My Most Valuable Obstacle...

Imagine being someone who has promoted and taught health and fitness their whole lives only to realize they might not be as healthy as they thought they were.  Imagine slowly losing your hair, patch by patch, inch by inch, and having no idea why.

That's what was going on behind the scenes of this photo.  I was doing a presentation for a Mom's club on Self-Care. No big deal right. Speaking and teaching are one of the things I LOVE doing. Face to face with people in the thick of it. If I can provide even 1 tip or strategy that helps them go " I never thought of it that way." or " I can try that!" I feel as if I've helped someone else get a little farther along in their journey to health and happiness. 
At this time last year my hair had also started to fall out more rapidly and this was one of the last times I wore it uncovered in public. Very shortly after this, the bald spots became too large to cover and beanies, scarves and hoodies became my best buddies. 
I was also desperately trying to figure out if this was something I was doing to myself, was a symptom of something more serious and was searching EVERYWHERE for answers, solutions, a sign...anything.

I purposely never shared this photo because of how horrible I felt my hair looked, and as a result I believed I LOOKED HORRIBLE. I felt that was all people would see and they would make assumptions, decisions, judgments on WHO I WAS based on HOW I LOOKED.

While playing sports had given me strength and confidence in my body, how it looked and what it could do, even after having children, my face, my hair and how it all tied to my images and perceptions of beauty were a completely different story. 
I was teased frequently as a teenager for having a larger, less than dainty and really Roman looking, Barbara Streisand- ish nose. 
I had a ton of freckles and super pail skin, yet lived in an area where dark skin and dark hair were the norm and what I thought was gorgeous, and universally agreed upon as beautiful by others. Every time anyone called me ugly words or names, they stuck as a truth I chose to believe, because I couldn't see past them in myself. 
This wasn't reality...but it was the reality I choose to see and believe.

When I finally chose to look at this issue of losing my hair not as a problem to be fixed by something external but an OPPORTUNITY to change my views, beliefs and perceptions of MYSELF, everything changed. 
When I looked at this as a chance to silence forever the 15 year old mean girl in my mind and summon instead the WISE, WARRIOR WOMAN, EVERYTHING CHANGED... most of all me.

It was a chance to stop giving power to things in my head that were not true, helpful, loving, supportive or empowering... and I took it.

It was a chance to redefine what beauty looked and felt like for me... and I took it.

It was a chance to be a living example to my children of how to shift from FEAR to FAITH in real time... and I took it.

It was a chance to move from an " Oh Sh#t" mindset to a " Hell Yes!" one, then repeat it in every area of my life.

One of my mentors ( thank you Roland Fisher) recently asked " What was your Most Valuable Obstacle" this year? What a great question right?

What is the thing this year that gave you the gift of growth, learning or understanding but at the time felt like it was going to break you?

For what it gave me, revealed in me, and catapulted me to embrace in myself and others.

What's even better is that after losing my hair I was honored to be asked to return and speak to this same moms club. By then I had become comfortable wearing wigs and going bad in public. I wore my wig into my presentation  and shared how the last time I was there I was dealing with something I hadn't shared with them. I told the story and halfway through it took off my wig. It felt as good to say and do as I imagined it would. 

After the presentation I had a woman come up to me and say " you know, I saw you walk in, all glamazon looking, with long hair and makeup and thought I don't have anything in common with her. And then you took off your wig and I realized you're just like me. " 

I almost cried right there. That's exactly the reason I share my story. To show WE ARE ALL more alike than we realize if we would just take off the wigs and truly see each other. 

What's your most valuable obstacle from this year? Share it below and let's celebrate it before using it as a stepping stone to future greatness. :)