Amy you don’t fight in the cage or ring, but you are certainly a fighter…tell us what you have been battling in the last year.
First, I would like to thank Fight Chix for asking me to be part of such a beautiful and empowering movement for all women, fighting many different types of battles, everywhere. Yes, not just in the past year but since 2003 I have been fighting Multiple Sclerosis. I went out in the heat one day in 03, came in and was literally blind, on and off a few times a week for months. Days where it feels like I’m carrying 50 lb weights around my ankles & wrists, full body tremors and for the next 5 years many weird symptoms (exacerbation’s) would arise. I was eventually diagnosed in 2008 at the age of 30. After going to the neurologist for an MRI where they found lesions on my brain, did a spinal tap among many other tests I was given a confirmed diagnosis. I will NEVER forget that moment. I went many years without knowing what was going on with my entire body, mind & many days even my spirit. It was an uphill battle, day in and day out, trying almost to “convince” others that there was something more going on than simply just not feeling well. I have been through many tragedies through my lifetime (losing my parents by the age of 18, sexual abuse, bullies) and I wasn’t prepared to hear that now I had a chronic illness, with no cure. Many days I am able to run miles on end, I am happy, always smiling and try to make my good days GREAT, but I must stay aware that if I push too hard, I will have repercussions in the days to follow. Just by looking at me you’d probably never know what a fight it is on the inside, just to get enough energy to take a shower, get ready, dressed and eventually out the door. I was thankful & Blessed for the diagnosis though, as it gave us answers, and now I was prepared to become educated & find the right tools that i needed to fight!
You also have some people that depend on you…tell us about them and how you manage to juggle everything?
I do have 2 sons, Landin who is going on 9 & Ethan is 7. They are both wonderful little boys who have been handed a lot at such a young age to try and understand. They are my little warriors & are what keep me fighting everyday. Their father and I recently went through a separation, and they stay with him for the most part, because my health is so unpredictable… but they only live 2 miles away & anytime I am able to be a great mom, my energy is solely focused on just that. They are fortunate to have a great father who I have the utmost respect for, because he is always ready and able to do everything for them. I give him so much credit!! But, that being said, yes.. they do depend on me as a mother and I do the best I can with the life we’ve been handed. Dad handles most all of the physical activities, I focus on the more relaxing things, such as reading, artwork, games, walks. Lol, its almost like grandma time some days. I’ll never forget the day Landin asked me, “mommy, when you end up in a wheelchair are you still going to be able to play with me”? My answer, ” I would race you until my wheels fell off”! It was like being gutted right on the spot, but you have to act quick. I don’t lie to my children about the MS, but I’m not going to give them the impression that I need to constantly have excuses, either. There are times when I have them, and we literally don’t leave my bed because I’m worn down. We will just lay there and talk, laugh, watch funny you-tube videos & take silly pictures. We love those memories just the same. I want to be the best I can be for them, as I know how it is to grow up absent of parental guidance in some form or another especially into adulthood & I know they deserve the best of both worlds. I wish my parents could see what beautiful grandsons they have today & this pushes me even more to make sure my boys have me as long as God will allow possible.
Amy, you don’t really follow MMA that much, but you have said you are drawn to the female athletes, can you explain why?
No, ha ha I don’t really follow MMA very much, but, am really becoming interested in the sport just from some of my friends who participate. Also I’ve seen & heard about what a difference our local MMA gym, Georgetown MMA, has made in the lives of some of our local youth by increasing self esteem, overcoming tough histories, giving back to the community, just HUGE transformations… so, its hard to resist! It’s a sport that is pretty new to me, and I remember I used to always give the guys a hard time about watching it, now it’s peaking my own interest. The female athletes that I’ve seen in MMA are very intriguing to me, because one would (having no knowledge of the sport) expect to see these huge, strong, burly women fighting all of the time. After reading up on articles, watching interviews and just listening to talk, these women are so beautiful and strong from the inside & out, all of them. I have a lot of respect for the fight, but more respect for the will-power and strength that they endure each time they step in. I think its a beautiful sport to watch women become encompassed in; to train, fight, prove their equality & prevail at. It is very empowering!!
When you are down and feel defeated, where do you draw inspiration from to push forward?
This is actually the perfect day for me to answer this question. I was feeling down this morning, actually the past 2 days, I have been in bed & hurting. Today I woke up, and my emotions had gotten the best of me; I was way down. I posted a status on facebook & it was not a positive one. Life felt unfair for a moment. But, I made a promise to myself not long ago that, “this will NOT defeat me, and while I may have bad moments- I REFUSE to have bad days”. That status lasted all of 10 minutes. I absolutely refuse to let this or anything in my history define the woman I am becoming. I am so fortunate that I have always stayed on positive tracks in my life, so as to not let things lead me into dark spaces, or black holes. My inspiration comes from my faith and some inner drive to keep pushing forward. In just the past year, even on the days when I feel I am not going to make it, I am at peace… I realized, that I have been handed an immaculate opportunity in life, I am fully capable, and willing to talk to ANYONE about my life, positively, at any moment I need to. I can tell you where exactly it came from, God, HE placed these feelings, lessons & people (both negative and positive) in my life to draw inspiration from. Period.
Who do you look up too? Do you have any personal heroes?
Well, I come from a very strong bloodline of inspirational women who raised me with a passion for life and to fight for my dreams. I look up to anyone that can take a negative situation and turn it into a valuable lesson. But here’s the kicker, that lesson must be given to others and its strength passed on. Its kind of like passing the torch in the Olympics; we all have a fire inside of our hearts let it be good fire or bad fire, we can either choose to let it burn us into ashes or make use of that light & pay it forward. There have been many people enter and exit my life & I could put the “hero” label on anyone if I looked long and deep enough to find it. Cliche maybe, but my personal heroes are my children and my God.
Because of your drive to keep fighting, you will undoubtedly have other people look up to you! What advice would you give them?
Stay strong, keep fighting! No matter what you are encountering, look for the positive, even if its years down the road, its there. I wouldn’t take any of this back, not even for a day, because life is all about lessons & giving back. Don’t let negativity or experiences be an excuse to lead you on the wrong path. Never ever let tragedy overcome triumph. Never be afraid to take yourself to the bare minimum, lowest of lows, strip your life of all that “was” so that you can re-teach yourself whats truly important. Believe in yourself, show it to the WHOLE WORLD!! Before you know it you will be inspired, and want to inspire others every day of your life. You will live for that one moment when you receive a handwritten letter from a complete stranger, telling you how your 5 minute talk made a difference in their day or outlook. Let me tell you, there’s NO better confirmation from God that I’m doing my job. It will make you want to do it more!! Always, always give credit where it is due. Don’t be afraid to admit defeat, but learn the lesson, truly learn it….and move forward. We have but one life, you making the best of yours, will empower others to follow suit and want to do the same.
Fight Chix is a brand with roots in MMA, but we have branched out to all women who are fighting their own battle. What does Fight Chix mean to you?
Honestly, when I was approached to do this interview, I was very humbled to say the least. I had scoped out the Fight Chix web page, dabbled in the clothing & apparel, etc… but I never in a million years realized that this is not just a brand of clothing. From the hot logo design (wouldn’t we all love to look like that, ha ha) to the words that follow, “Strong, Sexy, Empowering Women Worldwide”, it doesn’t take long to see that it is about so much more than just a steel cage and sexy women. To me, there are are many types “steel cages”, whether it be around our hearts, our bodies, or our lives, we all have them…..but, it’s the fight inside, the strength but most importantly the FAITH & WILL to survive that truly matter in the end!!! This ladies, is as strong, sexy, and empowering as it gets!! Again, thank you ALL at Fight Chix for the opportunity and blessing that it is to be able to share my story & hopefully some words of encouragement to others out there who may doubt themselves. Never give up the fight!! :o)