Today Lindsey is hijacking the braveWORDS blog to talk about starring on Bravo TV’s WorkOut New York, the ACL tear heard round the world, and her adventure of learning how to stand up, stand out and be brave with an entire nation watching.
This week’s #MondayMantra is:
Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. – Brené Brown
I have to be honest. Filming for WorkOut New York was one of the hardest, most depressing times in my life. Two weeks prior to our first day of filming, I fell and tore my ACL. As an athlete, fitness instructor, dancer and person who spends their life jumping, running, training and LIVING in New York City there’s no worse injury. The timing could NOT have been worse. I was supposed to be a 6-pack clad glamazon burpee-ing my way to reality TV fame and here I was: immobile with crutches, a brace that made me look like the bionic woman, 6 months of physical therapy and a lot of tears ahead of me.
When I called the casting director to tell him the news of my injury, I anticipated him saying they’d have to cut me from the show. I mean… how was I supposed to be on a show called WorkOut New York if I couldn’t do that… I couldn’t use half of my body. To my surprise, he said “You’re like Rudy! This is horrible to say, but this will actually make for good TV.” And that it did. On the first day of filming, we swapped me running through Central Park in a sports bra to me at the hospital, about to undergo a complete ACL reconstruction. It felt like a nightmare.
(Right before going into surgery. I was being filmed going in and out of the hospital, hence the stellar hair and makeup job.)
(My knee post op. I was in that brace for over a month. It was the WORST.)
My other 6 cast mates were in their physical prime and were focused and prepared for anything the filming of the show threw at them emotionally. I was on the sidelines like “I want to go back to sleep and wake up when this is over.” My outlook was not bright. I felt sad. I felt fat. I felt useless. This was my chance to shine and I was barely scraping by.
During this time, something amazing finally happened. Amber and I were in the slow and steady process of creating Brave Body Project. At the time, we had no idea what our company was going to be, we just knew we wanted to help people feel strong, inspired and teach them about health and fitness in a fun, relatable, realistic way. If you’re a member of Brave Body Project or just a fan of the site, you know everything here is done with a side of humor and sarcasm. We don’t take ourselves too seriously here.
Creating Brave Body Project while filming for the show gave me something to feel excited about and took my broken little spirit and mended it back together. I went from crying to the cameras about feeling out of shape to talking about the importance of a positive body image. Talks about how awesome it is to have 6-pack abs became talks about having a healthy, happy body that was strong, not just aesthetically pleasing. I swapped feeling sad about my injury for feeling empowered that the knowledge I had because of my experience could help someone going through the same thing. All of a sudden, the show didn’t seem so bad anymore. My life didn’t feel so bad anymore.
It was a challenge for me to own my story. And it didn’t happen right away. I fought that story tooth and nail. I didn’t want to be that story. I hated being the underdog. But somewhere along the line, I realized that everything that happened: my ACL tear, filming my recovery, exposing myself when the chips were down, the creation of Brave Body Project – it all happened exactly as it should have. Being perfect wasn’t relatable. Being vulnerable, being honest – that was relatable. I stood in the boxing ring, under the lights with everyone watching. And I fell down a LOT. And I got back up. And while the getting back up is important, it’s not as important as stepping into the ring in the first place. My experience forced me to be brave when I didn’t know how to be.
Leading back to Brené’s quote: “Owning our story and loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” I want to encourage you today, right now to own your story. If you feel too skinny, too fat, unhappy, overwhelmed, depressed. Fucking own it. And stop being so hard on yourself. I guarantee if you own your story and share it with others you’ll hear a lot more of “Me too” than “Oh, you poor thing.”
Thank you for taking this adventure with me, with Amber, with Brave Body Project. I’m going to continue owning our story through the good and the bad. Through the highs and the lows. I’m in the boxing ring, under the lights and I’m happy to fall down if it makes me braver each time.
Own it, brave family!
WorkOut New York airs every Sunday at 9PM EST on Bravo TV.