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. Pretty much anyone who’s been to Rocycle knows Rowen and her infectious energy, but you may not know that she struggled with Meningococcal disease as a child. In her typical fearless manner, Rowen has turned her trials and tribulations into motivation to tackle life with positivity and energy. Keep reading to find out how she grew from her challenges.
Hi Rowen! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened to you?
As a two-year-old, I overcame a disease called Meningococcal disease. A bacterium took over my body, and there was very little chance I would survive; however, somehow, I did.
It sounds like a miracle! How did it affect you physically?
Very simply, the bacteria eats your skin from inside your body, which left me with huge scars on both of my legs and a few small ones on my upper body.
That is pretty crazy. Can you tell us how it affected you spiritually and emotionally?
Honestly, I would not know, as I was only two. However, I like to believe that my fighter mentality was born when I overcame it. I also think that dealing with my scars ever since I can remember gave me a different perspective on ‘beauty.’ As a teenager, it wasn’t always fun but in all honesty, I love my scars, always have! I love bodies with a story. It’s so powerful and mysterious. So many times, I forget my legs look ‘different,’ and I wonder why everyone keeps staring at my crotch… “Aaaah it’s the legsss; I forgot!”
But that is the most beautiful thing! Being different. We are focusing on how challenges can actually be a good thing. Did you find this to be true?
Challenges during training are my favourite thing in the world: I cannot get enough of a physical challenge that makes me feel stronger. I don’t think I’ve ever done a training without challenging myself; it would feel so damn wrong. However, there are also many challenges in life that we’d rather not deal with. I must say, though, so far in my life, I can agree with the quote “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We do not always want to hear it, but it’s nothing but the truth. The way we deal with a challenge and its outcome is our choice. You’ve got all the right to live in sadness and in pain, but the question is do you deserve to live that way? Do you want to live that way? I’m not signing for it, my friends.
We think we could all benefit from that attitude. Challenges make you stronger. What do you do differently in your life since your trauma?
There’s not a lot to compare with, as I was only 2 years old, but I do know that gratitude plays a huge part in my life, thanks to my parents. I remember feeling so much love and gratitude in and around me during my childhood and even now. I guess that could have something to do with parents almost losing a child.
That makes total sense, as it must have been incredibly traumatic for them. What is the best advice you can give to others for embracing challenging situations?
Trust and believe that the universe leads life to your highest good. My mother always tells me, “It’s either this or something better.” So far, this has always been true – even though sometimes it really seemed different.
Alright, so we have one more question for you. What does Challenge. Change. Grow. mean to you?
The two essentials of (my) life are giving and growing.
“Challenge”: If there’s any gift you can give yourself, it’s a fun challenge; don’t be shy, and definitely don’t be too realistic (boring!). Dream big, and set insanely high goals. This means you’ll always be challenged while pursuing your goals, and you’ll achieve so much more than if you set ‘realistic goals.’
“Change”: Making a change might be one of our strongest tools. Waiting for a change might be one of our biggest traps. Are you unhappy? Make a change. Are you unsatisfied? Make a change. Are you having a shitty day? Make a change. You’ve got access to it every day, every minute, every second of your life. During my rides, I shake off excuses with my riders. You should come and try it. Feels GOOD!
“Grow”: If you can manage the tool of ‘change,’ you’ll automatically allow yourself to grow. Growing is everything. Even in moments of happiness and pure satisfaction, we still seek to grow as a human being. My favourite way of growing is by giving, by sharing. Sharing love, sharing energy, sharing success, sharing strength, sharing the thrive! Never let it stop!