I’m Michelle Kickham – a 25 year old scientist, athlete and writer from Ireland.
But I have a story – a somewhat messy story, but a story of progress, making a change and becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. Now I’m sharing it– and although friends and family had been urging me to share it for a while now, what really pushed me was actually the “Reveal Yourself” hashtag. Every morning when I’m sitting at the train station, waiting to go to work, I see the BULK POWDERS poster across the track; #RevealYourself. Something about that poster makes me feel like I should be proud of myself. It makes me reflect on why I feel I should reveal myself – and my story, and its message of strength, courage and willpower.
Progress is possible, and it’s friggin’ amazing.
We all have our demons – a past we want to ignore or a memory we want to forget. Sometimes I want to just ignore mine, pretend it never happened. But, now it symbolizes something – it shows what determination, strength, love and commitment can do. I want to show people that it is possible to get out of whatever hell you might be living in and start living your life. The past is the past, but don’t forget it. Let it show you what you can do – because progress is possible, and it’s friggin’ amazing.
I have a good life now – I have friends, an amazing job, a fantastic loving family, and of course, weight training (strength training, bodybuilding… whatever you want to call it) is my love. Each day I am becoming more like the girl I used to be. My parents are getting their daughter back, my sister is getting her sister back – and I am finding myself again – because I lost her about 10 years ago to a horrible disease – Anorexia.
I’d like to think of myself as pretty much recovered!
I would like to say I’m recovered – but there are still food issues and a small bit of weight gain left, confidence issues… but compared to what I was like ten or even five years ago – I’d like to think of myself as pretty much recovered! In an attempt to avoid the “shock factor”, I’ll leave out the nitty gritty details – but needless to say, things were bad. I lost all of my friends, I had to leave school, I was in hospital more times than I would like to admit – and worst of all – I broke my family’s heart in the process. My life was a mess – I was a mess! I didn’t even realise it… not until it was too late – or what I thought was too late. To be perfectly honest – at a BMI of 11 – I thought I was going to die. I was selfish, alone (or so I thought) and hopeless. I was difficult to be around, or even look at – the remnants of a happy, lively child. My family did their best to keep me sane by being the only friends I really had – even though I shunned them away every day.
And yet – they saved my life. How? Well, for one – they kick ass and they’re almost as determined as me. They would not allow to Anorexia take my life – whereas I was in no place to even comprehend the thought that this was in fact a dangerously close reality.
They forced me to do things I didn’t want to do – like go to college (I wanted to drop out – even though I am very academic), socialise, eat “fear foods”… basically everything that didn’t involve Anorexia, because at the time –that’s all my life was. As much as I hated them at the time for what they did, I owe them my life. It showed me that there was more to life than Anorexia – I was more than a disease. I was becoming a scientist. I was a friend. I saw value in myself again.
After a few years, I realised that I wanted other things in my life. But there was no time for these things –not with Anorexia being around, anyway. I played around with hobbies, the odd social event – but nothing ever stuck. I just didn’t want to get rid of the disease – I was happy the way things were. Well, I thought I was. This was about 6 years ago.
Then I started lifting.
My family saved my life, but lifting changed it. I was alive, but now I’m living. There’s a difference.
This changed things – a lot. I don’t really remember how I got into it, but once I started – I fell in love with it. I saw how my hard work in the gym paid off – I was building muscle, I was getting stronger – not that strong, but stronger! I was still quite thin, with not a shred of muscle mass – but I was determined, and it was that determination that bled into my entire life. And from there – I became the person I am today. And this was only a year ago.
It became more than just a thing to do…and more than just aesthetics. As I started to get stronger – I felt stronger inside, too. My confidence began to rise. I noticed that I was more aware of my body. It wasn’t just something that was there…it was something that deserved respect. I deserved respect – from myself.
Now, I train with a personal trainer on a weekly basis (which I love – he kicks my ass and it’s fantastic!) and another trainer who I work with strictly with respect to strength training. They’re awesome –since I’ve started working with them, my strength has increased exponentially, and I will be competing for the first time this October – don’t expect to win anything of course – but that’s not the point!
And when I’m at the gym, just doing my own thing – I become myself. I feel energised, confident and strong. I am now confident in my body, and I have never felt better. And the best part is – there’s no end to this. I know I can continue to do better and feel better about myself. As cliché as it sounds – weight training has absolutely changed my life. It’s showed me that I am more than a number on the scale, or a jeans size – a size zero won’t go near my legs now – and I’m happy about it!
Since then, progresses – in all aspects of my life – have been incredible. I have a healthy, balanced diet. I graduated with a first class honours in Chemistry and Biology. I was awarded the Irish Research Council Scholarship to undertake my PhD project in Immunology and Organic Chemistry – and I absolutely love it. My day is filled with incredible science (which is great and horrible at the same time…science is finicky like that!) and amazing people (believe it or not – scientists are really friggin cool people!) and I write for Free From Heaven magazine on a monthly basis. And now, I write for Bulk Powders – a company I genuinely respect – and I am truly honoured to have been given this opportunity. This is what my life is now. This is what I have become… something I never dreamed possible. I am no longer “the anorexic girl” – I’m Michelle; a scientist, writer and an athlete.
Prove to yourself that you can be the person you want to be. Use your strength, use your loved ones and use your brain – and you will see change. Make a decision, make a vision – and you will become that vision. That’s what I did – and I will never look back.
About the Author
Michelle is a scientist, an athlete and a writer and she’s proud to have faced her demons head on and she’s beating them. In weight lifting she found an outlet to help change her life – and she’s loving it! Follow her journey with BULK POWDERS™.