Rediscovering the rebel eight year old

Written by Joyce Ferreira

My whole life I have struggled to fit in this imaginary box I was told I should be in. The more people wanted to stuff me in that box, the more I wanted to be the exact opposite. When I was given dolls, I would play with cars; when I was offered dancing lessons, I asked to join the local soccer team; when the girls got together to do whatever they did back then, I would be climbing trees or playing in the dirt with my male friends. To challenge “the norm” had become something I was very proud of; to be different had become part of who I was.

The beginning of high school was a bit hard for my out of the norm self. I felt out of place for awhile and struggled to be accepted and make friends. However, with time and the social pressure high school has in all teens, I changed my ways. That change lended me a few friends  and got me through school, but it also caused me to become a frustrated and confused young adult. High school was over and I could be myself again but I didn’t know who that was anymore.

When I discovered CrossFit I also rediscovered that rebel eight-year-old girl I had forgotten about. CrossFit was everything I needed and didn’t know. I entered the gym scared (I thought Erin was so intimidating… lol), with no self-esteem and no hope. Two years later and I have never felt so capable and confident. The sport gave me the opportunity to leave that box I had placed myself in so long ago. Again I was fighting the norm, which meant also fighting my own head, and it felt so good.

Being surrounded by people who believed in what I was trying to believe was a very important part of my journey. The people I worked out with became my friends, my family. They didn’t care how I looked like or what I wore. They accepted me for who I was and helped me be better. The only thing asked from me was to give my best. That’s what I did class after class and it made me feel unstoppable.

Today, I try to teach by example that it’s okay to be who you really are and the norm is what you make of it. As a caregiver, I became a consistent role model in children’s lives and I try to show them that girls and women can be athletic and strong, and they can play with boys and men at the same level. As a coach, I try to make the same impact people at NOVA S&C still make in my life. NOVA and CrossFit not only helped me find myself again but they challenge me every day to be a better version of me. The journey is long and the grind never ends but it always better to go through it with your head up and people that cheer you on every step of the way.

Stay thirsty, dear friends!

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