AUTHENTIC. RELATABLE. TRANSPARENT. DIRECT.
"As I wrote this tears streamed down my face. Not because of sadness but because I am finally living my life for me and not anyone else."
Geesh! My life has definitely been a rollercoaster from childhood to adulthood. Truth is I don't remember much of my childhood. I think I honestly chose to forget due to dramatic experiences. My parent's are divorced.
I grew up in a family of secrets. I grew up in a middle class, military raised family, with a mother who has mental illness and a drug addiction problem. Though I haven't seen her in over 25 years I have spoken to her briefly (twice) over this time. I no longer blame her for my childhood because she did the best she could.
My dad has always been in my life even when my mother didn't want him to be. He never did or has spoken negatively about my mother. When I was 16 years of age my father received custody of me and me and through his actions of leading by example he showed me that I CAN achieve anything I want but I will have to work for it. Nothing will be given to me.
Fast forward to my adult years, on February 15, 2005, I lost my oldest daughter Sydney to cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 9. This is when I completely "checked out." My half functioning world went to living reckless. My depression and anxiety were in overdrive. I was afraid to seek help because I thought they would admit me into a mental hospital for psychological evaluation. I became a bitter and mean woman who would bring anyone on her "misery loves company ride."
The next few years I self-medicated with food, alcohol, laxatives, weight loss pills/shots, and anything else to make the emotional pain go away. I would have a total abdominal hysterectomy (mid 30's). Then, a week before my 37th birthday I was diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease. I had two choices, lose weight or be a guinea pig to medication. This is when I hit rock bottom. I knew I had put on weight and was unhealthy and damaging my body but didn’t care. On the outside I was smiling (all a facade) and on the inside I was in a very deep dark ugly place of no longer wanting to exist. My self-esteem went out window, I became a people pleaser and non existent mother to my youngest daughter Jordyn. I was becoming the women I didn't want to me, "my mother."
In 2012, I documented my journey via Instagram. It was never for people to like or comment, but for accountability to myself. You see for so many years I would start and stop with goals and not follow through because it was too hard, frustration, and getting in my own way. On April 29, 2015, I received an email from Black Women Losing Weight that read, "Hi Gayna, We would love to feature your story on our FB page and blog on May 20th." Little did I know that feature (blackweightlosssuccess.com) would change my life drastically. I had no idea that my journey would inspire and motivate so many people, both women and men. In August 2015, I completed my goal (for my 40th birthday) of becoming a NPC Figure Competitor where I placed 3rd (Open), 4th (Masters) and 5th (Grand Masters). On September 9, 2015, I resigned from my full time job and faced my fear head o of following my purpose and passion of becoming a Lifestyle Coach, and is now helping hundreds of people move past challenges that stand in the way of meeting their goals.
Longer video version :-)