L I F E – 101


Once upon a time, my mom was a sinfully gifted country-pop singer and songwriter. The pitter-patter of her perfectly manicured fingers dancing across the keys is the score to my youth. As they sent echoes of notes swirling down the hallway.

I was about four years old, my parents had divorced and Mama took to the keys of her piano with different tone. She’s a dreamer, artist, and entrepreneur. Her most valuable role was that of “mom.” This just wasn’t the solo act she had imagined.

Circa '95

I could feel the resonance of each note as they swirled within the canopy above my bed -- just narrowly missing the satchel of beanie babies behind the door. At the foot of my bed rested a regal plush tigress. Like that of the ones grandma had taken me to visit in Las Vegas.

My rotund hazel eyes -- rifling behind rigid bangs --  widened in awe at their presence.

The prestige of the white tigers -- coupled with the comfort of “Glammy’s” couture cologne --  kept this toddler’s brain busy, while the adults sorted out what they needed to do.

We were well situated in our new chapter, adapting to the change with the best outlook we could. Dr. Dad and Mama B, did their best to keep life balanced in the midst of change. The two were strong, sturdy, and beautiful even amidst the energetic battery. Afterall, they were still human.

One day, mama’s notes entered my room flurry. Humming with emotional familiarity like a bass drum in my soul. Like a Santa Ana windstorm they swept me out of bed, with a gallant leap over the tigress.

I looked into my brother’s room, across the hall, to see if he, too, felt the meaning in the melody. Alas, there he was -- turtle tank in tow -- in his own tot-like world.

I could hear Mama humming the working lyrics softly -- the way she did at night -- so as not to wake her tiny humans:

Katy’s bag is by the door

She runs frantically down the hall

Searching for her favorite doll, with a missing eye

The phone rings from the car outside

Just like he said it would at half past five…

Mama’s melody stopped abruptly with a minor key buzzing in the air.

The memory of the melody transcending the treble of the keys strikes little-me in the heart with no fair warning. At the time, I couldn’t make out the lyrics making their way past mama’s lips, something about it felt familiar. Something about it that felt like truth.

The toussels of Mama’s golden-california-locks twirled as she spun around to seek me weeping. All of a few feet tall, buried beneath the security of my, poorly severed, bangs.

“Mac… what’s up honey? You okay?”

Having no knowledge of the emotional impact of music, I leapt for the most likely culprit: my brother. “J -- sniff sniff -- J.J.said that he didn’t want a -- muffles -- even though I don’t know where they aaarrreee…” I trailed off into non-sense, as she wrapped me up in her arms.

“Honey, you’re crying because you’re feeling the music. It means something to you,” she said. It meant something to her too.

This particular project was a chronicle of her “learning to live again.” An EP with seven songs that spoke to a soul that was rising again from the ashes. The album was titled LIFE 101, with the cover art of a boldly rebirthed butterfly, defying discomfort by spreading her wings once more.

“I remember that!” She said, just the other day on a bi-costal-call, reliving an early memory, “All the songs written for that album were written during the divorce, during my time as a single mom,” she said.

The song that emblazend its melody into my memory is called  In Her Dreams. “I wrote it about you leaving for your dad’s on the weekends. You could feel so deeply the truth in the music.”

A weighted pause hangs on the line. “It was as raw as it could get. Like the beginning of my cocoon bursting open its asshole!” said Mama B, with a characteristic cackle.

It was. The butterfly on the cover of the album became her. It was everything she aimed to become in spite of fears, doubts and heartache. She weaved the most beautiful cocoon, only to emerge the woman she had always been. Since then, if we see a butterfly we’re reminded of Mama and the wings she inspired us to spread.

In life, we’ll be caterpillars many times over. We will be forced into discomfort. We will be made to feel hurt, burdened, fearful and isolated. That doesn’t mean that the beauty of the experience is limited to the end result.

It’s in our cocoons that we blossom, and grow. It’s in the moments of retreat, darkness or growth that we truly have the opportunity to experience evolution from the inside out. Instead of being fearful of the growth process, embrace it. Use it. All of it. The hurt, fear, doubt, discomfort are here to serve you. It’s in these moments that we are offered the opportunity to get creative. Go forth and make music, and magic, happen.

CBD and the human right to happiness

SERA LABS x BEMACFIT

When it comes to being human, it all beings with the brain.

CBD or cannabidiol has made waves in the health and wellness market for its anti-inflammatory properties. Allowing you to send the overwhelming stressors of daily life to the passenger side, while you sit back in the driver seat where you belong. 

The brain is overwhelming to most. That 3 lb meatloaf can feel like it’s the one running the show physically, mentally and emotionally.

Which can yield stress responses via both the brain and body, preventing the optimal function of your being. The brain is a fraction of your total body mass, and yet consumes nearly 20 percent of the body’s energy. 

I’ve personally taken the battles with the bullies of the brain for far too long. Surrendering to the reality of never-ending negative cycles. 

Enter: Cannabidiol

CBD is being used world wide to make positive impacts on healthy-lifestyles from the inside out. We, along with nearly all living things, have an endocannabinoid system which is present within the central, and peripheral nervous systems. Allowing for cannabis-based-compounds, like CBD, to be absorbed across the anatomy and serve a vast array of functions. Although derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has no psychoactiveproperties, unlike its traditional cannabis products. 

CBD has shown to increase the availability of serotonin at the synaptic regions of the neurons. It’s no secret that battling brain bullies is often a result of lower levels of serotonin. 

Serotonin regulates sleep, appetite, mood, and can inhibit pain. It’s what we refer to as “the blood, sweat, and tears molecule” as it’s accumulated over time — compared to the instant rush / hit of dopamine. 

Higher levels of serotonin allow for increased cognition, awareness, focus, and elevated mood. 

Working on the road calls for me to combat the stress of travel head on, while keeping a level head on my shoulders. The impacts on the body while in flight are more than enough to make you want to order an inflight cocktail. Instead — I choose CBD. 

This time I came fully strapped with SeraRelief CBD Oil and gummies to ease my brain thousands of feet in the air. With my baseball hat on, and headphones all the way up, I placed a few drops of the oil under my tongue, and took this moment as an opportunity to recenter my breath. Communicating with the brain to let the body know it’s okay to be present, still, and make a safe transition into the parasympathetic state.

For the first time, I was able to work, and focus, with a clear — moreover quiet — mind, while traveling. Given that the endocannabinoid system is alsopresent in the gut, which has been referred to as the second brain. My digestive health and motility was also unhindered throughout the entire trip.

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A premium line, backed by science and relentless passion

If  you’re interested in incorporating CBD into your lifestyle check out http://seralabshealth.com .

A premium line, backed by science and relentless passion, to give you the highest quality CBD products possible. With an array of products to fit any facet your evolution. Sera Labs has a full line of topical skin care, along with oils, between 250 and 1000 mg, as well as sinfully delicious vegan gummies.

Having the opportunity to experience something other than stress isn’t a waste of time. It’s necessary for proper function, longevity, and overall health of your psychological and physical being. Some refer to serotonin as “the happiness molecule.”

Happiness is taking the opportunity to be in the present moment, whether you’re in flight, mid-workout, or fighting deadlines.


Happiness is your right as an individual. You’re not destined to be dominated by neurological dictators. You’re a human being who deserves to run the show. Take back control of your brain, body and being, from the inside out. 

Becoming “Mama Mac”

I could tell you down to the day that I decided to be a coach. A decision that, by all other accounts, truly wasn’t mine. It was a gut punch to the chest and a knowing that personal training was the first step into a world I didn’t even dream possible.

In that year, I had abandoned my dream-school, moved out on my own, and was pursuing — what I thought to be — a lifelong dream of acting. Reading scripts, theatre and improv were it to me. That was, until I had nothing left in me to give.

I had lost sight of who I was, what I wanted, and whom I was living for. In a volatile relationship, having cut myself from members of my family, and dropped out of college, with dementors darker than ever, I was left with an Rx and told to “figure it out.” So I did.

I was tired of pinching, pulling, and sick of telling myself that I was “disgusting,” and other self-loathing mantras I wouldn’t allow to cross the threshold of the training floor today.


All I knew was that I hated what I saw in the mirror, and furthermore loathed the woman I was becoming. With an already black and blue ego — and too humiliated for human interaction — I began working-out exclusively during the hours of 12, 4, or 5 a.m.. Trotting down to the fitness center, sporting ragged baggy clothes, an ipad and yoga mat in tow.

I had no idea what the fuck I was doing, but I had a will and a want to be more than I was. To become the go-getter, firecracker, and dreamer that was always at the depths of my core; which, I was simultaneously desperate to tighten and shrink.

Up until this point, I had never had a healthy relationship with my body. Growing up in Los Angeles didn’t help. Confined to the comparison rut, fighting a losing battle against the demi-gods/goddesses of hollywood.

Yo-yo dieting, and destructive eating habits coupled with macro-counting-compulsions, were a recipe for disaster. At my smallest, and still filled with self-loathing, I was 108lbs at 11% body-fat and still didn’t think it was enough.

I was “fit” and thought I had it figured out.

Enter: MMA/Boxing. I was intoxicated by the sport. Skipping top-tier acting classes to train in my coach’s garage. It was the inevitable carosein to a fire that was just beginning to roar.

Boxing taught me humility, and dedication. That the only real opponent is the one in the mirror.  The mits morphed in to the faces of those that caused pain, fear, and darkness. “Shadow boxing” took on a whole new meaning, when I used the exercise to square up with my own inner shadows.

Boxing gave me the first glimpse of evolution. To observe what is truly possible when a person decides they’re worth it. To witness daily wins, progression, and grit. Boxing TKO’d my ego, teaching me that the most valuable results are not the ones in the mirror, or on the scale.

The real results happen within.

One day, I pulled off The 405 (yes… this highway gets a proper “The”).  Like an uppercut to the soul my world was sent spinning with the greatest truth I’ve ever known. I had to become a coach. I called Mama B.

“I have to become a personal trainer. I don’t know how to do it — or how the hell I’m going to be able to afford it, but it needs to happen,” I said.

A week later, Mama B and I toured the new Golds Gym in our area. On our tour, I expressed my passion for fitness, where it had gotten me, and what my dreams were. They offered an interview and to sponsor my certification on the spot.

Never in my life had I felt nerves like this. My stomach rising into my throat, palms sweating and face hot. This was the biggest audition I had ever been on.

When asked why I wanted to become a trainer, I replied without hesitation:

“I want to be the client’s best friend in and out of the gym. I just feel like its so much more than how you look, or what you’re lifting. I want to be there for them every step of the way, and let them know they’re not crazy.”

So began the ride of a lifetime. One that has brought the most beautiful souls into my world, and allowed me to witness the most awe inspiring evolutions. A ride that I don’t see coming to a halt anytime soon.

When prompted with:

“That’s gotta be hard, being there for them all the time…”

“Isn’t it annoying?”

“Aren’t you exhausted, I couldn’t get up that early…”

“Wait… they have your phone number” (yeah… they do).

I’m not tired, irritated, or overwhelmed. I am nothing if not grateful that each unique human has entrusted their journey to me.

I am nothing if not humbled, that these humans have opened their hearts, worlds and minds, to their coach because of the trust, relationships, and love we have built via literal sweat, and tears.

When asked why I coach, my heart involuntarily swells. Like a proud mother, watching her child grow up before her eyes, I have been granted the gift of guiding daily evolutions, far greater than my own.

Fl-ients ( (n.) family members that are technically “clients.” )

My flients are what make me get out of bed in the morning. They are what make life worth living. They are my accountability, foundation and motivation. They make every late night, crisis, life lesson worth every minute and more.

My mission is to be the person I wish I had when things were at their worst. When life seemed impossible, and when my goals seemed infinitely out of reach. To be your most authentic mentor, coach, resource, and hooman, possible.

It’s never been about aesthetic, monetary or external validation. Every step of the way in this coaching journey has been about you. The human reading this. The human being behind the username.

It is about you, your past, present, and potential. It is about growth, evolution and process. It is a journey that is yours. No one has the right to tell you how to live it.

You have every right to make this journey everything you know it can be for you and so much more.

You have the right — and the responsibility — to be more everyday.

It is your duty to never settle. To revel at the human in the mirror, rather than ridicule, embracing the beauty of unknowing.

You do not have to have it figured out. You do not have to have all of the answers. Your life is about daily discovery, and having the humility to admit that you are human.

It is not about working hard — for the sake of working hard — dieting, nor your body-mass-index.

It is about molding a mindset, selecting fuel, and tailoring a fitness regimen that makes sense for you. That we, as a family, have fine tuned to be fool proof together.

You deserve a coach that appreciates, honors and respects your evolution for what is. Your’s. A coach who is in the ring with you, not shouting from the corner. Who only wants to see you succeed — not just during the hour in the gym — but in The Other 23 hours of your day.

You are my why.

You deserve everything you’re after and more. Should our paths cross, and you feel there might be more in you, I am only a wide open-door and a message away.

Know that I would not only be honored, but privileged to partake in your evolution.

How to be a human “being”

“Joining with the body… feeling what’s actually happening inside you… just experiencing now as it is in your body, is a courageous and profoundly radical choice, ” Nancy Colier LCSW, Rev., Psychology Today.

I can’t sit still. At all.

Nail technicians don’t like me very much. I don’t want a design, use language more colorful than the options for gel-polish, and have a serious issue sitting still. The managers can smell my discomfort with relaxation, even through the acetone. Which is why they look at me sideways I turn down the offer for a p.m.-pinot.

The 3 lb meatloaf-mind of mine, is a bit like that of a dragonfly — come to think of it — on par in speed, unpredictability, and whimsy. Both mind, and body, are in a constant war to be better than before. Not that it’s a bad thing — to be ready for battle — there has to come a point where we allow ourselves to retreat and be.

In an effort to not piss off my technician, this afternoon, an article subtitled “From human doing to human being,” grabbed my attention. We’re introduced by what we do, not who we are. Our value is placed on how much we make, or how many follow. Somewhere in the mix, we stopped being entirely.

Humans haven’t gotten this far by entrapping themselves on a comparative hamster wheel of flashing funds, or quick fixes. Humans have evolved by being.

Being present, within themselves, serving one another, engaging in stories and evolutions. That’s what it meant to be a human being. Something tells us that if we stop going — at all — the wheel will implode along with our opportunity to be enough.

What if… I told you that the brain is wired just like your house. Paths, that hold certain responsibilities, with synapses that serve the purpose of electrochemical pulse that reverberate throughout the mind and body. Causing the associated neurotransmitters to be released, and the given response to be elicited.

That meatloaf in your head fires in patterns it’s been trained to understand. The brain receives a stimulus, the stimulus elicits a reaction, the reaction elicits a response. You are the one in control of these pathways and the way in which your body responds to them.

If you’re finding difficulty being still — as my lovely nail lady do gently pointed out — train it just like you would anything else. Mindfulness is a fitness weakness many of us have — and refuse to work it in. Personally, I think a well rounded brain is sexier than abs, and a tight ass.

It’s a powerful piece of machinery, that deserves rest, and recovery, as much as every other entity in the body.

When you find your brain inching back for another hit of the hamster wheel:

  1. Recognize the thought and bring it in. All thoughts are, are little rubber duckies (each with their own unique appearance) you put on a river bed. They can float by — hell you can even throw em away. They’re yours to do with what you wish. Either way — it’s just a ducky.
  2. What does this ducky have to offer you? Is there something that serves you along the next chapter? Or is that ducky carrying a load that’s baring its buoyancy.
  3. Take what ya want/need, leave what you don’t
  4. Move forward with more love than before.

Thanks to my sicilian heritage, this very patient technician was finishing the second attempt at top coat when she said, “As long as you do it with love, you will never be wrong.” That’s all we’re trying to do — any of us are trying to do.

Begin with your brain. Nourish, and nurture that 3 lb meat loaf in your noggin. Remember that up until now — you’ve only had 10% access to a mechanism capable of so much more. Treat every thought with openness, love and optimism — even when it seems impossible — it is.

Sandow, Caesar, and Success

Success is an interesting metric. A bit like love, it is difficult to define as the meaning is subjectively derived. In a digital age, we are subjected to montages of monumental purchases, of disproportionate monetary value.

Leaving humans — that are currently chasing down their demons and dreams — left to feel less than enough. The luxuries of life are just that — luxuries. They are to be appreciated from afar — unless you fit the ticket. A bourgeois brownie badge of esteem entitled to an empire.

Julius Caesar is one of the most infamous rulers in history. An authoritarian — once proclaimed “dictator for life,” — known for his extravagance. Bronze cast statues, elaborate palaces, and parties with hefty price tags, left him relatively unpopular with taxpayers of Rome.

Though he successfully made citizenship available to those on the outskirts of the empire, and made an effort for social/political reform, he was a populist whose policies irked the upper class and elites  

In theory he had it all.  Money, fame, blindly adoring subjects, beautiful women, and an empire. As a result of Caesar’s outrageous spending, and political leanings, his empire eventually crumbled.

On the Ides of March, a group of rebellious insiders — led by his confidant, Brutus — stabbed Caesar to death on the steps of his palace and left him for dead. Perhaps not surprisingly, Brutus fled Rome, but was later apprehended.

Shakespeare, historians and authors have immortalized Caesar’s saga; to this day, he remains on of the most well known — albeit controversial — rulers in Roman history.

Moving forward to the turn of the twentieth century we get another self-made man, Eugen Sandow. At 5’8” and never weighing more than 175 lbs, he was not massive, but his impact was.

A German immigrant, he built an empire of his own as the father of modern day bodybuilding, and the original modern-day strong man.

He toured around the world, appearing Vaudeville shows where he performed his awe inspiring feats of strength. His acts included overhead pressing ponies, and holding strong as “Hercules bridge.”  He also utilized his charisma and revolutionary physique, which had audiences on their feet.

The Sandow name, derived from his mother’s German maiden name “Sandov,” became a brand of its own. One that was heavily sought after, and rarely sold.

Sandow held steadfast to his belief in the power of physical fitness, health, wellness, and the betterment of an individual human. As his muscles marveled the maidens in the crowd, he reminded himself — and viewers — that they too could achieve their own level of perfection.

Sandow introduced the original workout guides, mainstream fitness accessories, and the concept of pursuing an entrepreneurial empire in the world of health and fitness. Sandow was asked to cast his impeccable physique in bronze — similar to Caesar — which can still be seen in Brussels.

He was wildly successful and admired unwaveringly by those he inspired.

A bad investment, and a worse marriage, coupled with the war and bankruptcy, Sandow lost nearly everything. Legend has it that he died lifting a car. Though it wasn’t actually the lift that did it — it was an aneurysm — he would have preferred a more grandiose grand finale.  

His wife, left bitter and broke, buried Sandow in an unmarked grave. Shortly thereafter, Sandow was essentially scrapped from conscious existence. His empire, crushed under the weight of expectation, and demand. 80 years later, his grandson erected a immovable structure that resembles the superhuman — one of a kind — strength, that Sandow possessed.

Sandow is now immortalized in a miniature bronze sculpture, better known as The Sandow Trophy at Mr. Olympia, as a tribute to his irreplaceable impact on the fitness industry.

Both Sandow and Caesar ruled empires of their own in ways that could not be more different.

 With two such successful empire builders, we are left with the question: what is success? Is it the size of the empire, longevity, or material wealth? Is success having the ability to inspire, lead, or make an impact? When have you achieved it?

By dedicating yourself to your truth, relentlessness, and passion, success is yours to experience many times over. It is not about tyrannical tactics or monuments, it is about a lasting impact. That does not come with an account balance, or Aston Martin. Success is rooting down into your passion with ruthless resilience, action, and love.

#Letter2MyBully

When I think about the differences between love, and hate, it’s difficult to erase the imagery of two balls of fire — of equal impact — fighting for the ultimate demise of the other.

Love can’t exist without hate. A Marvel blockbuster that would tank without an epic villain amidst a metropolitan street battle. Each have their own superpowers, admirers, and army. Some might even say they have equal power.

The two have a symbiotic relationship of give, and take. A necessary evil, amidst a magic that marvels us all.

As tiny humans it’s easy to find your tribe, when your days consist of recess, and multi-voiced choral renditions of songs about acceptance, love, and a bus whose wheels won’t stop.

Enter adolescence. Sort of an adult, but not really. You think you know who you are, what you want, and who your friends are. For many the circles remained the same. For others, finding a tribe in the first place was a Darwinian debacle.

What happens when you don’t fit the quota, and don’t want to? What happens when dreams are more intriguing than annotating Dorian Gray? What happens when — up until that point — you believed in your magic, individuality and potential?

What happened?

Many of us, can narrow — down to the exact moment — that we questioned our worth, place, and purpose in the world. Some down to the name(s) of the individual that changed the direction of neurological traffic in the first place.

As a result of their resilient opposition to love, they’ve gained a tribal name more commonly known as bullies, or “haters.” A tribe that’s made headlines as the culprit for the proliferation of mental health into the mainstream, with the age of infection, getting younger every year.

Prior to writing this, I “brain vomited” just a few of the verbatim quotes branded into my cerebellum, that more than a decade later, still make their way to the frontal lobe once in a while:

“You should really wear clothes that fit you, so I don’t have to watch your fat seep out on the floor.”

“You’re a bitch / over achiever / crazy”

“You care too much”

“So fckin annoying / outspoken / opinionated / loud”

“Why is your mouth so f** big?”

“You definitely don’t have a trainer’s body, I wouldn’t hire her.”

Suffice it to say, these are statements that would receive two middle-fingers in the air today. That doesn’t mean that the impact wasn’t felt. It’s important to add that partaking, not putting a stop to the negativity hurts just as bad.

Worse than the verbal, cyber varietals of bully experienced, is that of social alienation.

Social alienation can be perpetuated by the beliefs, or influence of others — and/or self inflicted by the affected individual. Enter freshman year in high school, age 14. Within 90 days I went from self confident, goal-oriented, and passionate, to sit down, shut up, and say nothing — “no one wants you here.”

Social alienation, in human evolution, is linked to disapproval, and subsequent removal from the tribe.

A sentence of certain death. Like being voted off survivor, but less fun.

The cycle seems to have no end.  It doesn’t stop and end with a single interaction. There’s a real trickle down effect. Being a recipient of a bully isn’t fun, and doesn’t make you want to keep the love flowing.

Often times the negativity experienced is so powerful, it becomes normal; anticipated.

Bullies bombard you with reflections of their world view, seeing you as the source of their unhappiness. Eliciting emotions out of you like fear, doubt, anxiety, and sadness, to validate their conscious understandings.

These yield louder emotional responses — thereby demanding more attention as a result of the threats they pose to the body —  than that of peace or happiness. The most primal section of the brain, The Reptilian Brain, primes the body to respond under attack. Releasing hormones like adrenaline, dopamine, and cortisol, to alert the body of a feverish threat.

As a result, another’s truths, become your reality by attribution. The tribe has spoken. You’re left alone to assume it’s popular opinion and accept a truth that “no one likes, understands, or wants around.”

Let me let you in on a little secret. People hate what they don’t understand, and reject those that threaten the tribe they’ve fought to be accepted by.

Whether the modern human wants to admit it or not, we are designed to survive as a tribe. Humans helping humans evolve, learn, grow, and survive. Generations of villages, made up of individuals with powers entirely their own, selflessly offering them up for the betterment of the collective community.

The hippy in me is a believe there love will always trump hate in the end — but that doesn’t mean it’s knockout fight. They’re both strong, and seldom looking to scurry away anytime soon.

More powerful than love, is truth. When you are anchored in your truth, hate cannot and will not touch you — it’ll try — but truth is the victor every round.

Should my bullies ever come across this, I hope they know how grateful I am.

For the power of their hatred, and the greatest sparring brawls with negativity I’ve ever known.

You’ve prepared me for a life you hoped I couldn’t dream into reality. You are the greatest pre workout, I’ve ever tried.

You primed me to conquer my confidence, triumph with truth, persevere through positivity, and know what it’s like to live on the outside of the norm. It’s freeing — and really fun.

Stand in your truth, and move for no one. Share your gifts, and silence them for no one. Be love, and share it with everyone.

The more powerful hate is, the more legendary love has to be to win the fight. Don’t doubt your power, truth, goals or beliefs. They’re custom tailored to your world, and perfect as they are. If anyone doesn’t understand, throws hate your way, welcome it with love, then continue on your merry way.

‘Cause who wants their fate at the hands of others, anyway?

P.S.

[ I want to take a small moment here and apologized to anyone  reading this who may have been on the receiving end of my dementors… you never deserved that — and I hope you know how loved you are, and deserve to be].

Life is like a tattoo

I have family members that loathe the looks of permanent ink — particularly on their first born. Assuming it tarnishes the purity of flesh they used to pinch, smooch, and squeeze.

Tattoos illustrations on a canvas foreign to all of us. A meat suit we were placed in — and told to love. To treat with kindness, and support; faced with a defiant environment that’s dedicated to the detriment of our well-being and happiness.The human body is the cover to a book that’s still being written — and always under revision.

Humans have been permanently illustrating their journeys since 2000 B.C.E., including records of mummified remains reported with ink. The process was originally practiced by Japanese and Polynesian amateurs. In 1846, Martin Hildebrandt open the first shop in the US, introducing tattooing to the American Mainstream.

A German-American immigrant, Hildebrandt traveled to ink the soldiers of the Civil War, troop by troop. While Maud Wagner — America’s first female tattooist — exchanged a date for a lesson in the artform, in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase state fair. In spite of the recent invention of the modern tattoo machine, Wagner stuck to the traditional stick-poking of her mentor and predecessors.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the stylings of Sailor Jerry, and the iconic symbolism his work embodied. A sparrow — which is on the back of my right shoulder — was a symbol of returning home. A symbol sported by soldiers, who’d recently received much awaited “home orders.”

When my aunt — and guardian angel — left us, she was permanently tattooed with ink as vibrant, feminine, and warm as she was. Coupled with a pair of pink gerber daisies. The flower I bought for Mama B — her best friend —  while debilitating chronic pain, and near paralysis, gave her “home orders,” that lasted 6 years.

My aunt — our family’s reminder of hope, and light, even when darkness seems to win — received her home orders when she passed. A soul far too bright for a world stuck in darkness. Now she’s with me everyday. A reminder to believe in magic, love and a promise to never grow up.

Cut to, my consult for a piece that now stops people on the street, for one reason or another. My warrior goddess — a piece that gave me more than a life-long illustration. It left me with a knowing that I had forgotten for far too long.

This piece is my only one tattooed by a women, to date. I arrive at the appointment, eager nervous — sorta have to pee. I give her a hug.

“You ready to meet her?” the imagery of a warrior within myself that had been silenced.

She reveals the stencil. “That’s it. That’s her… my lone wolf, fearless, bad ass fuckin warrior,” and fit like a glove.

The process begins — and to be completely frank so did the beginning of this blog. I remember sitting on the table — anticipating the sting. Preparing for pain, and meditating through the stimulus — a new practice at the time.

The quiver of my quad blows my cover — relaxing isn’t exactly a part of the repertoire.

“If you welcome the pain, it won’t hurt nearly as bad,” she said.

How hard could it be, I thought, you’ve done it seven other times. This session was different.

We get to talking about both of our dementors, whom she referred to as her “friend.” I was stunned by her seemingly effortless ability to master a darkness I had only ever know to fear. She was the warrior that people looked to me to be.

The oldest of five, in a home that took one hell of a tidal wave. A coach to humans to trusted me with their journeys. A lover who feels she could never repay her partner enough for the love she’s received.

It was time for me to start believing the truths that I thought were fables. Labels that made up more of a human than I thought I could be.

“Tattoos are really similar” to dealing with dementors, we agreed. The discomfort, and pain, is going to be there whether your choose to acknowledge it or not. The more you try to fight back, tough it out to silence it, the more attention it demands.

Silence it by being bold enough to embrace darkness, as part of the process. Stand up to the stimulus watch as it’s power dissipates. Pain is a necessary evil. It triggers the most raw of reactions and the truest of truths. With every moment that makes you flinch, squirm or want to call it all together, know you’re one step closer to a beautiful work of art.

Life isn’t watercolor brush strokes — life is the buzz, and bite of a tattoo gun paired with a needle all your own. That no one else will ever know. Sometimes all we notice are the pricks and pokes, and pain they bring. Then you remember that at the end of that need is ink. Driving a bit more color, and detail, to one hell of a masterpiece.
Bring it in, and don’t be afraid. Breathe into — not just through — the discomfort, and relax. It’s not about the finished product. It’s about you, your needle, your body and your artist — present in a moment of time. Illustrating a pages of a book, on the world’s most complex canvas.

Becoming a Coach

A inaudible ringing of a boxing bell and reminds me of the ones I had been highly addicted to for nearly a year. At the time I was pursuing a lifelong dream of acting via weekly mainstage improv performances, and registered at one of the top acting courses in Los Angeles.

When Boxing/MMA entered my life when I needed it most — without even realizing it. I began ditching acting, and college classes, to make sure I could train. It began with one hour sessions, then two. Boxing, then muay thai and a bit of Ju-Jitsu.

This coach believed in the magic of training so much, he transformed his garage into a gym. With bags, mitts, and wraps ready to go. Even a pink / purple set for his feisty dynamic duo of daughters under the age of 12.

“Ready to die?” He’d greet me, and I pulled up to his home located just off — what we would call “The 5 N.” I was. Night after, night I made sure I was there hair-braided with bells on. Ready to fight until the bells rang, and resurrect in the next round.

We wore gardening gloves so that the tires, and hammers, wouldn’t splinter our hands. My white sneakers, now brown from sparring in the yard. Hoodies were worn for focus, and an extra burn.

Focus mitts became whatever I needed them to be, to ensure a viper-like-strike. The music was the metronome for the “combo,” and power punches were your opportunity to letterrip.

Every session ended with a recap, a life talk. That was the round that meant the most. Every second of work, was an exercise in dedication, persistence and focus. It was life’s rehearsal — and it was a knockout everytime.

Every night I flinched as the shower struck tender muscles. Gently gliding my Venus razor over violet hued bruises that speckled my shins. I was hooked. It was wasn’t the physical beating that lit my heart a blaze.

It was realization of a power that had gone mute. The ability to fight with everything I had to “dig deeper,” go darker, and discover levels of strength I didn’t even know were there; mentally or physically.

It was in this garage that I gained the confidence, courage, and clout, to become what I knew to be a “coach.” The person who believed in you enough to push your limits — knowing what was hiding within you all along. The human who “got it,” and was there for you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

It wasn’t someone who “knew it all,” or fit some standard physique. It was a person who knew they weren’t done growing, and neither were the humans in front of them. Their mission: to ruthlessly nurture, and guide the growth of, human beings.

Coaches coach you through the darkest rounds and reps — in or out of the gym. The ones that suck, hurt, and take everything in you to come out on the other side. and know that you will come out better on the other side. Coaches are the ones who believe in the ones who have trouble believing in themselves. Coaches, are in it for the value of being entrusted with another’s evolution.

It was a personal training certification — which was sponsored by whatever God you believe in, and in partnership with Gold’s Gym SoCal — that would allow me to begin this adventure in professionally.

My coach was there every step of the way. Asking me to write the nightly workouts, and co-coach a youth boxing camp over the summer to get my “whistle” wet.

In the process, finished my certification in just north of 30 days, whilst taking up residence in a local coffee house for 5-6 hours every week day till completion. Just after, began an internship with a leading sports medicine facility in Los Angeles.

I was an intern with an insatiable need to understand the human body — and more importantly — what happened when training went awry.

The only thing I knew for sure was it’s more than the workout, and I really did “get it.” All I wanted to do was be — for every future “client,” — what my coach was for me.

The person I wish I had when things were at their worst. Who was just as excited to learn and grow, as his athletes were. A person who believes in the power of grit, the artform of technique, and the limitless potential of the human body.

When I entered the world of personal training, I was fortunate to have mentors, friends and coaches, who genuinely cared for the well being of human beings.

Who’s first order of business in every session, was to greet you with a fiery fist-bump and a  reminder you of WHY you walked in those doors in the first place.

They preached a very real need for genuine-authenticity, fearlessness, and passion for education. A need for humans ready to build other human beings physically, mentally and emotionally.

Humans who authentically believe in the goals of others. Who will always remind you that your well being, happiness, and evolution are not lost in the muck of the world.

As trainers — we’re there to give them the confidence, love, and support, to transform.

One mentor asked, “What is a personal trainer? A coach? A therapist? A friend?”

“You’re all of it and more,” I thought to myself.

Sitting at a desk — in Gold’s Gym HQ — near the front because otherwise I wouldn’t see shit. 5’3” 110 lbs and maybe 10% body fat, I was the tiniest one in the room — from that point forward.

My fellow coaches in the making were easily twice my size. Snacking on Chipotle bowls, and PB & Js to make sure a mark wasn’t missed on their “macros.” Going hard in “bulking” season, and having hushed conversations about secrets to “getting huge.”

It was all french to me at the time.

My focus was on the slides in front of me and a mentor I had come to know and look up to. Between the scribble of my pen — in the margins of the handouts — and the “glug” of gallon jugs, he shared a nugget of wisdom that will forever be apart me.

“It’s not just about the one hour workout. There are 23 other hours in the day — how can you prepare them for those..” He had all of my attention and more. “If there’s nothing you take away from this training, let it be this, ‘life doesn’t happen to you it happens FOR you.”

From that moment forward I knew what my personal mission as a coach was. It had nothing to do with mirrors or metrics, and everything to do with human-evolutions.

When it came time for take clients — I negated the script written by corporate closers. I followed my heart, and brought as much love — and energy — as I could to every session. When a new client crossed my path, our journey began with why they really wanted to evolve in the first place.

The “why’s” would astound you. New widows, depression, infidelity, and tragedies I could never fathom. It’s in the gym that we are the most vulnerable which is why we always wonder who’s looking at us. Judging us. It’s the modern watering hole; a place meet, connect and take evolution for a test drive.

The workout is the microcosm of daily life. There’s gonna be reps that don’t feel great, and ones that do. Loads that seem impossibly heavy, and ones that life light as a feather. There will also gonna be days where you’ve worked so hard you’re stiff as a board. It’s not about the details, it’s all about how you approach your reps. Hell — it’s not even about the whole workout

It’s about one rep at a time. Knowing that each rep is an opportunity to dig into discomfort and reep what it has to offer you. Growth, and a chance to be better than the human you were yesterday.

This is my Why

When this began I didn’t know what an “influencer” was. The meanings of “follow,” “like,” and “hashtag,” weren’t part of my vernacular and 2 p.m. was an empty space between personal training clients. When this began I also lived in fear of dementors dominating my daily life.

Simultaneously the #fitspo was swallowing the fitness industry whole, like a hot pink horse pill peddled by said “influencers,” in hopes of getting a hit of the highly-addictive instant-gratification of our newly founded “insta-world.” While in Largo, Florida, I was up and in the gym with clients — everyday — at 6 a.m. with a cup of coffee, and a hug ready to go.

My mission was — is— to build humans from the inside out. The human body is the most complex piece of machinery ever crafted. A luxury vehicle, deserving to be handled with respect, love, and dedication. It’s been my mission to understand it and all its complexity.

Understanding its evolution is never ending — and therefore should be treated as such. Every moving part serves a greater purpose for the whole. Nothing is a mistake, and every piece has a place. The human body is magic realized — and it’s so much more than the the aesthetics we’ve come to obsess over, as a thanks to more than public progress photos.

Running a full-time personal training business as a full time student was more than enough to test my passion, and patience. I was wrapping up a B.A. in Digital and Mass Media Communications. A degree nearly six years in the making — for what I thought would be nothing but an ill-fitting robe and an initialed piece of paper. A degree that ripped me from everything, to show me exactly what I had:

A knack for the click clack of a keyboard, a love for transformation, and an uncanny talent I had honed that transforms traumas into tests, tests into lessons, lessons into stories, and stories into human connections. My degree showed me that every human has stories, truths, loves, and traumas, that deserve to be heard.

When practiced with love, objectivity, and empathy, communication transforms from a task, to a tool. It evolves into authentic human connection. It’s by these connections that we form relationships, families and social circles. Communication is the concrete foundation for a healthy, and well functioning society. It’s the one thing that seems to be missing from our world. The willingness, and the want, to connect, share and be human, with — albeit — other humans.  

Every class was a mirror to — in my eyes — blatant errors in the media. We all want to be followed, liked, and shared. We all want to feel like we matter. So how is it that we have come across the most anthropologically advanced piece of technology —our species has yet to discover until recent history — and use exclusively to get an extra hit of the hottest drug on the market.

Social media has the power to serve one of the most primal human needs — aside from the obvious of sustenance, shelter and security — is human connection. Without it, we wilt and wither away like that of an unloved houseplant sentenced to a life of solitude, without a lick of sunshine.

We have all — to one degree or another — “been there.” We’ve been the houseplant in the corner. Bruising our leaves in an effort to soak up just a few little rays of light. Wondering what the purpose is anyway, to have something so beautiful left at the hands of darkness.

My personal battle with dementors isn’t locked away in a Chamber of Secrets. It’s online. I went from proclaiming my distaste for humans — as has become so common as a thanks to internet — to sharing every bit of my journey with a digital world.

Knowing that there were human beings behind those usernames. Human beings in search of something they were missing in “real life.”

There was a moment in one of my classes — Media Ethics (yeah… I know… the irony)— where something just clicked. After 5+ years of questioning what the fck I was going to do with a degree, it made sense.

“Journalism is the business of humanity,” I said to my professor. “It’s our job to share the stories, and connect with other human beings.” To remind them that there are stories to be told, and no one is a wasted chapter.

I took to social media that day and began sharing my own story. Knowing that if I wanted others to open up to me, I would have to take the first step. It wasn’t about how many people read, or even liked it. It was about starting a conversation that needed to be had.

With every onion layer of my personal journey that was posted, came an influx of messages from other humans thanking me for “being vulnerable.” They thanked me for being “brave,” and it left me baffled.

I can’t be the only one.

The posts got more real, and the message got clearer. Everyday, between ‘flients’, I would write, connect and share with humans. Yes. Real life people. The humans all too comfortable suffering in silence on the outskirts. Who “get it,” and just “don’t wanna sound crazy,” when they need someone to — lovingly — start the conversation.

We scroll our way through the day, double tapping things we like, and swiping left on those we don’t. Refreshing screens for red tabbed notifications that arbitrarily validate the lives we lead.

What if, we stopped scrolling, and started connecting? What if we took time to say “how are you really,” and prompt the larger questions of life.

What if we use social media to start a conversation on the importance of mental health, being love, while promoting impactful psychological and sociological change?

This tool we’ve uncovered, that has been bruised and beaten by the barbaric notions of society, deserves a facelift. It’s time to take social media back from the bots, booties, and breast implants.

Let’s make socials a place to be social. A place of ever-expanding evolutions, mutual growth, and positivity. A place for stories to be shared, respected and heard.

It’s more than the quantifiable values we have become fixated on. It’s about humans finally receiving what they have needed for far too long. A pseudo-watering hole that connects human beings around the world based on mutual interests.

It is time to evolve our interests from viral videos to a #real virus. According to the AFSP , in 2017 there were nearly 1.3 million suicide attempts in the United States, and suicide stands as the 10th leading cause of death.

Headlines read ages as young as 9 years old, ending their lives. Regardless of what the individual trigger was, the route cause is always the same. What’s the point if the darkness is going to be that loud and present / no one understands /  or there is no one to talk to judgement free.

We can talk about “awareness” until we are blue in the face, in my heart it’s time for more than that. It is time to put this earth shattering mechanism to the test and use it to take action. It’s time to remind the people behind the usernames of what connects all of us down to the fibers of our being.

The need to love, and be loved. Every human deserves to know they’re worth the human-right to evolution, change, and growth. The only reason your dementors are here, is to show you just how magical you are.

Like a sorcerer’s stone, it’s been buried, and likely in the wrong hands, for way too long. It’s up to you to blow of the dust, and take back what’s always been yours. To know that you have it in you to conquer every hurdle, and execute your reps — in and out of the gym — with dedication, focus, and optimism.

This is my WHY. It’s everything to me. If I could give back even half of what this experience has given me thus far, it would be too little. Every single human that comes across @bemacfit will be reminded of their worth. They will know — even for a moment — that they aren’t crazy, and there is at least one more human out there who really does “get it.”

It is my WHY To be the person I wish I had when things were at their worst, to authentically connect with, and educate, humans around the world, and create a program that provides actionable steps to defeat dementors in/out of the gym, with the intention of helping prevent suicide from going — any more — viral.

I BELIEVE IN MAGIC

I believe in magic. Not the way I did when my love for Disney prompted be to permanently print a the enterprise’s prized possession— Mickey — on my ribs. The magic I believe in now came to me through a hail storms of honesty.

Honesty of self, facing the dementors you’ve been using your nightlight to hide from all your life. Honesty of wants, needs that for the first time are no longer selfish — but a realized right. Making an honest promise to yourself that you — may just be — worth everything you’ve were told wasn’t “for you.”

What if — for a moment — we all pretended to believe in magic. The possibility of proverbial pixie dust, and the promise of conquering summits you thought to be unscalable. The first time I believed in magic, came after a cat. 5 hurricane of dementors the tore our world to pieces.

It was a level neither of us had unlocked. Definitely not one either of us was prepared for. We “hunkered” down, for a storm only we could feel.

There it was. Darkness, truth, and ego; a swirling vortex of truth, lightning bolts striking at our hearts, and love — with an inarguable gravitational pull — at the epicenter of it all. Thankfully not a single fatality.

We faced our dementors, as the stormed the gates of our own sacred castle. The magic didn’t come from spells. It came from a pressure cooker of growth. The magic was not that of fairy tales, warlocks or witches, the magic was the power of love amidst the roaring clouds above.

Weighing us to the eye of the storm was the knowing that magic might be real. That love is the most powerful patronus. Amidst ghastly winds, ripping roaring on a one way mission of destruction, was unconditional love.

Though there was debris to be disposed, the weekend after the storm, was when I could see the magic — that kept us from the clutches of the clouds — clearly for the first time.

He was deep into his work flow, tucked away comfortably in his office. I needed to be outside. I stood in our front yard, with a cup of coffee that has become a daily self love ritual. Kira pounced through the yard, practicing her lizard hunting abilities.

The yard that we transformed on step at a time, from concrete/rock, to dirt to lush great lawn. It sucked. It’s also one of my favorite memories. We would wait until it got cool enough, I’d strap on my gardening gloves he has gifted to me. We shoveled, on scoop at a time, over two weeks.

Then time to sod. We spent a day, with pop-punk blaring and an assembly line laying one — piece — at a time. Every time I sit in our yard I’m reminded of the first real challenge we encountered together.

I twisted my heels into the ground and tried to find my “power position.” I pushed my feet into the grass, and lit up every muscle from head to toe. With the largest breathe I had taken in days. I looked up to the sunshine, eyes closed, absorbing the warmth like an electric charge.

I prayed. Really prayed for the first time in a long time.

“God [insert whichever God you believe in], I choose him. With everything in me, I choose him. But I can’t do that unless you’re on my side. I need your support — I choose him.”

No sooner do these words cross my mind that the hooman walks outside with a bright, “Babe! Where were you I was looking for ya!”

I snap out of my warm, sunny-daze, and gesture for him to “come here.” He knows what this means.

He turns his back to the sun, and wraps his — very impressively growing arms — around my head, as a burry my face in the man-fur I’ve come to find as my safe place.

I start again with deeper breaths than I thought possible. Now with the first draft of an inner monologue I didn’t even know I had.

“I realize now, right now in this moment, that I haven’t been able to accept the love he’s offered me because I do not love myself. From this point forward I accept the love he’s giving me, because I’m worth it. Because I love who I am —“

My river-stream of thoughts was stopped in its tracks as I felt a familiar kiss on my forehead.

A kind of kiss that Mama B, and I, have always reserved for the most special of humans.

I look up, and involuntarily to the left.

There is not 1, nor 2 but 8-10 dragonflies hovering in perfect formation staring at us. I laughed — and like the sap I am — burst into a tears.

“That’s magic.”

Magic isn’t for fairytales, or folk-lore. It is there to remind us of why the dementors are so important to our stories. The dark clouds, stormy days and destructive downpours are only negative if you allow them to be.

At the end of the day, the force holding all of it together is love. It’s amidst these storms that we learn the most lush lessons of life. It’s when the winds of worry are the loudest, that appreciate solace in silence. While it may seem gloomy,  behind those clouds is a warmth; a battery charged with hope, truth and belief of self.

If you don’t already, try this year to believe in your magic a little bit more everyday. When the storm brews, and inevitably strikes, you will be more prepared than ever. You will no longer ask why is this happening “to me,” you will wonder “what’s the lesson,” followed naturally by “bring on the pop quiz.”

Fall in love with the possibility of magic. Watch as the storms transform from catastrophic, to consciously cataclysmic. Approaching every opportunity for growth with fearless regality, knowing that love, and warmth, is at the center of it all.