To the Girl Who Didn’t Know then What I Do Know Now

Something I never imagined I would write. Here goes nothing…

This is an open letter to myself.

To the 21-year-old me who lost a piece of her spirit four years ago in a suburban hotel room where she didn’t belong.

It’s to all the women who relate, who’ve been there, who prefer not to remember but can never forget.

And to you. This is a letter to you.

The bedsheets were crisp, white and freshly cleaned—a stark irony considering the events that unfolded just 10 minutes later. That sense of instinctive dread, of violation, of wanting to be anywhere else—it was truer than she realized. I wish she had listened. But I would forgive her for staying. Even with the benefit of hindsight, who can guarantee that she’d react different now if given the chance?

So, I wouldn’t blame her. I wouldn’t demand she bear the weight of a consequence or expectation she was never meant to shoulder. I wouldn’t tattoo her scars with ink stains of guilt. I would expose them to light where she isn’t forced to hide the evidence.

I would grip her fragile hands in mine—strengthened from perspective, weathered from experience—until the trembling subsides. I would tilt her chin and urge those hollow, haunted eyes to meet my older gaze. Then I’d communicate our sameness, our solidarity—a message needing no words. I would silently perch beside her as time becomes irrelevant, and minutes fade to hours. However long it takes.

I would reach her in the stillness that’s often trampled in the chaos. We’d reclaim it together. And those emotions coursing through her—shock, anger, disbelief, regret—I’d whisper: Feel them all. There’s closure and cleansing on the other side.

I would remember she is young, impressionable, naive. She is prone to wander from her own best judgment. Her mistakes will cost us dearly. But we are still human, wired to endure. So, I would extend compassion to drown out the shame and connection to soothe the numbness, penetrate the solitude, nudge her onto higher ground.

And when the earth feels safe, secure, stable again, I would utter four words that she doesn’t want to hear, can’t seem to admit, but needs to understand: It’s not your fault. It never was. I hope she would believe me, that she can finally accept the truth. Because this girl—whether dazed, detached and desensitized in a hotel room, or here in this moment reliving the memories, undressing the wounds—she’s not just a survivor.

She is a warrior. We all are.

…I can promise you that.

 

love yourself

4 Minimalist Moves for Do Anywhere Workouts

Did you know that 3 in 4 Americans claim their schedules are too packed for exercise? Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation though, since most of us have used that fallback when unavoidable time commitments—or urgent Netflix binges—happen.

But, among the self-described “Super Busy,” about 60% indicated they’d exercise more often if they could do so at home. Well, sure….makes sense. I mean, half the battle is finding motivation to (a) invest in a gym membership then (b) get your money’s worth from said membership.

I’m no stranger to the price tag of staying in shape. Lemme tell you—Pure Barre classes cost a pretty penny! Fitness is an expense I’ll willingly take on…but just once a week, thanks. My twenty-something budget can’t handle much more! So, what’s a girl to do those other 6 days?

Enter: the TKO Ab Stretch 4-Way Resistance Band. This affordable—we’re talking $12.99—twist on gym-quality equipment makes strength training accessible for anyone who can’t spare gym-quality payments.

4 way resistance bands

With adjustable tension to customize your resistance level and a portable design for on-the-go convenience, low maintenance finally meets effective. TKO Ab Stretch targets the core, arm and back for a full-body circuit that develops muscle tone, promotes strength and increases flexibility.

Courtesy of this gotta-have gadget, your home—or anywhere, for that matter—workout regimen can be as simple and straightforward as the examples below (thanks to my sister Victoria for being a topnotch fitness model)!

Deltoid Raises

resistance band arm exercise 1

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms to each side then, with a slow and controlled motion, raise them outstretched into a T-position.
  5. Hold this stance for 5 seconds, while keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Bicep Curls

reistance band arm exercise 2

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Stretch your arms into a low V-position, with your elbows facing down, then curl them upward toward your shoulders.
  5. Hold this stance for about 5 seconds, keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Forearm Extensions

resistance band arm exercise 3

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms to each side then, with a slow and controlled motion, extend them parallel in front of your body.
  5. Hold this stance for about 5 seconds, keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Deltoid Pulses

resistance band arm exercise 4

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms in front of your body then, with a sweeping motion, raise them outstretched into an inverted V-position.
  5. Move your upper arms in small pulses, while keeping your shoulders relaxed, for about 5 seconds then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

So, now I wanna hear from YOU. Ever tried a resistance band circuit? Know any more “minimalist moves,” involving this equipment? Comment with your favorite strength training tips!


Special thanks to TKO for letting me test out this awesome product. Follow this dynamic fitness gear brand on Instagram @TKO_WhateverItTakes and use the hashtag #WhatEverItTakes.