Hey GRRRLS hey! I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year sharing the stories on your experiences at GRRRL Live 2018. Just head back through the blog and check out all the memories! But, as you can see, I’ve neglected to share my own! As I make my plans to attend this years event which is just around the corner at the beautiful Palms in Las Vegas this June. I’m reminded of so many sweet an cherished moments experienced last April. I don’t even know how to begin expressing into words the deep and lasting impact that is GRRRL LIVE. How do you write a feeling. In my case it was more in the subtle things, the undercurrent and energy of it all. So, I will try my best to put those feelings into words for you so that you can understand.
For example, I had never seen a real life palm tree before. I know it’s such a simple little thing but, I grew up in Canada and was a troubled teen. I dropped out of school very young and left home young. So no fancy family vacations growing up. I had to grow up way to fast and in some ways not fast enough.Traveling for pleasure and adventure was never an option. If I traveled anywhere it was out of necessity and usually to get away from one bad situation and into another. I had never really been on an actual grown ass woman trip. Traveling to Vegas was INCREDIBLE for me just for those reasons alone. I had missed out on so much in my past and little did I know that this particular weekend would become about reclaiming so many things that I didn’t even know I had lost.
I’ve been a part of the GRRRLARMY for about three years, not quite one of the OG ladies but almost! I discovered GRRRL on Instagram shortly after I had started training to become a competitive powerlifter. My friend Kim whom I had met on Instagram through the powerlifting community shared GRRRLS powerful message with me and once I had discovered Kortney Olson it was all over. I knew that I had plugged into something different and the sisterhood quickly became a deep and profound influence in my life. Who knew how much this involvement would catapult me into woman I am today! The Spunky you all know and love!
Kim and I had been friends on social media for over two years by the time I got my ass to Vegas in 2018. We had supported each other through our lifting, competing and life’s ups and downs. We became very close friends and up until that point had never met in person so this trip was already epic because she was my roommate!
A lot of tears flowed the day I walked into the GRRRL sign in and meeting room! I cry easily these days, but man I cried that day. I was already so emotionally charged by the significance of just being present in that room. The epic-ness of everything it took to get me there for that one particular moment. I almost chickened out and stayed home!! I had almost convinced myself that I would not belong. The event hadn’t even begun yet but, I had already won my prize. It was like my life was coming full circle and I was stepping into something completely new as an adult woman. This was for me and it was significant and real.
One thing I enjoyed immensely is that the entire weekend was like this ENORMOUS girls sleepover. The reason I enjoyed this so much was because this type of interaction is completely foreign to me. I never experienced anything like that when as a young woman. I never had those slumber parties where a bunch of girls got together and braided each others hair while watching chick flicks laughing and talking about boys ect. I never had that because I never really had a normal teenage life. I was robbed of those necessary experiences and I didn’t connect with other girls my age. I was not the type of girl that fit in with other girls growing up and they made that abundantly clear to me. It was quite odd at 40 years old to have this epiphany! I had been living my entire life with this HUGE hole in my heart. I didn’t even know it existed because I had never understood the deep, necessary and natural relational experiences I should have had as a young woman.
Now, we didn’t sit around in our rooms braiding each others hair and talking about boys but we did experience deep meaningful conversations and morning dance parties in our hotel robes. We had wonderful meals and deep laughter. We had late night reflections and just a general sense that we were doing something bigger than ourselves together. It’s actually taken me until just recently to unpack exactly what that weekend meant to me.
I had spent the better portion of my life believing the lie that I didn’t belong. I spent it believing that I was not intelligent or worthy of having these types of interactions. But, here I was surrounded by a huge group of women who collectively were there to support my growth and wanted nothing more than to see me succeed and thrive. It was a completely safe,loving, supportive and nurturing environment. Where everyone was just content in being themselves and the insecurity was checked at the door when you walked in. We were the manifestation of the complete and total opposite of what we are told a group of women should be like and it was the best thing ever!
When I originally started writing out this blog I wanted to touch on all the quality speakers and sessions that I attended because KO spends a lot of time and effort to bring you guys the very best of the best and she delivers! You definitely need be sure to take advantage of everything that is presented to you because it is all so valuable! But, in light of that, I just feel like GRRRL LIVE was so much more than the information, tools and workshops.
For myself the experience was profound on a level that reaches down deep into a woman’s heart. It wasn’t anything tangible on the surface but more the pulse or the life blood running through everyone that weekend. It was the collective energy. It was a sense that I was coming home to something that I never realized I was missing, that so many of us are missing
When you come together with a group of like minded women such as the GRRRLARMY there is a sense of wholeness and completeness. This quiet unknown ache and desire for true and honest connection and interaction deep down that we can’t seem to put our finger on, is fulfilled so beautifully. When you return home you’re different. You’re stronger because of it and you feel less alone because you know you’ve made lifelong connections. I don’t know how you could possibly not be changed by the energy that is created in that environment. But, I do know that every day I try to emulate it and expand my world because of it.
GRRRL LIVE instilled in me the courage to be the change that never came to me as a young woman. That is the most epic thing that could have ever happened to me. Even now, I find that I lack the words to adequately describe the feeling in my heart. You will have to just go and experience it for yourself! I look forward to seeing you all there!
As most of you know, every story in my past is a direct result from disordered eating.
Up until I was 33, my life was a constant mental battle of self-hatred, projected towards my body. Even after being crowned “Woman with the world’s deadliest thighs” by ‘the’ Stan Lee, I still found a way to obsess, hate, and despise my body on a daily basis. Primarily my legs. (Ever notice how many designs at GRRRL are around embracing legs?)
But now all of this gets to change.
At GRRRL, we aren’t just selling a few t-shirts or squat proof leggings, we are solving a public health crisis.
We get to create a new paradigm. We get to stop the cycle of dieting, chasing thinness, and whatever used to be or currently is, the “ideal beauty”. Because as we know, society and what we nowadays call ‘influencers’, are ever changing what that ideal is.
In the 1500’s women wanted to look robust because it was a sign of wealth, as they could afford to eat. Thinness was a sign of poverty. Similar to wanting to have ultra-white skin, as that was a sign of elite wealth. A tan was only a working class ‘thing’ because they spent the day outside… working.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century, and we see a similar trend with curves coming back. Then in the 1920’s, curves went “out of fashion” with the flapper-style and boyish figure appeal. Back to curves in the 1950’s with Monroe, to back out of style again in the 60-70’s to the androgynous look dominating the scene and loathing over ‘Twiggy’. Into the 80’s we embark back into ‘fullness’ and big hair, then flip back around in the 90’s to Kate Moss, Bongo Jeans, Calvin Klein and being a size 0.
It’s like we’re constantly chasing something we’ll never hold onto for more than a few moments.
So just how do we create a new paradigm of acceptance and freedom? We do this by first creating awareness. Without awareness of a problem, then there is no problem to solve. We must get real clear that we are in a state of emergency globally, with the number of eating disorders drastically on the rise, and kids as little as 4 years old wanting to diet. We’re not even discussing the number of suicide attempts, completions, or self-harm incidents here either – almost all of which can be traced back to having poor body image
We take daily actions like #ThePledge where we vow to stop talking negatively about ourselves, as well as others grrrls. This is where our hashtag of #notyourcompetition comes from. When women belittle and tear down other women, it’s simply because they are not happy or content within themselves. Furthermore, women are programmed from birth by society, (through TV, movies, books, etc) to believe that we’re ‘born this way’ and that other women are our competition.
(Of course until now)
No more standing in the mirror, in front of your kids saying how fat, old and disgusting we look. We might still be thinking that internally, but in order to break the cycle of false beliefs, we have to sometimes ‘fake it till we make it’.
We start by creating new conversations.
We stop complimenting little girls on how pretty they are, and instead say: You are so Strong. Resilient. Brave. Intelligent. Clever. After we start working on ourselves, we get to learn practical, affordable, and effective tools to help the Next Gen learn a new narrative. Learn to accept their body. And to learn that:
Their value is unrelated to the exterior.
Recovery and this journey of “self love and radical acceptance” doesn’t happen over night. It often doesn’t happen over months, or even years. It’s a daily act and sometimes it’s off the charts amazing, and others, it’s right back to where you started. But the important thing is, is knowing that you’re not alone, there is hope, and collectively we are ALL pioneers in this new world.
As we know, prevention is so much better than cure.
We are doing more than prevention, we are CHANGING the entire landscape for humankind. Imagine a world where you didn’t have worry for a second about how you looked, and if you’ll be judged. But instead, all you had to think about was the level of gratitude you have for owning a functioning body.
You don’t need to go out and start your own charity to make change. The power you possess to help one person, will have a massive ripple effect in the fabric of society, and multiply out exponentially.
Whether you aim to be at one of NEDA’s walks with us, or are planning on coming to our first pilot training for the GRRRL Project, we’ll help you find a way wherever you are in your journey, to make change. Our first organized NEDA walk will be in Phoenix with size Heather and I, March 17th, and our first GRRRL Project pilot program facilitator training will be May 30th in Las Vegas
Our first fundraise for NEDA started with a presale of our new Freedom Fit bamboo line of t-shirts, with 15% of proceeds going straight to NEDA. These shirts are a unisex style fit, and we encourage ALL people to get into it.
NEDA awareness week starts today, so get involved any way you can via our Instagram page.
To learn more about ED, visit NEDA.
Please share this if you’re done with the old paradigm, and ready to storm the front lines with us!
Hey everyone! GRRRL Clothing is nothing without you. The history of this amazing brand starts with your personal GRRRL story! I’m Kicking off this new year with some GRRRL Talk and Maddie Harr’s story!
SPUNKY: How did you discover GRRRL?
MADDIE: I was introduced to GRRRL by one of my very best friends, Beth. She was at GRRRL Live and attended the OG event in 2017. She reached out to me as she knew I had been struggling with my self esteem and self love for a VERY long time.
SPUNKY: What made you want to become part of this movement?
MADDIE: I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for fun clothing. I was already hooked from the get go hah! What’s kept me around and deepening my love for GRRRL has to be the message and the community. I’ve never been a part of something where I feel completely comfortable baring the emotional scars I carried and I feel that I can with GRRRL. It’s truly changed my outlook in so many things.
SPUNKY:What was the first thing you wore?
MADDIE: The OG unicorn next levels and the Guerilla GRRRL muscle tee!
SPUNKY:How did finding GRRRL change your life?
MADDIE: GRRRL came into my life during a very difficult time. My mom has just passed away from a short and completely unexpected battle with lung cancer. My mom had been my biggest cheerleader and I felt a huge hole in my life. I have Major Depressive Disorder, and I could feel myself going down a dark road. I felt so lost. But then GRRRL came along and suddenly I was wanting to try new things again! I had always wanted to try CrossFit and powerlifting, but I gained a lot of weight since my mom’s illness. I didn’t think I could do it. Seeing GRRRLs of all shapes and sizes gave me the confidence I needed to give it a shot. As a result, I now have some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and my self esteem is up. For the first time in a long time, I’m excited to live. I don’t think I would still be here without the support I received from my fellow GRRRLS.
SPUNKY:What would you say to other women out there right now, what do you think they need to hear?
MADDIE: You are enough. You’re not too much or too little, you are just right. Breathe. Your sisters are here and they will help you navigate this journey.
That says it all! My heart is full of GRRRL love and all the feels!
Hey everyone! GRRRL Clothing is nothing without you. The history of this amazing brand starts with your personal GRRRL story! I am making it my mission to share your stories by featuring one special GRRRL every few weeks! Lets see what Anneliese had to say in this edition of #GRRRLTALK.
SPUNKY: How did you discover GRRRL?
ANNELIESE: I discovered GRRRL online, I saw a video of KO on the street taking the GRRRL pledge with folks and admired her boldness and willingness to defy cultural narratives aggressively and publicly.
SPUNKY: What was the first thing you wore?
ANNELIESE: The first thing I wore was the RUN LIKE A GRRRL shirt.
SPUNKY: How did finding GRRRL change your life and what made you want to become part of this movement?
ANNELIESE: Background on me,I have been deep into weightlifting and strength and conditioning since I was 13 years old and now I am set to graduate with a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies from Kansas State University in the spring semester. As a gay woman and as someone who presents more masculine of center most of the time, I found the norms in the social cultures in bodybuilding and in weightlifting disturbing and unwelcoming on a lot of levels. Homophobia, harmful gender stereotypes, misunderstandings about race, and blatant self absorbed vanity seemed to abound. I was left feeling isolated from a training community that I desperately wanted. I knew there had to be others like myself, others who just wanted to be strong, who wanted other women to rise up, who wanted to see disabled folks, and queers, and all the freak outcasts of the world become empowered and be warriors, and who wanted to dismantle the beliefs and norms that poison our world, but I wasn’t sure if a cohesive community existed. Finding GRRRL showed me that this community was real. GRRRL is filled with so many women of all shapes, sizes, races, abilities, ages, etc… and I love that because it is liberating. GRRRL changed my life because it gives me encouragement and hope about where this community can head and the types of effective change it can create in people at one on one level, a community level, and on a global level.
SPUNKY: What would you say to other women out there right now, what do you think they need to hear?
ANNELIESE: If I were to tell women one thing right now, it would be to take time to investigate all the inner workings of her person and to get to know her and to love her through belief and action, and it would be to stay encouraged and to stay connected because I believe that together we are strong.
Keep talking that GRRRLTALK
love you all
Hey everyone! GRRRL Clothing is nothing without you. The history of this amazing brand starts with your personal GRRRL story! I am making it my mission to share your stories by featuring one special GRRRL each month! Lets see what Josie had to say in this edition of #GRRRLTALK.
SPUNKY: How did you discover GRRRL?
JOSIE: Randomly on FB! I came across a few of Kortney’s videos and the rest is history. I Joined immediately after that.
SPUNKY: What made you want to become part of this movement?
JOSIE: The realness! Women being strong and standing up for unity. There is a collectiveness amongst the ladies, although we may believe different things and come from different backgrounds we are all one, and we stand as one.
SPUNKY: What was the first thing you wore?
SPUNKY: How did finding GRRRL change your life?
JOSIE: I went through a pretty horrific time earlier this year, and not once did I feel alone.In our closed Facebook group my grief questions were answered with love and sympathy, and when I needed a laugh there was always something there. I’m a SHW powerlifter in NZ, and I’ve never really felt out of place. Being a part of GRRRL helped me realise that my quirks and interests were mine, and they are what makes me who I am. I also became a lot more picky about who I spend my time with, and who takes up my energy. My energy is precious!
SPUNKY: What would you say to other women out there right now, what do you think they need to hear?
JOSIE: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Seek the support you need, and let people know if you need them. Life is a great big adventure, and there are so many ups and downs, but you don’t need to fly it alone.
Keep walking that GRRRL walk and talking that GRRRL talk
I had the craziest moment happen today. It was what I’d call a “God Shot”. As most of you know, years ago I used to get paid a lot of money to make videos to do random ‘features of strength’. Whether I was beating men arm wrestling, picking them up and carrying them around, or being dominate and bossing blokes around, it was great money. It was also an incredible eye-opening experience for me, because it was at this point in my life that I started to realize the world was not at ALL what I thought it was. For a full deep-dive into this, visit www.grrrlfilm.com and check out our documentary.
So, one of my friends from recovery from way back in the day reached out and asked if I had a few words of inspiration to try and help her guide her 14 year old Daughter. She was having a hard time navigating the whole “be skinnier” challenge, and wasn’t sure how to best approach it. So speaking of documentaries I of course said, “Right- go to www.grrrlfilm.com and watch this documentary with her. This will give her context as to who I am and what I’m doing. Then I’ll talk to her myself after you have watched it.”
A week went by and I got a message. They had watched the documentary and they loved it. We arranged a time to connect on the phone.
Doing what I love to do and what I was born to do, I got on the phone with my new 14 year old little Sister. I spoke to her straight from the heart and from the hip for a good 20 minutes. I gave her a plan, a purpose, and connections. Then made a date to meet in Vegas for GL19, and explained how Friday night we were having a special teen session with myself and size Brionii, aka our NextGen leader.
Then, after we hung up the phone it dawned on me that I had actually met her! I said, “O.M.G.!!!! You’re not going to believe this. But I believe I recall meeting you briefly when you were just a tiny baby!”. I said, “well- you watched the documentary. The world is not what you think it is my Friend. And you were actually a part of my journey in discovering this for a second in time!”. Her dad had volunteered to star as one of my “victims” in a commissioned video clip, and needed to bring her over to the house with him. She started crying at one point, so I had to pick her up!
You see- when you are authentic and have “been there/done that” and have a message of truth and real-ness, teens listen. Not just teens, but people in general. Being authentic is freeing.
So there you go… 13 years ago, I was still abusing pain pills, trying to navigate my way through recovery, hating my body, making money in this new world that made absolutely zero sense to me and holding babies. Now, these babies are talking to a leader who has a specific role for them in this revolution we call GRRRL.
See you in Vegas babygrrrl!
CEO on the go.
A few weeks ago I was in Hong Kong on business. In a mad rush, I went to initiate an international bank transfer in the amount of $25,000. I stupidly put the transaction reference ID number into the field where the account number was meant to go. With it pouring rain outside, I grabbed my purse and dashed out of my Eco hotel to make another meeting.Later that night, I received an email from the bank. Due to suspicious activity I needed to submit some information in order to unlock my account. This of course was an issue, because I had a tiny window of time to make this transaction happen. Which is par for course when you’re running a global operation on a shoestring budget… EVERYTHING is a tiny window. Timing is everything.
Because I was overseas, I needed to submit paperwork, my passport, and Drivers license. After doing my best to stay calm, I managed to get the front desk to print out some paperwork, take some photo copies, and arranged a call back with the bank an hour prior to my next meeting the next day. Come to find out, my Drivers license had expired 3 days prior, and now they needed a copy of my bank card.
Took another deep breath.
Got another hotel desk to photocopy and fax internationally. Got another call right before my meeting, “the copy needs to be darker”, and my window has practically shut, costing me a couple of thousands of dollars in exchange rates.
Long story short, I managed to barely slide in and get info submitted, stuff unlocked, orders paid for, and all meetings on time whilst keeping composure. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than being in a foreign country with little money, little time, and the inability to communicate.
By time I made it to the airport, I had a MAJOR case of the fuck-its. Blazing through security, I got to the terminal and discovered I had zero food choices. So, I went with the “lets buy every piece of chocolate I can recognise and pronounce” option, and proceeded to eat my body weight in a garden variety of candy bars. Legit,
Brick of Toblerone
M&M’s… peanut butter filled (yeaaaaaaaaaa I kno datsssssss right!)
Sport Riser, hazelnut
And finally, a variety bag of mini Hershey’s chocolates!
In the 20 minutes I had before boarding my flight, I ate damn near all of it except the variety bag. And the Sport Riser.
About 3 hours into the flight, an hour before landing, I ate the Sport Riser, then had a few more mini Hershey’s. Then it all started to set it. I started to actually process my binging experience, and what caused it. I reflected upon that it’d been almost a year since I’d done something similar. Last October, I went on a binge fest eating nuts in the middle of nearly divorcing.
Historically, I was never a consecutive binge eater. I either would restrict calories, and then purge off of eating the smallest thing. I’ve gone through different phases since high school, which primarily consisted of meth, cough syrup, and narcotics to change the way I felt about my body and damper my appetite. I’ll leave it at that, because the issue with discussing too much detail with eating disorders, is that we give each other ideas. This is why group therapy is tricky in ED recovery.
But, the point of this blog, was I had a bit of a breakthrough moment. For the first time in nearly forever, I didn’t sit with feelings of guilt, followed by “how am I going to work this off tomorrow?”, thoughts. Aka, punishment. I sat there in my 3 row of empty seats laying down, with a book on my lap, and thought about how lucky I was to even have the opportunity to buy all that chocolate in the first place. I thought about how much shit I had made it through that day, and that I stayed clean and sober yet another day. 8+ years ago, I would have crumbled and gone straight into the bar.
I didn’t sit and think thoughts of needing to justify why it was ok, or wasn’t ok. It just was! As I continued to lay on the seats, I decided that I’d keep a handful in the freezer for those non-vegan days where I felt like having something tasty. I also decided that I was going to stop by the homeless man who sleeps outside on a piece of cardboard around the corner of my house, and place a couple by his head while he slept. Instead of looking at that chocolate episode as some kind of tragic event, or justify it- feel guilty about it… I simply thought how grateful I was for everything that I have, and that I was free to make the choice to even buy it all (arguably when you’re in that mode as a binge eater, you don’t have a choice- until you learn tools). I was excited to share my chocolate with my homeless Friend. We’ve never spoken. We don’t speak the same language. But whenever he’s woken up when I was walking home from the gym, we always smile and laugh with each other.
I kind of knew that he’d know that I left it. And although they were bars and not kisses, I’d hope that he knew someone was thinking of him.
If you are experiencing issues with binge eating and need help, I highly recommend attending GL19, June 1-2nd weekend 2019. Debbie Lichter, author of Freedom From Food Addiction . Com and the congruence code, will be holding a mainstage presentation along with 2 breakout workshops. Click the link here to visit the GRRRL:Live page.
CEO on the go.
Hey everyone! GRRRL Clothing is nothing without you. The history of this amazing brand starts with your personal GRRRL story! I am making it my mission to share your stories by featuring one special GRRRL each month! Lets see what Amelia had to say in this edition of #GRRRLTALK.
SPUNKY: How did you discover GRRRL?
AMELIA: I honestly don’t even remember. I think it may have been on either a FB group or Instagram. Someone recommended GRRRL and I had to go check it out.
I want to talk a little about our fearless leader Kortney Olson. Most people out there see the end result of her tireless hard work. We see the polished finished product and we think man, this person has it easy, they have their life completely together, they have it made. Look at this brand! Look at these amazing clothes. Look at her long history of accomplishments and her ever growing following. It’s all so glamorous and enviable.
It would be easy to assume these things when you haven’t seen or understood the sheer labor of blood, tears and sweat that has gone into birthing GRRRL Clothing and every endeavor that has come before. When you haven’t encountered closed door after closed door and No after No. But, thankfully we have a leader that is tenacious and unashamed in allowing us to see and become a part of it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am grateful for her openness, it’s refreshing and so necessary in this world of social perfectionism and smoke and mirrors.
When you truly see and understand the personal sacrifice that is GRRRL Clothing, i’m not sure you would want that burden or even have the balls to take it on. The work that is involved behind the scenes. The countless hours. The non existence of down time, no vacations, no days off. It takes a special kind of woman to keep showing up day after day with unstoppable optimism.
Do you know what I love most about Kortney Olson? I could easily pick her amazing legs or her well defined upper body. I could choose her beauty and energy, charisma. I could choose her fitness or her ability to pretty much do anything and make a friend out of anyone at anytime. I love all of those things! They are certainly attractive qualities but, its not what I love most.
My favorite thing about KO is her willingness to be vulnerable. Its her willingness to let us see that there are days when she doesn’t have it together, there are days when she doesn’t have the answer. Heck there are even days when she questions if she is strong enough to see her dream through to the finish. But, never once has she given up. That speaks volumes to me about her quality of character and her motivations for her brand. Anyone who didn’t want to make the world a better place would have crumbled up into the fetal position and sucked their thumb while muttering obscenities in the dark. It’s never been about the clothing or the money. It’s immensely bigger than that.
I appreciate that I have been privileged enough to share in her struggle and that we have been allowed to be present in her most desperate moments just as much as the headline worthy moments. It is because of this openness that we have all become part of this brand along side her. It’s why the GRRRL ARMY will show up and keep showing up no matter what the situation or circumstance. Remember our recent crowd funding campaign? the army showed up in full force. The MFCEO keeps showing up for us day in and day out regardless of her personal life situations, marriage or finances. Her resilience and selflessness is inspiring. You can never really doubt where someone’s heart is when you’ve seen everything they have sacrificed for their dream. It’s pretty hard to not be inspired by someone like that and I’m not the only one that feels this way, after all she has inspired an entire army of women.
With that said Recently there has been a lot to celebrate and I could not be any prouder of this tenacious leader of ours. The excitement has been real. From the Times – Standard News to Jimmy Kimmel Live and Forbes Magazine!!! Its like KO is taking the world by storm and honestly it’s inevitable that she will. If anyone was to ever take over the world, I have no doubt it would be KO. I seriously do not know why ELLEN hasn’t had her on the show yet. I am pretty sure she will regret not having her on someday soon. Come on Ellen if you’re reading this what are you waiting for? Check out the letter we wrote you a while back, The MFCEO needs to be on your show and there is an army of women behind her that will tell you the same.
Anyways, if any of you have missed the recent news because you have been buried under a rock somewhere or maybe in a monastery in Tibet. Here are all of the amazing things Kort has been up too recently. What I love most about our MFCEO is that we share in the struggle but man when there is something to celebrate we celebrate hard. I know she is already off hustling on her next objective however, I think we all need to stop , appreciate and acknowledge these victories and keep celebrating for her as she keeps leading the charge.
Keep fighting the good fight
Kelly aka Spunky xo
Hey everyone! GRRRL Clothing is nothing without you. The history of this amazing brand starts with your personal GRRRL story! I am making it my mission to share your stories by featuring one special GRRRL each month! Lets see what Katherine had to say in this our first edition of #GRRRLtalk.
Spunky: How did you discover GRRRL?
Katherine: I can’t remember exactly 100%, but, I think it started with Instagram. I bought GRRRL leggings after I had a beautiful pair of expensive video game leggings by another company not live up to the expectation. I had seen several GRRRLS on Instagram wearing the leggings and for months I tried to justify buying a pair. Then I saw someone participating in the same running challenge that I was involved with (zombies Run) wearing a pair of GRRRL leggings. I decided that I deserved a reward for completing my goals. The Next Level style of leggings dropped and I bought them and fell in love.
Spunky: Do you remember the first GRRRL item you wore?
Katherine: The Next Level SuperShero leggings. I didn’t take them off for 3 days.
Spunky: What made you want to become part of this movement?
Katherine: I saw so many GRRRLS with an incredible passion for fitness. No matter what sport they were involved in and they were my size!. A lot of the women in my gym are very petite so, being exposed to other women with huge thighs was amazing to me and inspiring. I now follow so many women on Facebook and instagram because of GRRRL and the private Facebook group. It’s genuinely one of the best feelings when I see another GRRRL post about a new Personal Best. I also love reading about women overcoming their obstacles.The group is extremely supportive and I feel like all of these female warriors are my family. I have never in my life had that available to me.
Spunky: How did finding GRRRL change your life?
Katherine: Finding GRRRL inspired and encouraged me to compete in my sport. I’m healthier, happier and generally able to do more stuff. I feel like my life is in a better place and I feel like I can stand my ground. I wish I had discovered GRRRL back when I was a teacher. I feel it would’ve given me the guts to stand up to the horrible bullying that was going on in the school.
Spunky: What would you say to other women out there right now? What do you think they need to hear?
Katherine:It’s tough out there right now. The planet is not happy (it’s having a bit of a hot flush). Keeping our spirits up is tough. But we are stronger, we are better and we will not only survive but we will thrive!
Our clothes won’t change the world. But, the women who wear them will.
Recently I’ve been going through this thing where nothing in my life seems to be working for me anymore. It’s been so much fun! Sarcasm intended. Obviously this sucked at first but, after a few weeks I came to the realization that it needed to happen. I’ve had basically the same schedule and training routine for the last two and a half years. I rush here, rush there, rush rush everywhere trying to get it all done. I wear a lot of hats and juggle a lot of different jobs.
Anyone who says that “a stay at home mom has it easy” needs to be strung up by their toes and smacked with a wet noodle or worse but, for the purposes of this blog I will keep it PG. I dont have the luxury of set working hours where I can punch in and punch out. I’m basically on the clock ALL of the time and when I lay my head down to sleep at night, Im already running through the list of things that I didn’t get done that day and piling those items onto an already booked up tomorrow. Now if that’s not setting myself up for success, I don’t know what is.
This should have been my first clue. Being busy ALL OF THE TIME is not being productive, it’s actually the opposite and in my case it was avoidance not productivity. Ever feel like you are busy all the time and never get anything done? Have you stopped to explore why that is and why you’re doing what you’re doing?
Have you ever taken a second to list all of the things that you do? All of them, even the things that seem unimportant or small? It’s kind of crazy when you see it all laid out on paper. No wonder we are all running around feeling stretched, thin and overwhelmed. I recommend that you try it one day, you will be amazed! Especially if you’ve been hard on yourself for “not getting anything done” or not “getting to that goal” of yours fast enough. It will certainly put things into perspective and give you a new appreciation for your capabilities and strengths instead of your shortcomings. We always focus on our shortcomings don’t we? If you try this exercise feel free to contact me and let me know how it went!
I’ve always known that if you don’t listen to your body and just keep pushing through stuff eventually your body will go on strike and make you tap out. Your body will find way to slow you down and by then it’s not usually not a good thing or personal choice. It will manifest itself into some health issue. But, knowing this doesn’t mean that I used wisdom. It was actually quite the opposite. Like most people, I chose to ignore my early warning system and just kept trudging on. Because we all think we are superhuman and the rules don’t apply to us right? If only I would take my own advice sometimes. Much facepalm.
In my case this crash and burn manifested itself in the form of a pretty major relapse. Depression/anxiety/ ptsd/ binge eating and emotional eating along with some major GI issues. Oh, and we can’t leave out the rapid weight gain from all that excessive mindless eating! And of course that triggered my old body image/dysmorphia issues . I have always been an overachiever even when I crash and burn.
But, jokes aside, I got to the point a few weeks ago where I didn’t want to get out of bed anymore. I didn’t care about my powerlifting gains or setting foot in the gym or counting my macros. I didn’t care about coaching or taking care of my clients or maintaining my social media accounts. I didn’t even care about writing. Forget about being a wife and parent, Homeschooling my son or even basic needs like hygiene and keeping a house clean. I was done. I was burnt out. This was extremely frustrating, It’s not like you can just get off the life train and quit life.
I decided to try and figure out where I went wrong, I mean looking at it from the outside everything looks great right? To anyone else, I am inspirational and motivating. I have my shit together and seem to lead a pretty fantastic life. After several weeks of self reflection the answer I came up with was quite simple. I wasn’t willing to admit defeat. My shit had not been together and I had been overwhelmed for quite some time. I didn’t want to see it because I was too busy being all of the things and doing all of the things. My identity was in the things I was doing. I lost myself somehow and my direction and passion in the process. Talk about humbling…
I have this thing where quitting is never an option. It’s a survival mechanism from my past and it has served me well. Call it what you want. Stubbornness, tenacity or just plain grit and “spunkyness”. It comes from a lifetime of having to fight for every little thing. It comes from childhood abandonment, severe bullying, being a teenage runaway and a recovering drug addict. Surviving rapes, yes that’s plural and more loss than I can express. It comes from being morbidly obese and having to fight through serious illness. Illnesses that were almost successful in ending my life. It comes from always feeling like I had something to prove because I felt that I didn’t start out with the same advantages as others. I considered quitting as a weakness and it kept me alive. That stubbornness and tenacity made me into the woman you all know and love today. It had its purpose.
However, this mentality no longer serves me. I’m currently in a phase of my life where I no longer need to be in survival mode. I have a family and a home, I am not sick with an illness that is threatening my life and there is no impending threat of doom lurking in the shadows. I’ve established a career as a personal trainer and I’ve also become a writer. Out of the wreckage of my past I was able to salvage compassion and forgiveness and from this came my purpose. I am not the same person. It was another lifetime ago.
With that said, I didn’t realize that admitting defeat over my current life struggle is not the same as quitting. Its not. Admitting defeat happened to be one of the most liberating things I’ve done for myself. It took away my need for constant control over every tiny little detail. It took away my need to prove myself and keep performing. It opened up my mind to the fact that while my current situation was no longer working for me it didn’t mean that I was weak but, only that I needed to approach things differently. It gave me the freedom to breathe and let go. It seems so simple but it was completely transformational. Quitting doesn’t leave room for hope. Admitting defeat creates freedom and room for possibilities.
The action of admitting defeat created more room for growth. I was not growing anymore. That is the root of what happened to me. That’s why I felt lost. I had OUTGROWN something that I was still trying to hang onto and had become stuck. There is safety in clutching onto what is familiar. Change rarely happens in the absence of fear. I had to let go of the rigidity of my schedule and my own expectations because they were now limiting me. I’m not the same person that I was when I started my weight loss/powerlifting/body acceptance journey years ago but, I was still living my life like I was and not allowing any room for personal growth. I had become stagnant and there was no joy my “grind” anymore.
As women regardless of the reason, we all struggle with being busy these days. Your past and your current situation may not be like mine but, I’m pretty sure that many of you can relate to something that I’ve shared here today. Don’t be too proud to admit defeat, it just may save you a lot of useless energy and help you re focus on why you started in the first place. What’s the point of living if you are just going through the motions but you aren’t truly alive. I don’t know about you but I want to live a passionate joy filled life and I’m going to do my best to help you live yours too.
Much love from your #mentalgrrrl
Women bear children. Her function dwells on reproduction…becoming a mom. If you have forgotten this important role, do not fear strangers, family, friends, and acquaintances will serve as personal reminders. “Oh honey you are going to have beautiful children” or “you are going to make a great mother.”
Society defines women’s successes by the spawn generated from our uteri. If one child strays away and follows the road not taken, their mother has failed.
Rewind. What happens when a woman cannot fulfill society’s role? She becomes tainted goods. No, no a female must have children that is their main purpose. Culture offers options to fix the defect: surgery, hormones, egg harvesting, surrogate, implementation of eggs from another properly working lady. Children are the biggest accomplishment of your life.
FUCKING. PAUSE. I am my biggest accomplishment. Society casts the label misfit. I embody the title warrior. Men view me as dysfunctional where as I view them as unequipped to handle a fierce, independent woman not defined by reproduction. I am not a deficiency. I am Chelsea Cullen.
Hey grrrl heyyyyyyyy!
It’s been a while since I sat down to write a blog. We’ve had @spunkycanuck on the blog and doing such a wonderful job, that I’ve been slacking! Anyway, the purpose of this blog is to share some info with you that I’ve yet to try out, but wanted to get a jump start on helping share the info.
A lot of you know our Long time grrrlfriend @firehoseincarnita on IG. She’s been battling some crazy-ass mold issue that is basically trying to kill her. But in true grrrl spirit, she’s fighting through it like a BOSS! Anyway, Gretchen knows that I have to pee ALL THE TIME. So she hooked me up with the gals over at Apex Medical. They sent me this magical wand you stick up the vajayjay that uses electrical stimulation to cause your pelvic floor muscles to contract.
Now, personally I think the reason I have to pee all the time is because I generally drink a gallon of water a day. But since I’ve been basically living out of a suitcase since March 1st, I’ve dropped my water intake dramatically and haven’t found myself having to pee nearly as much as usual. And to be frank, I have a really strong pelvic floor and great muscle control. (Confirmed by my last planned parenthood visit lol)
That being said, I know we have A LOT of women who’ve done the miraculous act of pushing a TINY HUMAN out of their body, and find themselves peeing when hitting certain lifts hard, jumping, or doing other various activities.
Keep in mind I have yet to try this machine out myself yet, I do NOT get paid to promote in any way, shape or form, and I don’t have a discount code to offer you. Just a pathway to explore.
And in the meantime, if Bear Guilles can drink his own piss and survive, I don’t see it a problem that anyone tinkles a bit when training. Or laughing. Or sneezing for that matter!
I’ll report back once I get onto test driving the “wand”, but in the meantime, if any of you want to check it out, you can find their website https://www.incontrolmedical.com
PEE ON GRRRLS! OUR BODIES SERVE MANY FUNCTIONS, AND ARE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF!
“GL18 was life changing for my daughters. They believe in this brand and movement so hard now. My thirteen year old is so proud to be part of this and feels so powerful as a girl. She’s always known she was smart but there is a different sort of confidence to her knowing she has support of women like you and knowing that she deserves all the things she wants to go after in life, and that she doesn’t have to fit into some mold that the rest of society tells us to be successful.
My 17 year old has found a group of girls who she can relate to and reach out to when she needs support. Something she has never really felt she needed. She fees supported in a way that doesn’t come from
Family. On top of that she has learned so much about what she faces as a woman becoming an adult and also what other women who aren’t as privileged face and it’s changed her outlook on life.
I can’t even put into words how grateful I am for the two of them to have you and this army of girls, never mind it’s effect on me ❤”
“Why I attended GR18. Last year at GR17 I was given a great opportunity to reflect on my own journey and build tools to improve. In reflection – it was a great time to work on me. This year, GR18 gave me time to reflect on how I am putting the lessons learned, my current mindset and the tools learned on my journey to the outer world. In other words – how can I put the message of self love and improved perspective outside of myself. This year GR18 gave me a chance to think about how I can be active in our community. Several personal activities gave me time to think about how to “pay it forward”. Its not just about learning – its also about sharing. And this year – you instilled this in my mindset.”
“GL18 was so life changing for me. As cliche as it may sound, I truly felt accepted and loved for who I was. Not once did I feel out of unloved or unwanted. I have battled severe depression for almost 20 years and I lost my mother 10 months before GL18. I was ready to end it all before I went and had this experience. I was ready to leave this world. This woman, Kortney Olson and her wonderful GRRRL tribe saved my life in one weekend. I will support this company and Kortney Olson until the end. I will return to GL19, GL20, GL21, GL30, GL40, GL50. GRRRL: Live saved my life and I owe everything to this tribe of warriors ❤”
“I was at GL17 which was so cool but this year my experience at GL18 was nothing short of amazing. The opportunity to connect with other women in a supportive and engaging environment is something that is so hard to come by now a days. Kortney has created a platform for women to come together, learn, grow, and heal. Personally i was able to continue to address and work on my own personal issues in an incredibly supportive environment. I am so thankful for Grrrl clothing and the experience at GL18. I have already purchased my ticket for GL19 as I now know this is something that has to be a part of my life every year.”
GL18 was a life changing event. I broke through what’s been holding me back from happiness… LITERALLY!!! The sense of sisterhood and community was so incredible and overwhelming. As soon as it was over I told (not asked) my sister that she is coming next year, and we have already both bought tickets! KO built a little home for all of us to feel seen, loved and acknowledged, and that means the world to me. GL18 gave me the push I needed to finally focus on myself and love who I see in the mirror. I cannot wait for next year!!!
I walked away from GL18 with a type of self confidence that can’t be broken. I learned some key parenting techniques that have already improved my relationship with my kids. I made life-long, meaningful connections; I now have grrrl friends across the globe that I know I could call on if I needed them. If I had to sum up the weekend in just three words they’d be: community, sisterhood and strength.
I’ll be attending GL19 & have already bought my ticket a year in advance. This is an event that I would encourage every grrrl to attend, words can’t really sum up all the personal gains you will walk away with.
GL18 literally changed my life. It opened my eyes and my heart. Even though it’s been about a month Some of the lessons still hit me. People have seen a change in me.
I made friends that I consider my sisters. We talk all the time. It was such a wonderful experience. I WILL be back next year along with a few others that after hearing my stories want to come too
GL 2018 was 100% life changing. The overwhelming feeling of sisterhood and love is there in room, in every single grrrl’s eyes, in the way they greet you and hug you and cry with you as we all took the same gorgeous journey to self love. The seminars were eye openers and life affirming. I learned to love myself again. I wore shorts for the first time in years and wasn’t self conscious or worrying about what other people thought of me.
And best of all, I made lifelong connections and friends from all over the world. I believe every woman should attend GRRRL Live to take their confidence and self love back.
GL18 was the first grrrl event I had ever attended, yet going there and seeing the grrrl army felt like going home. Imagine going somewhere where total strangers wave and yell “Hey grrrl hey!!” From across the room. Being able to walk up to a crowd of complete strangers and feel welcomed and supported. It was something very new and different for me and it is something I will never forget. We were all able to bond and share some pretty deep dark stuff and always get a hug whenever needed. The speakers were awesome as well and I learned a lot about so many things, way too much to go into here. I already have tickets for next year ❤❤❤
I went to GL18, and I learned so much. The first thing I noticed was that the clothing is a way to identify my sisters. But the friendships are more important. I learned it’s okay to 100% be myself, and I will be accepted because of my authenticity. My confidence has soared; a price can’t be placed on empowered women.
GL18 was my very first experience meeting all the amazing women that I have come to know and love from our online Facebook group. At first I was very nervous that I may not fit in or have anyone to talk to; however once I arrived that feeling very quickly vanished! Every single woman I met was amazing, sweet,beautiful and strong there was such an amazing sisterhood that flooded the rooms and through out the entire hotel. Meeting Kortney Olson was the very highlight of the whole experience she was 100% everything she appears to be online and so much more! When you speak she stops and truly listens and takes an interest in what you have to say. The movement that Kortney Olson has started is like no other she is the ripple effect. I left GL18 with a whole new love for myself and my new found sisters I have already purchased my ticket for GL19 because when you hear GRRRLS say it is a life changing event you better believe it!!! Thank you Kortney Olson for just simply being you and showing me that it is ok to love myself. 💙
This is my 2nd GRRRL LIVE & it was as transformative as the 1st but in a different way. I got to meet so many women that I had been talking to online for 2 plus years & that made my heart swell. But as a women of color the panel on I intersectional feminism really made me happy & proud to see issues that directly affect my life & community talked about & also addressed in a way that could help us build bridges & make action items. I loved hearing from out deaf community on that panel as well. I learned so much from Amber & Clara Baldwin. When we talk about intersectional feminism & realizes that our disabled community gets forgotten about & they have issues & deserve to have their voices heard. The final thing is after 25 plus years of dealing with disordered eating & binge eating I am finally on a path to working on those issues & it’s with the big help of GL18 as I am slowly working with one of the speakers Debbie Lichter. I can’t thank y’all enough for everything. And I most definitely am coming to GL19. I wouldn’t miss it & holler at me if you need any help ❤❤❤
I’ve spent my whole life feeling judged and looked down upon when surrounded by women. Like I was never “enough” to fit the norm. And then I went to GL18 and I finally felt what its like walk into a room full of women and feel a wave of love and acceptance, rather than competitive judgement. I made lifetime friends with women who before that weekend I had never met. I found the woman that I used to be, and the woman I want to move toward becoming. And I will forever owe that to Grrrl and GL18. I have every intention of being at every Grrrl Live that follows!❤
The moment I stepped off the plane I was wrapped in the arms of sisterhood. Seeing women come together from all over the world to not only learn about themselves but also sisterhood was unbelievable. It was the first time I felt like I belonged somewhere. I learned that I am stronger both physically and mentally than I thought I was. Breaking a board and lifting a 100lbs sandbag ( I’m coming for that 140lbs next year) were things I never thought I could do physically however being able to open up to a group of females about my pasted showed me just how strong I really can be. For a small town girl with social anxiety to jump on a plane for the first time ever to come to this event says how important this event was. We as females are strong and we need Grrrl to be able to spread this message and be able to reach more Grrrls.
I bought my GL19 ticket 78 seconds after the email announced they were for sale. This movement is changing lives and I plan to be a part of it, for every women. This forum is where the work happens, where the hard conversations happen, where change takes place. One of my life goals is to one day be a speaker at these events. In the mean time, I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow from each and every member of the GRRRL Army. #GRRRL
Let’s get real. I met KO almost 2 months after almost attempting suicide. She pulled me in, heard my story and told me to get my ass to Vegas. Sponsored my tickets. Two panic attacks. Flying alone for the first time as an adult. And the weekend changed me. Is still changing me. I have made life long friends. Who impact my life in the daily. I bought my GL19 tickets the day they released. You will not find anyone else like her. She sacrifices herself to cause a ripple effect that is touching so many souls. I might not have made it this far without her and her movement.
This was my second time going to GRRRL Live and it was amazing! I was able to help some grrrls who needed it, I saw positive changes in grrrls from guest speakers, and I’ve made lifelong, amazing, supporting relationships which I and they both need!❤ I was able to build confidence by breaking a board with my fist, throw an axe (got a bullseye), and get out of my comfort zone by dancing and doing a photo shoot around other women. Things like that make me stronger! I’m 43yrs old and am learning so many things, I only wish I had Kortney, my grrrls and GRRRL Clothing in my life sooner. I can’t wait to see my friends, meet & help new grrrls next year and learn even more life skills for myself!
Liz Stigler, PhD
The work being done at GL18 and by the brand, largely, is unlike any of its kind. The fidelity of this model exists in its ability to create an international network of women and girls who have been searching for a home and find it at GRRRL. This brand is truly a community of folks dedicated to eradicating injustice and misogyny of all sorts. There is no brand in the world doing this kind of work on this level with this sort of motivated following.
This was my first time going to GRRRL Live and words cannot explain how amazing this experience was. I have NEVER seen a movement like this before with so many grrrls supporting each other through thick and thin. I literally built so much confidence going there, it helped me build connections to incredible women around the world and reach out to them whenever, got rid of my stage fright, and let me open up more. This was a safe environment and I know no one would judge me there and that made me so happy. Hearing the guest speakers changed my life and I hope I touched the lives of people there as well. Thank you Sistah KO for the opportunity! I cannot wait for GRRRL Live ‘19!!!
The GRRRL who boarded the plane was not the same GRRRL who came back home. Not only did I make life long friends but I was surrounded by nothing but love and empowerment — which money can’t buy! I am learning how to love myself and truly be happy. I am much more proactive because well… life is short. I am coming back in 2019 ready for more growth! Can’t wait!
It’s not everyday you go to a 3 day event not knowing a single person and leave with a whole entire new Family. GL18 truly changed me. I loved all the events and speakers but what changed me was all the conversation and connects I made with all the Grrrls. I never knew I needed these ladies in my life. Now I have sisters that get me, that are there for me and are apart of me. So yes GL18 changed my life. GRRRL POWER!!!!!
GL18 awakened something in me that I forgot existed and I’m ready to set the world afire!! I was actually very hesitant to attend at first and talked myself out of it several times. However I realized if im willing to spend money on my professional and leadership growth why can’t I do it for emotional growth and sisterhood. Day 1 was jammed packed with empowerment and embracing our inner strength. Day 2 was emotionally raw and helped me face many truths I have never said out loud before. Not only that but every conversation was amazing and making such incredible connections with extraordinary women was beautiful and unlike anythjng Ive ever experienced before. I definitely plan to attend next yr.
I learned that I’m stronger than I think. I learned that I can help others reach their goals even though I havent conquered mine yet! I learned that there are so many different women everywhere but when we have have the same accord: celebrate ourselves and eachother, we are one and differences dont even matter. This year I brought 4 extras woman, next year I am bringing as many woman as I can next year.
GL18 allowed me to connect with other like-minded women who I remain connected with … and whom will play a significant role in my future, which in turn will impact the world (through the work that I will be doing). I have already invested in GL19, because I know that I am worth it and the content and connections I’ll experience there will be worth 100 times the cost of admission. #blessings #TogetherWeRise
GL18 completely changed my life. I have never been one to show emotion because showing emotion was showing weakness. Kortney Olson and the whole GRRRL Army showed me to embrace my emotions. My emotions are a strength! They are who I am! I will be attending the next GRRRL Live and every single one that follows!! I believe this event is something every woman should have the opportunity to attend!
GL18 is the ONLY place bringing women together in this manner to lift each other up to celebrate one another to learn grown and educate each other. An army of women on a mission to do good thing to
Love one another as well as ourselves to make a positive impact on this world! It’s time to do good things and GL is where it’s starting! Yes I will be at GL19 and GL20 and GL21 and GL22 and everyone after that. I’ll bring more and more grrrls with me year after year and we will make a positive impact on this planet and all those who walk it.
GL18 changed my life. First time was this year and I will never ever miss a year going forward. I have learnt so much about myself in that one weekend that no other human or doctor could teach me in 38 yrs! I flew to Vegas and travelled by myself, shared a hotel with a stranger and I would do it all over again without a doubt! The grrrlarmy is nothing but a loving, supporting and non judgmental group that I am proud to be a part of! I’ve never cried so much in my life and it was so freeing to not be ashamed to let it all out! KO your a goddess and someone that everyone should look up to! You have the power to change the world!
GL has doubled in numbers since I attended the very first one and I assure you that it will TRIPLE next year. With this being said-there will be more representation in diversity that we will serve to accommodate so they experience the conference just like everyone else. I have sparked some new deaf grrrls’ interest in attending GL 19’ and it will make sense to have more fundings for professional ASL interpreting team. We must choose venue that will be conscious of all Grrrls’ needs. Within 5 years or less of time GL will be something everyone talks about and you will either: wished that you provided the sponsorship or is GLAD that you guys did! I’ve learned so much and as a deaf person it feels really great to be able to interact with many bearing grrrls!
I went to GL18 without having connected with anyone and without anyone I know. I was SO out of my comfort zone. However, I knew I was in a bad spot in my life. A verbally/mentally abusive MMA coach damaged my thought process/the way I view myself and then life threw some big changes at me at the last second causing me to move back in with my parents after being on my own for 5 years following the completion of my masters degree. I went to GL18 terrified, broken, 25 pounds heavier than I was last year, with a masters degree I didn’t want to use, that I feel extremely guilty about not wanting to use because my parents are so proud and I worked so hard. I came home and I made some life decisions. I interviewed for a bunch of jobs that use my licensure and masters degree. I got a lot of job offers from them. I turned them all down. Today I accepted a job as a health coach, making more money than my masters degree jobs would get me, and one week from today I’m moving 5 hours from home to chase whatever it is that makes me happy (not sure exactly what that is but I’m going to figure it out damn it). I’ll be training with a new coach who doesn’t undermine my hard work or mock the fact that I’m a woman and that I have lots of feelings or tell me I won’t ever be good enough. Going so far away scares the shit out of me and I never planned on doing this, but I’m here for it. Thank you, Kortney Olson and every single person who spoke with me for drastically changing the course of my life.
Amber Galloway-Gallego, I love this GRRRL. Her presence has a powerful and lasting impact. I will never forget what she said during the panel at GRRRL live “When is the last time you had to think about how you were going to communicate with others?” That one sentence changed my whole universe. I have never thought about it, I’ve never had too. Thank you Amber for educating us and sharing your world with us. I love your beautiful spirit. – Kelly aka Spunky
“One day I was asked to participate in a GRRRL interview. I thought to myself “well what in the world is GRRRL clothing?” I quickly searched, found the website and felt something the moment I heard the first testimony and I quickly texted KO back “it would be an honor to be a part of this in any way I can be.”
Less than a month later I received another text from KO “hey we are swinging by Texas and also there is a song… could you sign it for us?” I respond “ of course I will do whatever you need” the Van of merch arrives and KO, Brit and Tori jump out. Once the Interview is done and after a few tears and smiles KO asks, “what are you doing this up coming weekend? can you come to GRRRL Live and speak?” I think “what’s GRRRl live?” Yet again, that night I went Back to the google search to understand what I might be getting myself into. My heart immediately said yes! I texted KO and responded “ I will be there” I and purchased my ticket.
This movement is new for me! This GRRRL stuff is new to me! I headed to Vegas and I knew no one really. I had absolutely no clue what I was about to experience. I do know my heart and mind were excited to educate and try to inspire others about access. Little did I know that I would step into a world of woman power, beauty of all races, sizes, shapes and inspiration. It forever changed me.
I checked in and went to the pool party. I felt alone because I didn’t know anyone. I am hard of hearing. I have difficulty hearing conversations. I didn’t know if I would be judged because I am not pretty enough, muscular enough, or strong enough. This is what myself and I am sure others have felt so many times before heading into an all woman event. As I observed and watched interactions, I truly saw such love and beauty. After a while the DJ asked everyone to surround the 18 and under GRRRls. I stood and watched as these beautiful women lifted each other up and gave words of “womenisdom” women+wisdom to the younger GRRRLs.
I realized that I have always needed GRRRL in my life and didn’t know I did! Wait no all Grrrls need A #GRRRLARMY. If I had this maybe I would not have tried so hard to find the wrong love, I would have loved myself more, I would have had the tools I needed and I would not have allowed what I have allowed to happen. Maybe my scars would not have been so deep. I know I am damaged. I am broken. I feel so alone on days, I sometimes feel hopeless. I also know I am stronger because of my brokenness. I know I am better because of my awareness of others experiences.
I find hope in others and inspiration. I am a better human because I choose to approach others with equality, and to honor each persons experience and let them know they have value. I feel empowered now and want the whole world to know how killer it is to be a part of the #GRRRLARMY! What GRRRL did was solidify that we are GRRRLS, we are worthy, we are united, yes we are damaged but yet we are beautifully O.K.”
The stories keep coming in and I can’t get enough of em! This week I continue on my mission to share ALL your GRRRL Live 2018 stories. I never want to forget what happened in Las Vegas that weekend! They say “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” in our case we left a whole lot of stuff behind and we came home new women with an even stronger sense of sisterhood. Something like that can’t just stay in Vegas. We took it home with us and we’re using our circle of influence collectively to change the world one GRRRL at a time. –Kelly
Since getting back to life in Minneapolis, I put up the GRRRL pledge in my bathroom and have been taking good care of my fresh GRRRL tattoo that Cara added to my bad ass lady sleeve. The daily reminder of the pledge and tattoo make me want to push myself to be the best grrrl possible while empowering other grrrls to do the same. GL18 was life changing. I’ll be back next year! :)” @butchtalk
“I don’t even know where to start! I’ve been proud to be part of the #GRRRLARMY for almost 2 years now, and decided I needed to make time to meet (in person) more of these amazing souls I have been connecting with. GL18 did not disappoint! The energy and love in the room, on that first night, was so real and powerful. Having the opportunity to meet, share stories, and network with so much positivity was beyond any expectation I had. And yes, while there was lots of laughter, there were some happy tears too (xoxo Kathy Hardman!).
It costs nothing to share a kind word or act with someone, to lift someone up, to tell someone YOU MATTER, YOU are AMAZING, you CAN get through it, WE can and WILL! We are here to support each other, and kick some a** in life! Thank you so much to the MFCEO, K.O. for gathering the army, and thank you to Bridge Raftery for always capturing the best in life through your incredible eyes! We ARE GRRRLs!” Amalia Chevalier @fitjourney_southbay
The speakers were incredible. I felt on multiple occasions that they were speaking directly to me. When Melodee Meyer had us break the boards with what was holding us back, I felt a huge emotional release. When Inspirational Eve had us share our personal belief about ourselves I immediately panicked but when I spoke, my sisters listened. It was an emotionally rewarding weekend, one that I will never forget. I will definitely be back for GL19!”- Love Kristen
I caught up with Gretchen Hoffer and i’m really excited to share her point of view on GRRRL Live. Before attending GRRRL Live I was completely ignorant to the needs of the deaf community and I have to say, I still have so much to learn. I appreciate Gretchen for being patient with my questions and truly educating me. I’m so thankful that topics like these were addressed during the panel and that we GRRRLS have been given the opportunity to become better humans. – Kelly aka Spunky
“My experience with GRRRL live 2018 was nothing short of amazing. I also attended GL17 and while it, too, was life changing, this year really brought home the idea of sisterhood as well as bringing us all together in such amazing ways. The opportunity we had to build connections with each other as well as the work that we were able to do on ourselves really made this year so much better. When I think back to what I took away from that weekend it is always the moments where I was focusing on what I wanted to improve about myself or an experience in connecting with another Grrrl. I seriously cannot wait for GL19 because I know that it is only going to be bigger and better than each year before it!!
I was brought into GRRRL Live last year and this year as interpreter for one of our fellow Grrrls, who is deaf and uses ASL to communicate. It was exciting to be part of the movement and also to advocate for the deaf community in this way. My husband is deaf and I work with the deaf as a mental health therapist so being able to connect with others in the community, help bring awareness to the community, and support deaf Grrrls has been so amazing.
- Can you please tell me your thoughts on being involved in the panel?
When I first saw this question I immediately clarified to Kelly that I wasn’t actually on the panel and that it was Clara Baldwin and Amber Galloway Gallego who were on the intersectional feminism panel. I was just one of the interpreters for them. Kelly informed me that she wanted to get my perspective on my experience. It took me a while to think about how to answer this question as well as if I even wanted to answer it. The reason for that is because my role was as an interpreter and in that role I am not important. I am not to take away from the Deaf individuals who I am interpreting for because I am their voice and that is it. A great example of this is Clara’s friend and fellow interpreter, Brenna, who was at GRRRL Live and worked with me to interpret for the weekend. When we were given nametags to write our names on and wear she wrote on hers, “The interpreter has no name.” It was the perfect way to symbolize our role as interpreter. In interpreting situations, we are not important and should not be recognized.
Why is it more interesting that the interpreter knows sign than the fact that this is a Deaf person’s language that they use every day? It is just something to think about and ponder. Often it is the interpreter who gets the attention, praise, and notoriety. That is not our purpose and takes away from the reason we are there and also does not then give the attention to the Deaf individual. Both Clara and Amber talked about this during the panel and it is important to recognize and be careful who is getting the attention in these situations. Instead of commending the interpreter on their skills maybe we can communicate to the Deaf individual how beautiful ASL is as a language or another way to appreciate their culture.
- There is a video floating around social media with you teaching Rose Namajunas some important ASL signs. What was that like for you? Can you tell us about the signs you were teaching her?
I first met Rose and Pat last year at GRRRL Live 2017 during a car ride over to the venue. I was immediately aware of their genuineness and how humble they are in their lives as well as how easy it was to just chat with them. Meeting Rose and Pat again this year was such a great experience and in no way did I think that Clara and I would end up teaching Rose and Pat some ASL!
It really all started with some of the other GRRRLs at the VIG lunch asking me questions about ASL in an effort to try to understand the language better. Pat overheard the conversation and had some questions himself about the language, how the hands were used, and it led to me showing him a few signs to help him understand those parts of ASL, specifically the difference between one handed signs and two handed signs because he wanted to understand what you did with your other hand that you weren’t using to fingerspell/sign. I showed then taught him the signs “work” and “mountain.” After the VIG lunch was over Pat was going around showing every how to sign “mountain” and that included coming up to Rose and showing her. That prompted the explanation as to why Pat was running around the room signing “Mountain” to everyone. So I also showed Rose how to sign “work” and “mountain.” Since they are from Colorado I showed them how to sign their home state. Clara saw us signing and taught them how to sign Denver and then I showed them how to say “I live in Denver, Colorado.”
Clara then came over to see Rose and Pat sign and told them that she was going to test them on their ability to remember the signs that they were taught. She tested them on work, mountain, Denver, Colorado, and then added in some new signs that they hadn’t yet been taught. This is where the video started and it shows Clara asking them to sign “Champ,” which they didn’t know, and then “Rose.” The time we had together was so much fun. Both Rose and Pat were so awesome to take the time to learn more about the language and communicate with Clara, who is a huge MMA fan.
While this experience was really cool and amazing, what was also amazing was all the times that different Grrrls came up to me throughout the weekend to ask questions about ASL, Deaf culture, the Deaf community, and how they can be more respectful and understanding of the needs of a Deaf person. Especially after the panel on intersectional feminism, which really opened the eyes to many Grrrls about the struggles that individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing struggle with on a daily basis. It has been such an amazing experience to see so much growth happen not only in myself but from all the Grrrls around me and how much GRRRL Live created a place for us to do this kind of exploration and development.”
It was an amazing thing to be in the room watching all the GRRRLS unite in freedom, movement and power. The atmosphere changes when power like that is released. We explored our inner sexy without reservation during the chair dancing portion of the body confidence workshop. It seriously was a great time. Here is what Irys had to say about her experience as she led her portion of the class – Spunky
Attending GRRRL Live was an opportunity that has most definitely changed my outlook on life as a whole. It changed how I see others but more than anything else, it changed how I see MYSELF!
My nerves were a wreck because I had never been so excited to be part of something so great. A revolution among women that are changing the world, starting with themselves. The keynote speakers were there to wake us up and it worked! I have never been around so many women that welcome strangers with open arms, without judgement. There really aren’t enough words to describe the breakthrough I had emotionally. Kortney warned me that this experience would be life changing, but I never imagined HOW life changing it would be! I learned so much about myself and my new friends as well as the friends that accompanied me from home. Jessy De La Vega and Brendalyn Romero. It changed our friendship and made us so much closer. I was able to shed tears that for so long were suppressed deep down inside of me, because I have been through so much alone and I didn’t have time to cry! I was vulnerable but safe and that is why I loved being at GRRRL Live so much. I was safe! I am forever humbled by this experience. I am anew and with so many goals that I am now about to crush with the support of my new GRRRLfriends.
When I was asked to teach a workshop at GRRRL Live, I was more than honored and jumped at the chance. I would be crazy if I didn’t! The day my section of the workshop took place, I literally woke up from dreaming about the song I was going to present and doing counts in my head to the rhythm of the song. As I showered, I played the song over and over and even did the dance in the shower ( so glad I didn’t slip). I was so nervous! Nothing, I mean NOTHING can compare to the pride and overwhelming emotions I felt when I saw all of the GRRRLs in the workshop class. It was maybe the biggest class I had ever led! It was breathtaking to see all of those gorgeous ladies ready to experience something new. Once that warm up song came on, it was on and seeing the confidence in the ladies working their cat walks and diva turns and “touching their goodies” was a blessing. Everyone was so free. Sexy. Happy and in ove with their bodies. My experience was sublime and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Vegas Stiletto Fitness with Irys, Ladies Night Out Events is all about self-love and confidence. I try to do that with everyone that comes in and trys a class. One stiletto at a time. This experience turned me into a butterfly on more levels than one!
“Dear younger me,
I’m not going to tell you to smile…to keep your chin up…because life is full of difficulty, struggle, and pain. But what I will say is this: Keep. Going.
You may feel like nothing will ever go right for you. You’ve been traumatised by your 6th grade crush responding to the question of if he liked you with “No that’s f***ing sick.” You feel like no one will ever love you or want you. Rest assured that this is not so. You have the love of an incredible man, who against all odds, married you.
You hate your body, but…let me tell you that health is so important…and while you might hate the pain your body causes you sometimes later in life, you think you’re fat and ugly…it will also provide you with such pleasure, in so many different ways.
Chase after your dreams. You can do anything, literally ANYTHING you want to do in life.
There will be snags. Hangups. Loss of friends. Pain. Heartbreak. But there will also be love. Love from your husband, from your family, from your friends, and from your sisters that you will come to know over time. Love, acceptance, joy, passion, laughter, dancing, reading, knitting, movement… As much as you love music, you’ve found your passion in dance! You are exceptional at it. Enjoy falling in love with it.
I know it seems hard right now. But trust me. Even the hard times are worth it. Keep going. Push through the pain. You’re more beautiful and more powerful than you realize right now. You’ll come to know it at the right time. When you do, have no regrets for the path or the length of time it took you to find your power…but rather, revel in the gloriousness that you found it, and have it…and go out there and change the world. “
“Dear baby Kar,
what a little pistol you are. There will be times when the world will try to dull your smile, but keep powering through. There will be some really tough times right ahead, like your parents divorce, your brother’s freak accident, high school in general and college.. but you’ll be okay.
Stay true to yourself always. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you’re doing something that doesn’t make you happy, stop doing it. Quit the job you hate, end the toxic friendship that’s providing you nothing but heartache, quit trying to make things work with people that don’t put in any effort.
So go out of your way to visit your loved ones, especially your Grandparents, they won’t be here forever. Don’t ever lose your drive or determination, it will carry you further than you know.
Always remember, if you ever feel like you’re living a life you’re not proud of, you have the courage to start over.. I promise you that”
You’ve had a rough time growing up. Kids were not kind to someone so different from them. You were bullied for simply being who you are and how you looked- for being tall, for having red hair, for being smart, and for being overweight. I wish I could tell you that it won’t have lasting effects on you, but it will. You will struggle with the damage that did to you into your adult life but it will not break you. You will one day learn to love and embrace being different, I promise you this.
But, with being torn down so much in life by others, you don’t see your self worth. I wish I could shelter you from all the pain this will cause you by letting others take advantage of you- mainly men in the “relationships” you find. They will use you for money, abuse you physically and mentally, and treat you like just a piece of meat- and you’ll start to believe that’s all you are. These men will make you feel bad about your body more than you already do to manipulate you for their own personal gain. It’ll bring on some really dark times in your life but you will find the light.
I want you to realize most of all, that even though there were awful things done to you, it all happened for a reason. Every time you were bullied or every man that treated you horribly, there was a lesson to be learned and girl, you will always learn from them and be a stronger woman for it. These are the things that make you the bad ass woman you are. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, baby, don’t give up hope.
Finally, you will make the decision to change your unhealthy lifestyle and get out of that 314 pound body you find yourself in. I want you to know it will be a damn struggle but it gets easier every day. But sweetie, let me tell you about how much joy you will find when you step foot into that gym. For the first time in your life, you will finally feel like you belong somewhere
So be patient, know your worth, and LOVE your body because it’s the only one you get. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to just be yourself because she’s amazing 💛”
“Dear Younger Ashley –
Your life will be hard. You will be faced with many hardships and you will struggle, but you’ll come out on top. I promise. Your struggles will make you strong. Your struggles will keep you kind and humble. You’ve always had a good heart, but you will sometimes make STOOOOPID decisions. Don’t fret.
Stupid decisions leads to great changes and those changes will make you a better person. Experience is the greatest teacher and you’ll experience a lot.
Remember who you are and try hard not to lose yourself. It’s easily done. Remember what daddy always told you, “The world meets nobody halfway.” & you’ll be good to go. Be strong. Don’t take anybody’s shit and what shit you’re handed, you throw right back. “
Love – Future Ashley
I love hearing stories about women finding themselves after feeling lost for a while. It motivates me to keep pushing. Aixa Owens’s recount of freedom is inspiring!
“My experience at Grrrl live, wow, where do I begin? I walked into the Golden Nugget to not knowing what to expect and I came out of there with my mind blown away. Not only was the insane energy so powerful, every GRRRL there was just like me, needing to be surrounded by other GRRRLS who understood them.
I was meant to be there, share my story and listen to everyone else’s as well. As we cried, hugged and cheered each other on all weekend, I grew stronger. What ailed me no longer held me back, my self greif and most powerful of them all, the hatred I carried inside. For so long I carried this burden written all over my face and as I broke my board I felt that demon leave me.
Now like Bruce Lee, I crouch down, whip my arm forward and with the palm of my hand I invite any other doubt to try and get me, cuz it will go down!
GRRRL Live saved a part of me I knew I was losing. Thanks to KO for giving me the opportunity to be surrounded by so much love and acceptance. For my GRRRL Heather and Annie, for sticking with me knowing I was panicking being submerged by so many people. As I type these words, tears are flowing down my face but, these are tears of joy and acceptance. I am a free GRRRL.”
I am certainly excited for GL19 as I sit here and read all of your stories
Changing the game one GRRRL at a time
You were in some of the darkest days of your life here. You were so good at putting your head down and putting on that fake smile. So much so that now you refuse to smile unless it’s really from your heart. You binge on food to the point of purging when you feel guilt and shame realizing you couldn’t really control those feelings or fill that hollow spot. Your past sexual abuse from your chilhood affected all your relationships. You made poor choices in partners because You wanted all the control. You wanted to die period end of story. No One Would Notice Right? WRONG! You were so wrong on so many levels. Your depression felt suffocating to the point that you sought help and your village came forward because you are loved. You were 21….a baby really….You had so much to live for. Those were your darkest days. You still struggle with all of the above but you cope you are so STRONG! You fall down but you get back up. Remember to give yourself the kindness you have always so readily given to others. You deserve love…..do you hear that young one! You are Beautiful Outside and Inside…your body is a fucking powerhouse. You have built it to carry yourself and fight through this life. You still struggle with eating and how you feel and think about food but you work through it every day. You have a little boy watching you….thats right you gave life to an amazing kind hearted child that loves you even when your not at your best. You found a partner in every sense of the word that lifts you up and tells you that you deserve the world and more…..sometimes you even believe him…. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Stop treading water young one….start fighting. You Are Worth It. You have made it…..and still you have so much more to learn and that is ok. You are OK. Keep your eyes up you got this.”
“Oh my darling girl,
If you could see the way the stars will shine you would never doubt your reason for being here. You’re family loves you. You are worth more than you could ever believe. You will be a Mama one day, to an amazing little man who sees you with no faults. “You’re my Mama,” he will say, “you are beautiful every day and I love you.” You will survive the emotional and physical abuse of your peers. You will survive the rape. You will survive the death of your Father, your first love and you will grow beyond measure. You will be someone people look to for comfort and counseling, sometimes even for inspiration.
You will NEVER be defined by society because you make your own music and march to the beat of your own drummer.
You will find love, when you least expect it. Someone who treasures your heart and weird mind.
You cannot allow your past to ever dictate who you are.
Be brave. Be kind. Be responsible. Never take any shit. Know your limits. Be open to possibilities. Take a chance on the guy. Go to school. Ride rollercoasters.
Love hard. 💜 M”
“Dear Younger Kristen,
Your body is starting to change. Some things you will like, some things you won’t. Embrace both. Love both, because the body is powerful and beautiful. I know it’s difficult to love your body when you see all the beautiful women in movies, magazines, and social media. But they don’t actually look like that in real life. They have been digitally altered and photoshopped into creating a fake image. They too have stretch marks, cellulite, and body fat just like everyone else. Seeing these images will make you think that your body isn’t perfect. Making you feel like you’re fat. But don’t compare yourself to anyone. Other women are not your competition. It will only make you think you’re not skinny enough or pretty enough but you are enough. You are beautiful and just the right size. Remember you are smart, funny, caring, brave, stronger than you will ever know, special, loved, and worthy of everything. So instead of focusing on being “fat” or “skinny”, focus on being healthy. Focus on being happy. Real beauty comes from within. It comes from talking positively about yourself and others. It comes from standing up for yourself and others. From being kind and caring but not lettings others push you around. So stop talking to yourself with hate and disgust but talk with love and compassion.
Because you grrrl, are perfect. Love, future Kristen “
“Dear Jenn, where do I begin baby grrrl. 20Years ago this month you were getting ready to walk across the stage for one of the most proud days of your life and start your own journey. It was your turn to shine and walk away from all the heartache , bullying, trauma, violence,insecurities you had encountered by this age. But I wish I could of told you then it wasn’t gonna be that easy. I wish I could have told you to be prepared for even harder times and that you were gonna abuse yourself with drugs, attempt suicide multiple times that you where gonna have experience more trauma of your pops being shot and killed, you where gonna lose yourself looking for love in all the wrong places, you where be diagnosed with depression and ptsd. Oh baby grrrl there’s so much more, but I will tell you this. It never got easier but got so much better. Eventually you start to find yourself and started giving yourself the love you needed that you longed for. That you started to love what you thought where flaws. That you started given zero fucks about what society thought you. That you let god lead your way. That you become a powerlifter and eventually will become a barber when schools over and be your own boss. That your learned that you still make bad decisions but learning from the and keep going and growing. That your learning to be proud of yourself. That you’ve been off drugs now for 8Years and have become the healthiest and strongest you’ve been this far and are getting even stronger. No you haven’t met prince Charming yet but the love you long for from him your giving your self. That you turned your Ls into lessons. Baby grrrl you’ve always been a fighter and your winning. It took a while but that’s OK. You got this. And one more important thing your part of a world wide #Grrrlarmy who’s goal is to be the inspiration you long for and making a difference in others lives. Your absolutely amazing,beautiful, loved and doing the damn thing baby grrrl. You still have faults but that OK..just continue to grow from them and love yourself and you’ll get there”
#DearGrrrl from @butchtalk
“Dear lil’ Whitney,
What a rad tomboy you are! I know you don’t see it now because you’ve been struggling with self-esteem issues since 1st grade, but you are truly one-of-a-kind. Despite all the family struggles, harmful cult-like church camps and retreats, depression, anxiety, physical and verbal assault for being gay you have already dealt with and will face in the future, you are strong and a fighter. You learn that asking for help isn’t weakness, it’s strength, and you learn to hold your head up high and walk your truth.
You’ll try to dress more feminine and put on makeup to fit societies expectations of girls and women, but you’ll eventually fully embrace your female masculinity and stop dressing in drag. Sidenote: you’re fucking smokin’ in your butchness. Own it grrrl!
As much as your brain tells you that you’re the worst, you’re not. No one beats you up more and harder than you do, but you know what? It lessens with time, lots of therapy, medication, and retraining your brain. It’s a shitton of work, but so worth it.
You are absolutely, 100%, exactly who you’re supposed to be, lil’ Whitney. A gem of a human.
In time you’ll believe it.
Be kind to yourself.
As much as you love others, give that love to yourself. You deserve it.