When I was a sophomore in college, I (like most 19-year-olds) was overwhelmed with schoolwork, my job, my social life, and, thanks to social media, the constant feeling that I wasn't doing as well as other people my age.
I vividly remember calling my mother and telling her that I wanted to drop out of school. She listened intently, acknowledging my feelings and offering the empathy that only a mother can give. When I was done with my long list of reasons to drop out, she told me something that changed my life.
"I know you're having a tough time right now, but that piece of paper ensures that you will never have to depend on someone to take care of you. It means you will never be 'stuck' somewhere. That degree means that you can support yourself and say goodbye to anyone or anything whenever you need to."
Thanks to her and that conversation we had, my independence is the thing I am most proud of. I am strong enough, both physically and mentally, to take care of myself and do whatever I need to do. No friend, boss or spouse can control me, because I have what it takes to pack my bags and start again. To me, this is the ultimate strength.
When I started Fit By Gab, I knew I wanted to empower women in the same way: by proving to them that they were strong enough to do anything. Through fitness, I work each and every day to give women the physical and mental strength they need to take care of themselves and change any situation, no matter how difficult.
If you've ever trained with me, you know how incredible it feels to smash a fitness goal, break a personal record or accomplish an exercise that once seemed impossible. It feels strong. It feels empowering.
Imagine how it must feel to finally leave an abusive relationship, break a cycle of dependency, or finally get your child away from an abuser.
That is truly the very definition of strong and empowering.
There are so many women out there who are in need of assistance to get out of violent, abusive, dependent relationships. Many of these women have no financial way of removing themselves from the situation they're in, have children that they need to care for, and are often too scared or otherwise unable to ask for help from friends or family members.
To me, independence is the ultimate strength, so I want to work with an organization that provides independence to those who are ready to break the cycle of abuse.
Long Island Against Domestic Violence is a source of empowerment for local victims of domestic abuse. LIADV provides shelter, vocational training, child care and legal assistance to women (and men) who have been stuck in a cycle of violence and dependency.
We are proud to help women find their voice and their inner fighter, and we hope you will assist us in giving back to this wonderful organization.
Visit www.lidav.org to learn more.