Words by Hayley
Every time you step into the studio, you see one of our fabulous, fearless instructors. They radiate light and positivity and encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves. But just because they embody such wonderful traits that inspire us to do and be better doesn’t mean that they have not struggled. In fact, the struggles and challenges that they have endured have helped to shape them and make them who they are today. Facing his own challenges, Joey was forced to change and was able to grow as a person and to find and love himself. Ready to be inspired? We have the story of Joey’s incredible journey for you here. We can all learn a little bit about embracing challenges from one of our favourite instructors.
Hi Joey! We are so appreciative that you were willing to share your story with us. It is really moving. Can you tell us a bit about coming out and how it affected your relationships?
Coming out for me was something that happened as a young child. My parents and my family knew that I was gay ever since I can remember. My family and my parents had a huge issue with it because I come from a very conservative Christian family in Texas. There were some friends, of course, that had no issue with it, but my parents and family did. It was always a huge strain on our relationship during my younger years. When I moved away for college, it got even worse, and I eventually lost contact with them.
Wow, that is really heart-breaking. How did you feel going through the process with your family?
The process was difficult, but it was a process that made me who I am today. The lack of support really made my survival instinct kick in. I decided that I would never let their lack of support hinder me in achieving what I wanted. I empowered myself to make my own life and not what they wanted me to make it!
We love that. You are the master of your own destiny, and you have created such an amazing life for yourself! How did the journey toward finding yourself affect your spiritually and emotionally?
Finding myself through those hard times was such an eye-opening experience. I realized that I had strength and a will to be happy that trumped anything negative that was ever said or done to me for being gay. My inner strength and spirit grew to heights I would never have imagined.
It is amazing how these challenges can produce such beautiful, inspiring results. Do you feel as if you’re a different person now?
I do not feel any different. I have always been true to myself and authentic to my values and beliefs. I vowed to myself that no matter how hard circumstances would shake me, I would remain grounded in what I believed was the truth.
And that is exactly how it should be. So, we are focusing on how challenges can actually be a good thing. Did you find this to be true?
Absolutely, in a weird way, I thank my challenges for giving me the strength and the courage to be the best version of myself that I could’ve been. The greater the challenge the greater the strength gained.
We couldn’t agree more. Is there anything you differently in your life now?
Appreciate the day to day and the little things in life. Not getting caught up too much with things that I have no direct control over is a mantra I live by.
It’s crazy how it often takes a real trauma or hardship to make us appreciate what we have. What is the best advice you can give to others for embracing challenging situations?
Ground yourself, find what you truly believe in and make that your starting ground. Don’t make what other people think or believe your start or your story. WRITE YOUR OWN STORY.
Alright, we’ve got one more question for you. What does Challenge. Change. Grow mean to you?
Overcome the adversities by believing in your strength and your soul!