By: Allison Annala, Guest Blogger
Recently, one of my young gymnasts informed me that she had BIG plans for after practice. In fact, she really didn't want to be at practice. She had already straightened her hair, applied her make up, and set out her outfit for the evening.
I very jokingly asked, “Let me guess: high-waisted shorts and a crop top?” I was half right. She was wearing a crop top with leggings and a very cute flannel shirt to be tied around her waist.
That's very IN right now.
I giggled and wondered which boys were going to be there, because, obviously she was excited to be all dolled up for the evening. She filled me in on the new friends she had made and her excitement to begin high school in a few weeks. And as she began to complain again, about getting her hair all sweaty and developing a “ponytail bump,” I could feel a slightly teachable moment approaching. So, in all of my Yoda-like wisdom I said, “You know, those boys are going to like you whether your hair is up or down. You shouldn't be afraid to sweat at practice because if they don't like you with your hair in a ponytail, they aren't going to like you with your hair down either. And those, my dear, are the boys who are absolutely NOT WORTH IT.”
She laughed a sort of, “I know you're right but I still want to look cute,” chuckle, and then proceeded to tell me she wasn't dressing to impress the boys. She was dressing to impress the other girls.
My jaw dropped.
The raw honesty completely set me back. She was absolutely right, and I do it too. I can remember trying on 8 million different outfits for various events in college. At one point, I had four roommates and four opinions for every evening out. 75% of the time, I wasn't even wearing my own clothes because someone else in my house had something more fashionable to offer. And as I've never been overly aggressive when it comes to hitting on guys, I still found myself obsessing over my wardrobe, my hair and my make up. Why? Because it was really the girls I was trying to impress.
Perhaps, as I’ve gotten older, I've forgotten these things. But ladies, we CANNOT focus on impressing everyone else. We CANNOT spend our precious time stressing out about what clothes we are going to wear, if our hair is perfectly straight, or if our handbag is going to accent our outfit well enough. Our minds are FAR too important to be wasted on wondering if everyone else is satisfied with our appearance.
Instead, we should get dressed in the morning and be confident in our appearance, even if it is a t-shirt and yoga pants (my gymnastics coaching wardrobe of choice). Instead of spending an hour in front of the mirror making sure our hair and make up are perfect, we should take a few minutes to watch the news and get informed with what is going on in the world, call a friend, or meditate.
I'm not saying we should all fly off the handle and stop showering and taking care of ourselves at all. But your best accessory is your attitude whether you’re in a prom dress or medical scrubs! So wear it well and make sure it rubs off on someone else! You are your harshest critic, so cut yourself a little slack and show yourself some love.
I love the song “Try” by Colbie Caillat because it is true and incredibly beautiful. It has an amazing message about not surrendering to the media's portrayal of what is beautiful. Being you and appreciating yourself is the most perfect expression of beauty. So ladies, let's stop trying so hard to be someone else, and just be ourselves. “Don’t you like you? Cause I like you!”
Give Allison's mindset a try and put yourself front and center when you start your day: wear clothes that make YOU feel great, use make-up because you like to, not because you HAVE to, and not matter what let your self-love be the only accessory you need!
Allison began gymnastics at the age of 4 and continued her career through college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Now, she 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 teaching, Allison now coaches gymnastics at her Alma matter, where she earned her BSE in Health and Human Performance and her MSE in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Physical Education. She loves sharing her passion for gymnastics with women of all ages and her passion for life and love on her blog www.allison-lifeisbeautiful.blogspot.com. She is so thrilled to be an advocate for IATG and can’t wait to help inspire women all over the world! Allison tweets at @annalamountain