It’s a hormonal disorder that fucked my mood, gave me a beard, and made me gain weight despite hours of exercise. I felt awkward and unpretty for many years in my life. When I moved to the States, the condition and my confidence got worse.
You see, I never saw women with my color and body shape on billboards or on the streets. Yet, I was surrounded by fit bodies wherever I went. Unfortunately, I started doing to my body what no woman should ever do—compare!
Despite hours spent kickboxing, gyming, and running—the weight held me down. I took medication to balance the hormones everyday, but that couldn’t fix the problem, my doctor told me. Only exercise could cure it—if and only if I tried hard enough.
I tried hard—or may be I thought I did. But, the cysts were adamant. They stuck to my ovaries like a nasty disease. They grew larger and numerous every passing day. When things got real bad, I had painfully heavy periods for 15 days and sometimes a month. The hair on my skalp started thinning down and the skin on my face grew blotchy. If I didn’t arrest the problem soon enough, I could even lose fertility.
After some time it wasn’t about the weight alone—it was about feeling defeated. That’s when I met Aubrey.
Even though he’s my trainer I think of him as Master Yoda. He knows when to push me and when to hold back. He trains my body but talks to my mind, telling it to never to give up. He’s one of the few trainers I’ve met who lets me feel confident in my own skin. He reminds me of my first trainer in Brooklyn, a badass woman who could overturn truck tires with her hands. America has given me one thing for sure—a healthy relationship with exercise.
What I love about Aubrey is that despite being a guy, he’s in so many ways a bigger feminist than I. One day, when I sent him vidoes of a fitness model doing a challenging routine, he told me I had done better.
“Don’t go by the way she looks. Go by what’s on the inside,” Aubrey scolded me. “Think about the classes we do together. Or record them for yourself and see.”
“I know what you mean, but I would love to look like her.” I protested.
“I like training people with real bodies, real lives, and real schedules. People like you. I don’t train people who have 5 hours in a day, only to exercise. If I think you can do it, trust me you can.”
Master Yoda had spoken and this time I didn’t have any excuses.
Aubrey and I worked together for 6 months before my routine ultrasound appointment with my gynaecologist. When I got my scans I was as shocked as she. The doctor couldn’t see a single cyst on the images. I had not only dropped weight but my body fat percentage was down by 2.
“Are you sure you have this condition?” My doctor teased.
“I’ve had it for 7 years now! You sure you didn’t get my scans mixed up?” I replied, happy with disbelief.
“Been doing this for more than 7 years. These are your ovaries alright and they look beautiful.”
“You mean I don’t have PCOS—for real?”
“Looks like you did it,” she congratulated me.
And yes—we had done it together. Aubrey had worked by my side, patiently, telling me that he believed that I was a warrior. That he had never seen a girl as motivated as I. That when he recorded our sessions for his Instagram page, his followers were inspired by my example.
Two years ago, my mother told me to make a vision board for my future. To use it as a tool to imagine my future self. And if I truly believed in the change—mind, body, and soul—the change would happen. I had trashed the idea right away, not believing in the rituals of magical thinking.
But, all along, without my realizing—Aubrey had secretly become my vision board. He had become that voice inside my head, cancelling the noise and telling me to never quit. He made me believe that thin or fat—I was beautiful the way I was because I was strong. And together we had kicked PCOS in the butt. I was finally a real woman with a real body.
I had got my power back!