Sometimes the people who motivate you the most are the ones closest to you. At least I think they should be. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who add nothing to your life, I suggest you find new friends.
This is why I decided to start featuring friends of mine who are really doing some cool stuff and make me want to do the same.
The internet is a great place to meet people. Back when Myspace was the happening social networking site, you could freely roam and lurk people without the confines of ‘private profiles’ like we’re familiar with nowadays. I remember things started to change when apps popped-up, telling you who was viewing your Myspace profile. That’s when I knew I was in trouble as my stalkerdom would surely be unveiled. But I think as females, we can all admit to lurking those really pretty girls — whom we may or may not know in real life, coveting everything about them and wondering how they pull it off. Sometimes, I’d get ballsy and send them a friend request because in my mind I was like “Fuck it, they’re really cool, I don’t care if they find it creepy that I want to be their friend.” This is how I met Stephanie Marie.
I can’t recall who made the initial move of clicking that friend request but I vividly remember looking through her pictures and admiring the way she made bamboo earrings and French tips look so classy and stylish (it was the early 2000’s ok?). We’d comment on each other’s walls here and there but it wasn’t until I was at Urban Outfitters shopping one day that I spotted her for the first time. This is where things can usually get socially awkward. Do you say hi? What if you look nothing like your selfies and they don’t recognize you? What if they pretend they don’t know you? Should you pretend like you don’t know them? Luckily our first in-person interaction was fairly organic and we’ve been real friends ever since.
Throughout the years Stephanie has never ceased to amaze me. She can wear rags and make it look amazing, she can effortlessly whip up a gourmet feast and craft anything you might see on Pinterest. Basically she puts Martha Stewart to shame and yet remains incredibly humble about it.
Though what inspires me the most about Stephanie was her ability to pull through a rough time in her life where she describes herself as “your average, garden-variety couch-sloth”. Being introverted and finding comfort in the indoors with her crafts and books, she found herself getting into a slump. “I was feeling crappy about myself, I wasn’t healthy, and I wasn’t treating myself with respect.” She realized that life was quickly passing her by. “Weeks were turning into months, then years and I suddenly became motivated by own mortality.” That was her life-changing moment.
Now instead of couch-slothing, she runs between 8km to 15km, 5-6 days a week, practices Ashtanga yoga, rock climbs and goes to the gym. She attributes a lot of that activity to her boyfriend. “He’s a very adventurous type, as an indoor girl, he got me to overcome every fear of the outdoor. He took me cold-water surfing, climbing and caving. When you’re first dating someone, you want to show-off and impress them, so I tried everything.”
Last September, she completed her first triathlon, Ironman 70.3 Muskoka which consisted of a 2km swim, 90km bike ride and a half-marathon. This year she hopes to complete two 50km trail runs, with one in the summer and one in the fall. Her ultimate goal though is to participate in The Canadian Death Race a 125km race through a mountainous terrain.
If you’re like me, you’re probably exhausted just reading this. I asked her how she does it, “If I’m not doing anything it’s disheartening, I just want to make the best of my time by keeping a busy schedule full of hobbies, be there for my friends and live a healthy life. It’s hard to maintain that balance but it’s easier when you surround yourself with people who motivate and support you.”
Stephanie Marie, you are a total badass!
Books: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) by Dante Alghieri. It’s the only “classic” that I can really stomach as I’m really more of a non-fiction/philosopher lover and anything by Albert Camus.
Movie featuring a strong female-lead: I adored Interstellar and loved the female leads (Hathaway and Chastain). I really want to see Rhymes for Young Ghouls.
Female icon (fictional or real): As much as I can spout about which female inspires me, I’m most in awe of those that command both physically and mentally demanding pursuits outdoors. Sylvia Vidal, who Aid Climbs massive cliffs alone for months on end seeking solitude. Ines Papert, who breaks female climbing conventions by the sheer magnitude of the projects she attempts and the level at which she commits to embarking on new territory. Their message inspires me to dig deeper within myself to improve my faculties and seek new objectives.