So, I’ve entered a weird phase in my life this past couple of weeks where, for the first time in nearly 3 years, I’ve had limited control over my diet and have been unable to train my body in the way I’m used to.
This unexpected break from the ‘norm’ was probably long overdue because I competed for two seasons in a row and until 2 weeks ago, I was just 5 weeks away from the latest bodybuilding show I had planned to do.
The time away from my ‘norm’ has given me lots of time for reflection and has made me wonder if I’m still competing in shows for the right reasons.
The reason I say this is because I absolutely adore all things the bodybuilding competitions say to me like showgirl and glamour, no doubt about it and I don’t plan to hang up my posing shoes any time soon. I have many things I’d still like to achieve in the competitive bodybuilding world but that doesn’t mean I have to burn myself out trying to achieve them all right now.
I have performed in front of an audience in one way or another my whole life. Ballet revues, pantomimes, local opera, open mic sessions, burlesque… you name it, I’ve done it. So it’s only natural I get an addictive rush from walking onto the stage to pose in front of an audience showcasing all the hard work while sparkling under the spotlight.
In 2015, the sport of bodybuilding kind of took over my life. That’s not to say I’m any GOOD at it, just that I developed a bit of a passion for the structure and routine it offered, I became addicted to the lifestyle.
I went along to see a local show and instantly fell in love. The tan, the Swarovski’s, the muscles, the hair flicks, the sass and the hard graft that had clearly gone on behind the scenes all leading up to this one peak moment.. I had so much admiration for the women on stage and had finally found something to fill the void I had left in my life from performing.
Anyway, long story short, one thing led to another and I ended up changing up my whole life overnight. I got myself a coach, changed my diet completely, educated myself on how to train with weights and implemented all of these measures into my life.
The reason I’ve named this blog post ‘Identity Crisis – Are we trying to fit into a box?’ is that after I’d left performing behind, I guess in myself I felt I lacked a bit of purpose in life.
I don’t know if any of you can relate to this because perhaps for some of you, you get enough of this purpose and contentment from your job or maybe you have children who depend on you. For me, starting to ‘bodybuild’ and aim towards competitions gave me firm goals and a comfy identity box to put myself into. It was a hobby, sure, but it gave me an identity. It was a crowd I wanted to be part of and a strict plan to follow. A routine and structure in my life I hadn’t quite experienced before.
Researchers have found that those who have made a strong commitment to a particular identity tend to be happier and healthier than those who have not.
Crisis which was typically reserved to the awkward teenage years is now (especially with social media) finding it’s way into our adults lives. Especially at times of any big change such as starting a new career, getting married or giving birth. We desperately want to fit into a box of some sort identity wise.
I’m no therapist but I think it’s important to remember that a hobby is simply a part of what makes you, you. It should never consume all of your energy.
I said this recently to a female friend who was worried about breaking up with her boyfriend. I said, if your eggs are all in his basket, i.e. you have ditched your friends for him, your social life and your hobbies, then of course your break up will feel like your whole world is falling apart. A break up is difficult for anyone, yes, but what I was trying to say is that the theory I use is I try to visualise my life like a pie (lol). Each segment is part of what makes me Mandy Rose Jones!
So you may have a ‘hobbies’ segment, a ‘career’ segment, a ‘fitness’ segment, a ‘romance’ segment and so on and so forth. If you let one segment become too big a piece, naturally it’s a bigger loss to the overall pie if it disappears!
Hopefully this analogy makes sense to some of you and isn’t too long winded or out there, it really helps me to try and keep a balance in my life and thus an identity of some sort which I think a lot of us seek without realising.
And I think my point here is, I don’t have to do a competition right away to lift weights and eat healthily. That’s just me being kind to my body. It’s a perspective thing I guess. I also don’t need to fit into any box! Only one that accommodates all of my passions.
Thank you for reading as always and let me know what you think of the pie thing!
Even if it’s just a DM to say you just love actual pie. That’s OK too.
Always down for food chat.