Updated: May 7
“Tell me you're cheap”. “You're not womanly enough”. These are just a few of the words that stayed on my mind for years. I went through a physical and mentally abusive relationship that truly destroyed me for a very long time. The hardest part of it all, wasn’t even when I was with him and that may sound shocking to some but there were many reasons to why that was. The scariest part of it; the times he would sit there pressing packets of ice on my body to take the swelling down, all the while telling me I made him do it- I found comfort in that moment. Comfort in being taken care of. Him wanting to help take the pain away he caused me. I really only wanted him to love me. The hardest part was actually when I left him. Once the trial was over and he was sentenced to prison, I felt completely alone trying to figure out who I was. I had no clue. Every part of me had been chipped away at and taken away from me. Just. like. that.
I had a year to myself going to therapy, trying different healing methods before I stepped into a fitness class 6 years ago. I honestly felt at this point, was my last chance of hope to sort myself out. Utterly petrified of even being in a room full of strangers, worried they'd be staring at me, judging me for what I couldn't do right. Little did I know I would end up working my way up to becoming a General Manager of a Gym, leading 60 staff members across three sites. The best part of my job was bringing the staff and clients together.
I got a real high from seeing people enjoy themselves, bringing a community together for the love of fitness and not forgetting that my reason for starting exercise, may well be the exact reason to why somebody else was signing up to begin their fitness journey.
I always felt a need to help others. Some how I knew that was my calling.
It wasn't an easy ride and I didn't gain my confidence back over night but I believed and had faith that there were good people out there. In actual fact I ended up meeting my now husband in the Gym! I went from being with someone that only caused pain to humans, to now being married to someone who saves peoples lives.
I was approached to open a new gym in Mayfair. An opportunity I felt came at the exact right time. However something in my gut was telling me this isn't for you any more. Something I will always stand by now is that gut feeling. I decided to quit with nothing to go to next which was a bit scary when you have bills to pay, but I knew this was my time to start a fresh and really take some time out to figure out what makes me happy.
Working alongside Devika, who let me remind you, is such an Inspirational woman, I am Arla has given me a real sense of purpose and belonging. I feel it's so important to talk about abuse/trauma/ discrimination as you never know how your story could help somebody else. It’s exactly how we both started our journey together with I am Arla, confiding in each other. Without even knowing the more I spoke about it to someone that understood the more I was naturally healing myself.
For so long I honestly felt I was never going to feel like me again. I am so looking forward to this journey helping women believe things can and will get better.