I’ve been feeling really, and I mean REALLY uncomfortable in my own skin this year. The knee injury, some significant work changes, along with a sea of other insecurities rearing their ugly head has made navigating through life these past 6 months awkwardly uncomfortable.
I constantly tip toe and dance between the lines of loving and hating myself. It’s always a battle of not feeling good enough for anyone or anything. Knowing how toxic these feelings can be, I knew I had to do something about it. Cue putting myself out into the universe for answers.
In January, I secretly joined a little online book club hosted by the fierce Danielle Doby, founder of i am her tribe (@iamhertribe), who came into my life almost 2 years ago through the cosmic forces of the Instagram universe (thanks Dee 💜). On the agenda was reading the incredible, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. This book explores how vulnerability is our greatest gift and quite possibly the most courageous act we as humans can commit. As a girl who only now openly admits to priding herself on constantly burying her feelings in fear of appearing weak or to avoid hurting others, this book shook me to my core and I have been trying really effing hard to live my life from a vulnerable heart space ever since.
Let me tell you, the adventure of leaning into my discomfort and learning to be vulnerable has been hard, made me miserable at times (sorry Ty 😁), BUT it has yielded some pretty amazing things.
Since completing the book in March, I have worked hard on acknowledging my feelings and taking the steps needed to address them. I knew I was at the breaking point when I got an angry at an ambulance while driving home one day. YUP. You read that right. Feel free to laugh or call me a bonafide a-hole, either way, you’re right, and either way, I recognized the sheer stupidity of it, and checked myself before I wrecked myself.
It’s been a lot of nurturing on my part. I’ve learned that majority of the time, it’s a superficial anger that is stemming from older emotions I have buried and left unattended. Now I know. Now I am braver in chasing my feelings down versus hiding them, and it also works with feelings of joy, curiousity, and inspiration too. If I see something and it sparks an idea, I have cradled it in my heart and reached out to others to share it. If my heart scream yes, let’s do this, I listen, and if my gut says nope, NOPETY NOPE, I let it go.
Last year my path crossed with some pretty incredible people when I paced at Seawheeze, one of which has a story that really hit home for me. I didn’t know it at the time, and it was only after looking up Alice’s blog (@chatterrungirl) that I got a sense of who she was that I decided to reach out. Since that time we’ve shared texts about Biyombo, a Boston Marathon finish, and crafting a collaborative blog post together (stick around, we ladies have been a hustlin’ putting it together!).
I was also inspired by an amazing online video of fellow runner Katie and followed my heart in sending her some good vibes. Since then, we’ve met up and had an awesome chat about running (obviously) and all of the amazing things running has connected us to. I’m even working on writing a piece for her blog (thanks for choosing me Katie!).
But I think the biggest step in my journey of leaning in came when I wrote a small piece on self love for an amazing group starting a love revolution called When in Doubt Love (you can find my words here). I was absolutely humbled beyond measure at how moved they were by my writing and the follow up email that came from it. However, what happened next is probably one of the biggest tangos I did with my vulnerability mission since I made the decision to lead from my heart.
This next bit might seem shallow to some, but when I was scrolling through my Instagram friends to tag someone, I accidentally noticed that WIDL had unfollowed me and I was SUPER crushed. I felt like the teenage girl who was just denied by her crush after professing her love for them. Like usual (old habits die hard), I tried to bury those feelings, but something inside told me to push past my comfort zone and speak up. My hella cool friend Nora, who runs an amazing animal advocacy group called Animal Experience International, also told me to speak up, so I did. As Nora said, those were my words they shared on their account and if I felt hurt, it was a calling to tell them, and that maybe, just maybe, there was a bigger story to share.
So, I wrote an email to WIDL’s co-founder Ally Pintucci to let her know that I felt confused by the unfollow after all the love they gave me and asked if I did something wrong or posted something they didn’t agree with. A few days passed without a response, and those few days gradually turned into a few weeks. I basically had come to the conclusion that whatever happened, I wasn’t going to hear back…until I did.
Ally’s replies were the sweetest. She totally understood where I was coming from and was actually grateful I approached them with my thoughts. This deeper conversation honestly meant more to me than our previous conversations because I felt like the authenticity level between us was off the charts. Ally was being Ally and Alex was being Alex. Plus, it turns out that all of this hullabaloo was just a glitch in cyber land. Since then we have connected further, and man is this girl rad. Like many of the fierce females I admire, she is a busy body. Not only is she starting this love revolution through WIDL (which I now know she lives, breathes, and is the embodiment of), but she is also one of the brains behind ChasingSunrise, and RYU Apparel (who just so happens to offer women’s XXL gear, holla 🙌🏼).
Ally, gosh, what can I say? I cannot thank you enough for your honesty, kindness, and taking the time to make me feel important. While I was super scared to send you that email in the first place because of the same fears I listed as I started this post (hurting your feelings and appearing weak), I am so, SO glad I did. I know we are still strangers in many ways, but just know I admire the heck outta you and that you ARE doing incredible things to help people love themselves as they are. I cannot wait to share a sea of high fives and maybe even a hug with you when we meet in person. You are, and always will be one rad, hella fine lady.
So why all the stories? To say not only to you, but to me, that leaning into that uncomfortable zone was worth it. That the juice was worth the squeeze. That so many times in our lives we stay silent for fear of ridicule, judgment, or in my case, hurting others. I’ve always told others that the only person you hurt when you don’t speak your mind is yourself, but I’ve never really practiced it until now. Yes, it is without a doubt hard. Not just the act itself but the uncertainty of how it will all pan out, which most of us think will be negative. Sometimes it is. Sometimes you have to let it go, but sometimes, heck, most of the time, it’s so amazingly positive that it creates space for opportunity. Opportunities to connect deeper, understand better, and just BE better. So with that being said, I sign off tipping my brow with a cheers to vulnerability. May we practice it, may we live it, and dare I say it, may we be it.