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  • Writer's picturemaestroandprincess

Leveling Up

Updated: May 13, 2023

For two good years, prior to Princess getting sick, she was in full-on beast mode! Having struggled with weight her whole life and beginning to suffer with congenital bone disorder complicated by Vitamin D deficiency (both of which has left her mother debilitated), she got serious about her health. And like she does with anything she puts her mind to, she went ALL IN. Improved her diet and jacked up her level of movement - just like the doctors always order.

She marched right into the local gym, grabbed a trainer, joined the boot camps and dance classes and started on a serious path to wellness. Make no mistake; this was incredibly hard for her to do. Her whole life she’s experienced social anxiety, and it’s no secret that gyms make a lot of us feel especially self-conscious. She beat that though, and she would tell you now that the gym - any gym - is the only place where she feels 100% confident. Just six months in and she was deep into strength-training, already prepping with a small group of like-minded gym rats for her first Tough Mudder! She even suckered me into joining her on some of those weekend obstacle course runs - ouch - where I, happily, mostly followed along as her photographer.

Below are some pics and video from this bad-ass journey.

Once the gym and those OCRs were mastered, in true Princess-fashion, she was ready to Level Up. She became an Elite Certified Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist, working with clients of her own. And because she’s always been a fashionista, she started partnering with streetwear and athleisure designers, modeling their gear, getting all kinds of awesome free stuff. (This is how I learned that “un-boxing” is an art and should never be rushed by the videographer, ahem). And if there had been yet another leveling up it most likely would have been building her own fitness studio (we even started working on a personal brand).

But as we all know, one moment can change everything.

This moment I’m referring to involved a little slip and fall, a kettlebell, and several minutes of unconsciousness. Princess had suffered a Grade III concussion. She had a CAT-scan and a few weeks of recovery and then she was right back at it. Unfortunately, nothing was ever the same. Because there’s not a lot of research on ME/CFS, we can only surmise that this incident might have caused its onset or at least awakened what had been an otherwise dormant condition.

When you work so hard for something, when you commit so much of your time and energy and you know this is a happy and healthy new beginning, but then you experience the loss of it, you feel shattered. This illness came on with so much brutality it’s difficult to put into words. It tried, desperately, to take everything from her. And that’s why we are here. We are fighting back. We are leveling up.


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