How I’m Like America’s Got Talent’s Andrew De Leon: Feeling Like The Family Weirdo

Dan and I finally made it to beautiful Siesta Key, Fl. We made awesome timing, rolling into the condo complex around 4:15 pm. All of my family is here with us too, so it’s one big old family reunion.

Except that we all live in Charleston, so I guess we can’t really call it a reunion? I guess a migration would be more like it?

Either way we’re here with everyone. And yet we’ve never felt so alone.

Let me start off by saying I love my family very much. My mom is my best friend, I am still the apple of my dad’s eye and my brother and I have a wonderful respect for each other.

But all those lovey family moments don’t take away the fact that I am the family outcast, or “the fit fam freak”

Andrew De Leon And I Would Be Best Friends

I watched this video with Dan the other night and I immediately got chills listening to his story (watch this, it is amazing!). Sure, we’re not exactly the same… clearly. But we’ve got more in common than I wish to admit.

Like Andrew, I often feel like an outcast in my own family. They don’t know a lot of what I do because they aren’t into healthy living like I am. Sure I share with them my accomplishments, my calendar of events and what races I plan on doing but it’s not met with much understanding or excitement.

3 Reason I Am A Fit Outcast

1. I go grocery shopping 9-hours away.

Everyone else started the drive down to Florida the day before. Their goal was to drive half way, then wake up and finish off the 9 hour drive the following morning to make it a bit more stress-free. Dan and I decided to do it all at once because we refused to skip out of the market. I couldn’t imagine a week of no Charleston tomatoes and brussel sprouts. Lol, weird? NO!

We were the first ones at the farmer’s market and I won’t lie, it was probably the best trip ever! No pushing to get what we needed and we had the chance to pick from the best of the produce! We might just start making 7 am farmer market trips a regular thing from now on… probably not.

2. What… Can’t Vegans Eat Turkey?

I know for certain my parents think that my vegan life is a “fad” or something that I can turn on and off. Sure there are going to be times when I’ll settle for a piece of fish but overall, this is the lifestyle that I have choosen.

Case and point: We stopped half way during our trip for lunch. I ordered a salad minus the chicken only to realize that it was covered with cheese. I tried to pick as much off as possible but it was a losing battle. In the end, my stomach was PO’d at me… bloated and gassy for several hours later… clearly there is no on/off switch.

Yet, I couldn’t help but notice my parents shock and irritation when I wouldn’t eat their meat fillled spaghetti dinner last night.

Instead I went into my “Vegan First Aid Kit” and cooked up this:

Charleston brussel sprouts, onions, chickpeas, white wine with a splash of salt

My dad’s response… “Ugh, I don’t eat those things.” -Thanks Dad. Lol.

3. Early Morning Wakeup Calls

Who the hell wakes up early on vacation?

This girl.

I was up at 6am this morning to not only watch the sunrise but to have one of the best and most challenging runs of my life. I have been looking forward to this run since I first saw picture of the island on google.

Heading out of the condo – 6:15 am: 

I laced up my shoes, and headed out to see some of the most purest images of the island. This is a part of vacation for a fitness lover, when the beach goers haven’t yet made it out to the beach, before the cars line the roads, we see the true beauty and gain an better appreciation of our local.

The start of my run: Along Siesta Key Bay (the sunrise side):

What I saw this morning, the sun coming up over the bay, the coconut palm trees covered in dew and the unspoiled sand will likely be one of my favorite memories.

Finishing off heading back along the beach: 

And then as soon as I got back to the condo and ate some breakfast, my parents were up and rolling their eyes at the thought that I had already covered 6.2 miles…. on vacation, while everyone was sleeping.

They said “wow” but really it meant “wow, what a weirdo”.

The Need To Fill The Weirdo Outcast Spot

But here’s the thing, all families need a “weirdo” and if I am ours then that’s okay with me. So what if I brought my own cans of chickpeas and black beans, if I packed chia seeds and glucosamine, and if I packed more sports bras than bikinis. That’s me and I’m okay with me.

What’s more is that I love my family. They might not reflect the life that that I would like them to, but that’s okay because together we make up the perfect family. Love, respect and togetherness.

Speaking of family… Happy Fathers Day!

Loe you Daddy-O!


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