By Allison Annala, Regular Contributor
"You are profoundly and utterly extraordinary."
My heart claps incredibly loud reading these words (Disclaimer: the term "heartclap" is a signature phrase in the IATG community used when something truly resonates deep within your soul). These are the words of a woman who has, without ever meeting me or knowing anything about me, completely reshaped the image I have of myself. I did not know confidence like this existed for me. I knew it existed of course, I just wasn't aware it was something I could manifest within myself. That is, until I stumbled across the I AM THAT GIRL phenomenon sweeping this nation.
I had friends who were beautiful, intelligent, witty, confident fire crackers, and I was JEALOUS. I remember wishing that I was more like THAT GIRL, even though there were a lot of girls in my life whose qualities I lusted after. I wished I had THAT GIRL's confidence or THAT GIRL's athleticism. My roommates were all THAT GIRL to me because they were brilliant, beautiful, and had incredible senses of humor.
Everyone loves THAT GIRL because she exhibits all of these incredible qualities. She's strong without appearing overly confident, she's loving without seeming over bearing, she's beautiful on the outside without knowing it, and she's beautiful on the inside with the most selfless heart.
My entire life I knew girls like this and secretly looked up to them. I always wished, with my whole heart, that I could be just like THAT GIRL.
When I found Alexis Jones and the I AM THAT GIRL community, I bought her book immediately and messages like this started flooding through my heart:
"To be 'that girl' just means you're going to give life your best shot, that you're not going to make excuses or justifications, that you're going to go for it, whatever that means for you. It also means you're going to be an example of true beauty in the world and encourage the same for all the other women in your life. Being 'that girl' means you are a constant work in progress-- you're willing to be vulnerable, flawed, and compassionate and are someone who stumbles and falls but isn't afraid to admit her shortcomings in the midst of her magnificence."
That's when I started thinking about all of those girls who I had admired for being THAT GIRL in my life. I had never felt like THAT GIRL. I had never assumed I'd be worthy of the same kind of admiration I had been feeling for my rockstar friends. But, reading Alexis' words about what truly defined THAT GIRL gave me a strange sense of enlightenment.
I'm giving life my best shot. I'm living life inexcusably and going after my dreams, same as the next girl. I love with my whole heart and acknowledge the fact that imperfection is the most beautiful expression of womanhood. Coming to the realization that being a "work in progress" is okay was completely liberating for me. I had always had this idealized vision of who I could be when I become that perfect version of myself. But through my involvement in this incredibly inspiring community, I've realized that embracing exactly who I am NOW is the most perfect display of grace.
I AM THAT GIRL. It may have taken me 27 years to figure that out, but I have. All of those other girls... they are THAT GIRL too, but so am I. And I am finally at a place in my life where I can appreciate that my sense of humor, my athleticism, my beauty, my brains, and my confidence are what make me, ME! They are unique to my own self and yours are unique to YOU!
It's great to have role models or people you admire. But in admiring all of your idols, don't lose sight of what makes you THAT GIRL, because that's exactly what you are. Embrace all of your beauty-full... because there's a lot of it within you.
Let's chat! It's time to embrace your badass-self! What qualities make you That Girl? What are some of your favorite things about yourself? Share them with us, and don't be shy!
A 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 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!
image via andpossiblydinosaurs.com