“We Were Born to be Powerful!”

One week ago, I was leaving work about this time to go home and nap before an EPIC weekend of sisterhood.

Many of you have heard me talk about GRRRL Clothing before.  For those that aren’t aware, GRRRL clothing does not use standard sizing for their clothes.  Everything is based on your measurements, and named after a BAD ASS female athlete.  Sizes are bullshit.  GRRRL also seeks to unite women as sisters, and allow us to realize that we do not need to be in competition with one another , but rather, to encourage and build each other up to change the world.

I posted last year about GRRRL Live, and how life changing it was.

Well.  We just finished #GL18, and it was every bit as amazing as last year.  If its possible, it was more so.

This year, we talked about so many important issues…sisterhood, intersectional feminism (with the BEST. PANEL. DISCUSSION. EVER.), white privilege, overcoming food addiction, breaking through what is holding you back from achieving your dreams, writing your story/loving yourself where you’re at,  and so many more amazing topics.

There were also INCREDIBLE workshops available, like dead lifting and Strong GRRRL, self defense, ultimate body confidence, MMA with ROSE NAMAJUNAS!!!, plant based living,  and the Nurtured Heart Approach.

Let me start with Friday night’s pool party.

I’m not a bathing suit fan, or rather, I never used to be.  But being surrounded by so many amazing women, knowing that they weren’t there to judge my thighs or scars, or body hair, I was so comfortable.  In fact, they’ve made me feel so comfortable, that I’m planning to buy a bikini for this summer.

We danced.  We sang.  We ate cheese.  We jumped into the pool (I say “we”, I mostly mean “they.”  I kind of hopped into the super shallow end, with my water phobia.  lol) I got to hug and reconnect with some of the AMAZING GRRRLS I met last year, and then met some AMAZING new friends…who are local to Las Vegas!!!!  It was an awesome night, despite the ridiculous wind that tried to blow us all away.

Saturday was amazing.  We heard from 2 of the Next Gen GRRRL models, who are still in school, but are learning important lessons in life about supporting your sisters, dealing with bullies, and finding something you’re passionate about (I’m looking at you, Ava!  You were amazing with your presentation) and doing it to the best of your ability.

Talking about intersectional feminism was one of the Saturday highlights for me.  As a white woman, I need to make sure that I am using my privilege for GOOD (and not being a trash bag about it).  This talk and the following panel opened my eyes to so many things, and reaffirmed so many other things that I had already thought about.  We spoke briefly about cultural appropriation, a topic that always concerns me, as a student of Arab Dance.  It was eye opening, and I’m looking forward to learning all that I can.   I desperately want to be helpful, but not in a “the white girl is here to take over” kind of a way.  I want to find an organization or cause dealing specifically with issues for POC, and see if they’ll let me help out in the background…stuffing envelopes, etc.  I don’t need to be a mouthpiece, I just want to help.

Saturday I also tried dead lifting for the first time, and I am HOOKED.  I am currently searching for places/people to train with, because I just loved it.  The world of power lifting is beckoning me!!!

Sunday was emotional.  We had a talk about freedom from food addiction, and I resonated SO much with what our speaker was saying…I am extremely excited to have some one on one time next week with her so we can discuss steps I can take to be truly free.  So much of what she said hit me…things I can’t really get into here, but lets just say, she could have been talking about my life.

We also had a talk about breaking through barriers…quite literally.  Our speaker brought enough boards for all of us to write down what we wanted on one side, what was standing in our way on the other side…and we broke the boards with our fists!!  Talk about empowering.  I’ve never felt so amazing.

The highlight for me, however, was being asked to co-teach the ultimate body confidence workshop with 2 other amazing women.

We taught body confidence through dance.  There was twerking, chair dancing, and of course…belly dance/Arab Dance.

This was the largest group I’ve ever taught in a workshop setting, and I loved every last second of it.  Even with the 30 minute time constraints, every participant was able to grasp the basics of the moves that I showed, and they learned a short combination to dance to.

Being able to share my passion for dance, while imparting how amazing they all were was incredible.  Dancing has bolstered my confidence so much, and even though I still have days where I feel a little like “Oh, I don’t know…my scars will be showing,” etc…if you love what you do, the confidence will come.

The other awesome part for me was being able to educate these women (albeit a bit briefly) about the origins of the dance, and to impart that this is someone’s culture, not just a super fun “shake your butt” activity.  (Although it is super fun, but its also a cultural dance.)

There were other events that I wasn’t able to stay for, like an AMAZING WEDDING!!!!  2 incredible GRRRLS that met through the Facebook group got married on Sunday night! There was also a movie premier, which I wish I could have been able to attend, but we had other things going on that night.

All in all, after the weekend, I feel much better about some of the things that I’ve been wanting to do, but putting off.  I have new ideas,  and although they will take time, I know that I have some amazing things to do that will help me achieve some of my commitments, and make an impact in the lives of GRRRLS everywhere.

I’m going to leave you with some photos from the weekend.  I can’t wait for GRRRL Live 2019.  It promises to be an even more incredible weekend.  To all my GRRRLS who I met/reconnected with this weekend, thank you so much for everything you do, and everything you are.  We were born to be powerful.  We are warriors!  We are sisters!  We are going to change the world!!!!!

 

 

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Can I be your GRRRL?

Its been an interesting week, my dear readers.

Nothing bad  happened, but my mood has been very low, and I’d been struggling with a lot of self doubt, and self loathing.  All I could think of are the many times I wasn’t “enough,”  and the instances right now where I feel removed from my own life.

But then, I attended a conference that was all about confidence, self love, and changing the world.  You know.  General Bad-Assery.   This conference has already changed my life, and it just ended on Sunday.

Indulge me, if you will, in looking at the thoughts that were coming up the few days before the GRRRL Live Conference.  This is going to be a long post.  Please hang with me.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Looking back over my life, as far back as I can remember…I’ve never really been the pursued in relationships.  I’ve always been the girl with the crush on the guy that doesn’t know she exists, or only likes her as a friend.  Yes, there have been one or two exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of my memories of being a teenager into my late 20s involve me doing the chasing, me keeping up most of the communications, and me falling in love with guys who just wanted to “have fun” with me, or wanted nothing to do with me.

All of these instances, I recall wondering what was wrong with me?  Why didn’t they want me? Or, why didn’t they want more?  And the reasons…Oh the reasons I came up with:
1.  I’m not pretty enough
2. I’m not thin enough
3.  Not smart enough
4. Not nerdy enough (yes, that one actually went through my mind)
5. Not Christian enough
6. Not “freaky” enough
7.  Not close enough

You get the idea.

If I ever asked anyone, the only answer I ever got was “You’re great, I just don’t feel that way about you.”  No why.  No reason.  Nothing for me to fix or work on.

I had a chat with Morgan about this the other day, as we were heading to have dinner with family, expressing my feelings on this.  I told him that I felt silly for feeling this way…I’m married, I’m happy.  But he pointed out to me that even with him, for the longest time, I was the pursuer.  I wasn’t the first choice.  He said that it had to sting, and still hurt, even though things worked out for us.  He has a point.

I try not to dwell in the past.  In the end, he fell in love with me.  Enough to want to marry me, which he said he’d never do again.
But before all that…it was just another scenario where for years I wasn’t enough.  Strong enough, and other shortcomings.  (Morgan has told me on several occasions that it wasn’t that I wasn’t enough, he just had a different set of priorities then.  I understand that and accept it…but it doesn’t change how I felt back then.)

I can’t help but feel a bit sad about this.
I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m not good enough.  So even when I am happy, and I’m married, and am told that I’m enough…I still have days where I don’t feel like I am.  The past comes back to haunt me.

Of course, it bleeds over into other areas of my life too…not just the romantic side of things.  For the last 13 or 14 years, I’ve felt like I’m lacking in the dance department.  Not thin enough.  Not pretty enough.  Not talented enough.  Not connected enough.  Not good enough.  Not good enough to join troupes, not good enough to get paid gigs, not thin or pretty enough to get a restaurant gig…it gets debilitating at times.

There was a trigger to these feelings coming up now, although I’d rather not get into it.
As I said, I’m married and happy.  But it just sucks when you believe something in your gut, and you’re right about it, and then your brain says “See?  You weren’t good enough for that either.”

This concept of self love…of confidence…of being enough…where does it stem from?  Should we base our worth on the opinions of others?  Of being enough for another person or group of people?

I don’t think so, no.  Look at me.  My self worth has been based on if so and so likes me/is interested in me, etc…and its gotten me a whole lot of nothing but depression and doubt.

How then, do we change how we discover our value?  How do we look inside for our worth?  How do we, to borrow from a popular phrase these days, “Stop giving a fuck” about the opinions of others?

In short, how do I become enough for me?

Its a difficult balance, because I don’t want to downplay the opinions of the people I love.  People’s opinions DO matter (to me, anyway), but I get hung up in placing too much emphasis on their opinions instead of my own.

It doesn’t help that I generally have a pretty low opinion of myself a lot these days anyway.  I can’t lose weight.  I’m uncomfortable in my skin, and my clothes.  My clothes don’t fit, and I’ve busted the thighs of 2 pair of pants in the last week.

But…I’m healthy.  I haven’t had kidney problems since the stone was blasted in January.  I don’t have anything wrong with me medically.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and thyroid numbers are all spectacular.  If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Finding a way to love myself is hard.  Its hard for a lot of us.

The best news is…at the conference this weekend, I was given tools to use.  I heard stories from women who have been in the same position that I am.  People who struggled with loving themselves.  Women who hated who they were, hated their bodies.  These women rose above adversity and grew.  They learned to love themselves.  They learned to treat their bodies well.  And now?  They are MMA and UFC fighters.  They are endurance athletes.  They are power lifters who can dead lift over 600 pounds.  They are MFCEOs of amazing companies that are going to CHANGE THE WORLD!

DO IT LIKE A GRRRL
So, this conference was presented by GRRRL Clothing.
If you aren’t aware, get ready, because this is so much more than a clothing line!  I was introduced to GRRRL Clothing by a dear friend online.  I was just starting to get into fitness again, and she knew the struggles I dealt with emotionally, so she messaged me one day and said “I’m adding you to this group.  I think you will benefit from it.  Feel free to leave its not a good fit, but I think you’ll like it.”

Well.  needless to say, I stayed an d loved it.

What I found in the Facebook Group was a ton of women who are committed to building each other up.   To being supportive.
In so many instances, society and other influences pit women against each other.  We’re told that we’re each other’s competition.

And that’s the beautiful thing about GRRRL.  #notyourcompetition is a mantra.  A code of ethics.  A lifestyle.

Think about it.  As women, how many times do we look at each other and think something negative?  “Could those shorts be any shorter?”  “She’s probably had work done.”  “Cocky Bitch, who does she think she is?”

Why do we say those things?  Why can’t we say something positive?  “Look at that girl, owning her amazing legs, and being comfortable in her own body!”   “Damn girl, you look amazing!”  “Look at all that confidence.  That is badass.”

The other AMAZING thing about GRRRL Clothing is, they don’t use traditional sizing for their clothing.
As a line of workout clothes: leggings, sports bras, shorts and tops, all of their sizes are named after badass female athletes, and are based on measurements.
For example:  I am a size Amenah in pants.  Amenah is a power lifter and competes in strongman competitions.  She’s stunningly beautiful, strong, and just generally a badass.  There’s also size Kortney, after the MFCEO of the company.  You have have seen videos of Kortney floating around the internet…she’s pretty well known for CRUSHING WATERMELONS WITH HER THIGHS. She’s a badass.  And…she’s cool as hell.

So, rather than sticking to the stigma of S, M. L, XL, XXL, etc…now women can take their measurements and say “I’m a size Kortney.  Fuck yes!”  Or, with the addition of their newest size:  “I’m a size Sam!  Yes! Samantha Coleman is an incredibly strong woman! That’s amazing!”

Do I sound like I drank the Kool-aid?  I know I do.  But I seriously love and believe in what this company is trying to do for women.  Imagine how incredible the world will be when we can stop tearing other women down, and start building other women up!  Women are FIERCE.  We just need to harness that fierceness and work together.

GRRRL Live 2017: Break Free in LAS VEGAS!
So, now that you have a little background about the company…Kortney and the crew had this incredible idea to hold a conference for the GRRRL Army.  As women, we all struggle with things.  Addiction, eating disorders, depression, self harm…there’s always something going on with us.  Even those of us who have it all together a lot of the times.  No one can be perfect every day.

I’m not going to go into explicit detail about all of the speakers, or the things that were covered for a couple of reasons.
1.  There’s a lot.  Like, I seriously took 4 pages of notes on just ONE of the many speakers that were there over the weekend.
2.  This was a conference that had sold tickets, and I don’t feel right just GIVING away all of the information.   Plus…you know.  There’s always next year if you want in on the awesome scoop.

What I will say is this.
I learned several new tools for helping myself, including one that I started last night:  Putting the fork down in between bites while eating.  Checking in with my body.  Meditations to forgive myself.  Ideas on how to really get in touch with myself on a deep level.
I heard stories from incredible women who have been where I’ve been.  Different circumstances, different problems, but at the root of it:  women who were at rock bottom, and overcame the problems.  Women who are super successful, and happy now.  They found something they were passionate about: whether it was MMA, Running, Power lifting, or Laughing.  They found what they were passionate about and they pursued it, full force.

It was inspiring.

Seeing so many women, feeling the same things.  Processing the same information a bunch of different ways…women breaking down and crying with people they’d never met before.  Being supportive of the brave women who shared their stories…learning that we are enough.  We are not things.  We are not objects.  We are women.

It kept coming back to me that I’m really not alone in my life.  No matter how isolated I might feel sometimes.  I’m not alone.  I have a motherfucking GRRRL ARMY behind me, helping me, supporting me.

And with their support…nothing can stop me.  Nothing.

 

 

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.

I have a plethora of strong, amazing, incredible women in my life, and I’m beyond blessed to have them there.

Women are amazing beings.  We really are.

I’m talking about all women: Literally any human being who identifies as female/woman.

How amazing are we, ladies?

We are friends, lovers, mothers, caregivers, daughters, sisters, executives, teachers, IT professionals, lawyers, doctors, singers, artists, bloggers, stay-at-home moms, business owners, politicians.  We are warriors, fighters, queens, princesses, saviors, knights, Madonnas, Jezebels, strong women, power lifters, dancers.

My women.  My amazing, inspiring women.  My friends, my family.
Me.
We are.  We are women.  We have struggles.  We are beaten down, oppressed, depressed, repressed, pressing the laundry, pressing the grilled cheeses, pressing matters, pressing the button for the destruction of inequality.

My women.  My amazing, inspiring women.  My friends, my family.
Me.
We are.  We are women.  We are creatively mothers, even those of us who are child free.  We give birth:   We birth ideas, babies, recipes, knitting patterns, home decor, weddings, funerals, business plans.  We work tirelessly, up all night feeding our children, our infants, our pets, our spouses, our projects, our music, our dance studio, our painting, our depositions, our desperate friends.  We nurture and mother, whether we are mothers or not we are nurturers.  We care deeply.  We love.  We comfort.  We give advice freely, over coffee, over tea, over whiskey.

We are.
We are WOMEN.  We endure.  We live it every day.  The passive aggressive turned aggressive turned violent in less than 5 minutes dating site messages.  The fragile egos of the fuckboys who insist that they are “nice guys”…who aren’t so nice when we politely say that we aren’t interested.  We endure.  The constant catcalls.  The men who tell us to smile.  The ones who leer, and call us prudes for going slow when it comes to sex, but call us sluts if we admit to enjoying it.
We live through the victim shaming.  The repression of being told what to wear, how to dress, how to avoid being raped, when it is NEVER our own fault!  If I walk down the street buck ass naked as the day I was born, it will NEVER BE CONSENT UNLESS I SAY YES.
We live through being TOLD we are being repressed, oppressed, simply by dressing a certain way.  If I cover my hair, my face, my body, its oppression.  But what they don’t realize is that I choose this.  What they’ll never realize because they never ask is that I feel empowered by modesty.  I feel empowered by nudity.  My empowerment is not for you to dictate.  Only I can say what empowers me.

I am a woman.
An Amazing woman.

A woman who sees other amazing women beginning to spark changes.
Women who make it their mission to build other women up.  Realizing that we are NOT in competition with each other, but we are striving for a sisterhood.

Striving to understand one another.  To break through barriers that divide, united in the fight for ALL women.  For our right to CHOOSE.  For our right to have control over OUR OWN bodies.

Today, I celebrate WOMEN.  All the beautiful women in the world.
You are all strong, courageous and inspiring.

Ladies, don’t give in.
Don’t become complacent.  We have to fight.  We cannot be comfortable.
Stand up for each other, and each others rights. ALL rights.  Don’t tear each other down.  We are ALL in this together.