By Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor
Would you walk away from a career in medicine to pursue jump roping?
It may sound silly, but that’s exactly what Lucie B Lindner, a native New Yorker of Caribbean descent, did. In fact, after becoming a jump roping championship medal holder she turned her talent into a fitness and empowerment business in her current home of Sweden, inspiring children of all ages, sizes, races, colors and abilities through the jump rope workout.
Lucie B’s road to success wasn’t always easy. Along with being sexually abused as a child, her alternative career path was almost halted when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). But she fought — hard — using fitness and positive thinking as her weapons, and prevailed.
We caught up with Lucie B to learn more about the power of a jump rope workout in overcoming struggle, and the importance in listening to your own voice over others.
Don’t miss Lucie B’s empowering e- book, “Big Bottom Blues: A Woman’s Painful Journey From Childhood Abuse N’ Trauma to Healing and Self-Love.” It’s an important read for anyone struggling and needing some inspiration!
1. Why did you trade a career in medicine to pursue jump roping?
The truth is I never wanted to pursue medicine; it was my mother’s dream for me. I was raised in a household where doctors were revered as gods, and I wanted to please my family. Since I was good at science I pursued it even though it wasn’t my dream.
At the time I stumbled upon jump roping I was already doing group fitness classes while working as a first year Medical Resident. It was a natural transition into something sporty and challenging!Here's how one #woman took the path less traveled and found #empowerment Click To Tweet
2. What first attracted you to the jump rope workout?
One night after working a 24-hour shift I got home, turned on ESPN and saw a program featuring USA Jumprope’s National Championship (USAJR) . I was instantly intrigued. That afternoon I called ESPN to inquire about the program and then got in contact with USAJR to find out how I could compete. Two years later in 2005 I competed at Nationals, and went on to win my first slew of Gold Medals for Single Rope Speed, Power and Endurance.
3. What has been the biggest challenge in your jump rope career?
Since leaving medicine in 2003 I’ve actively sought to make jump roping popular with adults. My goal was to bring it to the level of Zumba and yoga, but sadly most people see jumping rope not as a sport, but as child’s play.
There is a lack of knowledge and awareness that it is a fitness option. I hear excuses like, ‘it’s too hard,’ ‘it’s dangerous for the knees’ or ‘I’m too uncoordinated.’ It’s discouraging when I know these statements are false, but I will continue to prove that jumping rope is an amazing exercise that anyone can enjoy.
4. After getting MS, how did you reach a point where you decided to turn it into something positive?
I was tired of being afraid of what I was told would happen. I had spent a childhood in fear, as a result of sexual abuse, and now I was to continue living in fear because of Multiple Sclerosis?
I got fed up with the negativity and the woe-is-me state of mind. I didn’t want to end up in a wheelchair nor was I going to let MS stop me from my love of competing. I decided to defy all odds and not let my body fall prey to what MS could do.
I started jumping rope even more — focusing on my strength instead of my weaknesses — and here I am today, still standing, still competing.
I didn’t beat MS, I halted its physical and mental effects on me. Soon after I began a quest to seek other MS survivors to let them know that they could have control over their bodies and fight the disease, but they had to believe they could.
5. Do you have advice for others needing to get out of a dark place?
- Take action, no matter how small. Everyday you wake up with dark thoughts, verbally counteract them with, the words ‘Not today. I am going to do three positive things to make my life better and three things to make someone else’s life better!’
- Exercise. It is the most effective anti-depressant on this planet.
- Talk to yourself into a video camera every day. Speak honestly about the way you’re feeling, wait a while, then play it back. Look at your face, look at your body language and listen to your words. The clarity this brings is like no other. Just remember to take baby steps toward making each day a positive one.
6. What has been one of the most powerful moments while working with jump ropers where you witnessed barriers disappearing?
When I first opened my Jump N Fun gym in Woodmere, New York, I was met with some resistance from the Orthodox community. They were concerned that my program would bring ‘certain types’ of people into their community and that the quality of their education would suffer as a result. I received a slew of messages from parents, teachers, rabbis and other requesting information on class demographics, filled with negative, fearful undertones. It broke my heart, but I was on a mission to diversify my program so that the Orthodox Jewish children were given the blessing of exposure to different races and cultures.
At first it was difficult; it was obvious there was a divide in the room between the Orthodox and the ‘others,’ including blacks, Spanish and Asian students. Each day I’d sit the children down and explain the importance of working together and celebrating how each individual brings unique talents to the team. It took awhile before I saw ‘natural integration,’ but it was an incredible day when I saw the Orthodox and black girls embrace, laugh and work with one another.
I broke down in tears. Finally, I broke the color barrier!
7. Has jumping rope helped you cope with your sexual abuse trauma?
Yes, even though I never picked up a rope until age 34! Achieving champion status definitely helped me cope with the damaging effects of sexual abuse such as low self esteem and body loathing. What I can do with a rope today at 49, many cannot do at 20! Jumping rope helps me connect with myself and makes me feel powerful!
8. Besides writing your book “Big Bottom Blues: A Woman’s Painful Journey From Childhood Abuse N’ Trauma to Healing and Self-Love,” to tell your story, how have you been a voice for other people who were sexually abused?
In Caribbean society, this subject of childhood rape, molestation and incest are still very much taboo and not openly discussed. I have recently started a secret Facebook group for women of Caribbean descent who have been traumatized as children, but are too afraid to be vocal about it. I encourage them to make positive changes that can help themselves and others; but they must speak up. Coming out with my story has helped hundreds of women and even men. This fuels my fire to reach out to more survivors!
I plan on giving talks in Martinique, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia and other islands to speak about child sexual abuse and to educate parents to notice and eliminate sexual abuse, particularly in the home. The fear and shame are real and often cripple us into silence. Someone has got to stand up and speak up!Who knew #jumprope could be so #empowering? #ActuallySheCan Click To Tweet
9. What can Epicure & Culture readers do to get involved with your cause?
Help me spread the message of hope, courage and annihilating the shame and stigma associated with childhood sexual abuse. We adult survivors often suffer in silence and our lives are wrecked because of it. I chose to be the voice for all who are too afraid to speak up.
Please share my book, ”Big Bottom Blues: A Woman’s Painful Journey From Childhood Abuse N’ Trauma to Healing and Self-Love“, with anyone who needs to hear my story of childhood trauma, tribulation and triumph! I’ve gone through hell and back, but I stand firm today because I chose to take matters into my own hands and flipped my past into something that helps others like myself.
We no longer need to live in shame and guilt. We no longer need to feel powerless over our past. We can change our lives for the better. You have only one shot at this life. How are you going to live it?
Have you tried a jump rope workout for fitness or empowerment? Please share your experiences in the comments below!
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