Twitter Updates

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"The dream is what you imagine…"

Its been a while since I’ve written a blog specifically for myself. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, because I have, mostly for I AM THAT GIRL, but I’ve also been working on a secret project I’m not ready to talk about. I promise, that when I am, you’ll be the first ones to know J

There are a couple of reasons you haven’t heard from me lately. First because my writing for I AM THAT GIRL has a deadline, and that typically becomes the priority… and second, most days I am so damn tired I can’t concentrate long enough to formulate a concise thought.

Not kidding.

I’ve been overwhelmed a lot lately, trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle. I have so many roles that I play and sometimes I find myself forgetting who I am supposed to be in any given moment. Am I the employee or the boss, the intern or the supervisor, the teacher or the coach, the faculty advisor or the chapter member, the sister, the daughter, the grand daughter, the friend, the writer, the mentor or the mentee?

Sometimes it’s hard to keep all of my roles straight, and I wonder if other people struggle with the same fear… of completely losing sight of who I am in all of these characters that I am portraying each day.

Two days ago I came across an article on Facebook. It was an interview with my long time (S)HERO. Now, I love Sophia Bush for a number of reasons. Like any teen of early 2000s I lived and breathed One Tree Hill. But it was when I joined Twitter and started following Sophia that I learned her super power was not acting.

Sophia is a remarkable human being. She is a culture shifter, a voice for those who cannot speak and an incredible warrior for change. She is an activist and a philanthropist and a humanist and I praise God every day for her; because following Sophia brought me to I AM THAT GIRL, and I AM THAT GIRL has changed my life, enhanced my life and I may even go so far as to say it saved my life. (Why I love IATG and how it's Changed My Life)

The article talked about all of Sophia’s endeavors… and if I thought I wore a lot of hats, you should check out her collection HERE – Near the end of the article, she is quoted with four sentences that completely adjusted my perspective on the hectic and exhausting lifestyle I lead:

“The dream is what you imagine, the hustle is what you have to do to actually live it and the hustle is hard, no matter what career path you’re in. I’m so excited about life, and I’m exhausted. I’m happiest when I’m doing 10 things at once. It’s what I wished for.” –Sophia Bush

Amen girl. Thank you for your incredible perspective! For as overwhelmed as I get at times… I am so lucky to be doing so many amazing things that I am passionate about. Sure, I run a risk of becoming incredibly overwhelmed and it can be confusing having so many roles… but the truly beautiful part is that I get to share my heart every day in multiple facets and work with so many different and inspiring people. It’s amazing really, how someone I’ve never met can help me see something so deep within my soul. Since reading the article the other day, I’ve had the most inspired outlook on my life and all of the crazy, random and truly beautiful pieces that together, create this stunning mosaic that is the perfect depiction of my life.

Everyone longs to live out their dream… lucky for me, I have so many dreams I get to live on a regular basis. Am I done yet? Hell no. I have so much more I want and NEED to do…  and with living proof that it’s possible (thanks, girl), I know I can maintain the hustle. Because the hustle is what it takes, and that is entirely worth it.

Love True,

Allison

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why I Love I AM THAT GIRL, and How it's Changed My Life

I Skyped with 5 girls from Belgium on Friday. Then on Saturday, I Skyped with another group of girls in Arkansas. 

I'm not sure when, exactly, I found I AM THAT GIRL. I do know it was around the time that Alexis and Emily went to Washington DC and had an audience with some of the most influential people in this country. I heard about it on Twitter, and I thought to myself, "Who are these fearless women who are trying to change girl culture? And how can I be a part of it." 


I had recently relapsed from my eating disorder recovery, while I was dealing with a tragedy and a broken heart. I knew I wanted to be as strong as these women, but I didn't know how... so I decided to follow them. 


I kept up with their tweets, w
as a frequent visitor of their Facebook page and read every blog they posted. Their energy was unlike any I had ever experienced. It was electric, and with every post I read, every tweet I consumed, I felt more and more alive. 

On February 25th, 2014 I took the I AM THAT GIRL pledge and joined the movement officially. The pledge states, "I am perfectly flawed and sublimely beautyFULL. I am a constant work in progress. I recognize that what I admire in others also exists within myself. As a member of this community, I promise to collaborate instead of compete and remind other girls of their worth when they've forgotten. I'm on a mission to turn self-doubt into self-love, to use my voice, to share my truth, to love others and to leave this world better than I found it."  

In August I felt strong enough to reach out to the organization, to thank them for everything they've done and to possibly give back in any way I could. I emailed the website... and on August 18th, I got a response. 

Alyssa, this amazingly spunky and gregarious woman responded to my email. She was so incredible and immediately put me in contact with the woman who would become my first ever "editor," Sheila. Now Sheila, is amazing. Sheila is someone I would like to refer to as a "life cheerleader." Sheila is encouraging, inspiring and so motivating. I had never written anything for anyone but myself and she walked me through the entire process, all the while, metaphorically holding my hand from 1000 miles away. 

And so it began, my journey as a blogger for I AM THAT GIRL. I wrote articles about going to college, realizing your potential, lighting your inner fire, dreaming out loud and fighting your fears. I even had an opportunity to write for another online organization called Beauty Con as a sort of "Ask Abby" columnist. However, if you would have asked me in August how deep I would go, I would never have guessed I would find the courage to write my most vulnerable piece, A Love Letter to Me: Healing an Eating Disorder- Sheila helped me with that. She encouraged my brave and gave me the confidence to write it... and I will be forever grateful to her for that.

Prior to this however, I had decided that I was ready to be a chapter leader and Sheila put me in touch with Kate. 

Kate. 

Good lord, these ladies are magic. Kate was no different. In fact, Kate was exceptional. Kate welcomed me with open arms and talked me through the "leading" process. I've never been a leader by title. In all of my athletic opportunities, I've never been bestowed the honor of being named an official "captain." It wasn't deserved then... I wasn't ready.

But Kate helped me get ready. She gave me the tools and convinced me of my worth. That I was prepared to lead vulnerable discussions and help the women around me discover their value. 

After 3 months of successful meetings I was ready to spread the wealth. I found two of the most AMAZING ladies to mentor, and together we created the I AM THAT GIRL- UWW Chapter. After only three meetings this spring, they had 12 girls coming to share in the conversation! I think it's safe to say that Alex and Hannah have exactly what it takes to lead these young women... and they've done it fearlessly! 


Image Courtesy of www.iamthatgirl.com
Recently, I was named to I AM THAT GIRL's Empowerment Team. I've been connecting with girls all over the country (& BELGIUM!!) who are members of this unbelievable organization! I have heard incredible stories of strength, triumph and perseverance from women of all ages, all cultures and all walks of life. And the most important thing I have learned is that we are not alone. No matter how dark your struggle may be, no matter how prolonged it may seem, there is always someone who has made it to the other side who is willing to help pull you to safety. There is always a judgement free ear to listen, even if they cannot help you directly. And there is always a smile on the other end of a Skype call happy to congratulate you on being a badass woman... simply for living. 

I cannot wait to see where this journey will take me. It has only enhanced my quality of life and my interactions with all of the women (whether 2 years or 85 years) with whom I keep company. My life is full of blessings, and I AM THAT GIRL is most definitely one of them! 

Thank you... to some truly remarkable women... You know exactly who you are!! (xo-Al)

Love True,
Allison

**If you would like more information on I AM THAT GIRL or would like to find a Chapter in your area, check us out Here!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Love Letter to Me

So that courage I was talking about last time... here's where it led.

I had an article due for I AM THAT GIRL for the month of February. I knew that it would probably go up toward the end of the month. You know what else is at the end of the month of February??? National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. BAM.

The idea hit me like a big yellow school bus.

So I wrote to my editor, and asked her thoughts. I wanted to know if they had done anything for NEDA week before, and if she thought my idea would be worth pursuing.

They Hadn't.

And she did...

So I wrote a letter to my former self. The person I used to be when I was very, very sick. And I clicked send.

HOLY SHIT!!!  << that's me freaking out after hitting the send button.

Too late now, incredibly vulnerable and self revealing letter to myself has been sent...

Fast forward 2 weeks and I'm waiting for the post.

NOTHING on Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday? Nope.

Wait... Why hasn't it gone up.

When Saturday passed I felt hopeless.

Sunday, I was just plain depressed.

NEDA week had come and gone and there was no sign of my incredibly personal and raw article.

I was so confused.

(Well, it turns out I was confused for no reason. There was a clerical error and my article didn't get posted when it should have. Nothing malicious, just a mistake... and it got posted on Tuesday afternoon)

By Wednesday evening (tonight) there are almost 2000 likes 17 comments and over 200 shares of my article. The love I've received in response to posting this letter is tremendous and overwhelming! I can't believe what has come from sharing just a little bit of myself with the world.

You can see my article here: A Love Letter to Me: Healing an Eating Disorder

Being brave can be liberating... go on... I dare you! I want to see you be BRAVE!

Love True,

Allison


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Being Vulnerable

I've been freaking out.

My last blog I wrote about courage.

Apparently I had an epiphany and an unbelievable bout of 'said courage' and decided to share the most painful time of my life with the entire world.

Good call, Al. 

I decided, after speaking with my editor, to get all sorts of vulnerable in the spirit of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (Feb 23-28th), and you know, shed a little light on the topic from someone who's been there…

Well, in order to do that, I had to go back to a crazy dark place that I try not to venture to anymore. I had to go back in time and really "feel it" again.

Well, that sucked.

I'm not sure if I can accurately describe the amount of hurt that goes on within a person that is struggling with this kind of disease. It's not something I enjoy reminiscing about because, like I said before, it sucked.

Anyway, this courage I've felt has definitely been wavering. I'm not sure that if it's because I had to "go there" again, and feeling that way can definitely wear on a person. But as soon as I pushed "send" to submit the article I panicked.

What if people hate it?

What if they think I'm whining?

What if someone thinks I'm WRONG?

What if they call me a liar?

What if it goes over terribly?

What if it helps someone take a step toward recovery?

And there it was… among all of the many "what ifs" -the only "what if" that truly mattered to me… the "what if I help someone" and then my worries disappeared…

Maybe someone will read it and the next day or the next week or the next month they ask for help. Maybe someone will read it and they'll realize that they aren't as alone as they thought. Maybe someone will read it and they'll share it with their friend or their sister or their daughter.

And maybe… just maybe…

Someone will come out ahead because they found their courage from knowing someone else has been there before them and beaten it.

So, was it worth it for me to get all vulnerable and share my most personal and private struggle?

If one person benefits in any way, shape or form from reading my story… then yes… you bet your ass it was worth it.

Love True,
Allison

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Courage to Share

I'm not sure where this dose of insane courage has come from, but I kind of think I like it. You see, I have found myself involved in an organization that challenges me and pushes me and inspires me. These women, who have welcomed me whole-heartedly in to their community of badasses, have transformed me. The sense of empowerment I have felt since joining this group is overwhelming. I feel more like myself than I have in years. These ladies are rock stars… and I can't even begin to explain how elated my heart is to be a tiny part of this magnificent revolution.

We're changing "Girl Culture" together… and this might just be exactly what I was meant to do with my life.

I AM THAT GIRL is a non-profit organization aimed at helping women of all ages to become the best version of themselves. We want to empower, inspire and help women to express, love and BE who they are. We want to encourage collaboration among women, instead of competition. And this, my friends, is exactly what the world needs.

Two months ago, I started my own chapter of IATG. And even though I don't have 60 members in my chapter, we've had some beautiful, heartfelt conversations about topics that matter to us. We have given each other advice, we have lifted each other up… and I can't wait to do it again. And again. And again.

Now, I'm spearheading the development of another chapter of IATG. This one will be a collegiate chapter. LORD, HOW I NEEDED THIS WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE!!!!! My hope is that in starting a collegiate chapter, we can reach those women who may be just like I was in college, unsure of themselves, lacking confidence and completely unaware of the greatness they posses! My heart is bursting at the seams just thinking about all the lives we could change!

An excerpt from one of my blog entries for I AM THAT GIRL
I will most definitely be updating y'all on the process of the collegiate chapter, I'm sure. And I will definitely be providing the link to the blog that we will be starting. I'm struggling to find the words to describe how I'm feeling right now. The prospect of impacting these young women has me terrified and yet completely calm. I know this is something I've been called to do. I've been writing for the IATG blog for 6 months and my articles have grown increasingly more personal. Certain ones have even solicited responses, "shares" and "likes" through various channels on the internet. I never could have imagined being vulnerable could feel so liberating. For example, as National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is approaching at the end of February, I found myself ASKING my editor if I could do a piece specifically for NEDA week. WHAAAAA??? Who is this girl wanting to share intimate details of the most painful time of her life??  I barely know the person behind all of this confidence and willingness to share.

A couple of years ago, my personal diary was full of fears and worries and doubts. Now, my public diary (you're reading it) is full of goals and hopes and all of my passions wrapped up in excitement and love. So yes, I'm going to share that story with the world. I'm going to write my heart out and hope that someone, some girl just like me, might realize there is a light at the end of that very dark tunnel. So she can know that she is not alone. And so that she can realize that the magnitude of her life can not be determined by a disease, but only by herself and by her heart. People may think I'm crazy for being willing to share such a personal experience, but to be honest, it was the personal stories that helped me through the darkness. I AM THAT GIRL is just helping me pay it forward.

Love True,
Allison

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Find Your Inner Fire

**This post was originally written for I AM THAT GIRL and was posted on their website on January 27th. I've received a lot of love… and wanted to share it here as well! Hope you all like it!! 

The concept of fire is pretty prevalent in my life right now. You see, I am an assistant coach for a collegiate gymnastics team, whose inspirational motto this season is “Light the Fire.” I love this concept: the idea that even the loftiest of goals can be achieved if only you “light the fire” within your heart.
It’s amazing, really. Think of something you want, something you aspire to be, something you feel called to accomplish. Do you have it? Now think of the possibilities that come with catching that dream. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?!
Dreaming is so good for our souls! It gives us a reason to look up when life may be causing us to hang our heads. Don’t let life control your dreams. Only YOU have control over that!
You might wonder how to make your dream a reality. Sometimes goals and ambitions seem so far off that we sit around wondering, hoping and praying for a sign that tells us what to do to take that first step. Fear can get in the way of a dream. It can paralyze us and keep our lives at a standstill because the unknown can be more frightening than staying exactly where we are.
fire.jpg
Image Credit: IATG
But life, my dear, is what YOU decide to make it. Our circumstances only tell half of the story. You have the power to determine the rest. Don’t let your fear consume you. If you have a dream, go after it. No giant leaps are needed (unless leaping is in your job description like my gymnasts). Take that one small step forward. You can do it. One step in the right direction can make a world of difference in your heart and mind. Confidence is key, though it is not easily attained.
Be your own cheerleader. Write down your goals, or share them with a friend. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to make excuses, because you are stronger than that. Be rational with your goal setting, and be aggressive in taking those steps forward. Remember, it’s just one step at a time.
All it takes is a tiny spark to create a raging fire. Don’t be afraid to light the match. You determine your own destiny. Life is all about taking chances and believing in yourself, because if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Go forward BeautyFULL girl, light that inner fire and let it burn.
Love True,
Allison

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Something in the Water

Disclaimer: This blog was written over the course of two very difficult weeks. It's amazing what a little love and some hope can do. :)



People in my life are hurting. Some are grieving loved ones, some are in physical pain, others are dealing with an emotional setback… whatever the reason, I’ve found myself in a sea of hurt. While none of the events of the past few weeks have affected me directly, people I love are seemingly drowning in their various holes of despair.

My reaction, “Be the wall, Allison. They need you to lean on. Stop shaking, take a breath and hold that little girl who just lost her father. Comfort that athlete who just suffered a season ending injury. Be there for your friend who had to bury her pet. Proof read the eulogy of your friend’s husband. Then go to work, smile all day and get to the car before you lose it. You can do it, because you have to.”

And I do have to. As humans, we are caretakers. It is in our DNA to want to help others, and my DNA is hard wired to make sure everyone is okay. Even if that means I am not. I’m struggling these days to find a balance between taking care of myself and making sure those people in my life who are going through incredible tragedies are all right.

Sitting at my desk I have to fight the urge to check my text messages, in between tasks. I am frequently loosing track of the task at hand and finding myself gazing in to space wondering how each one of these injured souls is doing.

My heart hurts for them. It truly does. I wish, with everything in me, that I could take their pain away, give them back their loved ones, and call it a day. Alas, I know that giving life is only in my job description when I decide to become a mother.

The circle of life is a terrifyingly beautiful concept. We live and we die, and its up to us to decide how we spend our time on this Earth. For me, I want to make sure that my loved ones know that I love them.

Taking life day to day is only something a person can do for so long. It’s part of healing…putting one foot in front of the other. We all do it, whether we realize it or not. We get up each day, regardless of our own personal struggles, and we just live. To quote the inspirational Robin Roberts, “Everybody’s got something,” and it is our job as a society to make sure that we are doing our part to recognize that.

Road rage at a speeding car? That mother may have just gotten the worst phone call of her life. Irritated by an outburst on social media? That man may have just lost his job. Your friend won’t text you back? They may be spending some of their last days with a loved one anticipating the inevitable. Everybody’s got something, and it’s not easy to understand why people act, say or do the things they do.

Me? I try to look to my faith. I try to pray about life’s struggles before they get out of hand. I try to remember that the person who treated me poorly may be having a worse day than I am. And that helps. Through all of the struggles of my loved ones lately, it’s been easy for me to put things in perspective, sometimes that is hard to do when things are going so well.
A song I have been LOVING lately is Carrie Underwood’s, “Something in the Water.” It is a great reminder that when you give everything up to Him, and have “just a little faith, it’ll all get better.” Relinquishing control is not something I’m good at… so this, in itself is a daily challenge for me. However, it’s easier with words like this…

“Got joy in my heart, angels on my side.
Thinking about it I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back,
Live everyday give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed
I am changed, I am stronger…”



So I’m going to keep getting up each day putting one foot in front of the other, giving those around me as much support as I can muster, and things WILL get better for them, as long as we can have a little faith. 

Love True,
Allison