Bravery in Being You

By Allison Annala, Regular ContributorNovember 3, 2015



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“Do not apologize for existing, for being yourself. Apologize when you are not.”

These words hit me like a freight train in the middle of a, very emotional, IATG meeting this weekend. When discussing vulnerability, my first instinct is always to just… NOT. You know, completely avoid anything that may elicit even the smallest tear to emerge. Yep… that’s how I roll.

I’ve been in an incredibly vulnerable state lately. The anniversary of a major loss in my life just took place, and even though we’re three years removed, I still miss her. I still look up to the sky and think she’s going to answer me back. She doesn’t… but it helps to imagine her doing so.

Needless to say, I was a disaster in the IATG meeting. I had been holding in my tears for the better part of three weeks, and I sure as heck was not about to lose it now. I didn’t go first. I didn’t even know if I would share at all. I sat and listened to one girl break down after another, and one after another, I cried along with them.  We didn’t talk about death or losing someone dear to us, but I cried. I cried with them as they talked about their struggles. I cried as they talked about their fears.

I felt sad for what they had to go through, and with each story that was told, my heart seemed to grow with more love and empathy than I have ever experienced.

Then it happened… the word vomit. I wasn’t going to talk, remember? In an instant I found myself collapsing into my tears, confessing a fear I didn’t even know I had, and sharing a dream that had barely surfaced in my mind. A dream that in one, single moment became as clear as any dream has ever been in my heart.

How in the world did that happen? I found myself dizzy trying to analyze the situation. “Suzy shared, then Jenny cried, I held her hand right?  Then Jamie talked about this, and I totally understood what she was going through… then… wait… did I really say that?!”

The truly amazing part about this community is that when we lead with vulnerability, when we really dig deep and share something from within our hearts, we are giving someone else permission to do the same thing.

By doing this, we are unleashing an incredible force of courage and unbelievable amounts of bravery into the world.

I may have walked into that meeting closed off in my grief, unable to recognize what was truly raging under my surface, but I definitely emerged feeling an overwhelming sense of relief and strength thanks to those few ladies who showed me what brave really looks like.

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Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable? When was the last time you said what was in your heart? Tell us below!

About Allison

ALLISON_ANNALA_writer_bio_(1).jpgA gymnast since age 4, Allison uses the life lessons learned through the sport to help young women discover their greatness! She is a huge advocate for girls and women, particularly when it comes to body image and self-worth! Along with coaching, Allison now teaches at her Alma Matter, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She loves sharing her passion for gymnastics with women of all ages and her passion for life and love on her blog She is so thrilled to be an advocate for IATG and can’t wait to help inspire women all over the world!  


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