: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace.
How wrong I was about my documentary Be Relentless, it was a dignifying tribute of my early struggles and a celebration of the woman I have become. I showed up Friday at the Downtown Independent Theater to a sold out crowd, I was so nervous before the film begun, but the warm reception quickly calmed my nerves. Brad Riley, the director, had a surprise meeting with survivors of human trafficking, it was as emotional as it was beautiful. After 40 minutes at the meet in greet, it was time for the movie. I am not going to spoil it for you; the story flowed beautifully between hardship and triumph. People in the audience waited for close to an hour after the film ended to talk to me, the common feedback is that they left the theater educated and empowered. Thanks to everybody that contributed to the making of Be Relentless, Brad Riley, Jessie Marek, Creative Visions, UN Women LA, CAST, UN Blue Heart Campaign, TV Azteca, Fiesta Americana Hotels and all the private donors.
My new documentary is finally released this weekend. I dreamed that story for years before it became a reality so why am I not excited? By now the narrative has been diluted to suit the perception of the audience, years of abuse reduced to a tabloid headline, “Former Sex Slave Shatters Guinness World Record.” My world record was meant to empower victims and educate the public that I am much more than what happen to me, somehow my story turned into a roadhouse freak show. I want to talk about the circumstances that led to the abuse, but the conversation seems to focus rather on the details of what happened. I get that is important to talk about it, after all, it was me who open up that dialogue, it was important that as many victims identified with my story as possible so they could draw strength in my story that it is possible not only to survive but also thrive. I did and interviewed this morning for the BBC Outlook, and I reached a point when I couldn’t go there anymore. I want you to know that I been in places of imaginable pain because of the abuse and I survive it and what is really remarkable is that I have no desire to stay there, locked in the pain and time in my life but will rather focus on where I am and where I am going, so if you are in a place where you can’t seem to be able to escape or move forward do know that is only temporary, I can’t tell you how long you will be there, it all depends on your personal circumstances but don’t quit. The most upsetting part of telling my personal story is the painful realization of, not only, the apathy of so many people that could have helped me but how close I came to giving up. I can recall the times easily when giving up felt like the best option, and by living large now, I am celebrating life. I hope you take comfort in my story to know that while the road might be hard and full of obstacles, the view from the top makes the journey worthwhile.
I have been frustrated lately because I am still struggling when training. I had been experiencing severe nerve pain in my neck and shoulders since the world record almost three years ago. I guess it didn’t help that I went straight into racing after the world record, I didn’t take any time off and I guess now I am paying for it. I took last year off, and this year I am training very little and focusing more on rehab and form. I kept looking at races and adventures I want to do and just led to more frustration. Lately, I tried a different approach I am letting my body dictate the length and intensity; I guess a lot how it all started. 11 years ago I just headed out for a trail run or a mountain bike because it made me happy not because I had to train for a race, at the beginning it was about finding peace and enjoying the moment and it’s exactly the opposite of what I have been doing lately, I been pushing my body too hard without giving it a break because in the past my body had been able to sustain the grueling training schedule but right now my body need a break and so does my mind. Since the new approach, my mood has improved, and I can workout more than I was able to recently simply because I am training smarter. Even on the runs that I feel great, I take the time to stop enjoy my surroundings, a little reminder that life all about the journey. I am not sure why is so hard to listen to our bodies or to the internal voice, maybe is because we are bombarded with information from so-called “experts” telling us what they think we should do, but in reality, we should spend more times listening to ourselves. After all, I know the difference between the good hurt and the bad hurt both physically and emotionally. Ask yourself this question when confronted with physical or emotional pain, “is this making me stronger or is this making me sick?” Sometimes we don’t have the option to stop a bad pain, after all, I went through a divorce and many other challenges in my life, but I made sure that during those times I was more careful than usual and I didn’t add to it, that is why I didn’t drink or dated while I was going through my divorce and that is also the reason why I haven committed to any races this year yet. Sometimes the best medicine is practicing self-care.
The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself – Steve Maraboli
“Your dreams don’t have an expiry date, take a deep breath and try again.”
It sure feels like a new beginning, the last year and a half it felt like I was catching my breath as waves kept pushing me down. I get that it’s to be expected given the fact that I undertook a difficult battle; the right to live authentically. Browsing through social media I often see a post regarding authenticity, in reality, however, I see conformity. I am usually fine at pursuing my interest, but this time, however, criticism got to me. I found myself afraid of making decisions, and when looking at races, I kept second guessing myself, this is an unusual state of mind for me; I felt paralyzed. I could have justified it to protect the ego, and I often did, by thinking out loud “maybe I have done enough” but I know deep down that this isn’t true, there are many goals that I wish to achieve. So I took a step back and tried to figure out where the doubts were coming from, some were things as financially I couldn’t afford to pursue some of them, at least not yet, but the major problem lied on emotional and physical burnout. In my search for the truth I jumped the cliff but fail to check how deep was the water, I had not practice safety, just like I do during an expedition or a difficult race, when advocating I fail to have a safety plan in check. And that is what you need when pursuing dreams, the bigger the goals, the more you will need to anticipate setbacks. Anything is possible it takes a lot of determination, grit and the ability to pick yourself up after a fall that will get you there. The most important point is to believe that is possible. Long time ago when my youngest son was in grade 3, he came home with a note saying he had spent time in detention, when I asked him what happen he told me the teacher told them they could do anything in life, that there were no limits, his best friend leaned over and told him that that was so stupid, he wanted to be liked by his friend so he said to the teacher exactly that, that that was stupid, after the teacher got mad he tried to outsmart her by saying ” if I pump my arms up and down is not like I can fly is it” and when everybody laughed he was sent to the office, after listening to him instead of getting mad, I asked him, ” have you tried yet” he looked at me and asked ” what” ” pumping your arms until you fly” he said ” that’s impossible, EVERYBODY knows that!” I smile and said. “unless you are willing to spend years pumping your arms up and down without results your claim is just a theory, just like your teacher’s is a theory so is yours” he didn’t say anything after that, all I wanted as to rescue my son from the world of reason, a little insanity is more fun, Robert Siltanen quoted,
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I went for a short run today, and I am still struggling with pain on my neck and shoulder from the world record two years ago. I took a year off racing hoping it will help heal it but it has not gotten better. I am looking for answers, and so far it only seems to be related to extreme fatigue, the world longest triathlon was hard on my body. I am attending physio and doing yoga, and my doctor seems to be very optimistic about it. I also bought a guitar to help with the stress since I can’t exercise as much I would like. I had such a great workout yesterday, my body felt strong, and I was able to push as hard as I am accustomed, have you ever trained and it feels like your insides scream? I have, I get that feeling, like a primordial scream that tells me I am alive, I get that feeling on my runs or during my swims sometimes, and I sure miss the feeling of my soul and body connected. I am learning patience, while my mind is ready for the next adventure my body still needs more time. I guess you can say that I sit at my computer looking at photos of people doing races and I feel heartbroken like I am watching pictures of an ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend. The reason why I have been absent on social media is that I love going on expeditions and I been feeling blue lately because I had to take a break. Sports is part of who I am, but every athlete goes through a period in life when the body needs care and TLC, where I am active is in advocating against violence against women it takes a toll on me emotionally, but it’s a conversation that is much needed. So I hope you don’t mind as I jump in here from time to time to rant about what keeps me up at night, good and bad. May your life take you on many adventures.