This Above All Series

This Above All: It Still Hasn’t Hit Me

Reading Time: 6 minutes

And it honestly might not for some time.

Every day since Saturday, JP has said “hey babe, look, you have trophies. No one came and took them away.” I know why he’s saying this and I do appreciate it, but at the same time, I feel indifferent.

I had a lot of excitement for Saturday’s competition leading up to the day, but on Saturday morning I woke up and it didn’t feel like show day. I had all my meals ready, my suitcase packed. I did forget a few things, but it wasn’t the end of the world, I figured it out. Getting to the venue made it more real. It was more intimate than the past two shows I’ve done and I really liked that. But with intimacy comes a few downfalls. Competitors were on top of each other backstage and I felt bad for having to sit in the middle of the room, but that’s where there was space. I also wasn’t the only one in the middle of the room.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I leaned out pretty fast and I realized that I was creating more loose skin than I had anticipated. That’s why this is my last season. Not because I don’t love competing, but my body is physically outgrowing the sport in a way. I can’t handle that level of leanness. Mentally, I also feel ready to take on new challenges.

I picked this show because it meant I could maintain for a few weeks and start my season sooner, almost a month sooner. It would give me a base line and I could figure out where progress can be made, if it can be made. It would give me time between a first and second and third show. Time would be on my side.

I’ve never done this show and I knew it was smaller than the previous two I’ve done, but no one knew what to expect when we showed up on Saturday. I had the chance to meet a few people. I had met a woman named Nicole in January and we hung out all day backstage. However, one thing I really missed was the chance to sit around and wait to get on stage and really talk with people. Backstage we were rushing around. Getting hair and make up done. Pumping up and timing out meals. My meal timing for Saturday was off and I could feel my sugar hit the floor. The rush didn’t make it less exciting, but it made it seem less real as time flew by. I felt like if I blinked then the show would be over. This made me frustrated and I’m sure it showed. I was frustrated because I can’t control time and I really wanted to.

Having Ali with me helped keep me level headed as I tried to find everything I needed. I know there were times she couldn’t tell if she was helping or not, but I told her she helped, she helped a lot.

I loved sharing my day with everyone. I was sending texts when I could to a former client who was competing in Arizona for her first time. We took some photos backstage. Ali took over phone while I was on stage. I received a ton of messages thanking me for giving her my phone so some of you could tune into the live stream.

I don’t know if it’s truly about the size of the show or a few of the comments I received, but the past few days I haven’t felt like I did at the start of peak week. I started peak week 10 days before my show – that’s how I designed my protocol – and I felt excited to try out the protocol that I created. It actually worked and that makes me super pumped for the next show! I was slowly packing up my bag and mentally preparing. The countdown had started for the show and Ali’s arrival. But right now, I’m having to remind myself that it’s not about how many show up that day, it’s about who shows up that day. It’s about the willingness to put myself out of my comfort zone.

I didn’t go into this show thinking I could place, I had thought about it, but that wasn’t my expectation.I’m shocked that I placed, but I’m more shocked that I’m having a hard time enjoying it. It only took a few comments for me to feel undeserving.

That’s the current state of mind. “I’m undeserving.” That’s the biggest pile of bullshit.

It took just over four years to lose the weight – yes, that includes two bikini competitions during the time. Competing was never about losing weight for health,  it has always been about the challenge and being an actual competitor. I texted a few of my friends after I got my tan and had a chance to looked at myself in the mirror in my suit. I said, I finally feel like a competitor. I said this as if feeling had to do with the physical. They may be intertwined, but they are not 100% dependent on each other. I have been a competitor since I started training and diving into this sport almost three years ago. But it’s the words of strangers, of other competitors, of non-competitors who don’t understand, that have made me feel like I’m not. I have pep talks with myself more than you know.

I prepped with a specific lifting structure and nutrition plan for nine weeks before Saturday, but I’ve been doing everything I can to work towards the bigger goal for almost three years. It’s about being better than you were the last time.

Every person that showed up on Saturday has worked hard, whether it’s been a short preparation or a long preparation. Whether they follow a meal plan or not, use a coach or coach themselves. They are putting themselves into the spotlight for a few seconds to have all the hard work be judged. We put ourselves in a position where judgement is subjective and you truly have no idea what will be considered a winning physique. You need to be open mindful that points added to your score are there because it’s relative to those on the stage in the moment. You ask for feedback and you look to improve. In my mind, it needs to be about more than just winning a piece of plastic because only five people get to take one home and the rest go home with memories.

I couldn’t believe how many people were just as excited about show day when I announced it last Thursday, but it was the few negative comments that really stuck with me. I’m human, sue me. I’m constantly surprised and I really shouldn’t be. I also say that all the time. But the negative comments I received over the weekend are also the reason I didn’t immediately share show dates with people outside of my friend group. I know that I can only brush off so much before it gets to me. I can only journal and read and go for walks and nap and go to the gym before it frustrates me and makes me feel defeated.

I feel like I’m constantly talking about how words impact others, how they impact me. I feel like while I try to be positive and push out negativity, I’m focusing so much on how I can prevent it from bothering me. It bothers me because it makes me think – I don’t think I’ve ever cared so much about someone who I don’t like that I went out of my way to tell them all the ways they could be disliked. It bothers me because I can list a handful of things I’m doing that are more productive while these people are wasting energy and time being assholes to strangers on the internet. Can you imagine a world where everyone did one nice thing for someone else, or just didn’t do anything ridiculous rude or mean? I get it, we all have bad days and sometimes that gets projected, but seriously, some people are just plain mean.

I am a normal person with extraordinary hobbies. All of those competitors are normal people with extraordinary hobbies. We all find flaws in ourselves. We all push through and reach for goals that some days feel unattainable. We are not super heroes. We are not celebrities. Do not make us those things.

We are sharing our journey’s to connect with others when we struggle to find those connections in those physically around us. We are looking for accountability. We are looking for new ideas. We have good days and bad days. We have eating disorders in our history, we have struggles that we over come. Daily motivation is fleeting, but we dream bigger and keep moving on.

When you tell me I can’t or I’m not worthy or I am less than, it is a reflection on how you truly are, not me. It makes me wonder who pissed in your coffee that morning or pushed you down when you were in high school. Maybe, you just never learned that your opinion actually doesn’t matter.  I have to tell myself that every day. I have said it before, I am my biggest bully and when there’s already doubt floating around from my own words, yours just are lighter fluid.

So yes, the show on Saturday was a little smaller than I thought it would be. But I placed. I placed 4th. I’m a million times okay with not being first. Because Cristina five years ago would’ve laughed in your face if you told her that she could even dream something like this up. I’m going to find a home for the buttons I’ve collected with my numbers from my shows. I’m going to find a home for my two trophies. I’m going to tell JP that he doesn’t need to remind me that my trophies are still here. I’m going to tell myself that those who are assholes to strangers aren’t adding anything constructive to the world around them.

I thought I needed therapy, then I got more involved in social media. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought I was.

<3 Cristina