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Life: A Grand Buffet - How Fitness Revived my Appetite for Living

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Life lays out a grand buffet of its choicest experiences for all of us. Some are bland, some spicy, some sweet. It takes some sugar and spice to ultimately make things nice.

As a child, my dream was to have a home of my own, be financially independent, own a red car, and be extremely successful and famous. There was also this vague vision I had of me on a stage, though I did not quite know why. My early childhood in India had a blend of bittersweet experiences that moulded my personality into that of a “people pleaser.” I was told that I was the ugliest child in the world and was responsible for my mother being a stay-at-home mom and giving up a career for me. Don’t get me wrong though, I do have many beautiful memories of my childhood but somehow this got buried in the subconscious mind and adversely affected me as a person. Everybody digests things differently and mine left me starved, thirsty, and craving for love, acknowledgement and appreciation. I regarded myself as a disappointment to my mother, a bad recipe, and held myself responsible for her unhappiness. Bending over backwards just to put a smile on her face, please her, and make her proud of me became second nature to me. This became a habit in dealing with everyone I interacted with in my life.

At the tender age of 15, I met the man who would be my husband. It was my first sip from the cup of romance, and I mistook his possessive nature as love. As a teenager, I made many mistakes; the most critical was having four secret abortions between ages 16 to 21 when I eloped and got married. My parents moved to Canada at this time. I never felt more alone in my life. But eventually life blessed me with the best treats in the world, my two children. I relish and cherish them with all my heart. However, my marriage was deteriorating, it felt claustrophobic. Mine was an interfaith marriage which demanded a lot from me, which I was more than willing to give. I changed myself completely just to fit in and experience the feeling of belonging. It was extremely difficult given the fact that I was living with my mother-in-law who suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and a husband who put her first on the list for everything in his life. I begged and pleaded for some change to be able to recuperate my sanity. It’s not easy living with someone telling you how useless you are as a daughter, a mother, a wife, and a daughter-in-law every single day, and that was just one of the bitter pills I had to swallow through the years. During this phase in my life I thought I deserved all of my suffering. By the 10th year I was drained of every emotion in me. It felt like every drop of love was squeezed out of me. I felt like a failure, a dead person to be precise and fell prey to depression and suicidal attempts. I was this empty vessel floating around totally useless.

The good thing is that empty vessels can be filled. It was at this time that fitness was introduced to me. With no background in strength training or any form of fitness for that matter, I took it up as a challenge. This was something new to look forward to. Fitness revived my self-confidence and gave me a reason to believe in myself, to love myself and to want to live again.

In December 2006, I came to Canada hoping to make a fresh start at life. But false promises led me into giving my marriage another chance and I went back to India. Through this course of life, strength training became my means of sustenance. The more I got the taste of it the more I craved it. I savoured the aroma of fitness in my life by certifying myself as a personal trainer and as a pilates teacher.

Finally, life offered me Dr. Wayne Dyer’s recipe: 101 ways to transform your life. This helped me repair the emotional wear and tear in me. I ate and drank up all of the ideas put forth in his books. It gave me a positive outlook on life, a feeling of inner peace and strength. This metamorphosis took me from being a nervous wreck, to this calm and contented human being thanks to fitness, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and counselling.

Finding myself in Canada once again, I was all set to feast at this new menu life has to offer, starting with volunteering at canfitpro’s Toronto conference in 2012. It was the absolute best experience of my life. The experience left me in awe of the vast expanse of fitness in Canada. I have completed my canfitpro PTS certification and now work at the canfitpro head office in Toronto as a customer service representative.

I thrive on strength training and have now built up an appetite for competing in the fitness world. My first competition was the Fitness Star Model Search World 2012, where I am proud to say that I ranked third place in the athletic category Level 1 and now qualify for Level 3 in the next competition.

Life has taught me that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. To flourish and grow and become all that I am capable of becoming is what I am aiming at. It feels good to see my children so proud of all that I have accomplished to date. I hope to inspire them to aspire to achieve more than I have or ever will.

Samreen can be reached at limitlessness@hotmail.com