Hi, it ́s me, Minna a freestyle football player. This is my life story. You can check out the daily routine that keeps me going down below:
My name is Minna Marlo and I live in Finland. I am 39 years old and I also have a 10-year-old daughter (the most beautiful and perfect daughter actually but that’s another story). I am an entrepreneur in sport-related areas and also a freestyle football player. When I was asked to write a blog about my life and how I am here today, I got absolutely scared and also excited at the same time. Like a mix of negative and positive feelings. I actually have thought about writing my story in the future but didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Though here, I keep it short and mostly on health-related issues from the past. But trust me, there is still a lot to come!
I am not perfect, nobody is really. You knew it of course. But I am far from perfect to be honest. My journey is full of painful memories, paths that put me in danger, and shameful situations. But the most important thing is that I learned from each and every one of them. And I grew, much more than I ever thought that would be even possible. This didn’t happen in one night, would be more like a decade. The thing is, I could have chosen better choices earlier, I just really didn’t know-how.
The potential in each and every one of us is limitless. Really, you can do so much if you decide and give it you’re all. If you are doubting me now, you are probably using only 10% of your potential like most of us do. And it ́s ok if that is what makes you happy and is enough for you. But If there is a side or small part of you that graves for better results and wants to grow enormously, read carefully. I will share one thing in my life that made all the difference in the world. And actually it is quite simple.
Ok, enough of this, for now, let’s start!
My Freestyle Football Journey
In early age of 0-20 years
I lived in a quite normal middle-class family in the near region of our capital Helsinki. I had friends and I was actually quite good at school, though I didn’t use too much extra time on homework and studying. The same thing was with my hobby, football. I was good without practicing a lot. I didn’t really train alone, I just entered the team training. So basically I learned here that you can be
ok in life without putting too much work in it.
Around 12-13 age I started to think about my weight. Maybe because the standard of beauty was back then; very skinny, almost anorexic. I started cutting down food and making lists what I can and can not eat and weighed myself every day. I have a photo I found not long ago of me at age 13 I think.
In the picture, I am standing in front of the mirror hardly any clothes on. And it was the” before” picture, I was supposed to lose weight 5kg and then take another. And what really scares me about the picture is that I looked P E R F E C T, absolutely gorgeous. But that is how it goes, if you look at yourself with the negative filter, you see something that is not real. All I saw back then was this huge fat girl in front of the mirror, sad but true.
In the mid age of 20-30 Years
The life until 20 years revolved pretty much around food. When eat, what eat, how much running to lose some more. I was not happy about my looks, I was completely lost. I started studying to be a sports instructor in my twenties. In the school I realized that there was a lot of things in the sport I didn’t know. Then and there I learned the secret of training to master something. If we had a sport I didn’t know how to do, I used a lot of my own time to go and learn it. Quickly I learned that it is not much you cannot accomplish if you set your mind into it.
Still, I was lost. My life was still all about the weight. I hated myself and in sports school, it got worse. I was constantly comparing myself to other girls. I went abroad to do I training that was necessary in order to graduate. I went to a diving school in Cyprus and ended up staying there for almost 7 months. There I really started to control my weight and realized what will power I have (itis not easy to starve yourself). I became a Dive Master and I was a good diver, I worked a lot for it.
But at the same time, I lost control of dieting. I came home and was anorexic. I remember weighing 46kg. The photos of me from those days are still hard to look at. My life had taken a bad turn and recovering from that took years. I had my child at 28 and that was one big turning point on the struggle of the weight. I started to accept my body differently than before and of course, now something far more important than myself came along. The focus was on her, not me.
The life-changing point in my life is my 30’s
30 was the age of my life changed. I had been so focusing on eating and weight and exercising just to stay thin and fit (was not enjoyable training can tell you) that I woke up thinking I had nothing. I was still working in the casino where I originally thought to stay only for the summer. I hadn’t done any sport instructing and was lost. What do I want to be, what is my thing.
I went to a personal trainer school and started studying NLP ((neuro-linguistic programming, a field of psychology) and remembered there my football past. I had stopped seriously playing at 17because I left for the USA to be an exchange student. And after returning to Finland, didn’t go back where I left. I started playing in lower divisions just for fun and there were also years I didn’t play at all. And in the school, I thought: ”I am 30 now, maybe I should look it through, how far I could go, soon its too late”. I set a goal, very live one, to play in the Finnish female league. I dreamed about it, was sure it would happen.
I really didn’t know what I set myself into. Looking back, if I would have known how hard it was, never would have done it. But again, I did, grew, saw behind the failures, and continued. Let ́s put it this way: If people would know beforehand how hard something is going to be, they would never start anything. All greatness requires hard times. But yes, back to the story…
Never, ever in my youth years have I gone through so much hate and bad mouth talking than in that team. I tell you, girls and women can be mean. Vicious and cruel. They made me cry almost after every training and I was way older and a mother, still I couldn’t help but feel awful. They made fun of me laughed at me, and said straight to my face I would never make it. That I was not welcomed to this team and they didn’t understand the coach for keeping me there.
They said I make them bad, that bad I was. And tell you the truth, I was out of my league. I lacked skills and most of all, tactics. I was bullied so much I don’t know how I survived. Still, with all this, I knew I
would make it. I worked so hard, looked hundreds of hours of football matches to analyze my position, and trained alone whenever possible. I just basically trained, worked part-time some hours, and rest spend time with my daughter. I didn’t really see any friends or do anything else during these two years. I did everything to accomplish my dream.
The work and my determination worked, in two years I played in the league. It was amazing, the disbelievers suddenly wanted to be my friends. Asked how to have the same mentality as I have. I
was so proud of myself. My dream was true and now all the hard work started to show on the field. At
the same time I realized it couldn’t last forever, I had a daughter and playing in the league would mean being away from her a lot during games abroad. So I made a difficult decision and let go of playing in the league.
But, I found freestyle football, it was actually just before I made the decision to quit. And after leaving football, for two years I trained alone freestyle football. It could be done anywhere, anytime. It wouldn’t affect my daughter. Amazing. I saw it. I set goals, precise goals, dreams, small goals. Everything. Built a treasure map of the goals. I just saw it and started working towards it.
Today, after 5 years of training in freestyle football, I am still on the go. Still not finished (never will be), but all the goals I set, I accomplished or will accomplish. Now I have new, different goals and currently, work on them. I am so excited about the future and happy that I found my thing which inspires me “freestyle football”. That thing that makes me glow, the thing I am good at. The thing I can make other people happy. And still, I have them, disbelievers. Saying I cannot and should ́t do this. That I am not good enough and will fail. It is totally fine, I accept this as well. I myself have made the choice in my life not to beat anyone down, be bitter, hating or blaming others for my hard times.
Cause, in the end, you are the one suffering most when carrying these feelings inside you. And I do believe charm comes back. So focus on you and your closed ones, the haters will see one day what you are made of and want it too.
I could say, I wasted some 20 years for nonsense, trying to hang on looks. And all along, I could
have just used the time to find what motivates me. What drives me forward, what is the thing I can
be proud of, and the thing I can always be a little better every day. These skills cannot be taken away from me. But the body I tried to keep the wrong ways for 20 years left me with no skills. And thebest thing is that I am in really good shape. It comes naturally when I do the thing I love (freestyle football), I don’t think about it. It comes as a side product when I am improving my skills. Making my ”skill library” again a little wider.
And don’t understand me wrong. I am talking about freestyle football, but passion can be whatever. It
can also be not related to sport. I believe that if you have the thing driving you forward, you will also take care of yourself physically. You start to appreciate yourself too much for not making the
effort to stay healthy.
That was about it. I do remember I promised to share one thing that made all the difference to me. It is here: GOALS. To set a positive goal for your dream is essential. Brains filter only the things we focus on. So if you don’t have a goal, it is highly possible you won’t get where you want. A good goal is a sentence in a form it has already happened (eg. I play in the Finnish league in two years). Then, imagine what you hear, feel, see when it has happened. Make sure you have 100% control of this goal to happen. After this: think what you do, when you do, and where you do this in the order to happen. Last you think is there anyone or you that could be negatively affected by this goal(and if not, excellent. If yes, you need to reform the sentence again in a way that it doesn’t harm
anyone or you).
After this, write it down, where you can see it, preferably every day. Or built a” treasure map” of the goals and hang it on the wall. When you have a good goal, work passionately, and work every day (hard work does not show tomorrow, trust the wait) and I promise, you will get there. Even and when you have hard times, the hard times are actually helping you. They are like clues that the things you are doing are taking you in the right direction. Think every step back as a gift. Something valuable you need to know in order to get to your goal.
The obstacles on the way might slow you down sometimes, but nothing is keeping you from reaching the goal. Nothing. My journey continues. I have the power to decide what happens to me. I can control my life. It is not the things that happen to you, it is how you react to them. Thank you for reading this, if anything, I hope it gives you something to think about. I hope to meet you someday and hear your story. Until then, bye, and may all your dreams come true.