could get in relationships. I wasn't a saint and I wasn't a role model by any means, but I had worth, I just didn't know how to tap into that quite yet.


I read a book that someone had given me two years previous to this, "The Secret", I've written about this before, and how it changed my life, but it really did! Oprah was raving about it on her talk shows and it was quite a big deal from 2006 on. There was a lot of controversy around it and others were split 50/50 on whether you could really just "think" your way into happiness, and positive change, but I promise you, it works, and so does the 'law of attraction'.


This doesn't mean that there won't be bad days, or that shitty things won't still happen to you, and it doesn't mean that you are going to "think" your way into being rich, you still have to PUT IN THE WORK, but the way you change your mindset and energy, really does have an incredible amount of power or positive change.


I sat down one day and started to write out what I wanted my life to look like, what did I want for my family, my kids, my health, my career, and my relationships. I started simple. I started with the pros and cons of being in my toxic relationship because if I'm being honest, I was in that relationship 10 years longer than I should have been already and for what?! There was no biological clock ticking, I had 3 amazing kids and wasn't having any more. I had been married and divorced. I didn't own anything. I didn't owe it to anyone to stay... and there were a hell of a lot of cons on that paper. Now it took me 2 more years, almost to the day after this photo was taken, to leave, but that's not the point. I did it!


I remember sitting down at a pub one afternoon with my girlfriend that said I'm sick of hearing about it, I'm sick of you being miserable. I knew what to do and I had the tools to do it, it just took a minute longer... and if you're reading even to this point and you can relate, if there's anything that this last year has taught you, it's that time is precious.


I then wrote down the big stuff, getting out of debt and fixing my credit, purchasing my first house, getting healthy, (not skinny, but healthy), and quitting both gambling and smoking. I thought that the smoking and gambling were going to be the hardest to quit, I was really addicted.


Over the course of two years, I quit gambling, and smoking, both cold turkey, but it helped that I started to place myself in and around better environments, I joined gamblers anonymous and starting talking to others about my addiction so that others were aware of my triggers and bad habits. I had to call the collectors so that I could make payment arrangements and work on building my credit back up, and I became more vulnerable and open about my faults and weaknesses so that I could get better. I had goals, big goals, they didn't start big but as I gained confidence, I started to write down bigger ones and things started to change.


The house happened with the help of my parents, and I had 1 year to assume the mortgage in my name, I did it in 6 months. I started taking combative training classes 4-6 times a week which also taught me a lot of discipline and gave me a tone of support and structure... which led me to where this picture was taken.



Two years, a lot of tears, change, and growth, and I entered my one and only figure competition, it was supposed to be two but I'll explain that in a second.


... did you know that the average time that it takes you to train for something like this is 1 year?

... do you know how hard that is for someone who loves pizza and doughnuts?

... and do you know that I'm a very stubborn person who needs constant change and variety?


Well all of these things were the biggest challenge for me but I did it!


The morning this picture was taken I weighed in at 132 and was 36 years old. There was only one other competitor who was around the same age as me, she placed 1st I might add, but the rest were an average of 18 years old and approx. 15 pounds lighter than me.


Ice chips for breakfast, another coat of self-tanner, hair, makeup, jewelry, outfits and shoes... let's do this!


I walked out on stage that day, nerves like I’d never felt before, posed, 1/4 turned, flexed, and held my form and breath.


I placed 7th, 2nd last to be exact, and I felt amazing! It wasn't about putting on a bikini, or to be judged, scored, critiqued, analyzed, or in the spotlight, it was one of the hardest things that I had ever done or trained for, but when I committed to it, I had to finish, and regardless of how much better I could have done, I walked out on stage that day.


The irony of how I was extremely insecure when I was younger, always having my hair covering my face or baggy close on to hide, and then to be graded by a panel of others that at the end of the day, really shouldn't make a difference on how great you've done or feel. It's amazing enough to be part of the 1% to even get up on stage for something like this.


10 days later I was to compete in the Provincial Competition, but on Wednesday morning, 4 days after the show, I got a call that my personal trainer had died of a heart attack, he was 42 years old. I don't know why I quit, maybe I needed an excuse and this was easier, I know he would have been prouder of me if I had gone through with the other show, but that was it, I was done.


Shortly after the show, I got pretty sick, it was a lot harder on my body than I had anticipated and I really didn't know how to eat again properly, but eventually it all balance out. Most importantly it taught me a lot of valuable lessons.


First and foremost...

the weight, diet and exercise was not attainable, balance is of number one importance, and if you put your mind to it, you can do it, anything!


Struggles are real, ups and downs will happen, life is a rollercoaster ride that I think we should all both enjoy and be aware of, and your situations, circumstances or past, DO NOT DEFINE YOU!!!


I'm now happily married, quit my 18 year government job that I was more than grateful for, still don't smoke, love TikTok, have played the odd blackjack game when in Vegas, lost it all, work out when I can, "make the time" when my friends or family ask anything of me, take risks, dance like nobody's watching at any opportunity, have a beautiful home that's not paid for, still have debt, own two businesses that do okay, am never too proud to do what I have to do for money, have 6 amazing grandchildren, I'm a workaholic, have an incredible and supportive family, and I've still got a lot to learn, grow and do! #enjoythedance #takethechances #dowhatmakesyouhappy and #thankyouforbeinghere


🥂Joelle


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