That Deaf Jersey Girl…

Meeting my husband was one thing I thought would never happen. I was at the end of my NFL cheerleading season, a bad break up, and swore to myself I would be single for a while. Well, look what happened. A year and half long distance relationship, which led to a move to VA, a marriage, 3 moves, two homeownerships, two careers, 3 dogs later….no, let’s not talk about kids yet. Please…go away.

One night, a girlfriend and I thought it would be fun to attend a calendar release party in DC. Sure, let’s get all dolled up and enjoy the night to ourselves! Nope! Ran into this guy who introduced me to my now husband. Long, long story short, after a cab chase to get my number, this guy was mine. Until then, I was forever dubbed the jersey girl this, jersey girl that…

Ladies, if a guy wants to fix your broken 5 inch heel, you let him!

We decided to give that dating life a try. He was in VA and I in NJ. We had never done a long distance relationship. This was all news to us. He had never dated a deaf girl either. Alert alert! He was from New England. This guy had every phrase in the book with an accent. Ok dude, you need to speak English. That was tough. I really liked him as a person but his English was like, okay excuse me, let me jump off the cliff really quick. Have a drink. Your lips move better when you’re happy. Eventually with time, he learned how to use his darn English. We mostly texted and Skyped to stay in touch. Weekends consisted of watching his rugby tournaments in the DC area and going to the bar for a drink or 10. This was 2010.

A year and half later, it was time for that move. We ended up living outside of Old Town Alexandria. He had rescued a dog who we named Jameson in the beginning of our relationship, I had my Charley. I think these two had a lot more to adjust than Justin and I did!

6 months later, one night, we went to dinner at our favorite restaurant Rosa Mexicana in DC and somehow ended up in a hotel that we met. Can you guess what happened?Β He finally put a ring on it! (Cue Beyonce “Single Ladies”)

I’ll always be that Jersey Girl as long as he continues to pump my gas for me πŸ™‚

Us in a nutshell

Thing is, somehow we just make it work. Communication, communication, and communication. Don’t forget laughter and trust is also key. If someone makes you feel unworthy because of your disability or who you are, stand up and walk away. When you find your person, keep your person. Laugh at the tiniest mistakes you both do. Travel and go see the world together. Do the things you two enjoy and talk about all the time. Do projects around the house. Find a new hiking spot. Those 5 years of marriage went by so fast. Blink and time is gone. Live a little and enjoy it all in the process. Take lots of pictures in the meantime too!

That Deaf Crossfitter…

I’ve danced all my life. It was something I ate, slept, and breathed for. After my short professional career, I tried to keep on dancing. I was taking dance classes here and there and even thought about trying out for the Washington Redskins and Wizards after my move. (Never happened. I’m still pretty faithful to my Eagles). My boyfriend (now husband) at the time was doing Crossfit. This was circa 2010? It was still pretty new and I had heard “stuff” about it. Like stupid stuff. People used to talk about how bad it was for you. People wouldn’t shut up about it. Remember “uncle rhabdo”? Go fist yourself.

I knew I needed to do something to fill the void of dancing. To me, crossfit was very technical and almost rehearsed as if you had to follow a workout compared to performing a dance routine. I liked it. I hated it. I loved everything about it. And basically retired from that dance life.

I joined a Crossfit gym July 2011 and started doing the Crossfit Open in 2012. Without even realizing my potential, I made the team in 2013 as an alternate. I was planning a wedding. Add a new house on top of that. I wasn’t really “training” but was doing workouts almost 4-5 days a week. All their movements and lifts felt very natural to me. I got better and better with stamina. All the sudden, I was snatching more weight than most girls even some of the guys (winking at yous) at my gym. I wasn’t even really trying to be one of the top members. Okay, I lied. If there was no competition, then how would you compare? Be the best version of you. Period. Dot com.

Awkward! Does Bradley Cooper do Crossfit? No? Darn!

Anyhow, I decided to take the Crossfit Level 1 Coach certification. It required a full weekend of instructions and end with an exam at the end of the class on Sunday. I got my book and read through it. Day 1 comes along. Holy crap. If I remembered correctly, that was a shitload of information. Even though, everyone was so clear on the movements and fundamentals of Crossfit, I was still lost in translation. My brain does not work the same way a person with a normal hearing does. I ended up with a headache that night. Next day rolls along. Should be easy day right? Go through all the movements in small groups. Okay, time out. This exam is today?

My head hurts. So much listening (about 4-5 different coaches with different voices), lipreading, and the whole weekend was super chaotic in my opinion. And because of all that, failed my course. Twice. Eventually, passed my third. Barely.

I began coaching at Crossfit Reston and eventually took the kids coach’s course. I went on to coach the kids classes for about 4 years. Guess what? Rich Froning (don’t ask) was in my group at the Crossfit Kids Certification. Talk about nerves when one of the Red Shirt Coaches make you coach him in front of everyone. Squats? No problem! “Arms up, butt out, hips back as you go down!”. Can someone take my blood pressure please? (Fans self)

Gags. Now, I began to realize coaching was not a very easy thing for me to do. If you’ve taken a Crossfit class or coached, you may know what I’m talking about. Imagine this, everyone is staring at you. The music and fans are on. You can barely hear yourself. You need to be on top of every single movements which to me, no problem. Time came for it. My voice? Wasn’t cut out for it. The gym was huge and it seemed to echo back and forth. Members could barely hear me. My voice cracked. A lot. It’s pretty hilarious. 3, 2, 1!! (Cracked voice) And guys, I adore you all, no sympathy please. Go away.

My Crossfit Certification was running out. Every five years, you have to either retake Level 1 or move up to take Level 2 and bypass the first course. With my new job and the commute I was doing, I decided to let it run out. Good bye Lululemon discounts! I’ll miss you!

Don’t get me wrong. Coaching is very rewarding. When a member achieves her first pull up or PR a lift, even scrape their shin on the box, you know you’ve done your job. You’ve been in their shoes. You remember what it’s like. Go people. Thumbs up. Rock on. Good luck making the Games. Wink.

Nowadays, I lift and workout in my awesome garage gym. We call it “Swole City HAM Club”. Haha. It’s my little bubble. Away from stupid people. I can come home from work, take 15 mins to say hi to the dogs even though Nikki just wants to go outside for her tennis balls, hug my husband, change, walk five feet into my gym and just go. Head down and move. I work 10 hr days, some shorter if I’m lucky. On a good day, I will spend an hour. But that’s usually on my days off. Long day? If I don’t feel like doing anything, I almost always try at least 8-10 mins of a metcon, emom (that’s Every Minute On the Minute), or cardio such as running or rowing. Just to get a sweat and my heart racing. We all need that in our lives. Get your heart pumping people!

2015 was my best Crossfit Open performance. I had my eyes on the Games. Even if it didn’t happen that year, it was gonna happen the next and the year after that and so forth! Nopeski. That year I received my acceptance letter for Dental Hygiene school and the world just stopped. Pretty much. I tried to keep up with training. Um, forget about it. My first semester almost killed me. Almost. I applaud the people who can go to school full time and train full time. Good for you superstars. Can someone just sponsor me so I can quit my job and train full time? Ha.

A lot of people ask me what I eat. I eat cheesesteaks every day! And pizza! And my homemade ice cream! Dude I wish it were that easy. While I do eat those things but in moderation (I’m only human), I pretty much follow a macro/flexible eating nutrition program and get meals from Territory Foods. You can customized the type of meal plans that work for you, pick out the goodies, and have them delivered or pick it up at a local gym near you. Heat it up and viola! The best part about them? They give back to non-profits in need.

Til next Blog πŸ˜‰

That Deaf Dancer…

Dancing has saved my life. Period. I had been dancing for nearly 23 years. From that tiny basement to professional level. Yah, professional! That’s when it all finally paid off. Go me!

Why, you say? Well duh. Growing up was not always easy. Countless days of bullying and taunting allowed me to be free in a dance classroom. Also allowed freedom of expression and interactions with fellow dancers. The thing is, I didn’t really have a voice at such a young age and had a hard time defending myself. When young kids see your hearing aids, take it from me, they’re cruel as hell.

I had a voice in the dance world. Countless hours dancing and going to dance workshops, classes by top name dance professionals before they became big today, trips to NYC to attend dance classes at Broadway Dance Center, huge dance conventions such as JUMP, Shake The Floor, etc. I attended a performing arts high school, even started out as a dance major in college and participated in a pom squad. With a minor change in my career choice when the economy dropped, I decided to try out for the Baltimore Ravens at the time. Which also led MTV to follow me and do a story. If you ever feel so inclined to, google it, I’m sure it’s on YouTube as well. And no, I don’t watch it. Seriously.

While finishing up my degree, I was also fortunate to join the Baltimore Blast Cheerleading Squad which encouraged me to try out for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders upon graduation. What a freaking fun ride. I went into the audition with no clue what I was getting myself into. I’ve met some amazing ladies who I still talk to this day. I got the experience of my life that I would’ve never imagined. I still look back and remember the chills I get when the fighter jets fly over the stadium during the national anthem or performing to the Eagles Fight Song. Goosebumps man.

But dude! Let’s rewind. That was a tough audition. The most nerve racking part of it was the live stage interview. Also! It was live on the internet too. Could you believe that? Me? That deaf girl has to ask for help? My god. There’s a panel of 10 judges in front of you and when your turn was up, they randomly pick a question and you have to answer it as best as you can. Hell no. Have you heard my alien voice? And it’s dark as hell. So dark you can’t even read their lips! What if it was a former NFL player mumbling something and you’re forced to ask him to repeat it multiple times? What was I supposed to do? Seriously, just save me the agony and just let me do what I do best. Dance and strut across the floor in my bikini ok? Please please?

Fortunately, I got my shit together and talked to the director about my situation. Now, if you know me, I flipping HATE asking for help. Like why does this have to be so damn HARD and yet it was something I needed to do. She was kind enough to let me in on a few questions. Yup the secrets out. If they couldn’t help me out especially after making it this far along, then BYE Felicia! Not worth the embarrassments and sacrifices I had to make which included missing exams, skipping classes and traveling 4 hr round trips from school to attend all this hard earned work that could possibly never happen. Hey, I was not going to let this opportunity go. (Cue Eminem rap) One thing I learned from my mother is perseverance is key.

perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.Β

To get what you strive, eat, sleep and breath for, you’re going to do EVERYTHING you can to make this happen. Looking back, this accommodation was so MINOR, man. It can be so embarrassing especially when you’re about to be part of a major NFL organization.

It’s finals night. (Not the exams stoopid). I do my thing, telling myself, no one gives a shit if you don’t make it or not. (Truth is, I had a ton of people behind me on this. So thank you. You all know who you are. Especially you MOM!) Finally, the next day my number was called and it hit me that all these years of sweat, tears, hard work finally paid off. F yes! My mother knew I could do this and because of her, none of this would’ve happened. I followed my dreams. Basically. I’ve experienced so many rejections and this was now my moment to shine….

Time to wrap this up. We’re heading up to the mountain to enjoy a conjoined bachelor/bachelorette weekend! πŸ™‚

Oh yeah and Go Eagles!