Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Confessions of an Ex-Bikini Girl: A Giant Public Apology

Really Robin?  REALLY?  No

Let's play Jeopardy:

"People like to see my progress pics.  It motivates them."
"I just post ab pics to show people that they can do it too."
"It's not a booty shot, I'm showing everyone how hard I work on my glutes."

What are things I tell myself when I'm lying?  Ding ding ding!

Yeah, I was THAT girl.  Picking up my shirt, slight head tilt to the right, ab shot in the bathroom mirror.  And post - "Abs are made in the kitchen.  Keep that diet tight!"  Timer cam pic of my ass in a bikini - no wait I don't like the lighting.  Retake.  No I liked my pose better the first time.  Retake.  And post - "So proud of my glute progress.  Squats baby!"

Chances are if you're reading this blog, you have at least one friend on Facebook who does what I used to do.  Hell, maybe you ARE that person.  So let me explain for you the mentality behind these pics.

Competing as a physique athlete is a giant mind-f*ck.  Your life revolves around how you look.  That was my life for 4 years.  So as for the "progress pics" - they are posted from a place of needing validation.  Although I'd never admit it then (nor will the girls who do it now) I NEEDED to see people liking my picture.  I NEEDED to read the comments telling me I looked great, telling me I was motivating (which I wasn't), telling me they wish they could look like that, telling me I was pretty, telling me the wanted to be just... like... me!  And I'm happy they're not.  That is not a good person to be.  I'd tell myself I posted those pics to motivate others or to "hold myself accountable."  But looking back now, I know that's a load of crap.  I wasn't posting those pics to motivate other people, I posted those pics because the comments/likes/shares motivated me!  They fueled the ginormous ego-beast inside me.  I wanted to hear from other people how awesome I was.  And that's... well... sad, pathetic, childish.

These "progress pics" weren't motivating.  They were a GIANT neon sign to the world screaming, "I'm insecure.  Like my ab pic!  LIKE IT!!!!  LIKE MY ABS!  LIKE ME!!!!"  And yes - it makes me a little sick to my stomach now that I was that girl.  That I advertised my insecurities. I wore them like a badge of freaking honor - Lieutenant Robin von Insecurity, reporting for duty SIR!

So to all of you who I annoyed the living crap out of with my "progress pics" - I present to you on a silver platter a giant heart-felt apology. I'm sorry.  I was a chick-douche. Douchette?

During my last prep I did not post one single progress pic. I knew it was going to be my last competition ever, and this time I wanted to do it with a little dignity, a little pride, and an ounce of maturity.

And now that I'm coaching competition girls and nutrition clients, I STILL don't post ab/booty shots to try and round up more clients. How my abs or butt look on any given day has nothing to do with where I've come from, what I know, and how my clients respond.  I'm a well educated woman, my clients speak for themselves and THEY are my best advertisements, not myself.  I'd like to think my clients, prospective clients, and society in general will respect me more if I carry myself as a strong knowledgeable woman than as an insecure girl.  And well - I would add "professional" to the strong knowledgeable part - but I think I talk about poop too much for that.  Hey, still gotta be me, right? 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Letter to Myself - Half a Lifetime Ago

Me at 17
Dear 17 Year Old Robin,

You’re graduating high school this year!  Can you believe it?  This senior year you’ve just started to embark upon is going to be one of the most memorable years of your life.  I know your high school experience up until this point hasn’t been the greatest.  Teenagers can be cruel to kids who actually like learning, who don’t know how to dress “cool”, are socially awkward, and aren’t the “prettiest peach in the forest” – you’ll find out what that means when you’re 33.  But guess what?  Like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

College is going to have more highs and lows than you can possibly imagine.  Continuing to compete in sports acrobatics for your first 2 years is going to give you more confidence and discipline than you can comprehend.  And when you quit, you are going to feel LOST.  And scared.  You’re going to join a sorority which will bring you some of the most amazing friends – and will also show you the kind of woman you don’t want to be.  But unfortunately you’re going to have to become that woman first.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to continue to fall into the deep depression that has been setting in since you were in 10th grade.  And that depression is going to grow and manifest in you – exponentially.  You’re going to turn to alcohol to deal with it, and sex.  You are going to HATE yourself.  You’re going to hate yourself so much that one day you’re going to learn the horrendous buzzing in your ears that results from chasing a bottle of Advil with a bottle of NyQuil and vodka.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to graduate with a degree in math – whoda thunk? You’re going to be a teacher and learn how truly patient and strong teachers are.  And you’re not going to share those gifts.  So you’ll move on, to another job that you don’t love.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to start competing in fitness competition.  You, on stage in a bikini.  Remember that little wall-flower you were through high school?  She takes a flying leap out of her shell – more like a swan dive into an empty pool. You’ll obsess over how you look, over what other people think of you, over every little fat cell.  You’ll spend 4 years of your life dieting and gaining, dieting and gaining.  You’ll stare at yourself in the mirror no less than 20 times every... single… DAY.  The very thing you started to build confidence will completely destroy it.  You’re going to deal with feeling ugly, and fat.  But like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

You’re going to enter a relationship with the most amazing man.  Jesus.  Yeah, remember him?  One day He’s going to knock on the door of your heart, and you’ll finally invite Him in.  He’s going to show you that your fitness career was never about you, it was about everyone else BUT you.  You met some of the most incredible people. You found friendship, you found lovers, you found people who had a place in your heart before you even met them.  You found that you have a gift for helping people.  That love of learning that you were once ashamed of will prove to be one of the things you value most about yourself.  That love will help you change the lives of others, give them their health back, find a confidence in themselves that they’ve never seen before.  And every night before bed, you’re going to pray that this is one thing in life that does last.

So 17 Year Old Robin, you have a crazy, beautiful, tragic, exciting, scary, depressing, joyful life ahead of you.  So this feeling you have now of being scared where life is going to take you… like all things in life – it doesn’t last.

Almost 34 Year Old Robin