Former marine and weight lifting champion is exploring new identity as transgender woman: 'I felt broken'

Former marine and weight lifting champion is exploring new identity as transgender woman: 'I felt broken'

My Beauty Obsession showcases the extreme ways in which people strive to be beautiful. From a mother who has used a corset to achieve her 18-inch waist to a woman who underwent numerous surgeries to look like Melania Trump, the stories are endless.

Janae Marie Kroc has a lot of accomplishments under her belt: She's a former Marine, held a presidential security position under President Bill Clinton for two years and is an all-time world-record holder in powerlifting. Kroc may have perfected a 728-pound bench press, an 810-pound deadlift and a 1,014-pound squat, but up until recently, there was a big part of Janae's life that was missing, even with all those achievements.

As a junior high school student, Kroc, who was born Matthew Raymond Kroczaleski, would get bullied by other students.

"I hated feeling that vulnerability," she told AOL Lifestyle. "Any time I saw someone big and muscular, I was just in awe, and I thought, 'Wow, that's just how I want to be.'"

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Kroc continued to explain that she always felt like she was supposed to be female, but had to keep those feelings to herself.

"It's these two conflicting desires around the time I was a small child," she explained.

Workouts were the "only way" she could feel good about herself, so once she left the Marines in 1995, Kroc started competing seriously...and winning.

"Everybody is kind of putting me up on this pedestal and then it became harder and harder to come out because I didn't want to disappoint everybody," she said.

Kroc doesn't see her identity as a disappointment now, but trying to "unpackage that" as an adult was met with a mix of emotions.

"I felt alone. I felt broken. I thought I was unlovable until the first time I ever had a decent wig and was learning enough about makeup to do a decent job," Kroc explained. "When I looked in the mirror I felt like for the first time in my life I saw who I really was."

She's since gotten her testicles removed, and soon, she is planning to have full bottom surgery and restart hormones.

"The end goal is to feel comfortable in my own skin, which is something I've never really known," Kroc continued. "I'm getting closer all the time."


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