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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