Kathy is the founder and owner of Misfits Studio, offering fitness classes for any woman who feels insecure about stepping into that typical gym setting, and classes exclusively for plus size women. Her mission is to inspire women of all sizes and from all walks of life into becoming more active, to work to change common ideas of what ‘body positive’ looks like.
I have struggled with self-esteem issues for most of my life. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with a rare nerve disorder that caused me to have seizures on the left side of my body every time I got up out of a seated position or stepped to quickly. I would get up off the couch to answer the phone and I’d have an episode, or simply move to quickly and I’d have a seizure. I learned very quickly that my condition was something that most people were not accepting of, which made me feel like I had to hide it. The stress from carrying such a burden took a toll on my self esteem and my self confidence, which were already quite a challenge for me. I was afraid to go to job interviews because I knew my body would betray me, and if I did get the job, it didn’t take very long before I was fired. To top it all off, I had no idea who I was or what I was good at.
I spent most of my twenties and thirties trying to figure out and fight with my own body and find ways I could control my condition, and I’m happy to say that I have been seizure free for about 5 years without the aid of medication and exercise is a huge part of why. When I was eighteen I fell in love with a show called the Caribbean Workout. That show helped me figure out that exercise was the only time that I could move and even go for a walk without having a seizure. Exercise was very freeing for me and I found something I was good at. I took various programs to try and combat my self esteem but in all honesty, I still struggled with my self esteem because I didn’t use the tools that I was given from the various programs I took.
When I turned 36 I knew I really had to do something drastic, I became active in the community and took a leadership program called PowerUp. This program helped me see that I had all the qualities of a good leader. I can be quiet, shy, and still be an effective leader. Through PowerUp I heard about another program called Assets, through the Saint John Community Loan Fund. To challenge myself further I took the class. I decided to apply for the Judi Chisholm Award and wrote about my struggle with self esteem and how the assets program had benefited my life. I won that award and also began doing presentations through the Women’s Empowerment Network to students at UNB and other organizations within the community. I have been given so many opportunities and I took each one as a way to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I also decided to take flute lessons and joined a band. Flute is right up there with fitness on my passion scale.
I’ve done a lot to challenge my self esteem and confidence level. I made the choice somewhere along the way to get comfy with being uncomfortable. So whether I’m awkward, embarrassed, afraid, or struggling with anxiety, it doesn’t matter how I feel or look like doing it. I’m doing it and that is what counts. I was offered my fitness certification through the Women’s Empowerment Network and started leading PowerUp participants on their health breaks. Teaching the health breaks was another way for me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself and now I am on a journey to start my own fitness business as a plus size fitness instructor.
Another key to challenging my self esteem was to surround myself with an unfailing support system. You have to surround yourself with people who see your strengths, people who see past your awkwardness, people who see your value, and people who choose to look at your character and help you see your strengths, so you can achieve your goals and dreams.
I started offering fitness classes, so that women, who feel insecure about going to the gym could have a space to feel comfortable to workout in. A space where women can support and encourage each other and build each other up and help each other feel good about ourselves.
Misfits Studio can be found online at the following websites:
Last updated: January 10, 2018
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