Love, Loss, and the Power of YOU by Rhianna Sweet

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“I hope one day your human body is not a jail cell, Instead it’s a sunny 2pm garden with daisies thriving because of self love”

It took me a really long time to get to my sunny garden thriving off self love, I’m still human, I still struggle. I finished out the WV NPC Mid Atlantic Grand Prix show in 10th place. Was I disappointed? A little. Was I the look they were going for? No. I won’t beat myself up for that. I’m not what they were looking for in that show and I am 100% okay with that… the look they wanted isn’t a look I want. I brought my best package and I am SO proud of how far I have come. My mindset and mentality have grown so much over the past few years as well as my outlook on life since the moment I first wanted to compete.

My first interest was when I was 16, I didn’t look for a coach til I was 18 and I wanted to do a show to challenge myself and well.. Finally achieve that goal “bikini body.” Guess what happened? The complete opposite. I got pregnant with my first little blessing Liam who is now 4 years old. I spiraled into a uncontrollable depression and with that anxiety as well.. and gained 63lbs. Once I gave birth to him I was back on my gain train trying to reach that “goal body” again.. but my mindset wasn’t healthy. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to finally “be sexy”, I wanted to show people what I could do in hopes of some sort of “approval” I thought I was going to gain. I thought achieving a certain weight and low body fat % would give me happiness. I lost the 63lbs in 6 and a half months while prepping for my first NPC show. 5 weeks out from said show I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd blessing Zane who is now 2 and a half.

I tried EVERYTHING I could to convince my coach to allow me to still compete. Looking back now I thank her for not allowing me to do that. I had a much healthier pregnancy and gained a healthy 30-40lbs but still struggled with lots of anxiety and depression. I lost the weight again and started out on a new journey… LOVING MYSELF. And finding help for my depression, and my anxiety disorder. I am now medicated and I have no shame in allowing others to know that. My brain cannot make the chemicals I need to be a balanced human, therefore I need some help from a drug. I have returned back to the me I once knew: my old optimistic, giddy, sunny self. I have regrets and moments I missed out when I was at my all time low that I still have to forgive myself for, but life happens how it happens and God allows you to face challenges and struggles in order for you to grow.

My Dad passed away this past July.. Life was going great, I’d even say perfect.. Until that dark day, and week embarked on us. All those moments I missed being a depressed b*tch weighed heavy on me, all the family parties I just couldn’t force myself to attend because I was so unhappy that I couldn’t even face others. I’m glad my past year I found help, I was present actually PRESENT MENTALLY at family functions and can remember every detail not just some hazy fog. I remember his laugh, his smile, his hugs. How he loved me so dearly, and had such a connection with my babies. All these things that happened in life that I saw as a curse turned out to be the biggest blessing/s I could ever imagine. I was married young and he got to walk me down the aisle, I gave birth to my children young and he got to hold them as newborns in his big bear paws, and I got to witness those precious tears of joy.

I am thankful for my last moment with him alive: picking up a paintbrush after work. Seeing him and my mother in the kitchen bickering like a typical married couple, making faces back to my dad, silently giggling. You could still see the love in his eyes as he made jokes purposely knowing it would annoy her. He was playful like that and me being there fueled his fire. I remember not leaving the house after saying “I love you” until I was sure I heard the “I love you back” and for some reason I kept repeating it and I turned back around and went for another hug and kiss. I will cherish that moment til the day I die.

After he passed I felt depression sneaking up.. Anxiety knocking at my door. I said NO.

I said I won’t go there. I won’t be miserable, I decided to celebrate my body, celebrate what it could do, celebrate the life I was given, celebrate the fact that I was healthy and so many others weren’t in the same shoes. I did it for me, and I also did it for those who couldn’t. It wasn’t about being “sexy”, having that “bikini body”, or anyone’s “approval” it was proving to myself that NO MATTER what you can control your mindset, you can battle your demons.

Life is too short, get out there and live!

Experience LIFE.

Check goals off your bucket list.

Do anything but stay stagnant and in one place.

Do what is best for you and don’t do it for anyone else❤️

-Rhianna

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