We are not born equipped with confidence: it is acquired. For some, it is acquired much later in life than others. I am one of those people. This is my story.
St. Albert, AB
Growing up in middle class suburbia, I was a very active, loud child. With a very uncommon surname ‘Orange’- it was almost impossible not to stand out in some way. In elementary school I was often teased and taunted for my name- for whatever reason the one that stung the most was “Lindsay-Bindsay Orange-Peel.” As innocent and silly as the insults might have been, I’m fairly certain that early teasing was the start of some fierce ‘I’ll show them’ behaviour: I’ll GIVE them something to talk about.
I’ll just briefly mention I am part of the 60% of families that end up divorced. Although my parents worked extremely hard at providing for my younger brother and I, our environment was tumultuous. Along with the bit of bullying I endured at school, home life wasn’t exactly the place for comfort and solitude. I was constantly searching for approval: whether my grades were good enough, my room was clean enough, did I help out enough with chores, etc. I understand now as an adult my parents were doing their very best despite a difficult marriage, but the last place I was going gain confidence was at home.
In junior high I decided I was going to participate in every school sports team possible. I knew I loved being active and I was certainly built for it: I was already 5’5″ by the 7th grade. I also loved the social aspect of team sports. I made all the teams: volleyball, basketball, cross-country, track, rugby- all the way until the end of high school. Being good at sports made me very happy, it was a big part of my life. I belonged somewhere. And suddenly the last name Orange was ‘cool’, stemming up many nicknames (which is a right of passage on sports teams ;)). My best friend’s Dad had a nickname for everyone that he liked: if he only ever called you by your nickname, you got the seal of approval. He nicknamed me ‘Godzilla’. I only ever heard the interpretation from my friend, but not her Dad. Basically she thought Godzilla because I was big, I was intense when I played (whatever I played, didn’t matter) and I made my presence known on whatever court/field I was on. And so be it. The most confidence I ever had as a teenager involved me playing some type of sport.
Like many high school girls, I had some pretty unhealthy body image issues. Although I was perfectly built for athletics (tall, broad shoulders, solid frame) I always felt HUGE next to the majority of other girls- and even some of the boys. I struggled with the desire to fit in with everyone else: the need to be a good athlete/student, to be liked by my classmates, and the approval of my family. When I was 16 I went through a period of bulimia. I wouldn’t always binge, but for whatever reason it felt damn good to purge. Maybe I was releasing my stress, my woes- just a simple yet very physical form of release. I finally confessed to my mother was going on, and the pain in her eyes made me want to stop. So I did. To this day I don’t feel the issue had to do with food at all, but rather a sense of control and a way to cope with all I had going on.
Enter: Figure Competitions
After high school, I went on to University where I achieved my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Alberta in 2008. Throughout University I remained active by going for my runs and alternating that with weight training. Several months following my graduation, I felt like I needed a new challenge. I had been reading several women’s fitness magazines where they would feature pro fitness competition pictures on the back sections, and even met with a pro fitness model and the wheels in my head started turning: what if I tried entering a fitness competition? I boldly set myself up with a trainer, and we collectively decided with my frame and genetic ability that ‘figure’ was the category for me. I placed 2nd in my first-ever competition and was completely hooked. Not only did I far-exceed my own expectations, this was something I truly enjoyed doing and I BELONGED. This is where my confidence bloomed. At the age of 26 I found my calling.
- 2009 Donna and Brian Logue Alberta Provincial Championships: Tier 1, Figure Tall- 2nd Place
- 2010 Donna and Brian Logue Alberta Provincial Championships: Tier 2, Figure Tall- 3rd Place
- 2010 CBBF Figure Nationals: Figure Class F- 6th Place
- 2011 Donna and Brian Logue Alberta Provincial Championships: Figure Tall- 1st Place
- 2011 CBBF Figure Nationals: Figure Class F- 3rd Place
- 2012 CBBF Figure Nationals: Figure Class F- 2nd Place
- 2013 CBBF Figure Nationals: Figure Class F- 2nd Place
- 2014 CBBF Figure Nationals: Figure Class F- 4th Place
My 4 top 5 CBBF Figure National finishes, from left to right: 2011 (3rd place); 2012 (2nd place); 2013 (2nd place); 2014 (4th place).
*stats courtesy of http://www.abba.ab.ca/competitionsArchive.html; http://cbbf.ca/ContestResults.aspx
The Start of ‘Orangezilla’
Randomly while on a trip with my Mom to New York in 2013 I decided to change my IG account handle to ‘@orangezilla’. I thought back to my old sports team nickname and combined it with my surname. I figured “hey- my name is super unique, I am super unique, and I want to showcase that!” Not that my IG account was anything spectacular- I did (and still) feel I have something special to offer others.
A year ago, January 2015 to be exact- I began working with BodyRock TV. They contacted me for a modelling/hosting audition and I totally went for it. I got my butt into shoot-shape and ended up working with them on several shoot-projects: both with still shots and filmed workouts. I also had the opportunity to do some blog writing for them (if you see my face/abs/articles on their site: YES, that’s me, and yes they have the rights to all those images). The entire experience was challenging, rewarding, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of it! My work with BodyRock allowed me to tap into something I didn’t know I had inside: writing!! I especially enjoyed sharing my creative and passionate approach to leading/living a healthy lifestyle. The response(s) I had were tremendously positive and encouraging. Again, a sense of belonging.
I am no longer competing in Figure, but I still work as a Registered Nurse in Pediatrics in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I truly do believe that opportunities enter our lives for a reason. I am grateful for the years I gave into my fitness competitions as many other events and opportunities would not have come my way. I have learned so much. I am passionate about helping others, and I love to share all that I have learned.
And this brings me to you today! I am here to share what I am most passionate about. The main topics of my blog are: fitness, lifestyle, and clean recipes that will make you enjoy clean eating. Welcome to my world of living the best life I know how. I think out loud- and I only share what (I think) is good. I like what I see in the mirror, and I like what I put out there. Welcome to my journey 🙂