I had pushed and pushed and pushed for over a year to make the launch of Body Buddies happen that I made any and every sacrifice possible. I isolated myself from friends. I slept an average of 3-4 hours each night. I made other sacrifices that those close to me know of and the struggles there. I worked, and I worked, and I worked. I gave my all. All in the midst of the end of nearly a year-long relationship that meant the world to me. I kept my fire roaring and believed that once I reached the point of "launch," that I would be okay. That I would be able to breathe.
The launch finally happened at the end of December. The books I had taken over a year to write, revise (multiple times), and edit, were finally published. They were beautiful. I cried when I held them. They were my babies. I had watched them develop and grow and finally enter the world to bless other people's lives. The website went live, easing the means of communication for the waves of emails that come filled with question after question after question. It gave me the ability to simply redirect inquirers to the place that held the answers to their questions.
Body Buddies became an LLC and plans to expand the company have been at the forefront of my mind. I've laughed at myself every time I remember that warm summer night in 2012 that I had the random idea to start a Facebook page and call it Body Buddies. I didn't think anything of it, other than I thought maybe then people wouldn't think I was as self-absorbed in my body as it seemed. I wanted them to see that my obsession could be used for good.
I have wanted so desperately to help people. I have wanted so desperately to be the relief that so many seek for, in finding the answers to their nutrition and exercise issues. I have wanted so badly to "fix" people. And sadly, I have had to learn that I cannot. Oh, how I've tried! Oh, how I've cried when I've realized that I cannot do it for anyone else! I cannot make them comply! I cannot make them exercise! I cannot give them the fire that I have burning within me! Oh, how it has been a process to learn to emotionally remove myself and simply teach and encourage.
What I thought would be a plateau of pushing and enjoying the place I had pushed so hard to reach has instead been a nightmare. My sleep decreased from 3-4 hours per night to 2-3 hours per night, and 2 of those nights each week I didn't sleep at all. Those I am close to in the bodybuilding world and who are helping me reach my goal of getting my Pro card this year (winning a Pro Qualifying figure competition will qualify me as a professional Figure competitor) chided me as my muscles cannot grow, and I cannot train hard enough to be competitive, if I am not sleeping! While knowing this logically, I could not, and would not, watch my baby I had worked so hard to form go under. And so, I kept pushing.
My phone constantly goes off with text messages, emails, Facebook and Instagram dings filled with questions and comments and people reaching out for help. Not only have I grown to resent my phone, but those I date and those I spend time with have grown resentful as well. A person was never born to sit behind a computer screen, iPad, and cell phone 20 hours each day. While I love the people I help, I've realized I am only one person. And I only have 24 hours in a day--like everyone else. Yet, I have continued pushing, trying to be there for everyone.
A person's mind and body is only so strong.
And so here I am, having shut down to the world and refusing to post or communicate with anyone until Monday morning, and having just woken up after sleeping 14 straight hours. I feel like this is my first day of being a human. Of having 2 seconds to even reflect and think for myself. I have been a daily journal-keeper my entire life--but have not made a journal entry in nearly a year. This will be the first.
Perhaps all entrepreneurs must go through this process. I've always heard that the first five years of starting a business are H-E-double hockey sticks. I can completely agree with that statement now, and it's only been one and a half years for me.
I'm grateful to the many people who have stuck by my side, in spite of me pushing them away. I realize I have alienated myself from those I care about. I hope they will accept my deepest apologies.
I'm grateful to my parents for loving me and encouraging me every step of the way. I'm grateful for the unselfishness of so many who have sought to help me grow my business and optimize the way I run it--Jared Peterson, Frank Gigante, Bensten Photography, Danny Eason, Paul Moore, Brandon Patch, and Gwen Coleman. I'm so grateful to my boss, Duane Toney, who has mentored and encouraged me as I have grown my business on the side of working for him full-time, then part-time, and now only a few hours a week (as I cannot remove myself from the business and employer who has shaped me over the past 2.5 years).
And so where do we go from here?
Life is all about baby steps, and I will continue taking those baby steps toward where I want to be. The quote below applies directly to everything I have been experiencing and feeling. I am determined to simply use this time to re-evaluate, re-direct, renew, re-charge, then press forward. And just as it says in Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."