(You had to be there)
Now take a deep breath.
This past weekend I had the most amazing experience fall into my lap, or as was repeated many times this weekend, nothing happens in life by coincidence. I was able to attend a women’s empowerment conference (I know, right? More on that in a sec) and leap LIGHT YEARS out of my comfort zone and spend a little bit of time to help film some promotional material for the company hosting the event (okay, after experiencing this weekend, I almost hate to call it a company, as their passion truly is a bigger movement–but, at the end of the day, it is a company). Oh, and probably worth saying at some point, this blog is all my personal opinion–while I voluntarily helped them tape some promo stuff this weekend, I am not in any way bound to this company or sponsored by them thereof…but hey, willing to consider offers–this girl goes through running tights and sports bras like no tomorrow and lives on a budget!
The company: Grrrl. Full disclosure–I didn’t know a lot about them until a few months ago, and as those that know me, I do my homework before diving in. The tagline on their website is “our clothes won’t change the world the women who wear them will.” I encourage you to read their “about us” (the WHOLE) thing at https://www.grrrl.com/about-us/. It’s a good read. They’re also an open book and very easy to talk to. Now, some of y’all that know me know that I struggle with different “women’s empowerment” movements because they do it at the expense of alienating another group of people (ie: my biggest pet peeve, those groups that bastardize men in order to further a women’s agenda…c’mon, stop and think for a half a second how many men are allies for women too…let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water). Grrrl gets it. When Grrrl says inclusive, they mean INCLUSIVE–and they show it in every action they take through their education, online communities, and how they are interacting with the world. I felt comfortable giving this opportunity a chance (well, as comfortable as the world’s biggest introvert can be showing up to face a few hundred strangers and be asked to place themselves in many vulnerable positions through the teachings and workshops), and I’m glad I did. It may take me until the next go-round of this event in 2021 to process everything I’ve taken away from the weekend.
This conference was jam packed from early morning until evening with so much information that even after coming home and sleeping in my own bed, I feel like my brain is still on overload. Each morning started with an optional workout class, I opted for the yoga class both days. I’m not a super fan of live yoga classes (love my Sufferfest!), but hands down this was the best live yoga I’ve ever attended. If I ever have the opportunity, I would attend this instructor’s class in Vegas when I was in the area. She was amazing. Even had a yoga breakthrough in class! My upper body strength is awful, and I usually I end up modifying positions that place weight or weight and movement on that part of the body. I was really was really into it, and all of a sudden, I realized I had walked my arms back from downward dog into forward fold when my hands were just lying there on my feet! OMG! There was almost cheering from the back corner of the room–I was really proud of myself. So, maybe all that swimming and Suf Strength is paying off…I love my shoulders, and I have biceps and triceps now (the triceps are there if you feel them, they’re just in the padding protection program thanks to all the weight loss saggy baggy skin, cue eyeroll)…the rest of my upper body, well, it needs to catch up. (now will my swim splits please start to reflect this?)
The speakers…Oh, I could talk about the speakers all day long. The weekend was filled with speakers that spoke about honesty, perspective, service, gratitude, laughter, nutrition (mindful eating–Praise sweet Baby Jesus there wasn’t a single word mentioned about diets/dieting/harmful diet culture crap, I might have started a riot, and this was probably the audience I’d have a few to back me up, LOL), stress, personal development, self defense, human trafficking and exploitation, learning to love your body, public speaking/presenting workshops (oohhh…I’m following up with that presenter, I even went to her breakout session), awareness and acceptance, assertiveness, balance, self belief, action….oh my goodness, there was even more than that if I had my program in front of me. There was even several workshops on things like powerlifting, Highland Games, thyroid imbalance, etc….but I tried to choose the ones that would be most beneficial not only to my personal journey, but to the ministry and programs I lead too–oh, I have enough in my head now for the next century to go off in the weeds with!
Right now, it’s time for me to catch my breath and unpack everything my brain sponged up this weekend–so much content in a short amount of time, so many people, so much vulnerability around many of the topics. I’m toasted. Introversion aside, just my social anxiety and the sheer enormity of it all kept me away from some of the evening parties. It might of been easier had I had at least one person I knew there to suction cup myself to, but I was grateful to stay off-site in a space all my own, and even at lunch to have the freedom to get away and leave the casino to decompress from the crowds in a quiet place.
Nothing happens in life by coincidence…I was right where I needed to be this weekend for a reason. I’ve talked about it before not only in this blog, but on countless social media posts the insecurities I have about a lot of different things–my body as it has changed as I’ve lost weight, understanding and accepting my potential and capabilities as an athlete, even the very basics of my worth as a human being and a child of God.
I’ve talked before when giving my testimony on how I felt at the very beginning of this journey that I was a hypocrite, that I would counsel others in what they could/should do, but I wasn’t living my life that way, so I made changes. Here we are over four years later and I’m a completely different person inside and out that I’m still getting to know. I’m literally physically, mentally, and spiritually healthier, fitter, and smaller than I’ve ever been post-puberty and I find myself back in that same position of feeling that hypocrisy. Sure, I can affirm facts–I’m strong, I’m this, I’m that…but do I honestly and truly believe in myself? Do I love myself (and not in the hokey kind of way)? No. No, I do not….but yet I can stand up and tell everyone else that they need to. (case and point, my last workshop presentation–see last post and my awful cell phone video) Hypocrite.
I don’t say this to flog myself, to shame myself, but it is to admit a reality the the work that still needs to be done. Goals. I’ll get there. But it’s not an overnight job. Spiritual, physical, and mental/emotional goals–working on myself holistically. It’s a never ending process, but as I’ve learned over the last four years…the expanse of resources, accountability, help, and just the right people at just the right time are exactly where they have needed to be. #igotgoals
(And apparently that is my mean face when my glasses are taken from me and I’m desperately trying to figure out where the camera lens is, LOL. My RX sunglasses that I ran in for the taping were a little too branded for the up-close shots)