Bio: I moved to Portland after my discharge from the Marine Corps in 2009. After 5 years in the Corps and 3 deployments, I never wanted to work out that way again. Somehow forced running killed any motivation to run ever again, not to mention the wear and tear on my body because the Marine Corps does not play nice. I remembered when I was younger I loved to dance. So I started looking for a way to exercise that would keep me engaged and motivate me to keep going. I found Diva Den Studio when I was looking for dance classes and I came across an advertisement for their website. They hooked me with a free week of fitness classes in September 2010 and I haven’t looked back. I never thought working out could be fun and I actually look forward to every class, drop of sweat, and sore day. The instructors have always been amazing as well. I’ve always appreciated their humor, creativity, and encouragement in all of the different classes. I have always felt that the women at the studio have been my Portland family. The staff are the most amazing women I have ever met and when you get to know them you will understand why. When I was discharged from the military I didn’t realize that I was not the same person. I noticed an increase in my stress and anxiety in a way that I had never experienced before. The studio provides the outlet I need to release that. One hour of strength training and one hour of cardio give me a euphoric high that melts all my stress away and my world makes sense again.
After about a year and a half, I started taking pole fitness classes and it wasn’t long before Kristin asked me if I was interested in teaching classes at the studio. I was so honored that she thought I was someone who could represent the studio and take care of our members. I started teaching Pole Level 301/401 on Friday mornings and my class load has slowly increased since then. What I love the most about pole fitness is the transformation of our members who walk into class shy and afraid to look at themselves in the mirror, then they slowly embrace their own beauty and sensuality. Society is unfair to women and there are unrealistic standards placed on women that make them forget to love their own bodies as they are. The studio has always been non-judgmental and accepting of everyone, which made it easy for me to be myself. They were so warm and inviting at a time that I really needed a family and support system. They became a part of my recovery from readjusting to life after war. I couldn’t imagine my life without them and I never want to.
I earned my bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Portland State University and I finally have my dream job of counseling Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other readjustment issues. I also counsel military sexual trauma survivors and family members of active duty service members who have died or were killed in action. I know my job is not easy and the studio has always been a part of my self-care plan that helps me deal with the things I deal with at work. I always encourage people to make themselves a priority and that includes fitness. There are so many positive reasons to exercise and the studio makes it easy to reach your goals. I hope you find what I have found at the studio and if you see me in any of the classes you are in, don’t be afraid to say hello.