Beauty from our ashes | The Power of our Pain with guest: Kimberley Baliutavicius
Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Hey Heart 143 Ep. 2 - Beauty from our ashes | The Power of our Pain
Guest: Kimberley Baliutavicius
This episode is dedicated to our friend Brittani Idom (1988-2007), she passed away on July 6, 2007. She was a force to be reckoned with. She was a dreamer who wanted to accomplish so much in life. She wished to be a director and an architect, among many other dreams. Her name was the first story to pop up in our interview.
Bio: Kimberley Baliutavicius is the co-owner of Crowned Fitness, a company thatʼs mission statement is “To help people achieve physical, spiritual, and emotional wholeness through fitness and nutrition.” Kimberley also uses her gifts and talents as a dancer and choreographer to create and perform routines on national and international bodybuilding competitions that bring awareness to mental health.
Kimberley says “Itʼs extremely difficult to put in words what itʼs like to suffer from mental illness. And for many years, she said “I was afraid to speak up about my eating
disorder and chronic depression, much less show it on stage for a whole audience to see. But as a performer and survivor, I felt that it was necessary for me to use my creativity and the stage as my platform to Break my own Silence.” Kimberley is an advocate for the #BreakTheSilence movement and promotes self-love and self- acceptance as the first step toward living your best life.
My heart was smiling the entire time listening to Kimberley's story, because her story is so motivating. Her breakthroughs have all taken place in some of the darkest moments. Like so many facing every day battles, it’s amazing how much we all believe our pain is "lesser than." We compare our pain to that of others and think but they have it worse.
We're all learning similar lessons through different books. It's important to love our heart enough to not diminish our own pain.
Singer/Songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote, "There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in." I believe this goes for our hearts. It's through the darkest times that we shine and let that light in.
Kimberley didn’t realize how powerful her PAIN was until she started stepping into her purpose.
There was negative space, and a the tug of war inside her. She used that pain to express herself through movement, music and creating art. She said if she can use that power to affect people in a positive way then she’s winning.
Kimberley spoke about a time where she understood why she felt completely out of control and why you’re doing the things you’re doing. She said, “I got to a place where I stopped trying to be somebody else, I didn’t realize that I really just didn’t accept myself.”
Hitting rock bottom:
I would say one of the first times I hit rock bottom was probably when I was in college, and actually you already know this story. It was when our close friend Brittani Idom passed away. That’s when I realized how broken I was. I was experiencing a lot of substance abuse at the time. I was getting into the college scene. After she passed away I fell down a pretty dark hole of depression, and it was really hard for me. I got into drugs and alcohol, and although I was pursuing my dreams in school, getting my BA in dance and theater, it was definitely one of those moments where I didn’t want to be here anymore.
I didn’t understand why someone so amazing was taken from us so quickly and someone like me who I felt like a total mess up was still here. Screwing up. That was one of the first times I had to look at myself and say, what are you doing? Why were you spared?
I actually had the opportunity because I was in school for art, to create movement and choreography and even monologues and different things based on that trauma. I didn’t realize how deep it was prior to the death of the my best friend. There was also the rejection and abandonment I had as a little girl.
I hit rock bottom in front of everyone in class. I was in my modern dance class and we had to share what our piece was about. I never had a hard time being vocal about what’s going on with me but to create something so near and dear to my heart that was so emotional and so powerful that made other people weep.
I realized that, that was my superpower. My pain was my power. My performance about my pain, and vocalizing it after make me feel invincible and connected to the world, where as before I isolated for so long and I numbed myself through substances.
That was the first time when I hit rock bottom that there is power in it.
“The second time I hit rock bottom was when I had my son, I had a very high risk pregnancy.” He had a rare condition that only 1% of pregnancies have.
They suggested that we terminate the pregnancy because he wouldn’t survive.
It was a really rough time, I just had my daughter she was only 6 months old and I was three months pregnant. I didn’t even finish understanding what it’s like to be a mom.
Dealing with something so tragic was terrible.
My husband and I focused on our faith.
During one of those moments of prayer and surrender, I realized I was putting all the blame on me, and me thinking it’s my fault for producing an ill child and the guilt and regret of me thinking this is punishment for the bad things I did in life. It was really an intense journey that stretched my faith and built my endurance when it comes to life just throwing curveballs at you. My son is a miracle child. He’s about to be two years old now, and his health is impeccable.
When I think about things that don’t make sense I think about that moment because the faith that it built within myself, that inner knowing, the affirmations I spoke, the visions I saw, I had to set my mind on things that were above and not what I was seeing.
I had to live by faith not by sight.
So it ultimately took me on this journey of living a fearless, faith filled life.
It wiped me out. After he was born and things were still okay, I went through a really really deep depressions that was exhausting.
I had a cloud over my head. It was hard to even be awake. I didn’t want to be around anybody I didn’t want to play with my kids. I just remember calling out to God and saying what is my purpose here? What is my identity as a mom, as a wife, I just felt so purposeless.
In that calling out, I was able to remember who I was I got brief little things like randomly getting an email from someone asking for a dancer.
Had you stop doing what you loved?
I couldn’t just be a wife and a mom. I had to be who I really am. It stretched me.
I was always seeking as well, I never truly committed to this is what it is, I have dreams I have goals. I had to take responsibility that it wasn’t going to stay that way. If I want things to change I can’t stay this way.
Opportunities came up and put me back in alignment.
I was leading moms in this process, I was able to step up and be a leader despite my situation. Through my vulnerability while coaching other moms and women, it brought new light to me about what it means to be a leader. How it has NOTHING to do with how strong you are but about how vulnerable you can be about your weaknesses that’s your strength as a leader. When I was trying to act like everything was okay there was no power there no connection with the other women.
How did you make that conscious choice of ‘no this isn’t life.’
I had a vision and that’s all I had. I knew that this isn’t what I wanted life to be like.
Of course I went through my victimizing role and blaming everyone and blaming myself, but I accepted that this is a part of my journey.
I accepted that this is a part of my journey. Power lies beneath all this crap.
There is power there, there is a reason why I feel depressed. There is a reason for it. Something is out of alignment. A lot of it was me giving up on what I truly wanted to do, because I was a wife and a mom. I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. Even though my circumstances didn’t change, me just taking a dance class ONE TIME realigned me and reenergized me.
It wasn’t like OH I got all these paid opportunities, and now I’m going to be a professional dancer again. It was just taking one dance class and it made me happy. I saw it’s possible to be INSTANTLY RECHARGED and HAPPY.
IT WAS little things like me going out in nature and playing basketball with my husband. It gives you little rushes of energy.
Getting out of your rut:
It’s definitely seeing the lesson, but also NOT trying to RUSH the process. You are feeling this for a reason and not trying to brush it off and pick yourself back up. Because I did that, I would always try to push though and fight through and fight it.
It’s okay to not be happy.
I was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder. I accepted it, but I also accepted the responsibility of what that meant!
I was expecting them to put me on medication, but as I spoke all this wisdom was coming from within. I just needed to talk about it and understand who I was.
I did the work, I didn’t BS. In those moment there was breakthrough!
Would you say that that vulnerability makes someone stronger?
It’s a sign of strength. I used to think that strength was your ability to be tough and angry and hard-spoken.
Now I feel that strength is being like “I’m struggling, I am going through something. It opens up opportunities to help people come forward.”
Nothing changed, I was ultimately in the same circumstance yet I was happy. I literally accepted it.
Describe Self Love:
I think self love is tough, it comes from a place of self acceptance.
You have to tell yourself every single day, I am enough.
Let’s talk about competing.
Competing has challenged me in a way where I had to find out who I was faster. When people judge you based on how you look, especially because of what I do is very subjective. I do routines. I come in as a theatrical dancer background, and I am coming in and shaking up the industry. I have to be SO confident in what I do because everyone is so different.
I do the National Physique Committee which is a a physique competition. My category in the fitness division is a 2 minute routine where you show all of who you are. Your creativity, dance, flexibility, power strength. You can do that however you want but there is a bias where they consider what fitness is.
I am coming in with the identity of a dancer who has something to say. A person who isn’t afraid to talk about their journey through their routine. Creating work that is POWERFUL, IMPACTFUL EMOTIONAL. Even creating it and making a statement about the industry and the eating disorders and all the things that are happening within it in order to fit a specific mold. In order to be accepted by the judges, in order to be validated that they’re enough when they get a trophy. The only reason I feel like I’ve accelerated is because of my self acceptance.
It sucks putting yourself out there and REALLY caring about what the judges are going to say. Even though they may not accept. It’s uncomfortable but it’s extremely powerful.
She just placed 3rd in the national championships in Chicago.
It was the biggest platform I had been on to this day.
I feel it was super necessary for me to not win. NOW. I was upset then.
It validates everything I stand for which is self acceptance. I know it was good, it was real, it was me.
Of course I went back to the drawing board to re-strategize and recreate.
That’s why I want to continue to step on that stage, not only for my own acceptance, but also for others to understand like you should be different you should be you, you shouldn’t be creating routines that fit the mold just because you want to win, you should use the platform you’re on, whatever THAT is to show the world who you are. You have a story to tell. You have power in your background and in your pain.
About her next competition the Universe championships on 4th of July weekend in New Jersey:
I never had this much excitement going into something. It’s more-so about my message and getting up there and spreading my message,I love how much I’m growing, you can’t do that sitting around.
Right after that, Kimberley will be in Vancouver for the Pro Qualifier.