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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letter to Beauty

A while back, I posted about the Team True Beauty Anniversary event and the beautifully honest and incredible speech given by Ambassador Shantel VanSanten.  In her speech, Shantel recited a letter she had written, a letter to Beauty.  It seems like such a simple concept, but really, who actually stops to recognize that we are treating an idea like it's royalty- Giving power over ourselves to something society says is important.  But is it?  A lot of people believe it is, and it's hard to emphasize inner beauty in a world that revolves around magazines, models and cosmetic enhancements.  How do you teach a little girl to believe that she is beautiful when everything around her is telling her otherwise.  This letter to beauty is a perfect statement of how we should approach changing the situation.  And that is exactly what these girls did!!!  This video is a collage of several different young women (True Beauty Supporters) reciting Shantel's letter to beauty.  I was in tears when I heard Shantel recite it...so strong and so truthful, and this just confirms how true her words are.  They have touched so many people, and are contributing to a world wide change.
Thanks again, True Beauty... and Shantel, for your strength and your continued support.

Letter to Beauty

Love True,

Allison

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Time

There's a quote from a song I've already written about, but I think it fits well with my life right now.  It's from a Carrie Underwood song.

"Time's flying by, moving so fast.  You better make it count, cause you can't get it back." -So Small

There are a couple of reasons this verse seems pertinent to me right now.  First of all, this is an incredibly busy time for me.  I am working a lot, over 50 hours a week, doing a lot of different things.  Sometimes I barely feel like I'm keeping my head above water.  It's not that I don't love what I do... because I absolutely do!  It's just hard when 12 hour days don't give you the chance to do things like, file your taxes, pay your bills, do your laundry or vacuum the floor!  My job(s), that I love, unfortunately don't pay much.  And as I am approaching the age at which I am no longer covered by my parent's health insurance, stress has begun to fill all of my empty moments.  Little bouts of panic strike me from time to time just wondering whether or not I'm making the right choices.  I don't know if I've ever second guessed myself more than I have been lately, other than when I was a gymnast... funny how my worries still come from the sport... just in a completely different way.

I do have a few other employment opportunities to figure out.  One of which could provide me with complete financial security, but may not be the right path for me.  Another of which would be a huge risk, but possibly worth every doubt I have because I would still be doing what I love, with people I really care about. The third option I have right now is to stay exactly where I am, continue to work hard, and hope that I am proving myself enough to the people who matter, that they may create a full time position for me.

With all this stress and wondering, I have had to actually stop and remind myself to take a breath and be thankful.  My life really is incredible, and though I may struggle financially, and may have dirty dishes in the sink due to lack of time to clean them- I am an incredibly lucky individual... and I know that.  Sometimes I stop and wonder how I got here.  This tiny apartment, this little college town, sharing my love of gymnastics... is all a far cry away from the dreams I had in high school of attending UCLA, majoring in theater and becoming an actress.  Crazy, huh!?

Anyway, the point I have been trying to make, is that I am going make a solid effort each day to be thankful.  There is no reason for me to not be.  Sure, life is confusing, and difficult and throws challenges at you from all angles... but that is no reason to ever feel defeated :)

Day 26: Make every day count... cause you can't get it back!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Worrying

This is a quote that I found about a month ago, via my very wise and knowing Uncle Geoff.  He frequently posts inspiring messages on his Facebook wall that I find to be encouraging and incredibly relevant to my life.  Tonight I want to post this quote with 4 very special people in mind.  They are the senior gymnasts at UW-Whitewater.  These girls have been doing gymnastics for the majority of their lives, and right now they are realizing that the end of their childhood is approaching them.  It is a revelation that all collegiate athletes have to come to at one point.  And no matter how prepared you think you are, no matter how often you tell yourself, "I am so ready to be done," the moment it is truly gone hurts pretty bad.  It's like saying goodbye to a friend you've had since you were two.  But like saying goodbye to a friendship or turning the page in a book, there is always a new person to meet or a new chapter to discover.  These girls are struggling right now, under many different pressures, and I can't speak for them... but I do know what they are going through.  There are so many different emotions going through their minds and hearts right now, and I wish I could take away all of the uncertainty, so all that was left for them was confidence and inner strength.  They are, collectively, some of the strongest women I know... and some of the most passionate.  They remind me, without a doubt, of the group of girls who stood by me for four years.  The amount of heart they have is tremendous.  However, lately, I have seen the doubt in their eyes.  The worry and the dread of what "might" happen... and that scares me... because I know exactly what that dread can do.  I wish I could flip a switch for them, so all they could feel was excitement, and honor for having prevailed in a sport that so many fail at.  So with that sentiment, I will share these words that I hope will resonate with them, "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength." - Be strong and be proud and go forward from today, not in fear but knowing that you were born to do something great.

Love True,
Allison

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coaching Confidence

This morning I received an email from a parent of one of my younger athletes (I coach both college athletes, and children ages 1-14).  The email took me a little by surprise, but not in a bad way.  This little gymnast came to me September looking for help with her tumbling.  She was a team competitor at another gym who was struggling with her coaches and having trouble overcoming fears.  This little girl has such a big heart, and a passion for gymnastics, I couldn't help but love coaching her!  She starting improving tremendously in just two hours a week.  After a couple of months, her mom came to me and told me that she pulled her from the other program.  They were tearing her down and destroying her confidence.  She said she just couldn't send her there anymore.  

I didn't blame her at all! Having spent over 20 years in this sport, I have seen good coaches, some bad coaches, some great parents and some terrible ones... and I knew enough to understand what this mom was going through, and how she was trying only trying to protect her kid.  Anyway, she started bringing her daughter to me 3 days a week, a 45 minute car ride each way.  

I half expected this to end pretty quickly.  But it hasn't.  3, sometimes 4 days a week, this little girl shows up, works hard, and never stops smiling.  She even started interacting with the college girls recently.  Asking them for advice on skills, giving them hugs and even congratulating them on their practice.  My heart about melted the other day when she said, "Good job on vault, Kat," to a senior on our team who is getting her skills back after suffering an injury this fall.  

Long story short, here is some of the email I received this morning: 

"She said she is feeling more comfortable and it seems like she is really making progress with overcoming her fears.  Her confidence and self esteem are back.  I just wanted to let you know how great you are."

This is why I love coaching.  This is why I get up in the morning.  This is why I don't have a day job... because enjoying what I do, making a difference in people's lives is way more important to me.  This email made my day, and completely verified what I'm doing with my life.  

I love gymnastics... and I love sharing that love with others.  End of story. <3 

Have a wonderful weekend, all!
Love True-
Allison