As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea on February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I went from being some random foreign girl to taking on labels I never imagined – university professor, film extra, professional boxer, reality TV star, CEO of my own girls-only fitness company (Flipside Fitness), CEO of my own boxing club (Hulk's Club, formerly known as Hulk's Boxing), and now I'm launching my 3rd business -- Empowered Clubhouse.


After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again. This time it was for the Philippines. That's where I am now, living in the land of the happy people. The struggles are real and the struggles are many but I'm living life on my terms, I'm calling the shots, and I'm doing what I love. Life is an amazing adventure and this is my story of yesterday.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Trying to Help... Monday, December 11

There are definitely those moments in life when you realize just how blessed you are to have had the opportunities you've had, the people in your life and the life you've figured out for yourself via the influences of both the opportunities and people you've experienced.

Today was one of those days for me.

I really try not to think of any "what ifs" when thinking about the past but today I was all about them.  

What if I hadn't been born to the parents I had?
What if I hadn't grown up in a religious home?
What if I had got engaged to my first boyfriend?
And the biggest one of all, for me, what if I hadn't left Korea?!

As much as I want to debate and ponder such possible "what ifs" in my life, I think I would have turned out alright, regardless, with the exception of not leaving Korea that is.  That would have killed me.

But today I walked among a massive crowd of individuals whose life didn't turn out quite as positive as mine.  They're all under court order to live there, at the drug rehab and treatment centre.  I don't doubt that they ponder the "what ifs" in their life.  Regardless, they're on the road to recovery and I'm happy for them.  Many don't have the chance or opportunity to recover.  So many get so lost and so many die.  I for one have never tried a drug in my life.  My parents installed a fear in me with regards to it.  They made it out that even a simple cigarette could open the gateway to drugs, a life of perpetual downward spiralling, a life of having crack babies to support your crack addition.  Sounds intense and extreme, I know.  Try being a 12 year old kid being told that.

Everyone at the centre was very pleasant to us, both staff and patients, and I was quite intrigued when they asked us if we wanted a tour.  It was a big "hell yes" from me.  I was even more intrigued when they asked us if we wanted to meet one of the youngest female patients.  She was a 15 year old girl who approached me with a little skip in her step and a big smile on her face.  She wore a white t-shirt and pink shorts like the rest of the female patients.  She looked cute, like a little child, and she was a child but with a star tattoo on her neck and a name tattooed on her arm, she didn't live like a child.  Of course there was also the fact that she was there, living at the rehab centre.  As young as she was, her drug addiction had already become such a problem that the court had ordered her to seek help.  "How is that even possible?" I asked myself.  How does a 15 year old even get money to buy drugs let alone know how to buy them?!  Questions upon questions flooded my head, all of which I seriously didn't want to answer because it just made me sad to think about it.  She's only 15 but she has clearly lived a life that is well beyond her years.  When I was her age I think I was still playing with Barbies.

The reason why I went there today, why we Empowered went there, was to meet with the staff and discuss how we can help out.  The initial idea was to do a pro-bono one time bootcamp for the female patients but then the rehab centre noted that they wanted their female staff to also participate in it.  I was very optimistic to meet and talk with them but in meeting some of their patients and staff, and in hearing their stories, I am all that more eager to help them.  If money wasn't an issue and I didn't have bills to pay, I'd make creating an empowered physical training program from them my top priority.  I'd be there every day.  They're changing lives, they're helping people, but with over 600 patients, it's hard to manage it and really make an impact.  I get it.  I totally get it.  

I actually know someone who just recently was released from this rehab centre.  He lived here for a year and for that year his family and friends weren't allowed to visit him.  I thought about that when I was there today, the notion that I was probably one of the few from "the outside" that these patients would ever interact with.  You could feel it too, their curiosity about us.  Many of them peered into the office during our meeting while others stopped to say hi to us or watch us as we walked throughout the facility.  We got to sit in on a women's abuse seminar and when we walked in, the entire crowd present whipped their heads around to look at us and then they all started chattering away.  We were but a rare occasion visitor.

The reason why I went there today, why we Empowered went there, was to meet with the staff and discuss how we can help out.  The initial idea was to do a pro-bono one time bootcamp for the female patients but then the rehab centre noted that they wanted their female staff to also participate in it.  I was very optimistic to meet and talk with them but in meeting some of their patients and staff, and in hearing their stories, I am all that more eager to help them.  If money wasn't an issue and I didn't have bills to pay, I'd make creating an empowered physical training program from them my top priority.  I'd be there every day.  They're changing lives, they're helping people, but with over 600 patients, it's hard to manage it and really make an impact.  I get it.  I totally get it.  What they want from us though isn't realistic for us to take on though.  They want a continual program that's at least once, hopefully twice, a week.  With juggling my own training, bootcamp coaching, and the startup of Empowered, I really can't designate two afternoons a week.  Today I only went there for a meeting but it meant I had to leave my home around 12pm and I didn't get back until shortly after 7pm.  To try to cut down on my traveling expenses, I walked about 4kms to meet up with my business partner, then we drove to my friend's house who works for the centre.  She then drove us to the centre.  

Now my goal is to figure this out.  I do want to help but I have to make sure that it fits what they're looking for and fits not only my budget but my tight schedule.  

The struggle is real.

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