Why do I do this?
That was a question I started to ask myself last year. I was working 15-20 hours a day building Run, Selfie, Repeat and BQ Or Bust. I was exhausted, overworked, stressed out, and discouraged. Blogging is hard. And I don't say that for sympathy. No job is easy. What makes my job is hard is finding the balance between selling myself and staying authentic. (And not feeling gross about selling myself.) As hard as it is to find that balance, the silver lining is that I go to bed every night knowing that I'm making a difference in people's lives.
When people ask me what I do for a living, I rarely say that I'm blogger. I say I'm in sales, marketing, journalism, and entertainment. And if I'm feeling really confident, I'll say that I'm an "athlete". (That guy is in quotes because I'm still insecure about it. Say what you want, I'm working on it.) This horse and pony show is a gamble. I'm constantly fighting with companies who want me to bare my soul, reveal my grief, my joy, and parts of myself that I spent decades shrouded in shame for free. And as much as I love inspiring and motivating people to say yes to themselves, it's really hard to do it when you're being taken advantage of. My soul dies every time someone asks me when I'm going to get a "real" job.
Had I not been running towards BQ Or Bust, I'm not sure what the hell would have happened in 2016. I felt like the walls were caving all around me and as much as I wanted to just lay down and give up, I was running full speed ahead towards a BQ, this light at the end of the tunnel that helped me put one foot in front of the other.
But around September of 2016, I was ready to throw in the towel. I needed to step away to reevaluate whether or not Run, Selfie, Repeat and being a social media circus clown was worth doing anymore.
Then I got an email from Oiselle.
It's very rare to find a company who believes in and empowers women. Most brands run campaigns throughout the year targeting women, trying to sell clothing to women, but very rarely do you find a company whose mission is to connect, motivate, celebrate, empower, and inspire women to show up for each other.
Oiselle is more than just a women's apparel brand. They've built a diverse community of women and a space for them to pursue the strongest versions of themselves possible. Just looking at a roster of the women they support and empower is staggering. From Lauren Fleshman, Kara Goucher, Steph Rothstein Bruce, to ultimate lady boss Devon Yanko, these are women who not only kick ass and take names in the sport, but have found ways to empower and inspire women along the way with their grit, vulnerability, and tenacity.
Having Oiselle invest in me and believe in what I'm creating is a difficult pill to swallow. Yes it's humbling and exciting but it's infinitely more intimidating and scary. I feel like I've just accepted a job that I'm not qualified for. (Which I know is my own insecure BS but I had to admit it.) I can't help but feel insecure about what I bring to the table. I'm not an elite athlete. Hell, I'm not a very good athlete at all! Right now, I'm struggling to run 3-6 miles. Why me?
And honestly, I started to back away because I was afraid of messing up. Of failing. Not living up to expectations. Of looking stupid and making this incredible brand that I look up to disappointed in me.
I wouldn't exactly say that I'm a safe bet. I'm loud, opinionated, and hard to predict. I've worked with a vast majority of the big fitness brands and I can honestly say that I see the world and running very differently than they do.
But Oiselle and I see eye to eye across the board.
Oiselle understands the everyday runner. They strive to showcase women of all different shapes and sizes. They're hard at work expanding their sizing in a way that will make women of all sizes feel strong, confident, and kick ass. And most importantly, they aren't afraid to stand up for what they believe in. I hope you all understand how valuable and rare that is because it's hard to march to the beat of your own drum.
When I first started Run, Selife, Repeat, the Editor and Chief of a huge big wig magazine brand gave me one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever received. She told me to do what everyone else was doing because if it worked for them, it would work for me.
Oiselle isn't doing what everyone else is doing and honestly, that's why I believe in them. They're not encouraging their flock to share their picture perfect photos, they want you to get real. They want you to get ugly. And they want you to woman up.
At my core, I'm an artist. Telling stories and exploring laughter, joy, sadness, despair, doubt, hope, hopelessness and everything in between is what I do best. It took me a while to figure out that that was my voice in the running community. That I didn't need to be the world's best athlete, or like anyone else. After the #SportsBraSquad was born, everything changed. I realized that while I will always be a champion for brand new runners, I want to do more for women as well.
2016 was an overwhelming year filled with some of the highest highs and pretty low lows. But going into 2017, I run stronger knowing that I not only have the support of my Run, Selfie, Repeat family, but in Oiselle as well. A badass tribe of trailblazing women who aren't afraid to ruffle feathers and stand up for what they believe in.
I can't wait to share what we have in store for you. In addition to running full force towards qualifying for Boston during the London Marathon in April (#NoRegretsNoExcuses), I'm hard at work planning one of my biggest feats yet! Epic is probably the only word to describe what's in store. So stay tuned because big things are coming.
One things for sure, we're starting 2017 off on a strong foot.
Head up, wings out.
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.