Welcome to 2018!

Happy New Year! I hope that throughout the holidays you were able to spend time with family and friends and enjoy doing things for yourself. I was able to take a week and a half off myself and really bask in this free time by catching up on sleep, eating LOTS of really good food, reading 2 books and spending time with those that matter most to me.

As I reflect on my past year and look ahead to 2018, I can’t help but be proud of who I have become and what I am working towards. I am truly thankful for everyone who has supported my vision of Discover You, creating a community for women to be fearless, powerful, empowered, and confident in their every day lives. It has been a challenge filled with ups and downs as I am on my own path of self discovery to truly determine how I can best share my passion with the rest of the world. We have our first event of 2018 on January 22nd - a panel discussion on transitions. Whether it is may be a change in career, city, or relationship, this is your panel!

Now that we are a week into 2018, I am sure many of you have set goals for yourself. This is not only common because it is the start of the year but also because most of us have been indulging throughout the holiday season. It makes total sense to want to set goals and get back on track and into a routine. To be honest with you, I have stopped setting new year’s resolutions for myself. Funny that this is the first time I have mentioned the word resolution in my first post of the new year. Aren’t all posts the first week in January supposed to convince you to set resolutions?

I have decided to take a different approach to not only this new month and new year but to my life in general. Instead of accomplishing things and creating tasks to complete, I want to try to focus on the person I am being and giving off to the world. Given that social media is more so about the WHAT, I want to focus more on the WHY. My WHY.  When I train a client, run a workshop, or teach a class, what is the energy that I am sharing with the other people in the room? I try to be as relatable, personable, compassionate, enthusiastic, knowledgable, energetic, fun, and most importantly authentic in everything I do. I truly believe that the WHAT will come when we can identify our WHY and purpose.

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Authenticity is something that I have struggled with these past few months. It is why I haven’t felt the need to share and post on social media too. I haven’t struggled in terms of what I share and post because I am always true to myself. I however, have found it difficult for me to post enough to keep people engaged in my community and still seem authentic to me and to the frequency I want to share. Part consistency and part authenticity is the key to success in the online world and I hope to find the balance in between that works for me.

For 2018, I want to do more of what makes me excited and feel good, less of what I feel obligated to do or try or eat or workout because Instagram told me too. If it feeds into my why then of course I will give those things a try. I want to judge less and develop more understanding for others. We are all on our own path to discovering what truly fulfills us and that should be respected. 

We have another bright year ahead of us and there are multiple opportunities in thousands of directions for us to choose. I hope 2018 brings you all that you wish it to and more. Find your purpose. Find your why. Share it with the world. Happy 2018!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

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Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

 

 

Your only limit is you

Today is my last day of my Pilates Mat certification course, hence why this post is coming at you a day later. For the past 8 days, for 7 hours a day, I have been fully immersed into this course, learning more than I anticipated over the week.  Learning and growing professionally is the only way to stay current, up to date, and offer your clients the most out of your time together in the fitness and health industry. There are different approaches to movement and things change over time so the learning never stops.

If you know me personally, or have followed along with me the last few years, you will know I have openly shared a lot about my anxiety. I have perfectionistic tendencies that used to hold me back in the past and cause me great stress and anxiety.  It got to the point where I was unable to properly perform or function in the manner I was supposed to. Taking the course this week meant I was stepping out of my comfort zone once again and leaving the perfectionism behind. As we get older, I find it even more difficult to do this because our egos get in the way.  The younger we are the less fear we have to try new things and potentially fail - because at some point we decided that as adults we must have it all together at all times. 

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For me, I am only 24, yet I have been in this industry for almost 6 years! I however recognize, and even more so after this week, that there is so much more to absorb and learn! I have also realized that I need to not let my perfectionist tendencies get in the way of my discomfort when learning new things because that is where all of the growth and change occurs. We may not like the feeling at the time but we definitely come out on top when we embrace it!

So what have I actually learned this week besides some new movements along the way?

  1. Trust the process.  Let each day come as it is. Be proud of what you have accomplished in the learning process and look forward to getting better. Acknowledge the areas that need improvement and build on your strengths. It takes time to have it all come together.
  2. Have an open mind. Pilates is like nothing else I have ever taught, despite what I thought coming into the course. It has taken me all week to have a more open mind and attitude to the approach and thinking as it is different than what I am used to. I can now by the end of the week appreciate the bigger picture as I bring it all together with my previous knowledge.
  3. Be confident. When I know things I am confident. When I am unsure I am extremely unconfident. Own the uncomfortable and be confident and assertive that you know. When teaching a new format like Pilates, even instructors like myself can become nervous as we don’t feel confident about the movements just yet. However, I had to learn this week to be confident in what I know and go with it. 

When putting ourselves out there to try something new or learn something we are unfamiliar with, we can often come in with a predetermined mindset of what are and aren’t capable of. Next time, I challenge you (and myself), to enter a new experience, confident in your current capabilities, and excited for the new knowledge you will gain. Think back to where you first started and remember that each small step gets you one step closer to your overarching goals and aspirations. Live in the uncomfortable because that is where the magic happens!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

'Tis the Season!

It’s the time of year for holiday parties, eating, drinking, and seeing old friends! The holiday season is meant to be a time to enjoy the company of those you love, create experiences and memories and have a good time. However, a lot of us can end up neglecting our routines, feel stressed when managing the social chaos, and even try to find a quick fix to look perfect before showing up to your social gathering. For myself, the biggest adjustment for me at this time of year is sleep. I need lots since I work early mornings but over the last few weeks that sleep routine has been neglected - but all for a good cause, enjoying time with friends and family!

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I’ve put together my list of things to do over the next few weeks during this busy time of year to not only help myself stay on track and in the right mindset, but maybe help some of you too!

  1. Plan your workouts in advance and stick to your schedule. December is a very easy month to neglect and put off workouts due to the perceived lack of time we have. However, we all know when the holiday lunches and parties take place, so why not plan the workouts around that to keep up with your training. You already know the benefits exercising can give you, that is why you keep it up, so this time of year should be no different. By sticking to your workout plan, it can be a constant throughout the month when eating, drinking, and lack of sleep might begin to take over.
  2. Enjoy all of the holiday baking! (…or eating, or drinking!) It is totally okay to indulge and enjoy. I don’t always like the term “guilty pleasure” because there should be nothing guilty about it! If you love it, go for it! Social gatherings usually happen around food and drink so rather than feeling poorly about it, make the most of it. I don’t drink alcohol myself, but I like to enjoy holiday baking and festive food I wouldn’t otherwise be eating if it weren’t for Christmas. I usually try to taste a little bit of everything on my plate to leave me feeling satisfied but without having overeaten after the fact.
  3. There is NO magic trick or pill.  This tip especially applies to those who might be going away or catching up with old friends you want to impress. There is no magic diet or exercise plan to look your best before that big day.  Continue what you are doing in your regular healthy routine and you will feel and look your best. 

At the end of the day the holiday season usually requires a reset and a desire to get back to routine once it is all over. Hopefully what this time of year does is make you appreciate the healthy habits you have created over the year and put them to the test when your schedule fills up. Be thankful for the time you get to celebrate family and friends rather than stressing out over trying something from the dessert table. Life was meant to be lived and enjoyed!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Body Image Panel Wrap Up

Last Monday we closed out the Discover You Panel Discussion Series on the topic of body image. Although we hosted a women’s only event, it is definitely something every single person encounters and deals with on a regular basis. We have so many pressures from other people, social media, and ourselves to live up to that it is no wonder many people have poor reflections of themselves. Rather than being ourselves we easily get caught up attempting to achieve a certain look that society tells us is the perfect, one way to be.  

I began the evening with a quote I found from the Instagram account @youaintyourweight, “don’t value your body over your being”. This statement is truly what the evening centred around as we shared, listened, and discussed.

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The biggest take aways from our body image panel that I want to share with all of you include the following:

  1. Change how you feel on the inside first. It won’t matter what you look like on the outside if you haven’t first begun to transform the feelings and thoughts you have on the inside.
  2. You are enough. What you have to offer is enough. You don’t need to change or become smaller to be have more value in this world.
  3. Surround yourself with people (in person) and accounts (via social media) that send you positive vibes and good energy.  Don’t get so caught up in the negative and what others are doing that you don’t love so much. Focus on the good and your energy will elevate you higher.
  4. Life is a journey and your body is right there along for the ride. As we enter different life stages our bodies will change and that is okay. Embrace the changes life has to offer and love your body as it learns how to deal with those changes. We don’t talk enough about bodies changing over time - we often dwell on the changes that occur rather than recognizing that it comes with the new territory in the new life stage (puberty, pregnancy, menopause…)
  5. As professionals we want to create conversations around how a client feels rather than how they look.  Although aesthetic goals are one way to measure success, it isn’t the only way. Think of measuring energy levels, mood, strength (how much weight can you lift, etc), rather than immediately going to amount of weight lost.

We are all a work in progress. No one will always feel 100% about themselves 100% of the time. The best thing we can do is to practice self love, take care of ourselves, body, mind, and soul and we will exude our best energy to the rest of the world.

“What about this theory. The fear of not being enough, and the fear of being too much are exactly the same fear. The fear of being you.” 

You are enough.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Life as an Entrepreneur

Like many others in the health and wellness industry, I work at a variety of studios and for multiple managers.  As fitness instructors, it is difficult to find full time work at any one studio so we are usually the people who hustle around the city from gym to gym teaching.  Over the last few months I decided to take my work one step further and run my own events. Since being involved in the running of other events for other companies in the past, I was ready to take the leap and try it for myself.  The weeks and months leading up to the events have been the most exhausting, yet most rewarding.  However, I recognize that this is what I have chosen to do. I don’t talk about this part of my work as often because I am focused on the actual work I do. But, I am learning to embrace the ups and downs this whole entrepreneur life is all about.  I decided to share what I have learned with all of you tonight to give you more insight and hopefully some tips if you are planning on starting a project, event, or business of your own.

  1. Have a strong support system. If it weren’t for my family and close friends, I do not know where I would be today. Sounds cheesy and I know everyone says it but it is seriously necessary. I have lost track of the number of phone calls over the last few months - whether it be to bounce an idea off of someone else, or to call in a panic that no one will be coming to my event. I am truly thankful for those who haven’t given up on my ideas and have supported me in my new adventures.
  2. See who walks the walk. In order to run events and have them successful, you need attendees. I have received countless notes of encouragement from so many people, yet I haven’t felt as much support as I originally perceived to have. I quickly realized that some people like to talk more rather than show actual support.
  3. Support others in the industry. I make an effort to attend events if I can. Of course I have to have a genuine interest in the event itself to go, but make time to see what else is out there. You can support others who are also trying to figure things out like you, and learn from their events. Show up. Support others. Grow the community. At the end of the day, those in your industry should be on the same greater page as you, trying to reach a common goal. For me, it is all about having people be their best self. If that can be accomplished by me and a few friends going to another event, so be it!
  4. Celebrate others. This has been particularly true for my panel discussions. I recognized that I am not an expert in every single topic we have discussed during my event series. So, I invited others who have experiences I don’t have to come and share. I want to lift others up who are doing awesome things and learn from them too. In order to give my best self to the world and my community, I want to learn from the other people around me. I see other women in the fitness and health industry not as competition, but as my professional community. We can be teammates supporting one another to reach higher, rather than afraid someone will outshine us in the process.
  5. Just do it. I have had my confidence come and go these last few months worrying if people will attend my events to hoping sponsors will team up for different projects. At the end of the day, I go back to my mission and my why. Once I remind myself why I am doing it, I put my head down, grind through, and have some pretty awesome experiences happen! It takes hard work. Things don’t fall into place unless you do the work to put them there. As I have learned from the Joyous Health Business course I have been enrolled in the past 6 weeks, get shit done!
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Tomorrow evening we close out with my final event of 2017. I have big dreams, ideas, and plans coming for 2018. After tomorrow night I look forward to reflecting on what I have learned in order to help me grow for the next year ahead. I am grateful for the connections I have made this past year, the sponsors who have made my events possible, and the exceptional community of women we have created through it all. That is what it is all about! Building community through connection and self-discovery.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Hip hoppin' my way to being cool!

Tonight I performed on stage for the first time in about 8 years and I must say that it was the most fun I have had in a long time! Although every day I stand in front of a crowd and ‘perform’ for my own job, it is a completely different feeling dancing in front of a audience.  If you know me, you know I danced growing up - but never hip hop! 

When I signed up 6-weeks ago for the Run the Flex program (check out @aaronxaquino for more info), I was lacking confidence and feeling really unsure of myself in terms of my hip hop skills. I think I put more pressure on myself because I do have a dance background.  On top of that, I am a perfectionist and want everything perfect. What I quickly realized is that hip hop is the opposite of perfection. It is about the feeling and the style, something I knew I would have to work on. My goal at the start of the program was to feel cool by the end :P I quickly realized that confidence is the key to it all. I knew I could get the moves but it was believing that I could and then not doubting it. Fake it ’til you make it right? I had to learn to just own it!

Every day I ask my clients to step out of their comfort zones, try new things,  and push themselves further than they think they can.  The past few weeks I got to experience that for myself. Thursday nights ended up being my favourite part of the week no matter what stress was going on in my life or how tired I was. Reflecting back on the past 6 weeks I feel much more confident in my abilities, I made some new friends, and I am already looking forward to the next session!

Each and every day we are given an opportunity to try something new and get uncomfortable or choose to stay on the same comfortable path. This week I challenge you to find a way to step outside of your comfort zone. You might not know where the new path is taking you but trust the process. It may be a simple dance class like me, a change in friendship, a relationship, a career, or a new fitness goal. Big or small, change is good. New things help us grow and truly find what makes us happy. For me, I realized just how happy dancing makes me. I committed to myself for 6-weeks and I definitely feel much cooler - I learned it was always there, I just had to believe it for myself. I really can’t wait for the next session of Run the Flex! Until then, feel free to join me for as many drop in classes as I can fit into my schedule!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

Body Image: The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful

Stop and think of something you don’t like about yourself. Now what about something you do like about yourself. Easier to think of the negative things, right? We can more easily put ourselves down with all of the things that are less than perfect before we get excited about the things that we do feel confident about.  What types of things did you just think about beforehand? Because more often than not, we usually think of our physical appearance much quicker than our personalities.  Body image is such an interesting topic. Our perceptions and love for our bodies can change day to day, and even after just a simple encounter with someone else or a quick swipe through our Instagram newsfeed. 

Now more than ever comparison to others is the biggest factor affecting one’s body image. I know we all read and share about stopping the comparisons to others and loving our bodies but it can be a challenge when all we see online and in ads are what seem to be perfect portrayals of what most of us will never be able to attain for ourselves.  All it takes is one quick negative thought to take you on that downward spiral.

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We talk a lot about accepting flaws - but in my opinion, they are only flaws because someone else is telling us this. Again, we are influenced by those around us telling us that we have to accept being less than perfect because how we are isn’t good enough. I don’t often listen or follow the fads and trends because they are just that, trends that will be ever-changing.  Just remember, at one point being thin was what people were striving for and now we are celebrating women who look strong, powerful, and are more full figured.  It is funny to me how although our body shapes might not change, the perception of whether or not it is ideal does. For me, more people celebrate my legs now than ever because apparently it is trendy to have a more full lower half of your body. I feel sure enough in my own body to not allow the thoughts of others to sway my thoughts of myself, but lots of others can fall into that trap.

I have personally not struggled too much with body image compared to other women (and men) I know but one thing that I have always been self conscious of is my skin. I struggled with acne since grade 4 or 5 which is a long time since I am only 24! It has only been in more recent years that I finally feel confident about it. Regardless of a body part, skin, or hair, if we don’t feel 100% sure about ourselves, of course we are going to be less confident when interacting with others.  Despite what we want to believe about not judging a book by its cover, appearance will always be the immediate first impression you give off. When we walk into a room we not only want people to listen to what we say but see that we feel confident in our body image and how we carry ourselves.

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Loving our bodies can be a difficult thing at times. Throughout a lifespan our bodies change and adapt to puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, menopause, stress, and everything in between. The most important thing to remember is that our bodies are just like trends, ever-changing.  I truly believe in the power of loving ourselves from the inside out. When we can be more confident of who we are and what we stand for, we can more easily withstand the outside pressures as well as the changes that life can throw our way. Leading a healthy, active lifestyle with foods that fuel and movement to promote health, our bodies on the outside will reflect exactly how our bodies will be feeling on the inside - AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

*Discover You is offering a panel discussion on Body Image on November 27th. Find more information here.

 

From Head to Toe

Personal training and group fitness instructing differ on a few different levels. The most obvious is the personality and energy you bring to one client versus a group of people all at once.  Regardless of the amount of people you train at once, you should always be energetic, encouraging, and enthusiastic in helping your clients reach their goals. The tough part of training a group all at once is that you can’t always make it around to correct the smaller details of the movements.  At the end of each workout I always try to give a tip so that way when clients come back they have at least one thing to improve upon for their next workout.  Especially with group fitness, instructors often spew lots of information and clients don’t always know what applies. My hope is that the one extra piece of information I can break down helps to make sense of the movements they performed in the workout.

Lately head position has been a big discussion for me. The set-up of every exercise is important.  Often times it isn’t the way we perform the movement itself but the way we set up for it that can dictate the success or difficulty of the movement.  I encourage clients to begin at the head and work their way down.  This not only ensures you don’t miss any body parts, but our head position, when corrected, can usually fix and adjust the other issues below.

Things I often see include:

  • looking at yourself in the mirror when in a bent over position
  • leading with your head for a push up
  • shooting your head forward when standing to use resistance bands
  • dropping your head in between your hands during a plank
  • staring upwards as you do a back extension

Form usually breaks down when the exercise becomes difficult to continue to perform. But, in other cases, people sometimes aren’t aware they are doing it or realize that the way they compensate for the movement might hurt their bodies and make the exercise more difficult to perform.

So what is the ideal position?

Ideally, we want our head to remain neutral with the rest of the spine and body. When we cue for proper alignment, trainers say to keep your shoulders, ribs, and hips stacked, implying that they all fall below the head, parallel to each other.  I know that the ideal position is not always what happens in real life, but in order to protect our spine and joints, we want to practice neutral.

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What can happen if we don’t focus on head position?

All of the above scenarios will ultimately affect the rest of the body below the head and neck.  Poor head position can enhance rounding of the spine and a sore neck and lack of mobility through the shoulders and scapula. When our head or other body parts compensate, it can, in some instances, mean that the right muscles don’t get the work because the wrong ones are moving instead. 

How to correct it?

Every person performing every movement will be different but a few key things to think about include:

  • head, shoulders, ribs, hips stacked like building blocks
  • paying attention to where your gaze is, for example on a deadlift we want the head and gaze to move up and down with us, but for a pushup we want the gaze above the hands slightly to avoid leading the nose too deep in between the hands
  • checking in before you begin the movement to ensure proper set up position
  • breathing properly to avoid carrying tension in the wrong body parts
  • engaging your core to give your body a strong base of support in hopes the head and other body parts won’t want to overcompensate in a movement 
  • ask questions to your trainer or fitness instructor!

I hope this week’s tip on head position will be something you can bring with you to your next workout too!

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

How I moved on after athletics

If you are like me and played sports from a young age, people immediately categorize you as an athlete.  For some reason we like to divide up the world based on the things we are good at, making us feel confident when things are really going our way.  For athletes, that means we are more often than not placed on a pedestal for our successes in the world of sports and looked up to as role models.

But what happens when the curtain closes and you take your last bow? What happens if that occurs before you are ready for it to be over? As much as life as an athlete can carry lots of glory, it may carry a lot of hard times and a loss of identity when making the transition when your career is over.

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For those of you who didn’t know, by the time I entered high school and then into university, my main sport of choice was field hockey. I played varsity field hockey at the University of Toronto and was a co-captain in my final year on the team.  We were extremely successful, winning an OUA banner 3 times when I was on the team and placing 2nd at the CIS Championship twice.  Definitely nothing to complain about! However, my career ended in a way that is different than most.

My last season of field hockey although on the field went well was a challenge off the field for a variety of reasons and so I came to the conclusion that I would no longer be part of the team heading into my fifth and final year of school. Many people were surprised I didn’t just “stick it out” and play my final year but I knew it wasn’t serving its purpose any longer. When I made my decision to stop playing, I knew that my fitness career was going to now take centre stage so my transition was not as hard as I have seen it be for others.

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As an athlete you invest countless hours, your blood, sweat, and tears into your sport, often sacrificing many other things. Of course moving on after will be difficult when sport is the one thing that took up the majority of your life.  

Although I knew where my energy and attention would be directed after athletics many athletes are left feeling lost and unsure of themselves. Physically and emotionally our bodies are changing and it often takes time to find new passions, new uses for our countless hours of free time and a new place to focus our energy. 

The best advice is to take the qualities you possessed in sport and channel them elsewhere. As athletes we have a strong work ethic and are good at sticking to our plans to achieve results and reach our goals. Although it may not be for sport and a win or best time anymore, those qualities can be put to good use in other ways. For me, fitness instructing allows me to use my passion for movement and educate others. In terms of my competitiveness, I enjoy running. Racing allows me to be competitive with myself - definitely a trait acquired from sport.

Transitioning from sport will never be easy, but no change that happens in life is.  It is a change. It will upset the norm you are used to. Take the lessons learned and the work ethic developed in sport and translate it into other places. Our bodies will change but it is up to us to learn to accept the changes and love our new bodies, new goals, and new identities.

I know this experience is unique and different for everyone. I am excited to be hosting my third panel discussion next Monday November 6th on the topic of Finding Your Identity After Athletics. Click the link here for more information. My hope is that you can join us to hear from the panelists, share your insight and learn from each others’ experiences to help us all develop a stronger identity after sport.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


Check out Rachel's page on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Feel free to comment below with topics you would be interested in reading about in the future.

 

#MeToo

#MeToo.  I know, I know, it has already been a few weeks since the scandal of Harvey Weinstein was released to the public, but I have been letting my thoughts brew on the matter before delving into a post about it.  I also think it is valid to remember that although we may share online of our own struggles for the first 24-48 hours after learning of the news, this nonsense continues to take place and the conversations should remain long after this scandal fades.

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Sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and whatever other words you want to describe your experience as, have been going on for far too long.  I guess as you become older, lose your childhood innocence and move to the big city of Toronto, you begin to realize that not everyone has good intentions and you won’t always feel safe.  I was naive to the fact until a few years ago in university.  I never noticed men looking at me until someone pointed it out one day. But let me tell you, since that day I have noticed it more and more and it truly has changed the way I walk on the streets, most often times alone.

At first I thought maybe I was being a dramatic 20-something female, overreacting to the situation.  But as this trend began to happen almost, if not, daily when I am outside on the streets, I have realized that although it is NOT okay, it is unfortunately the current reality.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think twice about at least one person, in my case, male, making remarks in my direction or staring at me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable.  If you aren’t sure what sexual harassment entails, browse this list for yourself.

The purpose of this post is to not make it about me.  I am simply sharing as a way to best illustrate the magnitude of the situation.  Below are the top four incidents that stand out in my mind, but the more I think about it, the more I am reminded of the many situations I have experienced.

  1. I was rushing from the mall to catch the Greyhound bus home attempting to maneuver my way amongst the people coming out of the revolving doors. I noticed a man looking at me.  I assumed it was because I had bright tights on so didn’t think much of it. Next thing I knew, he was walking at me and attempted to put his hand in between my legs. All I could do was push him away and keep going because I was more worried about making the bus on time. Once on the bus, I truly realized what had happened.
  2. This summer I was walking with my friend and her baby on the street in the middle of the day. It was warm and I wasn’t working so I had a dress on. A guy came up to me out of no where, up-close in my personal space to tell me just how hot I looked in the dress.
  3. A noticed a man in the grocery store who I happened to see in a few aisles before leaving. The store isn’t big so you definitely see the same people a few times upon buying your groceries. While walking on the street after leaving the store I felt someone behind me. I moved over thinking I was walking too slowly only to realize that the guy was trying to catch up to me. He began to compliment me and kept asking me weird questions while I waited at the light, never making eye contact. He noticed and asked me if he made me feel uncomfortable.  I actually had the courage to tell him, YES! I continued to say that he shouldn’t be making people feel that way and he walked away.
  4. After too many encounters, I began to put my headphones in so less people would try to talk to me. But let’s not forget, often times we can still hear even when the music is on. As I walked by in a sundress two workers outside yelled at each other, “hey, look at the ass bounce!” not thinking I could hear. Embarrassed I walked away quickly and never looked back.

I always seem to think I know what I will say when the moment happens next time. That I will stand up for myself, have courage, be brave, say all the things that are wrong about the situation. However, the reality is, I am baffled each and every time it happens. I continue to be stunned at how disrespectful some men can be.  Instead, I usually stare, dumb-founded that it has happened once again.  My new reality is to walk with my headphones on, avoid eye contact, and be thankful for the running shoes on my feet in hopes I could outrun any danger or threat.

I recently mentioned my experience on the street to some young men around my age. Thinking they would maybe get it, they instead tried to explain to me that “guys can’t help but look at pretty girls”! I will never look at those guys again in the same way. I will not tolerate someone sticking up for actions that are not acceptable. I have even written about my stories before on my blog. If you want to reread click here.

I’ve shared my experience now but so unsure as to where this goes from here. On one end I support the #MeToo movement. We need to share to display just how big of a deal this really is. But, I respect those who haven’t and won’t share as these experiences can alter your life and relationships with anyone in the future, forever. We don’t all want to share and be reminded of it. I also like the movement around teaching your boys about respect. But, I have grown-ass men disrespecting me and making me feel uncomfortable and what are we doing about them? Their mothers aren’t there to teach them.  We can support women all we want and unite together, but unless we change the way men behave, the principles and protocols in the workplace and elsewhere, should we expect any real change to occur.

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As a female or anyone experiencing this, don’t belittle your situation. Don’t think it isn’t AS bad as someone else’s because it is still happening.  I used to think it is because I am constantly smiling and look friendly on the street or because I absolutely love bright coloured and patterned leggings. But the fact is no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It is my body. My business. Step off.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel


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