Most of my articles I write in the heat of the moment, and because of that they generally do not see the light of day. Writing is a way for me to get things off my chest, and the things going on right now are some of the hardest obstacles and situations that I have ever faced. I have had two horrible Opens seasons, and to top it off, my hero’s health is deteriorating. Of the people that I always want to make proud, the first is my grandmother.
Make my grandma proud
My grandmother was extremely successful in banking and paved the way for other women to move forward into executive positions. She moved up into leadership in banking when it was unheard of for a woman to be in any leadership position.
My grandmother has always been there for me. There was never a time in my life where I could not pick up the phone and call her, and to this day there still is not a time she will not answer. She has even learned how to text in order to communicate with me. She has always been the one person in my life to consistently ask if I am happy with what I am doing and she has always encouraged me in whatever I am doing.
Right now, my grandmother is battling leukemia and it is starting to take its toll. Whether my grandmother will admit it or not, I’ve watched her health deteriorate with my own eyes the last few years, and during that time, she’s done nothing but tell me how good she feels and how much she’s thankful for everything she has. I have never met someone who can be as positive as she has in situations where it would be okay for her not to be positive. I hope that one day I can carry myself and handle myself like her.
I have never imagined not having my grandmother around to see me succeed in life or get married. And as the days tick on and I’ve failed repeatedly in the Opens, the thought of her not being around has started to weigh heavily on me. If there is anyone I want to be there when fishing does go right, it is my grandmother. I cannot imagine qualifying for the Elites or winning my first Bassmaster event and her not being there or being on the other end of the phone to congratulate me. It may sound crazy, but my biggest motivation going into 2015 is my grandmother and making her proud.
So grandma, if you do get a chance to read this, know there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about you. And please know how much you inspire me to keep going even when there is nothing more I would want to do than stop and hide from the public. When times are tough I think of you and pushing forward is easier. I am thankful for everything you have ever done for me and the example you have set for my life.
Changes for 2015
Roughly a year from now, I will know if I have qualified for the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series. I will be on the road headed home from the Southern Open at Lake Seminole in Georgia in one of two situations. What do I envision? My phone blowing up as I motor my rig back to Texas in preparation of a celebratory party at Texas Motor Speedway with my family and friends. That’s my dream scenario, qualifying for the Elites days before the November NASCAR race in Texas so I can go back to Texas and have a true Texas-sized “No Limits” celebration. Or I could be spending a year from today deciding if this is what I need to be doing in life. Either way, 2015 is a pivotal year for my future.
Obviously, changes are ahead if I am going to make 2015 a successful season. I am fishing all three Bassmaster Opens Divisions. That means my season will start at Lake Tohopekaliga (Florida) in January, then Ross Barnett Reservoir (Mississippi) in March, Alabama River in April, James River (Virginia) in July, Oneida Lake (New York) in August, Fort Gibson Lake (Oklahoma) and Lake Erie (Ohio) in September, and Table Rock Lake (Missouri) and Lake Seminole (Georgia) to complete the season in October.
Fishing all three divisions is the first step in making changes. Over the last two seasons, I made being at the Elite events (with my boyfriend Chris Zaldain) a priority, and my own season, though a priority, was not put first. This season, my entire focus will be on the Opens, and when I have the money and ability to be at the Elite events, I will make a way but I will not stress myself out to be there.
Part of giving my all in 2015 started a few weeks back. Steve Harvey has a new book out, Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, and in it he says, “You hit a point where you’re simply sick & tired of being sick & tired. And that’s the pivotal moment when you’re primed to make a meaningful change.”
I hit that point Steve is referring to. In 2014 I was trying to do so much more than just on the water, but my personal life was in shambles. When you are not performing on the water, the money is not flowing. And to make the situation sting even more, we were away from my family pretty much February through September. I am close with my family, and being away from my five nieces, two nephews, two sisters, two brothers and parents almost an entire year took its toll. I was frustrated, stressed and did not have a healthy outlet for that negative energy. But when you hit rock bottom, you are ready for significant changes, and that is exactly what has happened.
Recently, I promised myself that I would be in the absolute best shape of my life in 2015. That’s started with me getting myself in the gym and cooking meals at home, and not just any meals but meals that are meaningful to my health. Not diet meals, but meals that are full of energy.
It has also led to me dumping my A.D.D. medications. Over the last two months, I have rid myself of the chemicals my meds were pushing through my body, and to be honest, I have never felt better. For the first time in many years, I feel like my mind is firing on all cylinders and things are processing clearer than they have since first stepping to the front boat deck three years ago. It’s amazing how getting my frustrations out in a gym and changing what goes into my body can change the entire game.
Another change is making my season a team effort and not just a “Trait” effort. I will not be successful in fishing unless I let the people around me help. I have always wanted to do everything on my own, but that’s not how successful people work. Truth is, successful people surround themselves with positive people and allow those people to step up and help when needed. So 2015 is going to be a team effort. If I do succeed, it won’t be from my efforts alone but due to the people around me as well.
Rock bottom this past season was painful, but it is a necessary position to bring your life full circle. There are many regrets from last season, on and off the water, but I am ready to step up and do what is needed to be the fisherman and person all the people around me are cheering me on to be. To those who support me, this is my public promise I will not “mickey mouse” my way through 2015. Starting right now, I am giving my all to 2015 and taking responsibility for how my season plays out.