She was not your typical woman. I had seen her around the club and knew she was a trainer. She had a rock hard body, a super confident attitude and walked the floor as if she owned the place. She approached me during my workout and told me she and her “girlfriend” were having a house party and I should come.
Why she was inviting me was beyond my comprehension at the time.
But I went to that party. I was curious.
A month later, you would have found me standing on a patio sucking back Mike’s Hard Lemonade at the 2000 Toronto Pride. That night she pulled me aside in the corner of the crowded bar, the air filled with dry ice and the musk from hundreds of dancing bodies to tell me: “Just an FYI, you are a lesbian.”
“What? No, I’m not,” I said, laughing it off, nervously.
“Yeah, you are,” she repeated.
Although in denial, more out of fear than anything else, I woke up the next morning and realized she was right.
I found myself and my community on that dance floor and in that Pride Parade. I had two choices back then- suppress my identity and never truly honor my authentic self or embrace the person I was, despite my fear of rejection.
I felt “different” from my peers for most of my life but it was not until age 21 that I officially came to terms with the fact that I was a lesbian.
Admitting this for the first time took a lot of courage and strength but boy, did it feel empowering!
I was 14 when I started having female crushes but concealed them out of confusion. I continued to date boys all through high school despite thinking of them more as my buddies than my boyfriends. I channeled my frustrations and fears continuing doing what I loved most, playing sports and being active. When I was 18, I was introduced to weight training, was very quickly hooked and began spending endless hours in the gym.
I had no idea until the Pride of 2000 that who I was, was acceptable (in the right community) and that I was surrounded by so many other queer people. I could, for once in my life, walk through the world openly and honestly.
I began dressing in a way that matched how I felt (tomboy all the way) and no longer hid behind a mask of who I thought I was supposed to be. I had far more confidence knowing I was being real. I was being ME.
After my “quarter-life crisis” which involved being laid off from a well-paid, soul-sucking job and taking a leap of faith to travel west and ultimately move to BC, I decided to continue following my heart into a career I would love. I’ve been a Personal Trainer now for 10 years and counting, and I still love it.
I’m passionate about helping people achieve better health, strength and overall wellness.
When you start out in this industry you work with anyone and everyone to gain experience and knowledge but over time, like anything, you find your niche.
I have found mine. I specialize in working with women, the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies, with a focus on training folks with little time but who want to make their health and fitness more of a priority, like SAHMs, working Moms and career oriented folks!
If there is anything I learned from that night back in 2000 out with “Mike”, it is:
1. Don’t hide your true self out of fear. It eats away at you mentally and spiritually. Those people in your life that have unconditional love for you will come around in time. Do not give up.
2. Embrace your authentic style, your choice of clothes and whatever it means to be you. Don’t conform to the ideas others place on you.
3. Follow your passion and your dreams. Only we are in charge of our own lives and our destiny. Live your life to the fullest and never give up on what you truly want.