Haley McClure | @haley.mariefit
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be believe in yourself”
While growing up I felt I was always compared to others… the same way many of you probably feel today. I hope that through my story you can learn to believe in all the amazing things God has put you on this earth to do. But know this… being yourself is the most beautiful thing there is.
Growing up I really struggled in school. In 2nd grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia. For anyone who is not familiar with dyslexia…it is a reading disorder, characterized by trouble with reading despite normal intelligence. Dyslexia doesn’t mean you are dumb, but that’s how I felt. Kids laughed at me in class when I had to read out loud because I would mispronounce words, teachers would down grade me for not doing the reading assignments, even though I was. When I read, it just didn’t make sense.
I felt stupid at school and at home…
Both of my sisters are academically smart. They had 4.0’s in high school, scored amazingly on their ACTs and received huge college scholarships. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep asking God why he gave me such a stupid brain, and why it’s so hard for me to learn and understand simple material.
While I didn’t want everyone to know about my dyslexia obviously my teachers were aware. When I was struggling in a high school class, going in to get help never seemed to improve my grades. My parents met several times with my teachers to seek help.
In my junior year…the most important year for your GPA as this is the last full year colleges look at during the application process… I remember a teacher telling my parents that “college just isn’t for Haley, maybe she should consider an alternative.”
I was really discouraged. If your teacher, doesn’t believe in you, and he doesn’t believe college is for you, how was I supposed to believe in myself? We switched teachers and now I had someone who understood my situation. I was able to raise my grade, keep-up my GPA and ultimately be accepted into every college I applied to.
Even though I was accepted into college, my dyslexia didn’t disappear.
The further I worked on my college studies, the harder it became. At the time I was majoring in Integrative Physiology, which is a pre-med degree at the University of Colorado Boulder.
I had several calculus, chemistry, and physics classes, which for most people are challenging, but doable. For someone who has dyslexia, one small brain mistake and you mess up the entire assignment or exam.
For most of my classes I was going to the professors to gain help, I hired a tutor and I spent hours studying … only to continue to fail.
At this point I didn’t have one ounce of belief in myself. I was reliving what my high school English teacher said “Haley is not smart enough for college.”
This was the lowest point in my life… failing my college classes, I had a verbally abusive boyfriend, and I was gaining weight.
Nothing seemed to go right. I felt dumb, I had my boyfriend constantly telling me I was dumb, and I hated the way I looked in the mirror. I was calling my mom daily sobbing, telling her I wanted to quit college. I told her my teacher was right, I am not smart enough for college. I told her “I should stop wasting the money and quit.” She begged me not to, I had come too far to just give up. But I honestly I didn’t feel like there was any other option.
My mom told me to at least pray about it for the next week, and that she and my dad would support whatever I decided.
This was about the time I started getting into health and fitness; it was helping relieve my stress from school, and my crazy boyfriend. He was so controlling, he never allowed me go anywhere without his permission or without him. The gym was one of the few places I was allowed to go, without a fight.
Not only was the gym motivating me because my appearance was changing but it was motivating me in everything else in life. I now had the courage to break up with my boyfriend. I knew I deserved better. This was the first time I felt like I had a purpose in life…I had found my calling.
I knew this is what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to help people get healthy. I called my mom and told her I wanted to finish school. I changed my major to Communications and Public Health because CU didn’t offer an exercise science program. I knew this degree would nicely complement health and fitness. This was the first time in my life I truly believed in myself!
After switching my major I still needed 46 credits to finish. I knew it would be hard but I wanted to graduate with all my friends, which meant I had 46 credits to finish in one year!
The average student takes 12-15 credits per semester, so I was going to be busy. In the Fall I took 19 credits, 18 credits in the spring semester, and 9 credits in the summer. I was able to “walk the stage” that May with all my friends, and officially graduate that summer.
Right after I graduated, I went on to attain my personal training, and nutrition certifications. I knew I wanted to help people see their true beauty. Just because someone isn’t ‘stick thin’ doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.
Just like when I was in school, my dyslexia didn’t mean I was stupid, it just meant I had to work a harder in certain areas. I believe all the struggles in school helped shape me into the trainer I am today.
You can have beauty in so many different ways. There is not a chart for what makes you beautiful. What makes you beautiful is believing in yourself and staying true to whom you are. My goal is to help every person start believing in him or herself when they are young.
I know what it’s like to give-up on yourself and feel as if you have dug a hole so deep it’s probably just easier to just stay there. But, where there is no struggle there is no strength.
Not only do I have my college diploma and multiple fitness certifications, I have also won bodybuilding competitions, and I am currently planning my dream wedding. My dyslexia has taught me that believing in yourself truly brings out your beauty.
My hope for you… that I can inspire you to greatness and help you to discover the beauty you have been blessed with.