Louise Hawkins wasn’t really aware that she was different as a child. Hawkins’ mother, Joy Glover, says, “If she’s going to achieve something, she will do it.”
Glover recalls taking Hawkins and her sister, Katherine, shopping for shoes when they were young. Hawkins wanted lace-up shoes like her sister, but Glover told her, “Louise, no, you’ve got to have velcro shoes. You’ve only got one hand to be able to do it.” Hawkins didn’t want the velcro shoes, so the family left the store with only Katherine’s lace-ups in tow.
“All that evening and all next day, Louise learned how to tie Katherine’s shoes up, and the day after, we took her back. We bought her lace-up shoes,” Glover says. “And that’s how she’s been all her life.”
Hawkins brought the same tenacity to sports, later representing her school in shot put, relay, and the 1,500-m run. It was around this time, however, that she started to become self-conscious.
“I think as a teenager you want to just appear to look like your friends, and probably without realizing, I lost confidence as I got a little bit older,” Hawkins says. She remembers bringing a cardigan to drape over her arm wherever she went and feeling very aware of people staring at her when she would forget it.
As she grew older, Hawkins found she was dealing with increasing levels of anxiety and she needed an outlet. She stayed busy at home with her husband, Lee, and two daughters, but Lee encouraged her to take some time for herself.
Hawkins started taking kettlebell classes, a year later finding her fitness home at Wakefield CrossFit.
“Before I started, I was struggling mentally,” she says. Now she has something to look forward to every day: “Going to these fitness classes, speaking to the people outside of being at home, being a mom, it’s just helped me … . It gives you something else to concentrate on. Every day we’re excited — see what’s on the board, see if I can get a PB.”
“It’s changed me into a more confident person,” she says.