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“To fully embrace the beauty of a rose, you must be willing to risk the prick of a thorn.”

One of the most attractive qualities someone can possess is passion.  I bet if you think of people in your life, you can label those that are passionate about something, and those that seem to just be going through the motions, living a very average existence.  The thought of an average existence terrifies me.  I have been in average relationships before, and every time the thought of marriage came up, I wanted to vomit.  If that isn’t a sign it’s not right, I don’t know what is!  So I decided a couple of years ago that I wouldn’t get into a relationship with someone in which I wasn’t head over heels.  If I expect a life of passion, why should relationships be an exception?

So fast forward a long year, and I guess I would say I am proud of myself for completely opening up and giving someone 100% for perhaps the first time.  To open up your chest and allow another person to place their hand on your heart also comes with the risk that they may ultimately take ahold of it and crush it.  But in a odd, questionably twisted way, to feel hurt and pain is refreshing as I realize I am alive and I can, in fact, love fully.img_6564So after my future plans got destroyed in the fires of my arsonist, I chose to take control.  I am a woman of faith, but I believe it is our responsibility to take action and take care of ourselves.  I am able to switch off a good bit of emotion (my resiliency skill), but I couldn’t just sit in my life with the rest of it.  I was pissed, sad, hurt, and all the other kinds of emotions that would be normal given my situation.  If I could see God, I think I would just look Him in the eye and lift my hands up like “welp, what was that about?”.  I wanted understanding.  I wanted to know if all of it was for the few, but good things this person brought to my life when I thought it was for so much more.  I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, it is just up to us to decide on why.  What we chalk something up to is all about our chosen mindset.

image1Anger and hate is not something I keep inside.  To live a life with a heart full of negative emotions is a sad, unfulfilling reality.  Instead, I let go.  I turn off the emotion switch, strip away the negative emotions, and then decide to be thankful for what I have learned and gained from this experience.  I truly believe this is the secret to living a light life that allows you to be free, because hate is heavy, and heavy doesn’t fly.

So this is what spurred my exit stage left of my Pittsburgh life.  I said screw this.  This is my life and I am moving south because I have wanted to and no one is going to stop me.  I basically went rouge in my own life, but if anyone would, it would be me!  I came up with a few cities/towns I thought I would possibly want to live: DC, Newport News, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Charleston.  I have been to 2 out of 5 of these places, but hey, that was the purpose of the road trip.  So I took two weeks to tour VA, NC and SC, with a minor break for Thanksgiving.  I had a list of gyms I wanted to stop into based on their leaderboard standings because when moving to a new city as a CrossFitter, you need to find a new CrossFit family and for me, I needed a gym that was competitive, that had an owner I connected with, and programming I could buy into.

What I have learned on my journey:

  1. If you want to do something, just do it.  I decided I wanted to skydive (my IG video on the experience), so called 2 hrs before I arrived in Wilmington and signed up to jump.  While I was waiting, someone asked me if this was on my bucket list.  I told him, “I don’t really have one, I just wanted to jump so signed up”.  Was I nervous?  Nope.  Maybe it was more of a reckless mindset I was in, but I just wanted to jump out of a plane.  It felt like nothing I expected, thinking it would feel similar to when the plane drops during flight and scares the crap out of everyone.  I didn’t get the stomach in the throat feeling and it was exhilarating.  We jumped out over the ocean and free falled for about a minute before she pulled the cord.  I got to rotate us and put us into spins and it is something I would definitely recommend doing because, why not?

2.  Airbnb is pretty awesome.  Personally I am more fond of staying somewhere where I don’t have to socialize with someone else.  I need my privacy and don’t want to worry about someone worrying about me or feeling obligated to provide conversation.  After staying in a shared house that reeked of dog and sparked unknown allergies on my first day in Charleston, I found a tiny house that had a simple bed, toilet, and sink with a skylight over the bed.  It had an even more amazing outside shower that I took advantage of, even on the cold 54 degree morning of the day I left.  Outdoor shower?  Sign me up.

img_65483.  I need to travel more.  To take two weeks and travel to different cities and towns and explore was amazing.  People do yoga to relax and be present, but I find that being alone anywhere can provide that for me.  I am more introverted by nature so thinking is something I do best.  But sifting through feelings, vibes, and thoughts is easier while walking through historical streets, feeling the sand between your toes as you breath in ocean air, and sipping a good cup of coffee in a new coffee shop.  By opening yourself to being present, you are able to soak up the beauty around you.  It allows you to not judge a place for what it lacks, but embrace what it offers.  It shifts you into a better mindset with a focus on positivity.img_65524.  I have a great support system.  From my family to my closest friends who support me in my decisions and are there for me when I am not as strong.  I don’t have many friends, but the ones I do, I love.  I have also greatly appreciated the abundant amount of support from the strangers I have met, to those following my travels on IG and have left a positive message or personally reached out.  You make a difference 🙂

5.  Being true to yourself is all you can do in this life.  I don’t have the capacity to be anything other than who I am.  When you have spent years becoming someone you are proud of, are confident being, and bring a lot to the table, who else would you want to be?  If there is one saving grace in all of this, it’s my unshakable sense of self.  I think as we continue to grow and develop into adults, we can question our sense of self and worth when things don’t go as planned, especially from any kind of relationship standpoint if we aren’t certain of who we are and have the confidence to fight off any hit.  But it is our job to become someone in which we are proud.  We may never be “complete” but it is the journey towards better that matters.  If you are on that journey, are proud of your life choices and do you continue to strive to be better?  If so, then what more can you do?

6.  Scared of change?  Please, I own that shit.  If there is one thing I am good at, it’s going through changes.  Change can be scary if you don’t experience it a lot, but from an experienced changer, I have never been through a change that hasn’t made me better.  I like looking back on my life and seeing how all of the choices I have made, have been made for me through job offers, or people that have come into my life to shake things up, have always been for the better.  Has everything always worked out perfectly?  No way.  I have been let go from two jobs, quit another hoping I was ready to go 100% entrepreneur, and have had a few relationships end.  But the jobs I’ve lost have brought me into something better.  Had I not taken the leap of faith and left the coaching job I last had, I may not be financially where I am now.  Had I not had key people enter my life, I am not sure I would be who I am today doing what I do currently (Crossfit, coaching nutrition, mentoring other nutrition coaches, etc).  It is actually a scary thought how much some people have impacted my life, and I am forever grateful.  So even though I could hate or be angry about how things have played out, I know what I have gained and know it will all make sense 5 years down the road because it always does.


Since I want to compete for my new gym, I need to sign up by Jan 1st, so I have decided to move Dec 30th with the help of one of my best friends.  To where you may ask?  Raleigh.  It is close to the mountains and beach, it is a decent sized city, I likedimg_6569 the gym and programming, I have three friends that live there, and it just felt the most comfortable and most like “home”.  As my mom reminded me regarding my pro/con list between Charleston and Raleigh “Kylie, you are dating the city.  You can always move”.  It’s not the commitment that scares me, it’s the settling into something comfortable in a negative way, which would have been the case if I decided to stay in Pittsburgh versus doing what I knew I have wanted to do for years.  So can I go wrong doing something versus nothing?  I’d like to think not.  And really, any of the places I visited I would have been more than happy to get the chance to live, had I moved for a job.  My situation is a little unique in that I can pick anywhere, so part of me wonders if God is thinking “well played” since I basically just checkmated my own life on Him.  But I trust that He has a plan and will continue will guide me as I settle into Raleigh.

So as I toss out the old, pack up what matters, physically leave behind my support system, and completely change my life, I know I will be just fine.  I will still be me and that will not change wherever I live.  For life is about mindset.  Like they tell you in sports, so much of performing well is tied to one’s mental game.  Life never goes according to our plans, but it is our ability to roll with the punches, how fast we can get up after we get knocked down, and how we let each victory or loss affect us.  So as you traverse through life, let go of the negative, find the positive, always be open to love, and never let a circumstance alter your wonderful, unique self.  Because to fully feel, to fully live, we must be ok with the risk of getting hurt, of being outside our comfort zone, and change.  But if you accept the risks, the thorns that life pricks you with sometimes, you open yourself up to the beauty of happiness, love, and passion that life is all about.



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