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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!