HOW RICHARD USES FITNESS TO TURN HER STRUGGLES INTO STRENGTH
"As a very young man I had serious self esteem issues due to family abuse and a poor parental environment. I was both physically and mentally abused in ways that are hard to talk about, locked in a small suitcase in the summer for ridiculous reasons, tied up and punched like a punching bag, forced to fight the closest person to me (my twin) for entertainment, forced to stand outside in the winter at night wearing just underwear while I was doused with the garden hose because I wet the bed. And then there was the physical exercises used as punishment.
I suffered academically because I was always told I was stupid and retarded by my mom, and when I would seek help I received none. This caused me to fall significantly behind in school. Most of this continued up through High School. I joined the Navy in order to get away and give myself a chance to go to college (neither of my parents went nor did any of my siblings at that point). I was a small guy trying to cut in the military world but my athleticism and heart allowed me to persevere and face any challenge I faced head on. This gave me the courage to really try to build my body and see how far I could push myself. This challenge I presented myself with allowed me to become more and more confident in who Richard is and who he can be. I realized that with the right motivation and supportive environment I could do anything, even scholastically. I ended up graduating every class in the military at the top. This bolstered my confidence and I went on to finish my Bachelors degree in science with a 3.78 GPA. I completed my first year of Grad-School last year. All of these trials actually taught me to see the vulnerability in everyone I meet. I learned that no matter how confident someone is or how well they appear, we all suffer from demons and need someone to pick us up out of the dirt from time to time. Everyone comes to a point where they need someone to tell them "you CAN do this, I support you" and remind them of all the beauty and possibility that lies inside them. I now have no self esteem issues and use my knowledge to uplift others stuck where I was with self doubt, poor self confidence and those held back by mental limits that keep them from achieving the greatness they were destined for."
I have an Identical twin, and I mean IDENTICAL. He was my inspiration for fitness and showed me that I could use the gym and weightlifting as an outlet for the pain inside as well as improving my physical appearance, something I hated about myself. Being compared to someone your entire life has drawbacks, but it also has a benefit when you look up to that person. He is my inspiration to this day. He has a mental strength I have yet to see in anyone else.