Saturday, January 25, 2014

Beautiful People: Marlene Longbottom

January 26 marks the celebration of Australia Day. Every year Aussies get out their Australian-flag beer stubbies and generally celebrate with a barbecue breakfast/lunch or at the beach if there is one close by. This holiday marks the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain and the first governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove. 

Some Indigenous Australians find it hard to celebrate this day as it marks the start of what some would call 'Invasion Day'. I think it would be great to change the date of Australia day to mark another occasion in Australian history that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can celebrate wholeheartedly. Perhaps May 27th, to mark the referendum that demonstrated a shift in views and identified that 90% of the voting public supported the inclusion of Australian Aboriginals in the Australian constitution. 

All politics aside, I love Australia. I love that we are a diverse and beautiful country. I love that when people are sick, they are able to receive medical care. I am committed to helping the people of this nation with my God-given talent and abilities and no matter how far I travel, I have yet to find a place that I would trade it for. 

With this in mind, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to Marlene Longbottom. She is the first person to be featured on Beautiful People and she is the perfect representation of the good in my country. 
The Beautiful People category was created to share worthy and inspiring stories and people that you should know about. We often get bombarded with so many images of what we should be and we forget how to walk a brave and honest journey. I hope these people inspire you because they have inspired me. 

Marlene Longbottom is a remarkable Aboriginal woman who has reignited her passion to live with integrity and honor through CrossFit and it's a change and process that has effected every element of her life and the way in which she lives it. Her CrossFit journey commenced in September 2012 and aside from racking up things like a 122 kg dead-lift, she has lost 30 kg and has managed to find herself amongst it all.

The single mother currently has a Masters in Tropical Medicine by research and is working towards her PHD. Marlene works as a researcher with the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane and when she's not there, you'll most likely find her training dirty at her local 'Box'. 

I was lucky enough to catch a few moments of time after a Waminda Aboriginal Women's Health well-being exercise class last Thursday. She was back in town for Sorry-Business (the funeral of her Grandmother) but was kind enough to give her time, if it meant she can help someone else. 

Describe a significant person to you in 7 words.
I'll have to describe my Crossfit Coaches Di and Brendan.
Committed, consistent, persistent, role-model, get shit done.

6 words that should be used daily.
Respect, love, persistence, honor, integrity, dignity.

5 words to sum you up at this point in time.
Tired, sore, but I love it.

4 things that everyone should experience.
Crossfit because it will change your life.

3 places you would like to visit.
USA but I will be heading over this coming July to watch the CrossFit Games and to visit a few boxes while I'm there. Rome and Hawaii.

2 goals you want to achieve.
To reach my goal weight (23 kg to go).
Represent my community in CrossFit.

Marlene's hands are looking pretty good now, but when they're torn from lifting, she wears them with pride.

1 piece of advice.
As women, we tend to put our families first and our health suffers. I was in a toxic relationship for a very long time and I was allowing someone to place value and worth on myself. Now I try to honor myself as a woman by knowing my value and what I'm working towards so it does not matter what other people say. 

Aim to be persistently consistent even if it hurts. I set aside at least an hour a day to get up and train and I'm connected to support communities and I encourage others on their journey. People often see the cosmetic changes in my appearance but they don't see the internal changes of my body and mind. I am growing stronger everyday and I'm not letting stress get to me. It's not about only doing CrossFit, but just to find your passion and to work towards it, that way you're living with integrity and working towards being the best person you can be. I ask myself, what legacy am I leaving behind for my son, my and community? What past of history am I changing? 

So what legacy are you leaving behind for your family and the world? 

Marlene is in the process of starting a blog, but you can follow her on instagram @marlenelongbottom

Big Love,

Falala Mele.

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