By Alyssa Exposito, Lead Trainer at NYSC
I never ran by myself, until that hot and humid typical Miami afternoon. My day started out like any other day, except it ended when I became a roadblock for a black F-450 truck whose driver never saw me.
There are moments in your life that are the end of life as you knew it. Some are planned events: graduating from college, marrying the love of your life, having your first child, or the first day at your dream job. Simultaneously, these moments are both an end to what you've known, and a beginning of something new. Then there are those moments that aren't so carefully planned and hit us without warning: the death of a loved one, getting diagnosed with a disease, losing your dream job. I hope you've had both, because in these moments lies the opportunity for your growth. You owe it to yourself to do just that: surprise yourself with your capabilities.
"There are moments in your life that are the end of life as you knew it."
I can't tell you the amount of times I've been told, "You're just fearless." I begin to wonder if they even know who I am to make such a bold statement — but when I think back on it, the very thing that makes me seem "fearless" is not the absence of fear; it's the recognition of it and being bold in my pursuits, anyway. "Fear" has fueled me more often times than not. In fact, it has lead me to many "end of life as I knew it" moments.
"I can't tell you the amount of times I've been told, "You're just fearless." I begin to wonder if they even know who I am to make such a bold statement..."
May 7, 2007 was my big "end of life as I knew it" moment. At 16, after being struck by a truck while running, I was left eerily close to the decision of a possible amputation, underwent 3 surgeries, a blood transfusion, was immobilized for 2 months, and went through endless hours of therapy just to learn how to walk again. This isn't a pity party. I am not seeking for people to feel bad for me, and I certainly am not boasting my "courage" and "strength," because I was both terrified and weak. I only hope that by sharing a part of my story I can inspire — because in some respect, we all have these moments. While it may not be similar to mine, it too has affected your life in the same way. The end of life as you knew it.
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My accident showed my strength to heal, it gave me the opportunity to rebuild, and a lesson on acceptance. I grew an acceptance to change, pain, weakness, and ultimately, (perhaps the hardest) acceptance of my vulnerability. I can't hide what happened to me, and my scar is the biggest attribute to that, but I wouldn't change it. I have accepted my physical "flaw." Am I self-conscious at times? Naturally. However, I won't conceal it to avoid that feeling.
"My accident showed my strength to heal, it gave me the opportunity to rebuild, and a lesson on acceptance."
I faced a very harsh truth: Fighting my reality wouldn't change the outcome. Things change instantly and permanently. Mederma only works for scars not worth concealing.
So here is where my strength and boldness lies, it's in my ability to show just how easy it is to hurt, but not be afraid of being so.
I open myself up because I firmly believe in human potential. It surrounds us everyday. If we seek to become more mindful, more self-compassionate, and more aware, we can truly astonish ourselves. Our strength is not found in lacking disappointment or failure, but rather how we can use these for our own benefit. May, 7, 2007, my "end of life as I knew it" moment, became the best thing that has ever happened to me. I was blessed with much more than whatever was taken away.
Upon moving to New York City, I didn't know where my life would turn or where it would take me. The universe presented me with another (happy) accident, that again reinforced my trust in why the first one happened in the first place. I’ve stumbled upon something I'm incredibly passionate about and so blessed to do. From gym member to now personal trainer and fitness instructor, it has been life altering. This has created a space for me to show others where my boldness lies, and ultimately, where theirs does.
"I stand before my clients and my students with the humility that I am learning right beside them."
I stand before my clients and my students with the humility that I am learning right beside them. They strengthen me, motivate me, and challenge me to keep living boldly. My daily reminder: The bold don't dress uniformly. Sometimes they disguise themselves and appear to one differently than the other. Often times being bold is nothing more than a tear of promise streaming down your face, into your mouth, uttering the words "I'm here. I can. I will."
As a Miami native (yes, Cuban), Alyssa Exposito is packed with sweet and sass. Her competitive spirit fueled her passion for being physically active. With energy to burn, Alyssa always felt the need to compensate for her small stature and frame. In doing so, she traded in the violin to run competitively in high school and continued to compete at the University of Miami. After a traumatic injury, Alyssa put down her running shoes (for a bit) and harnessed her energy and passion for physical fitness to injury prevention and treatment. Completing her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic training at the University of Miami, she gained a new appreciation for the body’s ability to recover/heal and its capability for movement.
A seeker of knowledge, Alyssa moved to New York to continue her graduate education in the field of exercise physiology at Teachers College Columbia University. Here is where her love of fitness regained its fire, and she became a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor at both Uplift Studios and NYSC. Alyssa also is a trainer for The North Face Mountain Athletics, merging free fitness and community building. Fusing her athletic training background and love of strength and conditioning, her training style allows clients to become aware of their bodies, and gain control of their movements, while increasing strength and mobility. Viewing herself as an educator above all things, she is returning to Teachers College Columbia University for a Doctorate of Education in Health Education. A life enthusiast, adventure seeker, and an advocate of mindfulness, Alyssa wants to inspire her clients to live with grit and grace.