Barry’s Babe Mariah Reddick
Editor’s Note: We are proud beyond words of all of our clients who put in the work to change their lives, and we are always honored when they allow us to celebrate their achievements on our blog. But sometimes a story comes along that inspires us even more than usual and humbles us in the face of true strength and character. This is one of those stories. Here’s is Mariah Reddick’s experience, in her own words.
I’ve realized I’m nearing the one year anniversary of the first time I stepped foot in a gym called Barry’s and have been thinking a lot about where I was this time last year. Much has changed in that year.
Cliff’s Notes version of my backstory: in my mid-20s, I decided to go back to school. I’m originally from Alaska and what I do for work is highly specialized so I had to move to the East Coast. All by myself. Didn’t know a soul. A couple of months after I moved there, I was sexually assaulted. I blamed myself. I didn’t have anyone out there I could turn to. Everyone I knew was a few thousand miles away. I basically locked myself up from the outside world and turned to food and booze to self-medicate with the false notion that if I purposely gained enough weight, maybe no one would want me and it wouldn’t happen again.
This was about seven and a half years ago. I worked through what happened in the years that followed, but something I could not do was get rid of the weight I had gained, about 30 pounds. I tried, but then I’d fall off the wagon and sometimes even take a few steps backwards. That weight always served as a kind of reminder about what happened. Something I literally had to carry with me every single day.
I started running a few years ago, mostly as a way to deal with an awful break-up. It helped, but I plateaued fast. It wasn’t until I started at Barry’s last year that I seemed to really find my stride and get momentum. It’s not a coincidence. Not only is it a great workout – the community is an amazing support system. And in the Fall of last year, roughly seven years after it happened, I finally lost all of the weight I had packed on.
I cried. A lot.
For me, this has never just been about fitting into a smaller dress size or bikini season, and yeah, slimming down is nice, but there was more to it. In this last year, I’ve mended some deep wounds. Every P.R. I break, every new challenge I take on that only a year ago I couldn’t have even imagined tackling is another reminder that I am and continue to be stronger than what happened that night. I am equally grateful for some of the people I’ve gotten to know in this recent chapter of my life.
I’m not going to pretend it’s all rainbows now. Yes, one major challenge has been conquered but I have more work to do. I’m still not always thrilled when I look in the mirror, I’m still not a fast runner despite doing so many races, I’m taking on some new physical challenges that are really kicking my butt, but something I have now that I haven’t had in a while is hope. That’s half the battle, right?
I’ve gone back and forth about sharing this so publicly. It’s not a secret, but also not something I usually go around broadcasting either. I’ve had several people tell me how much they appreciate my honesty about my “journey,” and sadly I know I’m not alone in what I’ve dealt with. So, if my story helps someone else then it’s worth the anxiety I’m feeling about this post.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I don’t know if sharing any of this will help anyone but if there’s someone reading this who can relate and/or is still struggling, all I can say is this – I’m not sure you ever fully get over what happened, but it’s important to find what helps you heal and move forward. I found part of my healing through fitness and Barry’s helped me discover that piece of myself. Equally important is to remember that it takes time. But it does get better. Slowly.