Updated: Feb 21
Whether you are new around here or a day-one follower, I don't think you realize that Curves Ahead is actually the evolution of my life over the past several years. I have explored my passions, dealt with my personal struggles - but most of all - embarked on my own self-love journey while building this community.
Hi, my name is Melissa DiMercurio, I am the creator and founder of Curves Ahead. I am writing this open letter to you because I feel its important to explain my true vision.
Back to Basics
Let me take you back to 2015, where the idea for Curves Ahead was first conceived. My friend, Stephanie from SR Studio, grabbed her camera and we set off to take headshots for my corporate portfolio. At that time in my life, I was a boomerang kid fresh from being laid off from my big fancy Manhattan job and, now, living back home with my parents.
Needless to say my confidence was shot. It was time for me to dust off the dirt from my knees and put a band-aid on my wounds. This photo shoot in 2015 was a catalyst for reinvention and a moment in time that I knew I had to capture. I didn't know where to turn at the time but I had a strong feeling that I was going to figure it out and find a way to help other women like me.
Prior to losing my job in New York, I would categorize my life as craving community and friends. I desperately needed mentors and experts to help me push through my demons. I struggled with negative self-talk, crippling anxiety, emotional binge eating, toxic relationships and other reckless behavior.
Over the next several years I worked my ass off in the corporate world to get my career back on track. I landed a higher paying job in Washington D.C. and bought my first condo at the young age of 26. I was knocking out my goals left and right. It was also the formative years of building Curves Ahead. I wanted to make an impact and teach what I was learning.
I proclaimed to my family and friends that I was on a "self-love journey." I started gathering resources, reading books, talking to experts and trying new things to tackle my own struggles in many areas of my life. I was working 14 hour days at my corporate job and would come home to toil with a website for Curves Ahead and dive into another self-help book. I was completely fueled by passion and a hunger to help others. I still am.
Even with a foggy vision for what Curves Ahead would be I knew I wanted to welcome every women no matter her age, size, or location. She didn't need to fly off to a remote destination or spend thousands of dollars to improve her life. All she needed to do was to set real goals, strategize and practice self-love every day.
Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, we already hold the power to find our way home - we just have to figure it out for ourselves.
My overall message was starting to gain steam in my small town of Maryland. I threw a fun launch party, gathered real women for community fashion shows, and organized workshop panels to teach the importance of self-love. However, I still didn't have a real direction for Curves Ahead and I would hear myself describe to people that it was just a "fun side project" when in actuality it was becoming a personal lifeline.
Enter Tina Fraley. When I first met Tina, I will be honest I was skeptical. I was adamant that I didn't want this to turn into a weight loss program. After several hours into a coffee meet-up, we talked at length about mindset shifts and how it helped her to lose150 pounds - next thing I knew, I had purchased a training with her and found myself actually showing up to my sessions. I started learning the importance of nourishing my body, practicing more positive thinking and utilizing exercise as an amazing tool to manage my extreme anxiety. I felt amazing! I wanted all my girls in the Curves community to feel that same way too. After a year of working with Tina on my own personal health, we decided to join forces to launch the Curves Ahead Membership Program together.
While we both learned so much about building a new business and selling a unique product, it fizzled as quickly as it gained momentum. A continuously frustrating cycle. We also struggled with two competing visions of what Curves Ahead should be.
Also, I began noticing that the original community I had built was pulling away from me. I was openly being questioned if Curves Ahead was now a "fitness and weight loss program." I thought with different branding I could fix that perception, but what really needed to be fixed was me. I often felt like Tina was the true expert and I had nothing to offer, so I continued to push her out in front and shrink behind my own insecurities. It was just easier to let her lead the way, but I wasn't listening to my intuition for fear of ruining an important friendship.
Thankfully, Tina and I made a promise to each other when we began - to always tell the truth even when it's hard. This week we mutually agreed that it was time for me to take Curves Ahead back over. While it was a tough and sad reality, it was something that needed to be done for the health of our friendship. I am looking forward to having Tina as a continued guest expert on Curves Ahead and I know she will continue to inspire us all in her upcoming personal projects.
The Next Chapter
You might be thinking: why in the hell is she telling us all of this? Truly, it's really simple. I am always learning, just as you are, and we can't grow together if we don't share our struggles. That is exactly what I am asking of you, the Curves Ahead Tribe, as we move forward into this next chapter.
Over the next several months, I will be going "back to basics" to rediscover my original vision and building a clear path ahead for Curves Ahead. As I do this, I ask you to embark on your own self-love journey with me starting with my upcoming Facebook Challenge Group as we dive into the theme of "Cleanse and De-Clutter." To sign up and learn more click on this link: Facebook Challenge Group. I will be bringing you more teachings that have worked for me and I will be seeking experts to teach us new insights as well.
Change is good and necessary for growth, but it's also extremely hard. I know I can count on your support to continue to gain confidence as I find my voice and footing for the next chapter of Curves Ahead.
The badass in me honors the badass in you.