Motivations and inspirations is what Gloria is about today. She is a Personal Fitness Trainer, A Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Competitor, Model and recently an Author. Although not exactly a “Rag to Riches” story about what and who she is now from where she was at the start of her life are very different…..
“If you think the past makes you who you are and where you can go in life, it’s not always the case. Sometimes a trying and dark past can make you stronger! You can then use that energy to push you forward to the challenges you face today, using your strength to catapult you to success!!”
My Mother brought me (the youngest of four) with my siblings from Vancouver to Calgary, trying to escape a broken, abusive marriage in the late sixties. Hitchhiking with four children through the Rockies, staying in hostels, gas stations and trucks to arriving in Calgary to live in Inglewood. Our names were unofficially changed to our second names to make it difficult for my Father to find us. We lived in a hotel in Inglewood called The National. It was a gritty neighborhood! The lobby of the hotel smelled of stale cigarettes and beer. The neighbors of our apartment were the patrons of the tavern. Our first Christmas came out of a Salvation Army box. My Father did eventually catch up with us and split the family and through a vicious custody war, my Mother then toted me alone with her across the prairies. To find ourselves living short stints in various western cities, a local Indian reserve, she and I ended up in a Calgary SW district (which was also gritty) and a few years later before I was reunited with my other siblings and my Father. My Mother left again, this time on her own. Through some more of the tribulations growing up of being put into homes, being displaced, and a trying home life resembling something out of a blockbuster seedy movie without a happy ending and unspeakable incidences, life was no fairy tale. Then my Father left us. He remarried and did not allow us to come with him. I was out on my own before High School was over. Living on top of a local butcher/deli shop, I was small and weighed less than 100lbs. I was a good student and obtained my Diploma with a Business Education Scholarship through sheer determination. Although I didn’t go back to school right away I took various courses throughout the years. Always maintaining a decent job at any given time, I also moved around from Alberta to Ontario for a short time. Since then I have works at the same club (28 years) and was certified as a Personal Trainer in 2003.
It was 23 years later from when my Mother left before I saw her again. Upon seeing her it was as s if my Mother looked right through me and I felt immediate loneliness and abandonment all over again. I now realize that she was proud, she was looking at me in awe. She passed away shortly after that (2009), like she had waited to see her children one more time before she left. The last time I saw her I kissed her on the lips and told her I loved her. Most people don’t get to do that. I am thankful through all of the struggles of her life, and my life, that I got to do that.
Photos by Lee Ellis.