Member Spotlight: Brooke Meadows
Written by Jake Coleman
My brother Johnathan- my best friend in the world- was born with a connective tissue disorder that severely affected his eyesight and blood cells. Though he wasn’t expected to live beyond 18, he well exceeded that and was able to go to college, but by Father’s Day 2014, his condition became much worse. He went in for a blood check, but over the weekend his aorta dissected, he had an aneurism and died. He lived with a great deal of pain daily (he’d already had four heart surgeries, and his sight had gone bad), so we were happy he didn’t have to suffer- but it still really sucked. (He is the meaning of the tattoo on my hand.)
Johnathan was the youngest of three brothers, and after he died, I looked for ways to connect with the other two. My oldest brother is a doctor, and as a social work major, I connected with him through what I want to do with my life. The middle brother, Jordan is a CrossFit athlete that made regionals as part of a team last year. I started talking to him about CrossFit and made it my new year’s resolution for 2016 to join a gym.
Before falling in love, I hated it for the first three months. I’ve always been athletic, playing soccer, basketball and danced growing up, and coming in to something new where I felt like I wasn’t good, people didn’t believe in me and I didn’t believe in myself was really hard. I hated being the only one with a technique bar, not being able to do a pushup or lift anything heavy. I would struggle sometimes watching someone else in the gym and thinking that I should be able to do what he or she is doing. I felt so much less than everyone else, and on top of that, I didn’t feel Jordan was very reaffirming. Still, I was determined to make it work. Growing up, my dad was a body builder and used to train Ms. Louisiana, and we were raised that way: to be disciplined and not give up.
It was a process, but after those three months, I had to figure out if I’m doing this for me, for Jordan or to impress Evan and Katelyn, which is something I struggled with at the start. If Evan looked at me wrong, I would lose it and think I couldn’t come back.
I had to change my mindset, and coach Larry was a big part of that. One night, he was helping me with a fault in my squat, and I just remember crying because, before that, I felt CrossFit was awful and not for me. He told me he believed in me and that it’s a marathon not a sprint. That was the first time I’d heard that. His affirmations stuck with me even when I went back home for the summer.
I had to realize, first, if I want this to be my CrossFit family, I shouldn’t have to try and impress anyone and to understand the gym has to accept me for who I am, and I have to accept it and its people for who they are. Second, I had to realize I’m not a Games athlete, that I care more about hearing someone’s testimony and about their life than waking up at 5am, working out, going to school and going back to workout. I want to be a great athlete, but I’m not there yet. It’s helped me to try and learn to be content where I am and to invest in other people who want to push themselves and be better.
My five- year goals are to have two competitions under my belt and to be a coach. I really want to help invest in people and be a consistent presence in someone’s gym, like Larry is here. But that’s something else he helped me see: I can’t help and invest in other people if I don’t invest in myself first.