Growing up as a competitive and elite female athlete, there were many points in my life where I felt like a total alien. Trying to balance the fierce, driven, disciplined, trained and aggressive competitor in me along side my soft, emotional, nurturing, compassionate, sensual and empathetic side often left me feeling a bit mystified as to how to truly and completely express myself. My teammates and I used to joke about our multiple personalities – as if the Jekyll and bit was totally normal. While at the time, humor was our most readily available coping strategy (and no doubt we definitely had some good laughs about our hugeness**), looking back, now with a much deeper understanding of mental health and wellness, I wish I had known how to better handle the strain of this ongoing inner struggle to be everything all at once.
While on the field, in the classroom or at work, I conditioned myself to extinguish every negative emotion, to keep my composure, remain unaffected and perform like I had “ice water running through my veins”. While my softer, feminine side may have wanted to dance and cheer, giggle, cry, paint my nails to match the uniforms, or dare I say it…rest and take a breather. While these feelings built up inside me, that I believed that this “weakness” was an unwelcomed piece of me. On the flip side, when trying my best to “be a girl” while out with my friends, I ashamed to admit that I was a softball player. I felt uncomfortable voicing my opinions, expressing what I wanted, or sharing the more active and passionately driven side of me. I lived in fear that my whole self would be viewed as too much, or not enough, or too “manly” or just weird.
My ability to rise to the occasion, to perform under pressure and to show up and lead the charge enabled me to enjoy a great deal of success athletically, academically, and professionally. However, during this time, I never developed the skill of transitioning into a softer, more nurturing, slower, more accepting way of being. I knew how to push, drive, ignore pain and discomfort – but I never learned how to listen to my inner wisdom, to hear the cries of my abused body, and unattended heart and soul. My mind, once a well harnessed ally, became my greatest advisory. I tried desperately to fit into different roles, none of which felt true or authentic. This battle to be accepted, to excel and achieve based on the criteria of others left me in a very unhealthy place – feeling depleted, alone, lost and unfulfilled.
Through my own recovery process and journey back to health, I was able to truly, completely and unconditionally acknowledge, accept and love every piece of me.. Yes, I said it…LOVE. I LOVE all the intricate pieces of my journey that led me here – to this moment and to this work – to shedding light and helping other shed the shackles that keep them living a life less than extraordinary. Proper and holistic nutrition (read: no calorie counting or restricting and binging), yoga, meditation and mindset training taught me the gift of uniqueness and the beauty in boldly living my truth. Once I was able to shed light and fully and completely accept all the parts of me- even the ones that may seem weird to others – like my inability to walk by a dog on the street without petting it- or my love of grocery shopping for nothing in particular, or my fascination with re-runs of movies or shows I have seen 1,000 times, or the joy I feel when working with groups to bring more love and mindfulness into every moment. I love hardcore, ass busting kettle bell and rope workouts. I love to go on long walking mediations and feel incomplete without my daily yoga or Pilates.
I love to work hard, push and achieve and I love my commitment to unconditional self-care. The moment I decided I was ready to step forward, to own who I was and what I wanted out of life, was an incredible turning point. Since that day, I have experienced many highs and obviously some lows, but each portion of the journey was completely joyful, because it was full. It was real. It was LOVE. I was completely present, fully alive in each of those moments and I was able to connect with others around me in a deep and soulful way. I found those people whose “weird” matched beautifully with mine and now I enjoy more passionate love and connection in my life than I ever thought possible. I beg you to spend some time getting intimate with your inner weirdo and breath life to those parts of you. Express yourself fully and completely and allow those around you to do the same. The freedom and energy that comes from connecting to your truth is magnetic and is sure to lead to some incredible shifts for you!
Because, I mean really, if you aren’t willing to step up to the plate of your own life and be a complete weirdo, you may be missing out on some of the most beautiful and enriching experiences and relationships that are right in front of you. Just #SayYes to #YourTruth and know that once you show up for yourself, you inspire others to do the same! #LiveINPower
How will you #workyourweirdo today?!