My Not-So-Adorable Job

I recently had an encounter with someone regarding the work that I do. They mentioned how adorable it was that I was in the confidence and self-esteem business because, "Motivational speaking must be so fun." Somehow it seemed as if I gave unicorn rides at an enchanted carnival where my biggest dilemma was deciding on the amount of hair glitter. Then it dawned on me that a lot of people must find the work I do “adorable.” After all, I get to love girls back to life and there are no challenges or tough conversations in that space, right?

Of course, I beg to differ. There�s nothing more confrontational than holding up a mirror to someone's face and asking them to stare at the reflection, both figuratively and literally. I AM THAT GIRL (IATG) is in the business of simultaneously serving a girl's beauty and majesty right alongside her weakness and insecurity. Nothing is more terrifying than honesty and vulnerability and it's those two things we dare girls to dance with. Being a "badass" doesn't involve the absence of fear, but the courage to stare fear in the face and refuse to back down. To have the courage to love every shred of our being, embracing our iniquity with as much reverence as we do our resplendence, is truly the greatest challenge.

Life is messy and we ask girls to look at every shade of gray, to take 100% responsibility for their decisions as well as the inevitable consequences and encourage a deep sea dive into their soul to check out what lies beneath. Introspection is something most people avoid, but when you sit at an IATG local chapter meeting, you witness that kind of authenticity. Girls not merely talking about their latest purchases, job status or celebrity gossip, but sharing the stuff most people sweep under the rug or hide in the closet. The girls involved in IATG are asked to be real and there�s nothing more terrifying than standing emotionally naked in front of people, praying you won't be judged.

The work I do is to remind girls everywhere that they are awesome and there are certainly challenges that stand in the way of such a feat. From abusive relationships that have physically and spiritually broken girls to never feeling enough to addiction, obsession and self-loathing, the list seems to go on forever. At the end of the day, though, I am a heart doctor. And in this line of work, the damage is not as obvious because the broken, fractured, injured and ill all look the same. There are no X-rays to guide me, no MRIs to give me insight, no pragmatic line of questioning to prepare me for the hurt that goes unseen by most. But that doesn�t mean that a broken heart simply produces physical pain. I would audaciously say that it produces exponentially more internal injuries, which are easier to hide.

So, the symptoms of this epidemic of insecurity betray the truth. Whether it�s cutting, bullying, an eating disorder, abuse or promiscuity; I see what most don�t. I see a world of broken girls doing their best to pretend to be �alright." I witness the worst side of humanity while simultaneously allowing altruism and unconditional love to reign. The juxtaposition is exhausting, but it keeps me going when sometimes it all just seems too much. I ask a lot of the girls I meet, asking them to be their own heroes and be courageous. Nothing about my job is �adorable,� but I wouldn�t have it any other way.

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