Interview #3 of 52: “Persevering Through the Pressure.”

Mickaela is an 18 year old inspiration out of Kansas City, Missouri.  I stumbled upon Mickaela’s Instagram feed and was blow away by the simplistic beauty she shares.  Her photos speak volumes but her message was what really struck me.  I have met many people in my life who have simply become complacent with their “place in life” and have allowed themselves to become a victim to their circumstances and play the blame game.  I am always deeply impressed by someone who takes back their power and starts to create the life they’ve always dreamed for themselves.  This is Mickaela.  And here is her story.

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Mickaela has just finished high school and is on her way to college!  She’s on a mission and has a vision for her life that is incredible!  She will be studying exercise biology with a minor in nutrition so she can eventually make her own programs!  She is driven, passionate and at her core simply wants to help as many people as she possibly can in her lifetime.  

Her love of fitness began in high school where she played volleyball.  She fell in love with the conditioning and the physicality of the sport.  However there was a lot of pressure from the coaches to “look” a certain way.  It became less about the game and more about the bodies on the court.  The negative comments and belittling phrases like “you could never be a runner” became her truth.  These negative truths began to seep in and soon her love of self, love of the sport and love of the life she was creating diminished and she fell into some bad stuff.  “I lost everything I was working for” she says as she talks about quitting the team and dealing with severe body image issues.  

As Mickaela spoke I had vivid flash backs to my time in high school.  I remember my group of friends encouraging each other to eat only one meal a day, taking the weight loss pills, laxatives, and burning any calorie we had in our bodies. “I tried so hard not to.  Something in the back of my mind was telling me this wasn’t right” she said about the dangerous lengths she went to to stay “skinny.”  Her words were a reminder that we need to continue to spread the message of self love and self care.  We need to be in the ears of all young women reminding them over and over that they are beautiful and are loved.  I was in high school 14 years ago…and the same things are STILL happening with young women.  

Sometimes we need another person to show us a different path.  For many people that will be Mickaela!  For her, it was her sister.  Her sister moved out to California and was introduced to a much healthier lifestyle.  She immediately brought that back and shared it with Mickaela. She started redeveloping her love for sports and started researching more about health and fitness.  I always say that The Balance Method saved me from myself.  For Mickaela it was also health and fitness that got her out of doing these bad things to her body.  “I was horrible about my body image” and this was a way for her to get back on the right track.  

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I asked her how she overcame her struggles of the constant pressure to look a certain way.  “My sister helped show me it’s about how I FEEL about myself.” And when her niece was born everything changed.  “I got sick of everything being about how I looked. I hated comparing myself to others.”  She talked about how her negative body image was passed down from her mom and she didn’t want that to ever happen to her niece.  She had to change it now or she would continue to hate her body.  “I want to be the positive body image person for my niece.”  You know, sometimes it takes a smack in the face of pure love to wake us up from the hate we’ve been bathing in for so long.  We cling to these sinking life boats filled with the crappy stories we’ve created about ourselves only to find that when we let go and swim to shore the world around us is quite beautiful.  “Seems silly now” she says referring to all the pain she inflicted on herself.  

Her story struck a deep cord in me because I know there is a lot of Mickaela in all of us.  So often we allow the stories other people write for us to become our own.  When hit with a negative comment we assume it must be true.  “You’ll never be a runner” someone might say, and so you stop running because you aren’t “good” at it.  These untruths become our new narrative and we begin to live our lives through this new filter.

I am so proud that Mickaela decided to preserver through the pressure and take back the power of being the author of her own story.  “It’s more important to be good and help the people around you.”  Today she reminders herself of her strength and unwavering faith with a tattoo of Proverbs 31: 25-26 which says:  “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.  When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”

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Mickaela dreams of one day traveling the world and running her own gym and business.  Fitness is was what saved her and brought her out of her toughest times.  She wants to share that with others.  She’s an incredibly passionate woman who isn’t stopping at just helping people get healthy and remove the negative body image madness, but she is incredibly passionate about ending sex trafficking.  The combination of her strong faith and unstoppable will to help everyone who comes into her path I have zero doubt Mickaela will be one of the leading figures to end this crime.

To finish I asked her to share 3 tips to the person reading this today.  

  1. Keep it simple!  When it comes to your food (which is where she struggled the most) the less ingredients and more you can read the better!  The more whole foods the better!
  2. Start looking at yourself and seeing the positive!  If you can take a moment and see something you do love about yourself it might change your mindset that day!  Also follow the positive health accounts.  By doing so you are putting more positive things in your life.
  3. Don’t be afraid to go to the gym or go out.  Don’t let the fear of judgement keep you from doing what you love.  “Girls need to stand up and not give a crap! Stop caring and comparing.  Push yourself as hard as you can!”

For the longest time she didn’t want to create her Instagram account because she didn’t think it was where it should be.  You know that “fear of judgement” thing.  But she did it anyway!  And putting herself out there has forced her to learn, grow, and be the positive light she wants to be in this world.  “People just need to ‘rethink’ and look at the big picture” she says.  You aren’t the story that others are writing.  You are beautiful, smart, capable and can do whatever you want in this world!  

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Mickaela’s message is one of self discovery, empowerment, and standing up for YOUR life!  She is on a path of service and I know she will help so many women in this world.  She is a true beauty both inside and out.  I am grateful for her little niece coming into this world because her presence gave Mickaela the power and the determination to exude positivity no matter what!  Sometimes it takes the act of showing up for someone else to help us see how truly beautiful we are!  Thank you Mickaela!

And thank you for taking the time to read my 3rd of 52 inspiring women!  Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this!  If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them!  This is a journey that has no parameters or rules!  Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!

You can find Mickaela’s endless positivity and motivation on Instagram at @RethinkLifestyle

You’ll get food inspiration, workouts, and of course an inspiring mantra of self love!

xo

Becky