Since I was a young girl, I could remember always being afraid to get up and present a project in front of the room. My hands would shake, my words would quiver, and I could just feel the judgment of the other kids…smirks, side comments and laughter. I was an overweight, African American child that went to a predominantly white, affluent school. Being in this environment sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, smart enough…or that I fix into the box of what a child should look or act like.
I carried some of this fear into my college years. I never wanted to be noticed, or color outside of the lines because I always feared that judgment. I wanted to please everyone…I wanted everyone to like me and accept me. It wasn’t until I graduated and entered into the working world that I learned some valuable lessons.
I learned that if you don’t speak up…if you don’t color outside those lines…no one will notice you. If you don’t ask questions, the answer will always be NO. In order to be empowered, you have to step out, you must take action and always look out for you. It took me a few years but as a broadcast journalist working in the newsroom, I was thrown into a major role where I had no choice but to do just that.
My work ethic now is stronger than ever before, and after working my way up from behind the cameras…I now have my dream job as a TV promotions producer. All because I felt empowered, I stepped out, and I did something for me. I discovered my own strength.
Having an active lifestyle has helped me even further to increase my self worth and helped me to overcome those personal struggles. I managed to drop 60 pounds through diet and exercise, and I have now kept the weight off for a number of years. I now teach spin classes at the gym on the side and love to run marathons year ’round.
Stepping outside every morning for a run helps me to clear my mind so I can start each busy day fresh. For me, it is like a form of moving meditation.
Recently I was able to check out a fitness apparel company that I totally believe in by the name of Swoob. I love how passionate they are about having a mind, body and spirit balance. They were able to send me one of their Dragonfly sports bras and I was so happy to test it out! Not only is it lightweight and colorful, it has a cool side pocket where I can stash my ID, keys or whatever other knick knacks I’d like to bring along on my long run! I tried it out this weekend and it was perfect.
I’ve used pepper spray before but what I love the most about this is it has an adjustable strap to put it around your hand so that your thumb deploys it! It keeps it secure while you are moving about and it’s super easy to flip out if you feel you are in danger.
I highly recommend investing in this if you are running alone and definitely on those early morning runs before sunlight!
Also, there are some survivor stories here if you’d like to see more great people who are empowered to share their testimony. It takes a lot to be transparent and share dark things to the public, but I find that if you do so you realize that it helps more people who actually can relate to what you have gone through. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to share those stories and bring some of those moments to light. For me, being transparent in the blog world is not always easy but sometimes it feels so good to be able to put those thoughts on paper and share whatever it is you are going through.
I love that Swoob and SABRE are coming together to drive awareness around safety and active lifestyles! I feel that these two things go hand in hand…wearing clothing with a purpose that you believe in and guarding yourself with the necessary elements to be safe as a woman living in today’s world. Check out Alana’s story and it puts all of this in perspective.
I definitely agree that we should take responsibility and arm ourselves to protect ourselves from harm’s way. Now I no longer live in fear, and I ask the questions and take those precautions because I’m looking out for me…I see myself as a priority in my own life. And I think everyone out there should too.
Don’t live in fear…don’t shrink down like the little girl presenting her project in front of the class. Step out and let your voice be heard. Your voice is needed…and it matters.
Color outside the lines. You’ll be glad you did.
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with the Swoob and SABRE brands. All opinions are my own.
How has living an active lifestyle helped you to overcome personal struggles in your life? Please share with the group!