Note from Chad>>> ” When I met Adriana here in Florida, I knew there was a lot more to the story than her just being an indestructable cross fit athlete, badass massage therapist, and just a cool chick in general. Once I got to know her more, I asked her questions about where she came from, and how her athletic path began. What I came to realize is that Adriana had been to the bottom of bottoms, and battled her way back. It was only then I knew her story needed a platform to reach and inspire more people. That is when I asked her to ball out and give it to us straight over here at Show Me Strength. Here is her incredible story.”
I don’t think my story is special, because honestly everyone has one. But it is important to reminisce on what we came from, so that we never become that person again. So when I was asked to write about my “athletic” journey I wasn’t really sure where to start.
Do I start where I realized I could be a competitive athlete? Do I start where my body made the most changes? Or do I start from the very beginning, the mental building blocks?
Once I thought it through, the only way to really understand my journey is to start from the beginning; my rock bottom. In philosophy it is referred to as the urground meaning below the beginning. So here is my Urground:
Growing up I had a fantastic childhood. My dad owned a successful truck route, and my mom was a personal trainer. I lived in a lavish home with a pool and hot tub and we even had a ski home only 3 hours away. We typically took 1-2 vacations a year, and we were a seemingly happy comfortable family. Then, as I rounded the age of 13 all the ugly burst at the seams.
My parents split and there was mass confusion and heart ache between my siblings and myself. I wound up moving with my mother….which at the end of all this you can take to be either the worst or best choice I have ever made. Now no parent is perfect by any means, but the deterioration that happened to my mother is inexcusable. She started abusing drugs and alcohol, and would become both verbally and physically abusive. There were times even when she was “sexually” abusive….not directly but things like purposefully leaving the door open.
All of these things (and I am paraphrasing to save time and graphic images) added up in my life and slowly started to break me from the inside out. Add in starting a new high school, going through puberty, and having some bad genetics (naturally heavier set) and you get one depressed, low self-esteem teenage girl.
I wasn’t getting the attention at home that I use to get, no one to lift my spirits and tell me all the good things in life. So naturally I sought out other outlets. And guess what I found….Boys! Now before I continue on with my new found outlet of attention you have to understand that through this whole transition from great life to WTH just happened life, I became EXTREMELY self conscious of my weight; also no help from my mother telling me she didn’t want a fat daughter. I developed eating disorders very early on and when my friends and family took notice of me not eating, I started with laxative bulimia; which is when you take 3-6 ex-lax pills every time you eat. Yea, again I’ll paraphrase here and save you from that horrific year.
Somehow, my brain linked attention and food together. So now from the age of about 15 I would “reward” myself with food. Every time I kissed a boy or more I would shovel down candy and bread and ice cream and occasionally something healthy like an apple. In a very short period of time I went from about 100lbs to 160lbs. By the time I started college I was pushing 200lbs. I have always been an intelligent girl, and quickly realized I had a problem,couldn’t really put my finger on the issue, but I knew it was there. I sustained from actually having sex because of this, because I knew once I started to have sex things would get much much worse, and I was never more right in my life.By the time I started college, and had no more rules of the house, I was, as Miley Cyrus would say, a wrecking ball. I was completely out of control. In fact, I had lost control so much that a friend actually called my dad and had me taken in for a psych evaluation.
It was at this point in time I was given literally two paths to choose from; get better and start my life over, or continue on this path and lose my family and continue being a very unhealthy unattractive person. The choice sounds so simple and clear cut, but let me tell you when you have something that feels good, an addiction, a crutch, nothing seems logical. Nothing is worth giving up what you have even when you know how wrong you are, because you feel that without your crutch your bad habit that you have nothing. That your life is just empty and meaningless, and you are well aware that when you give up your bad habits you are starting from absolutely nothing, And the last thing anyone who has self-esteem issues or is “damaged” is to start over with nothing.
And I fought it; hard.
I wanted nothing to do with changing myself and starting over, but I was sent to rehab. They titled me as a “sex addict” but that phrase is usually taken the wrong way. I wasn’t this raging hormonal girl having a sex rampage, but my day to day functions and activities were dependent on some sort of sexual encounter. Now there is A LOT more to this story and the emotional epiphanies I had, but the important part is just the understatement of what I went through, not a play by play of my emotional roller coaster.
Once I got out of rehab (just under 3 weeks) I went back to school. I had a new take on life and was ready for a new distraction. I had very little support from my family. In fact, no one spoke to me for about 6 months after the fact. And as they say once an addict always an addict, so I wanted to replace my addiction with something healthy. I luckily one day stumbled upon boxing. It was an amazing stress relief and a terrific workout. I was hooked and started going 3-4 days a week, and I was running on the days in-between. I started to lose weight and people started to notice and the compliments started rolling in. BOOM SAUCE! new found confidence and self-esteem!
I wound up leaving college about a year after I found boxing, which is a whole other story, and moved down to florida. While looking for a boxing studio I stumbled upon Maui Thai. I instantly fell in love and this is where my life, both physically and mentally turned for the inevitable better. Up until this point I was still rocky with my dependencies and had “relapsed”about 2 times. But i engulfed myself with the sport of MMA and got my hands and feet on every mat I could. I studied maui thai, Brazilian jujitsu, and judo. I was gunge-ho about taking it to a fighting level up until the week of my massage school graduation. It was this week I dislocated my elbow and realized that if I ever get injured like that again I can’t work! It scared me so bad I left the sport. I started to freak out a bit because I needed MMA to keep me clean and healthy.Luckily I was turned to the sport of crossfit almost instantly.
Flash forward 3 years. I had been doing crossfit on and off and was completely in love with it. Every year I slowly became stronger leaner and healthier than the last. And every year I was learning more and more about health and diet. People today just assume I know everything I do because I’m a massage therapist and it’s part of my job. But reality is over the course of 3-5 years I struggled and failed and learned and corrected everything from exercise mistakes to dietary mishaps, and just overall health knowledge. Everything I know today about health and wellness is from first hand trial and error experience.
I never thought in a million years I would develop into the athlete and the person that I am today. I am now currently working with a coach full-time in crossfit, training 15-18 hours a week. I have my eyes on qualify for regionals this year and it is seeming more and more realistic everyday. My journey is far from over but I am most certainly on a new chapter. Fitness has pulled me from a very destructive lifestyle and it continues to keep me afloat. It may still be an addiction at the end of the day, but if being addicted to something that makes a better overall human being and allows me to enjoy life then I would recommend this drug to everyone.
This is just my urground, what my life today is built off of. I am still the same person, mind and body, I just actively choose how I will spend my time on earth. I have found genuine joy in the sport of crossfit and it has opened my eyes to a new life style that balances both body and mind.It has changed my view on beauty, and helped me focus on the joy of food. But everyday is a battle with the person I used to be, somedays it is easier then others. Everyday we must fight for the life we want to live, and the body we want to see in the mirror in the morning. It will never be easy, but the rewards are for ourselves. They are everlasting and meaningful, and there is no greater value in life then recognizing our own self worth.