Self-Esteem Rising

When my friend Caitie asked me to help her write just a little bit of copy for this campaign she was working on, I think I always knew it was going to be more than that.

Caitie told me all about Self-Esteem Rising, and in turn the Beautiful Me programs, and how the organization was bringing self-esteem education to women and girls all across the country. I was amazed, and I knew I wanted to be involved in helping spread the word. 94b2a-1526410390760

So that’s what we’ve been doing, trying to bring attention to these amazing programs so that even more females can learn the importance of self-esteem and be given the tools to cultivate self-esteem within themselves.

When I was younger — and even now — I struggled with low self-esteem, which manifested in a number of terrible and self-destructive ways. And it sucked. But what sucks even more is that my story is not unique. So many girls I know battled with low self-esteem just like me. Although the way those struggles reveal themselves vary from girl to girl and woman to woman, what remains the same is that those struggles hold us back.

In researching for this campaign and writing all the copy for the website and press releases and social media, I’ve learned that only 4% of women think they are beautiful. I’ve learned that 78% of women feel pressure to never show weakness or make mistakes. I’ve learned that women aren’t applying for jobs they’re qualified for while men are applying for those same jobs even when they don’t meet all the necessary requirements.

These statistics aren’t new, but they’re nevertheless disappointing.

They’re also fixable.

Imagine a world where girls can feel good about themselves. Imagine a world where women aren’t waiting around for encouragement to do what they know is right. Imagine what a difference it would make if women took control of their lives and took ownership of how awesome they are.

It’s possible. And Self-Esteem Rising is presenting women with the tools necessary to make that world a reality.

I’ve been so proud to work with an amazing crew of incredible women who have all VOLUNTEERED their time to make this campaign possible. We’ve spent countless sleepless nights going over messaging, redesigning websites and rewriting press releases. We’ve logged so many hours on conference calls. We’ve used so much data sending text messages and emails. And we’ve formed amazing bonds built on encouraging gifs, kind words and rallying each other to keep going every day.

We’re also so lucky to have a great foundation behind us, the Hance Family Foundation, whose mission it is to bring this education to girls everywhere. It’s an honor to help them do that.

I hope you’ll follow along as we continue to bring the Self-Esteem Rising message to the world at large. We’ve got big things planned, so stay tuned!

 

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On the campaign launch day, we unveiled a huge billboard in Times Square. 

 

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Tyler Austin

When you write about baseball, every word you put onto paper comes with the risk of never being seen. Because of the nature of sports, players get hot and cold, the come and they go, they’re healthy or they’re not.

Last month I was working on a story about one of the Yankees, Brandon Drury, and had just finished up my reporting and was writing the story when news broke that he was headed to the disabled list — his time on the shelf was indefinite because he was battling migraines and blurred vision.

I felt for Brandon, especially having sat with him for a while and gotten to know him and how much he loves to play. So I was bummed I couldn’t finish his story. But I was also now in a position where I had to find a new story to fill 10 edit pages in a magazine and my deadline was just a couple days away.

So I pivoted to first baseman Tyler Austin, and I’m so glad that I did. I didn’t know all that much about Tyler prior to writing this new feature, but what I learned about him int he process of reporting really impressed me. This is a guy who has faced every obstacle in the book and then some. He’s had to battle back from things as serious as cancer to as minor as being scratched from a lineup. His perseverance is inspiring.

I’m thankful to Tyler for being so open with me about everything he’s been through and that he trusted me with his story.

So here’s the story — I hope you all will take some time to get to know Tyler. I’m so glad I did even if getting there was a bumpy ride.

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8.5

I don’t usually celebrate the half years — in the course of a life, six months isn’t much, I’d say.

But the six months I just went through have been pretty bad. And hard. And depressing. And trying. And they’ve challenged me more than I’ve been challenged in a long time.

I wasn’t perfect by any stretch. But I didn’t drink, and that’s not nothing.

So today I get to say I’ve been sober for 8.5 years. I’ll acknowledge the passage of time because in that half a year I feel like maybe I had to work harder to get through them than most of the others.

Recovery is lonely, even this deep into it. People try to understand, but unless they’ve been through it and really confronted it, I’m not sure they ever can. Addiction is a helplessness that is unquantifiable, so it’s weird to quantify recovery.

But 8.5 is my number now. So that’s kinda cool I guess.

Chasing them Zzzzzzz’s

So look, I’ve not been keeping up with my PT since ceasing going to my appointments. That’s on me. I’ve got to be better about that.

I also need to prioritize sleep.

To be fair, I spent the past weekend in California after booking a last-minute trip to visit one of my favorite humans for her birthday. And it was a great time and I’m so glad that I was able to spend the weekend with my friends doing things I love, eating good food, working on a meaningful project and having some laughs.

It’s rejuvenating to be around all that positive energy. But it’s also eye-opening. I want to do that more. I want to be working on important projects surrounded by people I love more. I want to be outside more.

Those are all priorities for me, which are not necessarily new, but they’re definitely moving higher on the list.

But also I need sleep. And to do PT. Because if my body does not function, then my brain won’t either and none of those things I love to do will be possible.

 

Back to the old me

First week without PT in months and I’m feeling great.

I’m doing work I love with people who inspire me. I’m working out like I used to. I’m not smoking (as much).

I’m happy. It’s refreshing. I think I’ll try to stick with it.

One Night Off

Yesterday I followed up with my orthopedist and he said I was healing well — but I still needed time. Although my pain levels are greatly improved, as has my range of motion, it still hurts to move certain ways and my tendons and muscles are still highly sensitive.

That said, he gave me the green light to end my PT whenever I wanted to. Time and a little bit of rest will do more for me than PT. In fact, waking up at 5am most mornings to get to my appointments then working 14-hour days and doing the same thing on repeat was actually probably doing more harm than good.

Rest up, he said. And Follow up in a couple more months if the pain is still present.

As we all know, rest isn’t necessarily in my playbook. Just today, despite being able to sleep in, I decided to get up early, put in a two-hour mixed workout (core, cardio then climb) then head off to work. In the middle of all that, I got an invite to go to hot yoga and immediately accepted.

But I think I knew I was pushing myself too hard. My mind and body (not to mention my wallet) were begging for me to listen to the doctor just this once and take a night off.

I listened. I bailed on hot yoga and decided instead to get as much work as I can done at the office then go home and book myself a vacation. What I need is a few days on a beach somewhere. I need to be outside in nature, swimming in the ocean, climbing a mountain and running on the sand.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Hot yoga will still be there tomorrow and the next day. My gym membership isn’t expiring. My treadmill (unfortunately) isn’t going anywhere.

I need to give myself permission to say no to some activities and be okay simply sitting down and relaxing — really, honestly relaxing — even if just for one night.

So now, where should I go on vacation?