There is a well known saying that “when one door closes, another opens” and for Dawn Archer, this was far beyond a career opportunity. Working as a graphic designer in Atlanta, Georgia, Dawn’s quest to obtain employment was overshadowed by a battle with depression. For Dawn, that day had come when everything she knew to be right in her life suddenly surfaced as wrong. For some of us, this time is the time when we may take a look at our lives and analyze different aspects of our existence to suddenly become aware of the fact that we are not happy; we are uncomfortable. But what happens when we become comfortable with our current state? We stop doing things for ourselves and fall into a place that neither moves forward nor backwards; we become stuck. Dawn Archer was stuck.
Unhappy with her career and weight, Dawn made a decision that is often easier said than done. She took control of her life and became comfortable with being uncomfortable. Dawn, now popularly known as estellearcher took the saying “health is wealth” to heart by using her control over her health as an armour against depression.Diving head-first into a healthy addiction, working out regularly and nourishing her body with a healthy diet, her new found control brought about peace and through fitness, Estelle found hope.
“It was challenging at times because it was expensive, but not enough to make me want to stop”
With a new outlook on her own life, Estelle, like the speaker in Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, took a leap of faith. A risk as most would call it was what Estelle took in order to help others. Quitting her job and moving back to her hometown of Richmond, VA with no certainty of what the future held, Estelle’s newfound purpose to share her strength with others outweighed any sense of doubt. Her drive and determination would not go unnoticed. With her goal in mind, she began teaching fitness classes to a small group of friends and family in a parking lot in an effort to guide others in the same positive direction as herself but little did she know that a 4-person fitness group would expand to a national tour, spreading fitness, hope and confidence to others across the United States of America.
A year after she began her journey, Estelle began her #SWEATTOUR2014. Putting her belongings in storage and using her savings, plus donations to teach fitness classes in every state in the U.S, Estelle took a leap of faith once again. “It was challenging at times because it was expensive, but not enough to make me want to stop” she says. Through each step, she handled the challenges with ease and fell in love with the process instead of focusing on the obstacles.
From each experience comes growth and through it all Estelle’s sense of body image has matured and developed exponentially. “At first, I saw beauty as visual. But now, I understand that it starts inside.” By focusing on her inner confidence and inner beauty, her outside image began to develop the same way. “The person I used to be and the person I want to become inspires me to keep going,” she says. Instead of focusing her fitness journey on gaining a six-pack or looking a certain way, Estelle just focuses on living a healthy life. “Do not focus on the money,” she explains “focus on helping people and doing the right thing. You lose your blessing when you do things out of greed. Be consistent and live for you.”
CO AUTHOR: PASCALINE EZOUAH
Images courtesy Dawn Estelle Archer
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