Melissa’s divorce was final in 2015. But well before that, her life was spinning out of control. She tried to hold it all together for her kids, but she just couldn’t continue. The Massachusetts woman was a complete mess and she had to change physically, mentally and emotionally. So she did.
She started taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. It helped her fitness. It cleared her mind. It vented her many frustrations. And it wasn’t long before she started going to those classes 5 or even 6 times a week.
In a room full of men, she learned the art of jiu-jitsu. She stuck with it, and it made her a different person… a much Better person.
Says Melissa: “I want to inspire other women to do whatever they want to do in life. I wasn’t about to quit. Some days, I literally would train until I threw up because I didn’t want to stop before the guys did. Giving up was never an option.”
And once Melissa was comfortable being that new person, that better person, she was put in a fight with a woman almost half her age, and bigger than her. That woman, Hilarie Rose, was 23, and she was an experienced MMA fighter. She had recently knocked out another opponent with a single kick. But that didn’t scare Melissa. She was scrappy, but she WAS the underdog.
On fight night, Plymouth Memorial Hall was filled to capacity. When the fight started, Hilarie came at Melissa and broke her face in three places. She could taste blood. But she wasn’t about to quit. Her adrenaline kicked in. She got in some really good shots, but lost the bout by technical knockout.
Afterwards, the two woman shared an emotional hug… not necessarily because they were good sports. But because each of them knew how hard the other had fought in life, long before stepping into that octagon.
And even though their mom’s face was shattered, Melissa’s children had nothing but ultimate respect for the woman who had given birth to them. And they could not imagine ANYONE taking her place.
Says Melissa to other women: “Find something that makes you feel powerful and happy. It could be writing a book, starting a business, becoming an MMA fighter, or whatever. Just make sure that it’s something that is uniquely yours. That way, no one can take it away from you.”
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