Twitter Updates

Monday, October 17, 2016

An Open letter to that girl at #GIRL2016

Hey Girl!

Well, we made it happen... we finally met. We traveled from our perspective ends of the universe to finally embrace in each other's precious company. I don't know about you, but I thought it was pretty damn magical. And maybe we didn't have the privilege of make EVERYONE'S acquaintance (because lets face it, there were 300 of us), but simply sharing that space with you was a complete treasure.

This mission that brought us into each other's lives, our reason for connecting and our shared passion for life gives me so much hope. Whatever it was that led you to I AM THAT GIRL, whether it was a struggle, a triumph, a set back, accomplishing a goal, a fear, a joy or a complete tragedy... be grateful for it... because now you're here, and here is a good place to be.

Getting here may have been an easy journey for you, or it could have been years of an uphill battle, but you made it. This community needs you here, the world needs you here, I need you here. Because here is everywhere. Here, at IATG, is a tangible feeling felt everywhere... not just while in each other's arms at a theater in LA. Here is in the late night text messages, the Facebook & Instagram posts, and the three hour Skype sessions across oceans and time zones. Here is in the love letters sent via snail mail and here is in each of your communities where you share the love you receive with others who may need to find what it means to be here.

Photo credit: I AM THAT GIRL, Twitter account
This community's strength is found in the depths of your soul and in the light that you shine every single day. So, even though we are no longer in the arms of one another, please remember that our bond is far stronger than the miles that lie between us. And when it comes time to cut that piece of multicolored string off your wrist, know that the ties that bind you to each other will not unravel. Go forward from this experience knowing you have effected my whole heart and the hearts of so many women. You are strong, you are capable, you are inspiring, you are needed here, you are beautyfull and you are so much more than ENOUGH.

The universe has handed us a grand opportunity... to be the best versions of ourselves, together. Can you even imagine the mark we can leave on this world? I hope that you continue to use your voice and your gifts as you carry on this journey. You are a warrior princess of this cultural shift and I am thankful for you every single day. As I sit on this plane, filled to the absolute brim with gratitude, I can only pray that this world is good to you, my sweet Anam Cara. And when it's not, know that we're here, I'm here... and some day soon we will again find ourselves in each other's presence sharing hearts, holding hands and celebrating the magic that is sparked when women who believe in the one another share space together.

So, sweet girl, until that magical time we meet again, when we are able to sway back and forth singing the anthems of our tribe at the tippy top of our lungs... I will keep you in my heart. I have cried so many joyful tears knowing the amount of truth and love that exists within the confines of our sisterhood can move mountains... so that's what we will do. Do not be sad that we are no longer together. We were always meant to go our separate ways. Coming together was an opportunity to fuel our passion and to set out on our own individual journeys to change this world. So I am wishing you endless growth, gratitude and grace on your beautiful journey. Thank you for touching my soul, and for allowing me to be a part of your inspiring story.
Photo credit: I AM THAT GIRL, Twitter account

All my love forever,

Al

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Self- Diagnosis

I'm a self-diagnosed perfectionist.

I've decided.

I think that's what it means when you uncover some kind of crazy truth about yourself without the help of a medical professional. I've struggled with believing I was good enough in various facets of my life for a number of years. The time I've spent overanalyzing decisions I've made, outfits I've worn, things I've said, people I've shared my time with, situations I've been in, and obstacles I've faced completely baffles me. If I'm being honest... I'm ready to be done with that shit.

As one self-diagnosed individual does, I have determined that I require a specific course of action to help curb the progression of this perfectionism. The easiest form of therapy would be to simply say, screw it and move on every time I find myself doubting my "ENOUGH-NESS." Unfortunately, that course of action is probably akin to looking at a Nicorette patch without the intent of placing it on one's skin. I can also confirm that this strategy would not be practical for this individual given my ability to think about things far longer than the average human should be able to mull things over.

I think the most appropriate course of action is actually self-realization. When I find myself criticizing the fabulous woman in the mirror, I simply need to take a moment to remember what I know to be true about myself:

1. My worth is innate. No one can tell me who I am or what I am worth. Only I can determine that.

2. I recognize that no person who contributes to me feeling less than I am worth is not someone I will chose to spend time with. Sorry people... if your presence in my life is causing me to feel crappy, I'm cutting you out. Life is too short for me to worry about what you think. 

3. In conjunction with that, I also know it is absolutely impossible for me to make everyone happy. Despite nearly 30 years of attempting this... I'm giving up. It's not going to happen, so I'm going to focus on my one obligation... Me. 

4. Life has blessed me with some truly beautiful people that I can confide in when I need it.

5. Perfectionism is not a disease... it's a flaw and I'm flawed and that's okay. 

It's all just a part of this journey to growth, gratitude and grace, right!?

Stay Sweet, Friends~

Allison

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Radical Empathy

What do you do when you don't know what to do? When someone you know is hurting and you're not sure how to help. When you feel overwhelmed and can't seem to uncover why. When society seems to be going to shit and no one has any answers...

I started reading a book that has come highly recommended by one of my soul sisters (thanks, Liv). It's called Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed. I have not had the opportunity to dive in deep yet, but within the first 50 pages I've found a quote that seems to resonate here:

"It's what most of us have to give a few times over the course of our lives: to love with a mindfully clear sense of purpose, even when it feels outrageous to do so."

I'm not sure what to do to help the best friend who is hurting, or the child who has experienced a trauma, or to help bring peace to communities who are being destroyed by race and judgment and bigotry.

So I'll love, and I'll love purposefully.

Reaching out to loved ones in need can be hard sometimes. Holding space for healing hearts can be exhausting, but we do it... because we love them. Our friends and families appreciate this of us, knowing we are there. They may not always reach out, but the peace of mind that a person can and will show up for you is a remarkable thing. But what about those who we may not agree with??

What about the bigot who lives on the corner, or the online bully who is brave behind a screen and a coward in person? What about those people who cause our loved ones pain? Is it possible to show up for people we dislike in the same way?

I think if every person decided to love purposefully on someone who may need it most, someone who seems impossible to show compassion to, someone they can not see eye to eye with... we could change the world. At I AM THAT GIRL, we have a saying "hurt people hurt people," and I honestly believe in the truth of that statement. It takes someone who is in pain to cause pain to another human being. Think about it... truly happy people don't treat people poorly, they lift them up.

So find that jackass, or that person in pain... seek them out, find them. They need you more than you know. Show them love and understanding. Ignite radical empathy and start a chain reaction. They probably don't deserve your love. Give it to them anyway. Actively practice loving with purpose... if it doesn't change their life, let it change yours.

Wishing you growth, gratitude and grace~
Allison

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dreams

It's been another long hiatus for this writer... not from writing, but simply from this platform. I've had a lot on my plate lately, so posting for the masses has had to take a back seat. I so appreciate the support and encouragement I've received from some of you! Lots of loving vibes are being felt and sent back your way! So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!



I've spent the past two years writing and interning for an organization that completely enhanced and transformed my life. I've built relationships with women in all corners of this country and some across the globe. My heart has drummed one beat after another for the cause that is I AM THAT GIRL. I have had the privilege of learning from women I idolize and sharing my story with younger girls. It was always my hope that they, at their tender ages, would not feel so alone knowing that women before them have made it through similar situations... and become better and stronger human beings in spite of their struggles.

It's been incredible, enlightening, inspiring and motivating. I've learned that I have more interests and more passions in life than I ever thought possible. A typically scared individual, I am learning to stare my fears in the face and conquer them without second guessing myself (something I've struggled with my entire life).

Over the past two years, self-exploration has been in the forefront of my life. I've dedicated countless hours to journaling, dating myself, engaging in hard conversations with people I trust and really getting to know who I am. Learning about my needs and how I can best serve myself and the people in my life, was one of the most incredible self-discoveries I've made. Throughout this time I also learned that I hadn't really given myself permission to dream. I think a lot of times, we limit the dreaming to the kiddos, emphasizing that they CAN DO ANYTHING they set their minds to. At a certain point, we stop reaching for some of those dreams. Perhaps we achieve them, perhaps we settle for something less than our original aspirations... but somewhere in my nearly 30 years, I started to stop believing that the dreams I had dreamt up as a child were attainable.

Almost a year ago exactly, I wrote about a quote from one of my favorite philanthropists, Sophia Bush. Earlier this week, the quote resurfaced for me, and it now resides on the cover of a binder that is housing one of my most precious dreams. Part of the quote reads,

“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.” –Sophia Bush

We get so caught up in being dreamers. People appreciate that you have a dream and often look at dreams with romanticized ideations. But I think sometimes we become so enamored with dreams being dreams that we forget (or we don't actually believe) that we are capable of making them come true. I know that I'm incredibly guilty of that. When thinking about my aforementioned dream, it always seemed so far out of reach, a beautiful thought, something to fantasize over. I don't think I ever truly believed it was something I was meant to accomplish.
IATG instagram post

So what of dreams, then?? I refuse to believe that dreams are meant to stay dreams. Dreaming is a beautiful concept but I can't help but become frustrated at the idea that dreaming is merely theoretical. What purpose do dreams serve if we only look to them to give us warm and fuzzy false hope?! We owe it to our dreams and to ourselves to chase after them with the intent of catching them... or, if you ask me, we do not deserve to dream them at all.

This binder of mine, it comes with me everywhere. With it, I carry a journal that I am utilizing to brainstorm, plan, and explore the depths of my creativity and my passion. The simple act of keeping this physical representation of my dream close has helped reaffirm the "hustle" for me. It is allowing me the space to dream out loud, so to speak. Having it close at all times gives me the opportunity to embrace inspiration when it comes, instead of putting it off until I have time (if you know me... you know I'd be waiting for months). For the first time since I was a little girl reciting monologues and making music videos in my bedroom mirror, I am actively and confidently pursuing a dream I've had for 10 years.

It feels good people. It feels really good.

So my friends, I implore you to dream dreams. Don't place yourself in the box of adulthood and assume you have no right. Dreaming is for everyone... not just the kiddos. But don't dream in vain. Decide what you want and actively pursue it. Remember, “The dream is what you imagine, the hustle is what you have to do to actually live it..." 

Hustle hard my friends,

and dream on.

Wishing you growth, gratitude and grace always-
xo AL

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Real-Life Superwomen

Have you ever been given the advice not to meet your hero? Don't approach your favorite celebrity, athlete or author --because they will never live up to the idealistic version of them you have created in your head??

I've heard it.

But I choose not to believe it.

You see. I've met two of my (S)HERO's now. One in person, one via conference call.

When I met Emily Greener (co-founder of my life preserver, I AM THAT GIRL), I felt heard, supported and inspired. At that point in my life, I had been writing for IATG for a year as a blogger, and had launched 2 chapters at that time, but Emily and I had never truly interacted other than a short conversation via skype. When we met, she walked right up to me, a virtual stranger, hugged me, looked me in the eyes and said, "I know you," with the most incredibly genuine smile. It was remarkable. She did know me. Because, like every other girl who finds the opportunity to meet someone they admire, I wanted to know her heart, what made her tick and how she felt about life. She gifted me with the knowledge of those things. Part of the way through our conversation she looked at me with curious eyes and asked, "Do you want to have kids?" Now, even though I'm of child bearing age, I am CRAZY single!! So, I laughed a bit and I smiled at her, informing her that I did in fact want to have kids some day. She shook her head in the most loving way and said, "I bet you'll be a great mom." I'm not sure if I can accurately explain how that comment made me feel. How does any compliment from your hero resonate? I was on top of the world with that, and so grateful for the opportunity to learn from and grow with this beautiful woman for the next 24 hours. It was a dream.

Tonight I heard the words of Emily's partner in crime, Alexis Jones. Alexis is now the chairwoman of the board of IATG, but is also Emily's co-founder. I used the term "life preserver" previously when referring to IATG because this organization has not only saved me from drowning, it has also continued to keep me afloat. Alexis joined our monthly leader call tonight, and it was the first time in my years with IATG that I've had the privilege of hearing her speak live. I'm not sure there are enough words in the English language to accurately describe how deeply I felt everything this woman said. She was authentic, she was real, she was vulnerable... everything she has taught us to be. She was absolutely everything I would have expected, and yet my mind is completely blown. I learned, that this woman who I have spent the better part of 3 years admiring is far more like me than I ever would have assumed. We have similar personalities traits and quirks. We handle our stress and anxiety in exactly the same way. We struggle with some of the same insecurities, and we have very VERY similar passions in life.

I'm not sure if I can adequately express what it is like to come to the realization that your heros are more like you that you could have ever dreamed... but it has my heart feeling all kinds of feels tonight. I AM THAT GIRL is setting new standards for how women treat themselves and each other. I am beside myself that I have chosen two role models who are living proof that hard work, perseverance, big dreams and a kind heart can get you exactly where you want to go. There are no other words for these beauties... just a sigh of gratitude for stumbling across a tweet a few years back about some bad ass ladies who were marching to Washington. At a time when I needed them most... they were there for me, and they still are. Now, they're just opening the door for me to be THAT GIRL for someone else... and the circle of life continues.

Love True-
Allison



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Update

I'm BAAAAAACCCCCCKKKKKKK...

I can't believe it's almost five months since I've done a blog post for this site. 5 months. WOW.

Don't worry... I've been writing. But when you're sending in submissions and saving all your best ideas for a slightly larger audience, the piddly personal blog tends to sit on the back burner. With that being said... I LOVE I AM THAT GIRL!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed writing every single piece I have written for them. I am so proud of the work that I have put in there, and I know that writing for them has helped me immensely in developing this craft.

Since I've written last many things have happened. I'll fill you in below:

1. I turned 29 (and that is where the conversation ends)
2. The 3rd Anniversary of Avery's passing occurred late in October. (I usually function horribly for about a month each year at this time)
3. We celebrated another amazing Turkey Bowl with the Gillette family (our epic Thanksgiving tradition)
4. I coached my first EVER State All Around Champion (such a proud moment)
5. We celebrated our first Christmas with a sibling missing, which signified we are really growing up and moving on (Abby was off adventuring with her boyfriend's family in Chile)
6. I took on a role within the IATG local chapter program that I absolutely love (those girls give me so much joy)
7. I was approached by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada to write another article for their blog (which I am incredibly honored to do)
8. Our gymnastics team has gotten off to an incredible start to the season. We only have 3 meets left before conference!!!!

There are so many more updates, and I'll write on them as I see fit. I just wanted to pop in and say I have not disappeared... and shit's about to get real.

:)

Love True,
Allison

Extraordianary

This post was originally published at www.iamthatgirl.com


"You are profoundly and utterly extraordinary."
-Alexis Jones

My heart claps incredibly loud reading these words (Disclaimer: the term "heartclap" is a signature phrase in the IATG community used when something truly resonates deep within your soul). The words of a woman who has, without ever meeting me or knowing anything about me, completely reshaped the image I have of myself. I did not know confidence like this existed for me. I knew it existed of course, I just wasn't aware it was something I could manifest within myself. That is, until I stumbled across the I AM THAT GIRL phenomenon sweeping this nation.

I had friends who were beautiful, intelligent, witty, confident fire crackers and I was JEALOUS. I remember wishing that I was more like THAT GIRL, even though there were a lot of girls in my life whose qualities I lusted after. I wished I had THAT GIRL's confidence, or THAT GIRL's athleticism. My roommates were all THAT GIRL to me because they were brilliant, beautiful and had incredible senses of humor.

Everyone loves THAT GIRL because she exhibits all of these incredible qualities. She's strong without appearing over confident, she's loving without seeming over bearing, she's beautiful on the outside without knowing it and she's beautiful on the inside with the most selfless heart.

My entire life I knew girls like this and secretly looked up to them. I always wished, with my whole heart, that I could be just like THAT GIRL.

When I found Alexis Jones and the I AM THAT GIRL community, I bought her book immediately and messages like this started flooding through my heart:

"To be 'that girl' just means you're going to give life your best shot, that you're not going to make excuses or justifications, that you're going to go for it, whatever that means for you. It also means you're going to be an example of true beauty in the world and encourage the same for all the other women in your life. Being 'that girl' means you are a constant work in progress-- you're willing to be vulnerable, flawed, and compassionate and are someone who stumbles and falls but isn't afraid to admit her shortcomings in the midst of her magnificence."

That's when I started thinking about all of those girls who I had admired for being THAT GIRL in my life. I had never felt like THAT GIRL. I had never assumed I'd be worthy of the same kind of admiration I had been feeling for my rockstar friends. But reading Alexis' words about what truly defined THAT GIRL gave me a strange sense of enlightenment.

I'm giving life my best shot. I'm living life inexcusably, and going after my dreams same as the next girl. I love with my whole heart and acknowledge the fact that imperfection is the most beautiful expression of womanhood. Coming to the realization that being a "work in progress" is okay was completely liberating for me. I had always had this idealized vision of who I could be when I become that perfect version of myself. But through my involvement in this incredibly inspiring community I've realized that embracing exactly who I am NOW is the most perfect display of grace.

I AM THAT GIRL. It may have taken me 27 years to figure that out, but I have. All of those other girls... they are THAT GIRL too, but so am I, and I am finally at a place in my life where I can appreciate that my sense of humor, my athleticism, my beauty, my brains and my confidence are what make me, ME! They are unique to my own self and yours are unique to YOU!

It's great to have role models, or people you admire. But inn admiring all of your idols don't lose sight of what makes you THAT GIRL, because that's exactly what you are. Embrace all of your Beauty-full... because there's a lot of it within you.