My Journey

It all began sometime in April 1985… Love was in air, and it was making Big Jime Vincenzo a lil randy. Little did the innocent Vondelle know what was in store for her that fateful night… 9 months later, came the greatest gift one could ask for – ME! But seriously, let me tell entertain you with my journey...


I was a fairly active kid – soccer, baseball, football, not to mention all the bad guys and ninjas I killed in the forests behind my house (I was an imaginative little weirdo lol). Life for me as a fit kid changed when I started being babysat by a loving Italian family after school, somewhere around grade 3. Every single day after school I would be sat at a large table, in an even bigger room, with tiled floors and fake plants surrounding me. Told to “mangiare, mangiare!” (and when a cute little old Italian lady tells you to “eat”, you fucken EAT!). Loaf after loaf of fresh buttered bread, always consumed with at least 1-2 full-sized dinner plates of homemade pasta covered in homemade sauce. I’d then be sent home, to a mother unknowing of the food I had just mangiare’d. Again I was served a large eastern European-style meal (this was slightly less carb dense and contained more protein and vegetables at least). In no time, gone were the days of my cute adolescent 6-pack, instead now I carried around a pair of not-so cute little boy boobs, love handles that I did not love, and stretch marks on my legs and ass... Confidence dropped, social anxiety rose, and I stayed that way for many years.

 

I was just a kid; I wasn't truly affected by this change until I got to high school. For the first two years it wasn’t the greatest of experiences, however it wasn’t all bad either, but either way I’d greatly prefer to not have larger breasts than the girls in my classes. It wasn’t until the summer before grade 10 that my desire for change began to outweigh my distaste for physical exertion and “healthy” food. It was then when I first was introduced to the world of “Ultimate Fighting”. As a pudgy kid, ok, as a fat little bastard, I had right then decided things were going to change, and I was going to become an ULTIMATE FIGHTER… Cue the grade 11 wrestling team… I sucked. Got my ass handed to be every single Friday. I got to miss class every Friday, but was the humiliation worth it? No, not really haha, but I was not giving up. The following summer I did what I thought to be the best approach – I began doing fasted cardio every weekday morning for 1-2 hours, eating only 100g of carbohydrates a day, and started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It definitely worked. I went from 185lbs with a nice rack, down to 155lbs with abs in 2 months; I returned in grade 12 to place 6th in the region for our wrestling team.

 
 
 
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The young, motivated and driven mma fighter...

March 24, 2007, I entered the cage for the first time as a professional fighter at a measly 145lbs. It took me 2 minutes and 10 seconds to end that fight via TKO, and so my reign began. Running through my first 8 fights only acquiring a single loss at the results of shady judging. I was a beast (I was still disgustingly small, but fuck it I was a BEAST damn it). My first big fight came against a UFC veteran, and BJJ Black Belt World Champion - Alberto Crane. Having taken his first 2 losses in his MMA career in the UFC, I was scheduled to be his stepping stone to bring about his return to the UFC arena - I didn't chose to adhere to that idea. After that victory I signed a multi-fight contract with an organization that was the biggest promotion in Canada at the time. My first fight for them was an all out fan pleasing war, to which my hand was raised at the end.

My next fight however, was my first legit loss - it was my own doing, a lack of nutritional knowledge led myself into the fight severely dehydrated after a big weight cut, and experiencing intense stomach discomfort. That first lost affected me in many ways, it changed who I was, or who I thought I was anyway. I started to become lost, not knowing where my place was anymore, or what I was meant to be. I took an entire year off from fighting...


The aging, lost and depressed mma fighter...

For the first time ever in my fight career I had developed fear. It was a fear I could not pin point. It was partially a fear of failure, but at the same time a fear of success. I began self-sabotaging my fight career - blowing off training, binge eating during weight cuts, and just being lazy about the whole sport in general. I was giving myself a reason should I lose. With next to no training, I continued to fight professionally as I felt like I had no identity outside of being a fighter. Luckily my sheer talent and skill brought me 2 victories out of my next 3 fights. I was still lost however, and ended up falling into a dark place. For 2 years I lost all contact with my coaches and training partners. These guys were once like my family. I had isolated myself, closed myself off to everyone, and just sank deeper and deeper. At my lowest, I found myself contemplating life a few times, with almost no sense of self-worth, I brought myself back to the fight game - the only time I felt like I was worth something. It wasn't the same anymore though, I had no passion for it, and was only there because I felt I had no other options.

I had been personal training for years now, and had long given up any conditioning based training for quite some time, instead I was mainly a powerbuilder (training methodology combining principals of powerlifting with that of bodybuilding). With this drastic change in training also came a big change in my physique. I was now walking around at 220lbs, and fighting at 185lbs and 205lbs. in the end, I fought 3 very long, very hard, fights with 3 very talented fighters. The warrior spirit in me never died, I fought without a gas tank in those 3 battles, and was never put down, only took losses by way of decision. Finally, I gave up trying to find myself in the cage, and started my journey towards better mental health and self love.

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the entertainer and the model, still lost and depressed though...

Being one stubborn ass mother fucker, I pretty much needed to hit rock bottom before I'd ask for help. Cue rock bottom haha (unfortunately I still had to hit rock bottom a couple more times, but this was the first lol)... Some mild substance abuse, and those fleeting moments of contemplating life got a little more serious. Finally I was ready to seek out and accept help. Group counseling for people with anxiety and depression is where I ended up, knowing full-well I'd just lie in a one-on-one session I figured this would be a better route. There I was introduced to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Exposure Therapy. Both of which made a massive impact on my life. Since losing myself, and what I thought my meaning or purpose was, my confidence and self-worth was at it's lowest. Most people find this next part both confusing yet humourous, but the exposure therapy led me try out an amateur stripping night as a way to overcome my social/performance anxiety, as well as being a useful tool to rebuild my confidence and self-worth. Although it was a short-lived career as a Male Entertainer haha, it was definitely a positive experience that helped shape me into the confident mother fucker I am today (gave me some great stories for the grand kids down the road too lol). The entertaining opened doors into various forms of modeling - physique, fashion, lifestyle - which only continued the growth of my confidence and self-worth... Kinda.

While I did begin moving in the right direction, somewhere along the line I stopped progressing forward and instead started making more lateral moves in life. Eventually even taking a few steps backward here and there. And so here we are, the journey continues... Never content to remain still, always searching to better myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My current battle is in my desire to greatly reduce SELF INTEREST in exchange for a more powerful sense of SELFLESSNESS. Not an easy task considering 10's of thousands of years through the evolution of our specie our basic instinct and drive to survive has been concerned merely with self interest...


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