Saturday, May 18, 2019

My Journey to a NPC Bikini Competition: Part Three (The Show)

This might wind up being an emotional post.  I'm just going to be open and raw with my feelings because that's what I always do and it seems to be what resonates with people the most.  Please remember how hard it is to be vulnerable and why I never even wanted to share this journey in the first place.  

So Tracey and I left Friday afternoon for Columbus, OH where my competition was being held  The plan was to check into the hotel, freshen up and then head to check in at the competition.  After check-in, I'd get my spray tan.  

When we got to the competition to check in, there really weren't a lot of people there.  There weren't too many people to "size up" if you will.  However, when we got back to the hotel for the spray tan, I saw LOTS of competitors IN THE FLESH (literally).  Yep you're all naked in one room. I felt violated.  Ha! But it is what it is and I survived.  

Shortly after the spray tan, we went back to the room where I ate COLD cod and sweet potatoes because I was too lazy to go find a microwave.  My mantra was "food is fuel."  Tracey and I talked until almost 11 pm and then I fell right to sleep and slept the whole night.  

When we got up, I got right to business prettying myself. Once all the hair and makeup was done I put on the suit and walked out to show Tracey.  She captured the moment.  


I do have to say when I put the suit on with the tan I felt amazing.  I looked at myself in the mirror and I almost couldn't believe it was me.  I felt super proud of my body and to be honest, I felt pretty.  When we got to the venue for the show I started eyeing up all the other ladies.  I mean it's only natural.  I thought seeing the other women would make me feel uneasy or underprepared but the more I was there and the more competitors I saw, my confidence never waned.  


Let me tell you a little something about Tracey.  With Tracey you get what you see.  She's a no bullshit kind of gal. You'll always know exactly where you stand with her because she's not afraid to speak the truth. TO YOUR FACE!  It's one of the things that make her a great coach (and an awesome friend).  So when Tracey told me I was IN it... I could hold my own amongst these ladies, I knew I wasn't delusional and I actually fit in.  Tracey built me up so much throughout my journey and obviously on show day.  She was a constant support system to me through the entire process.  She was the perfect person to have with me on show day.  


The morning went really fast and before I knew it everyone had out their bands and were getting their "pump" on.  I dare you all to try to do banded pull throughs in a thong (not pictured). It's not easy. 



Next thing I knew they were calling out all the True Novice (those who have NEVER done an NPC show) competitors into the hallway. It was real. We were getting ready to go on stage.  


I competed in 4 different divisions.  True Novice,  Masters (35 plus), Novice (never won a show) and open Bikini (all competitors).  The hope of entering different divisions is increasing your chances of placing.  I originally only entered in True Novice and Masters but the day before decided to add Novice and Open just to see where I stacked up among ALL the ladies. 

I have to tell you, when I envisioned this day the 14,782 times I envisioned it,  I envisioned myself being paralyzed by fear.  I pictured myself sick with nerves, shaking and scared.  When it came down to it, I wasn't any of those things.  I was calm, I was happy and I was extremely confident.  I felt amazing and I just wanted to go out on that stage and show just how amazing I felt.  

True Novice competitors

When you walk out with your division you walk out with 5 to 6 ladies competing.  You all do your "front pose," turn to the back and then back to front.  Then you go to the side and the next 5 to 6 come out and do the same thing.  Then they call you all one-by-one to do your posing routine yourself.  Again, front pose, side, back, and back to front.  I wasn't overly confident about my posing.  I didn't take any posing classes.  I went out there and did the best I could but I really messed up when I turned from back to front.  I fidgeted and then just popped a hip and did my front pose. Ugh.  But I didn't much care.  It wasn't a total embarrassment.  It was just not how I had practiced it.  

After each individual does their posing routine the judges call out 5 people (the front runners) that they'd like to see side by side.  Basically if you don't make it to call outs you're probably not going to place.  I didn't get called for call outs and I did feel a little disappointed.  

After the True Novice division, Tracey came backstage and told me I did great.  She reminded me again that I was "in this" and doing great.  She seemed so happy and pumped for me.  She gave me one pointer about my back pose and then rushed back to see me go on with the 35+ (Masters) division.  

Masters 

I honestly don't remember my posing for Masters.  It's almost like I question if I even did it but I'm fairly certain I did.  The reason it's even a question is because after masters I never had to do my posing routine again.  Once they've seen it once they don't require you to do it again.  But I swear I did it for True Novice and Masters.  I don't know for sure. Regardless, call outs came for masters.  I felt like I had a better chance in the masters division since I wasn't going up against a bunch of young chicks.  Still I think theres a BIG difference between 35 and 44.  Just sayin'!   Alas I didn't make it to call outs for masters either.  Again, I was disappointed but I wasn't defeated.  I was still felt so, so happy. I was just beaming and I think it shows on my face.  


The next two divisions, I definitely did not do my routine.  I just stood and posed on side and froze my ass off while the other girls competing did their routines.  Of course I was there for the comparisons and I stood sandwiched between two winners. 



There's really no need to say, but I did not make it to call outs for the Open or Novice divisions.  Holy moly these girls were amazing.  Looking at the pictures, however, I don't think I stick out like a sore thumb or as "one of these things is not like the other."  I just wasn't as good as the other girls. Not good enough to make top 5 for sure.  

The four divisions took about an hour to transpire.  It was over by 11:30 am or so.  Finals started at 6 pm.  It kind of sucked to have to wait around for 6 hours all while knowing I wouldn't place.  They only award the top 5 people and because I didn't make it to call outs I knew I wouldn't be one of them.  Nevertheless, I came back and posed again and learned my fate.  I didn't place.  Shocker.  By that point I definitely wasn't disappointed anymore.  I was on a high from the day.  I had been so happy, proud and confident.  I keep using those words because that's just how I felt.  I could add amazing. 

Here are the professional photos taken of my posing. 





Side 






When finals were over and it was official I had not placed, all I cared about was eating food.  Not gonna lie.  It was my primary focus.  I grabbed a cookie and ate it.  It didn't even taste good.  I immediately had regret, but quickly forgave myself for not throwing it away after the first bad bite.


After that, Tracey and I headed to eat and I got this burger.  I ate the whole thing.  Every bite and all the fries too. It was really good and totally worth it! 


Tracey and I spent the whioe ride home talking about everything.  Tracey was convinced the judging come down to "splitting hairs."  I honestly didn't know but I did know after spending the day with ALL these women that there were some women I definitely was more competitive than.

Tracey is one of the most competitive people I know.  Her motto in life is "podium of bust" but she was ok with me not making the podium.  We knew that the results would eventually be posted and she said I should hope for top 50%.  When I got home, Ella told me it was ok that I didn't come in top 5 because for all I know I could have come in 6th place.  Maybe I thought.  Maybe I did.

So I spent the next day refreshing the screen waiting for the results.  I'm not even sure I was looking in the right spot but finally on Monday at 8:50 am I hit the refresh button and I found the results.  I was so excited to see.

True Novice:  Last Place (12th)
Masters: Last Place (10th)
Novice: Second to last place (11th)
Open: Second to last place (14th)

When I saw it, I was honestly shocked.  I didn't think nor FEEL like I came in last place.  It was the worst feeling ever.  Like my heart sank into my stomach.  I think I texted and called Tracey and she didn't answer and then I called George. I cried.  Tracey called me back shortly thereafter and she was shocked too.  Like I said, we spent ALL day with these women.  We felt like I was more competitive than several of them.  So last place stung and it stung a LOT.

I'm eager to hear the judges feedback (which takes several weeks).  Was it my posing?  Was it my back pose?  Was it my ass (not my strong suit)? I'm not sure I'll ever know exactly as I'm not sure how specific they'll be with their feedback, but I do need to know.  NEED!

I've spent this whole week feeling ALL the emotions.  Ashamed, embarrassed, stupid, let down.  Mostly I feel so disappointed because the day of the event I felt happy, proud, confident... even amazing.  Remember that?  And that was a GREAT feeling.  It was a feeling that I worked so hard for and earned.  And in the blink of an eye it was all gone.  All the positive emotions I felt were simply erased.

Despite KNOWING I should still be proud, that's just NOT how I feel. I'm still processing all my emotions and I'm not really sure where I'll end up.  I go back to the question Alex asked me... "How do you define success?"  I guess I defined it by NOT coming in last place.  The whole experience feels like a failure.  Everything I went through suddenly doesn't seem worth it.

In the words of my mother "time heals all wounds."  I'm just hoping time doesn't tell me I need to redeem myself.  NPC 2020?!?!


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