A few days ago, I had the extreme honor of being offered to join the team of Active Body bloggers, one of my many secret bucket list items. Oddly enough, since then I have been stuck. Stuck in this weird world of narrating my own thoughts all day and night, deciding what I want to offer you all; my future faithful readers.
Do I go the route of nutritional/supplemental advice? After all Active Body Nutrition is a leading vitamins and supplements retailer in Canada.
Do I connect with the reader who is looking for some kind of internal motivation? Those of us that understand how motivation works, know that it’s like filling a cup up, and making sure we replenish what we use from it daily, sometimes even hourly is very important. That could be useful.
Or, do I just simply write? Go with how I feel, and let that morph into whatever shape it takes organically. I have never been good at forcing myself into one niche, either way…here goes.
I feel a good start would be to introduce myself. My name is Cara Roberts, and who I am; is a little more complicated than just a heading. I am a successful lifestyle coach/fitness business owner, professional artist, national figure competitor, and (most recently) an Active Body Nutrition Prince George owner. I don’t think you could appreciate all of what I have built as an entrepreneur without knowing how it all began just 6 short years ago.
Let’s start a little farther back, 20 years ago (1995), when I was a promising young art enthusiast with the whole world in front of me. It was the year I was set to graduate from high school. As I planned out a career within my talent (advertising and big city life if I remember correctly) my future was being chosen for me without even knowing it. I was surprisingly unaware of the amazing little blessing I was to be receiving by that winter. A beautiful baby boy was in fact growing inside of my belly. It was a good 12 weeks before the double pink lines leapt off of that plastic white stick at me to confirm what I did not think at that time could be possible…it was NOT mono or severe indigestion that I was muddling through. This sickness was going to be around for a few more months, 6 to be exact. I was shockingly going to be growing up and raising a family and putting my dreams on hold for a while. All with the added pressure of an on again-off again relationship that was doomed from day one, due to the fact that we were just a couple of naïve kids ourselves.
I won’t go into unnecessary details, but just know that after the shock wore off about my unexpected pregnancy, I wound up flunking high school and was not in a very confident headspace. Everything I thought I knew about myself faded away and I did not even bother expressing my creativity with much more than the odd Martha Stewart-ish table setting. Stress and depression turned my size 5 frame into an uncomfortable, soft 16 by the time my second child was 4. During those years I did become very good at cooking, cleaning, gardening, canning, entertaining, people pleasing and following instruction. Instruction from many, many directions as to how I could always do better, be better, work harder. I spent much of my time alone performing delegated tasks, with the exception of what little free time I made to play with my children who were my world. Over the years that followed (and many good memories sprinkled in there too) I went through a few other difficult losses, losses that included the beautiful little still born twin daughters that I held for a day, and grieved terribly for 2 years before my third bundle of joy was born.
As I did my best to play grown up for too many years… I completely lost touch with who I was. Instead, I set my sights on being a perfect Stepford robot rather than have any personal internal growth at all. I had stopped drawing. I stopped dreaming. I stopped growing. I stopped loving myself. Instead I started withering away inside.
Sometimes when |I saw a beautiful piece of art hanging in a coffee shop while I was scrambling to get the kids fed between their hectic, over booked daily itineraries my old dreams would resurrect. I love my kids with all of my heart, and they were my number one priority, as it should be when they were young. Through their childhood I lived in my own personal groundhog day…until the unforeseen afternoon when something big was about to change. That day in my travels, I was asked a very perplexing question, by someone who was unaware of the amazing personal achievement that comes from perfectly folding socks. They were the most life changing 4 words I could ever have been asked.
“What do YOU do Cara?”
As I proudly boasted of my busy days, with a fine tuned regime of 1950’s housewife-accomplishments before I realized that was not the question. The question that actually changed my life forever. It was not really “WHAT do you do?” but instead “WHO are YOU…? What makes you YOU? What did you do before you cleaned toilets and bake bread all day?” I thought long and hard to when and where I last thought about my REAL ambitions. I hesitated for a while. I can still hear the words that I finally spoke after it dawned on me what I was missing…”I used to paint.”
Feelings can change like the seasons, slowly and gradually over time. Or, they can be turned as fast as a light switch…which at the end was the case for me. It was time to bring Cara out from that deep, dark place that was locked inside, and let her feel the sunshine.
With a flood of extreme fear of what lay ahead, I bravely set out with my 3 children on my own, for the first time in 16 years with no job, no house and no education. Only hope. Hope that I could BE something that reflected who I truly was. Hope that all that lay dormant inside of me could be nurtured back to life. I guess you could say fear was an understatement. I was TERRIFIED.
With my divorce came gossip, hate and so much negativity from my community that I had no choice but to pick a much removed part of downtown to re-start my life with my kids. Somewhere I hoped to lay low and hide… until I realized that this is not my style at all. Quiet and elusive goes against every grain of my body. I wanted to be loud and fierce and do something that not a lot of people do…I did not want to blend in and be one of the sheep anymore. I wanted to find something grand, and something that no one could take away from me. I would earn whatever it was going to be, and never ever rely on someone to support me EVER again. I wanted to paint. I wanted to take care of myself and my kids. I wanted to show the world of doubters that I was not the loser I was feeling like for so long.
So I did. I tried to go back to school and get that grade 12 that haunted me. I escaped the frustration of text books and numbers every day at the gym, and every evening with a canvas and brushes in my spare room. I began to teach myself how to paint again. I trained hard in the weight room too. After many taxing months of shuffling courses, and goals my counselor finally had me bring in samples of my hobby to see if she could re-direct my career path AGAIN… and she did. She looked at the 12 little amateur paintings I pulled out of my worn out green Costco bag, and ratty old pillow cases. Through tears that surprised us both she said ‘THIS is what you should be doing. You need to paint. Again, with someone’s words touching me so deeply, my life was changed once more and I left the center that day never to return.
And paint I did. Within a couple of years I had some amazing things happen, by believing in myself. I fell in love with the most amazing man (coincidentally at my gym) and eventually grew towards my first solo art exhibit, establishing myself as a local professional artist and made a comfortable living.
Over the next three years I started teaching art in my OWN art studio, competing in BCABBA figure bodybuilding (making it to national level in my second year), and as demand for me to help others started to grow I established a very successful fitness/lifestyle coaching business CaraRobertsFitLife.com. This all lead to my boyfriend Mark giving up his 13 year stagnant job to join forces with me, and follow our joint dream of helping Canadians live a healthier life. We are set to sell vitamins and supplements, Canada needs along with smoothies and juices. We are very excited to be opening the doors for Active Body Nutrition, Prince George this fall.
So after all of this, it seems I have chosen my blogging path. I don’t share this story for anything other than to possibly inspire you. To really dig deep inside yourself to know who you are and what you want in life. As I mowed acreage, and cooked big dinners, I always fantasized about a different life that I had let slip by and never ever thought I could have. I always thought that I was in my situation out of pure weakness, when really…I made it through those difficult years out of STRENGTH. Strength I believe we all have if we just believe we are worth something better, and aim so high that it terrifies us. I have few regrets and face forward every day, surrounding myself with my loving children and other doers. Like-minded goal driven individuals, positive dreamers, and business people who have enormous success in their own lives… to learn from and continue on my journey of growth that I hope never ends.
One quote that I take with me from that fateful day that I was re-born is simply this…
“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing” E. Hubbard.
So here I am, saying something, doing something, and BEING something. I hope that you all discover what mark you want to leave on this earth, and get out of your comfort zone to do it.
By Cara Roberts
Personal Facebook: Cara Joy Roberts
Business Facebook page: Active Body Nutrition PG
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