QUEEN CREEK, AZ — A Queen Creek mother is competing for the title of Ms. Health and Fitness, a nationwide contest hosted by HERS magazine.
Although she’s proud of shedding 30 pounds in the last year, she’s more focused on opening up a very important conversation centered on healing.
“I think about all the hardships I’ve been through when I’m lifting, I think about all the things my abusers told me, you’re weak, you can’t do this, no one will believe you,” said 36-year-old Emily Boergadine.
Boergadine says when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a neighbor. She shared the difficult details about the horrifying experience that left her broken for decades.
“Pain is a heavy load to carry, and it weighs you down in life, I waited too long to address that in my life,” said Boergadine.
Over the past year, Boergadine has opened up about the abuse and channeled that pain into physical fitness, going on a weightless journey that would also lead to a tremendous weight off her shoulders.
“I felt alone for so long and I don’t want anybody to feel that way,” said Boergadine.
She says many times an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment or distrust can keep you from seeking help. Boergadine said she never told a trusting adult at the time but brought it up to a few friends when she was a teen. Their reaction was rather unexpected.
“It’s an uncomfortable subject to talk about, people are uncomfortable hearing about it, but imagine going through that and then getting the reaction of that’s uncomfortable to talk about,” explained Boergadine.
In hopes of breaking that cycle, the mother of two turned to social media to share her story. She opened up a dialog to shed the shame and embrace the healing.
Her weightlifting journey now has her competing for Ms. Health and Fitness.
“I’m going to be featured if I win on the cover of HERS magazine, and I get to tell my story and it gets to reach a lot of people,” said Boergadine.
Nearly 750,000 women entered the contest and it’s been narrowed down to the top 1%. Voting continues through Thursday night.
Boergadine hopes the community will rally around her one more time by casting a vote. Either way, she says every day spent speaking her truth is a win for a now-renewed life.
“It’ll be able to help stop abuse, it’ll help people realize that there are positive outlets for their trauma,” said Boergadine.