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

Kelly aka Spunky

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Tiff D.

“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 ❤”

Jenn C.

“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.”

Maddie H.

“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 ❤”

 

Gretchen H.

“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.”

Michayla D

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!!!

Natalie V

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.

Kristen D.

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

Cassie M.

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.

Dustine S.

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 ❤❤❤

Shawna R.

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.

Amanda H.

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. 💙

Kanoelani P.

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 ❤❤❤

Krystal S.

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!❤

Mandi WB.

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.

Stephanie B.

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

Gentley B

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.

Misty D.

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.

Victoria M

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!!!

Cait K.

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!

 

Heather S.

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!!!!!

 

Bev P.

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.

Clara G.

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.

Stephanie T.

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

 

Katie K.

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!

Stephanie BP.

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.

 

Nicole C.

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!

Clara B.

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!

Kait

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

 

“I wrote this in the closed Facebook group but it’s important to me so, I’m gonna write it again! Being seen and accepted as a woman and sister was my favorite part of GL18. There were no questions about me presenting as a masculine female. No one at GL18 called me “sir” or used the wrong pronouns. I was simply loved as a grrrl and it means the world to me. Thank you for creating an environment where that is possible KO and team!! Aside from that HUGE part of GL, attempting a deadlift for the first time with someone to check my form (I’ve done them at home but never with anyone around) was a big confidence booster. Thank you Karina for your guidance during the Meg Squats workshop! I’m feeling better than ever about picking things up and putting them down! 

 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

 

 

“GL18 literally changed my life. I can’t express how grateful I am for the GL18 experience. I have never been able to walk into a room of over 350 women and not feel judged. All I felt was pure love and acceptance. They are the sisters I never knew I needed, but now I couldn’t live without.

 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 

 

 

 

“Words will never be able to fully express the emotions of what I felt at GL18. When I arrived in Las Vegas I stopped and thought to myself , holy crap Jenn you seriously full out to Vegas alone to meet a group of women you’ve never met before in person and your rooming with complete strangers!  Then I thought, well hell you’ve seriously done worse.  I didn’t realize at the time that it was going to be one of the best experiences in my life. To be in a room with over 200+ women you’ve never meet in your entire life and to feel their energy, the love , the passion and the support. It was definitely the most amazing experience I have ever felt. I went to Vegas alone but came home with 200+ sisters. GRRRL LIVE 18  lit a fire under my ass! I want every women in my family to experience next year. My mom, my grandmas ,aunts ,cousins, nieces the whole neighborhood and the world! If you ask why , I’ll say it’s because they need the education and to understand times are definitely changing. We are women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity but we all share common things. We all have stories. We all just want to love ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin.  It’s time for a change. We are an army of women who empower each other! “Jennifer Cantu

 

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!

Melinda Ramirez 

“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. “

@yasminadlv

 

“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”

@brokentobarbell

 

 

 

“Dear Michaela, 
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 💛”

Love,
Michaela💋

 

 

“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

Spunky

“Grrrl Live 2018 was monumental for me.  When I went to GL17, I was trying to find my way in life and trying to build more confidence. I walked away from that conference not only realizing that I was on the right path but that many of my dreams were achievable and I shouldn’t let my insecurities get in the way.  Fast forward to GL18 and my life is different. On the plane to Las Vegas I realized just how I’ve come so far in my life. My insecurities have diminished, my confidence has increased and my life is great.  
 
GL18 was just as impactful in so many ways.  For one, I got to see a lot of the Grrrls that I met last year. Grrrls that I’ve made friends with through the private group or on Instagram. There were also so many that I had not yet known.  The hugs and the love just overflowed my heart and soul. Now I miss my #grrrlarmy sisters so much.
 
The presentations during GL18 were epic and there was so much that I took away from each one.  However, the most impactful was the Intersectional Feminism panel.  To listen to my sisters talk about this topic was deeply moving and I walked away more informed than I ever. I look forward to doing a self-check again for GL19 reuniting with my Grrrl Army sisters and meeting so many more next year. It’s going to be an epic year! I just know it.”
Adele George @adele_grrrlarmy

“Dear Jenn,
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.”

Sincerely 36 year old
Jenn

 

“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.
Love,
Whitney”

Welcome to our #deargrrrl project inspired by Dr Carolyn Becker. We’re asking you to write a letter to a younger you. It’s a process to promote self love, self esteem and forgiveness. To share your knowledge, help heal the scars of childhood, and help others that need encouragement right now. PLEASE join us & #deargrrrl 


Dear Kort
Wow. I’m not even sure where to start. I hate to tell you, but you’re about to experience the most challenging years of your life. You grew up with family who were sick from alcoholism. You need to know that they aren’t bad people who need to get good, but sick people who need to get well. Be mindful that you’ll walk straight into their shoes if you don’t watch your behaviours.

Everything that you are about to experience is an opportunity to grow stronger. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be in your journey, of every second that you are experiencing life.

You simply cannot fail – you are merely learning. Know that you are fully responsible for your life. You are not a victim.

You’ll make bad decisions from time to time, but as long as you take responsibility for your part, make amends, and do the next right thing, you can never truly do any wrong. Also, if you have to lie about something, you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

You have spent your life hating your body, but I want to tell you that you are a masterpiece. I commend you for continuing to get up every time you felt like dying. While you fumble through these awkward years of your life trying to “figure it all out”, just know that you don’t have to know what your purpose is, ever. It may be big, it may be small. But trust the process.

Know that there is a God, and you aren’t it my dear. Ask for guidance from The Universe, our ego-centric minds will never be able to navigate this world on our own.

Know there are 1000 ways to do something, and the only one that is factually ‘right’ is the one that works for you. Trust your intuition.

Slow down.
Forgive yourself.
Remember that the present moment is all we truly have.
Finally, we operate from either 1 of 2 places: Fear or Love.

Your stories keep rolling in and I couldn’t be happier to share them. This one from Gretchen has me in tears. I can relate to this feeling and I admire her courage and transparency in sharing this :

Chuckie Welch, Gretchen and Meg Squats!

“GRRRL Live was not at all like I anticipated it would be. It was better and harder. It kicked my ass more mentally than physically. I was walking to the event Saturday morning when I got the call that my 5 year old son was sick. As a mom I instantly felt guilt for not being home. I walked into the room and the #GRRRLARMY was already in formation. I made myself feel like an outsider. With each passing empowering moment I shrunk a bit more. The old voices in my head were gaining strength. “You’re not one of them. They won’t like you. You’re not enough. Women like them aren’t friends with girls like you.” And you know what? The voice won for most of the weekend. I sat alone in a room with the #GRRRLARMY and silently struggled. I cried when I couldn’t will myself to participate and I debated attending Sunday. I worked up the nerve to chase two of my IG (s)heroes down and emotionally explained to them how following them has helped me. 

Day 2 came and I slowly I got that inner voice to shut up. When it came time for board breaking I couldn’t break my board in the room with everyone else but I worked up the courage to do it in my hotel room alone. I introduced myself to another Gretchen, and then another Gretchen. There’s some magic to the fact that a name unused for 1000 years belongs to 3 women in the same movement. I gained strength at GRRRL Live by being my weakest, by realizing I still struggle to accept who I am becoming, by still being intimidated by the strength of other women because I’m scared to find my own. I can’t wait to go back next year!”

We all struggle at times. Getting out of our comfort zones and into the right environment is key. There is no better place or time to do that than at  GRRRL Live with the #GRRRLARMY standing with you. I am so excited for you Gretchen. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. It takes TONS of grown ass woman strength to step out and fight the fear that is in your head.  That was no small thing! I cant wait to see you next year! Be prepared for one of my patented Spunky Hugs. We love you GRRRL xo

Spunky

That feeling when you go away but it’s just like coming home. That’s what reading Lydia Valentine’s story about what GRRRL Live meant to her reminds me of.

“Ever since I became aware of GRRRL Live and it’s inception in 2017, I knew I needed to go.  I had already followed GRRRLS from all over and I wanted to meet them all. Rarely do I stay interested and passionate about things in the “fitness” industry. But, I have only grown more involved and intense about this brand and what it’s about.

I work a full-time job on a college campus that prevents me from leaving town during the school year. But when the opportunity came up for me to attend GRRRL Live 2018, I did everything in my power to make it happen.

I had had a long few weeks before the weekend of GL and found out last minute that I could get coverage at my job, so I made a decision and did it. I was so tired from the week when Friday rolled around (my flight was at 10pm) I almost wasn’t excited about it; I just wanted to sleep. But I’m so happy I made it happen.

Through the GRRRL Facebook page I was able to find one of my GRRRLS who was landing around the same time as I was. We took an Uber to the Golden Nugget together.  She ended up being my closest friend for the weekend and we always knew we had someone to hangout with. Shout-out to Krystal Schmidt for being my airport buddy! We finally got to the hotel. But, sadly it was after the pool party had finished and we hadn’t seen any GRRRLS until we went to the lobby to check in. Who was the first person we saw? None other than Kortney Olson herself!! There may or may not have been some crying. I was exhausted but, I’ve never felt more comfortable around a group of women.

For 2 days I forgot about my other worries. I let myself feel completely free and comfortable in the company of these amazing women. They were nothing but welcoming, friendly and loving. All things good. I tend to get caught up with how I look. I’m afraid of doing things that I want to do in fear of looking stupid and I worry about what others might think.  At GRRRL Live I was entirely free from that feeling. I learned about myself, and how to be a better person for the people in my life

You know when you get so accustomed to something and you figure that’s just how it is? But, then you try this other thing and it’s so much better? and you’re like, “this is how it’s SUPPOSED to be.” That’s how I felt when I was surrounded by these women. I was accepted for me exactly as I am. I normally surround myself with supportive people but this was a whole new level!

GRRRL will always be a part of me and I couldn’t be more thankful that I had the chance to attend GRRRL Live 2018.”

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky

 

I had a lot of fun in the body confidence break away session at GRRRL Live and I know all of you GRRRL’s did too! There was so much energy and freedom in the room that day.  Here is what Yassmin Diab  had to share on her experience with teaching us all about the beautiful art of belly dancing:

 

“What an absolutely incredible opportunity this was, not only to be present for GRRRL Live 2018, but to be a part of teaching a workshop with 2 other bad ass women.

When I approached Kortney after GL17 about teaching a belly dance workshop, I was really doing so on a whim.  Kortney didn’t know very much about me outside of being a part of the GRRRL Facebook group, and that I live in Vegas.  But she was all for it!  How thrilled was I?!  A few months later, she emailed me about combining dance workshops to create one MEGA workshop, and that sounded like WAY too much fun to pass up!!

I’ve been a student of Arab Dance for 15 ½ years.  I’ve taught various classes and workshops over the past 10.  This was by far the most challenging, and the most rewarding.

I say challenging, because I’m used to teaching for an hour to an hour and a half.  The structure of this workshop allotted myself and the other two GRRRLS about 35 minutes each.   Who doesn’t love a challenge?

Preparing was hard.  There is SO much material that I wanted to cover, I overwhelmed myself a bit.  I’d go off on crazy tangents, I had well over 3 hours of music to sort through and select.  However, with the help of my amazing GRRRL Supporting husband, I got the structure, the material, and the music laid out and ready.

I loved the concept of the workshop, too:  Body confidence through movement!  Leslie and Iryss both brought incredible classes!  Leslie’s twerkshop was super high energy, and had GRRRLS dancing on the walls!!  Iryss brought the super sexy chair dancing, strutting, and hair tossing!  It was amazing to share time with them.

GL18 was incredible.  There were so many important topics discussed over the weekend, I can’t possibly describe all of them with the attention and accolades they deserve. One that did have a profound impact on me was the Intersectional Feminism talk and the Panel. This tied directly into my portion of the workshops the next day:  as a white woman who studies, performs, and teaches Arab dance, I am always conscious about cultural appropriation.  I don’t want to pick and choose bits and pieces of the dance, leave the rest, and claim it as my own.  I have the utmost respect and love for Arab culture.  I study with Arab musicians, dancers, and teachers. This dance is someone’s culture. I have a responsibility to educate my students about it. Even if it’s something as brief as making a statement about where the dance originates from before diving into movement, or using as many of the Arabic terms for movements as possible. 

Having the opportunity to not only educate the incredible GRRRLS who took the class about the origins of one of the oldest dance forms in the world. And also sharing my passion, and hopefully help impart a bit of the confidence that studying dance has granted me, has been an incredible experience.   Every single GRRRL present did an amazing job picking up the minute and a half routine I presented.  I couldn’t be more proud and more humbled to have been a part of this incredible event.  I hope there will be opportunities in the future for me to do this again, and again, and again!! ”

 

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky 

Hey GRRRL’s Hey, it’s Spunky. I’ve made it my mission to catch up with as many of you ladies who attended GRRRL Live as possible over the next few weeks! GRRRL Live meant many different things to each of us. We loved, we hugged, we cried but most of all we GREW. We grew so much we came home different. I know I did. That’s sisterhood. That’s what happens when you create a space for women to step out in freedom. It’s a beautiful thing.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Leslie Parker who opened up the first part of our Body Confidence workshop on day 2. Leslie Parker is the creator of the TWERKXING PROGRAMM she is also a fitness and boxing instructor. This woman possesses such incredible soul and energy. She’s next level in the BADASS department! It was hard not to feel comfortable while attempting to shake my own ass! That says a lot because twerking and I were not friends before this workshop. Here’s what Leslie had to say about her experience:

 

I had an incredible time in Vegas last weekend with all those amazing GRRRLS.

I discovered a spirit where it’s more about how can I use my difference as a strength. Where one doesn’t judge the other because she doesn’t answer to the society code about how a female body has to be to be great.

During our workshop, I really enjoyed seeing freedom in all those women who had suffered with their appearance or body-weight.  

They really played the game. They were shameless and had a lot of fun. I love seeing happiness when I teach a class and I could feel a huge positive energy in the room during my workshop.

Some of the girls came over to me at the end of my twerk & fitness class to tell me thanks!

The energy with Yasmine and Iris was super cool. We motivated and supported each other. Our goal was to give our best to make the group feel comfortable. I could feel what we call “sisterhood”

As a badass as I am, I’ve had a hard time with people in the past. But with these GRRRL’s, I could really feel a support and a validation of our deep talent.  We are all different. We all have a talent and this spirit helps highlight our greatness.

I hope you will understand my text I’m French and I have to improve my English!!

Big thanks to Kortney and her super team. Long life to GRRRL”

Leslie Parker.

 

Hey Kortney,
I just got my first ever item from Grrrl. I visited the mailbox, tried on my bomb as FUCK new jacket, and read the tags pinned to it at just the right moment !
I have spent the last year doing wonderful things with my body (trail running, rock climbing, playing Division 1 rugby with a team of killer ladies in Denver, and skiing). I have also spent the last year fighting an eating disorder fueled by PTSD and a lifetime of a shitty body image. Today was especially hard,like sit-in-the-grocery-store-parking-lot-for-20-minutes-before-I-got-up-the-courage-to-go-the-fuck-inside hard.
It sounds ridiculous. It was. Walking to the mailbox, my logic was bargaining with the destructive side of my mind, trying to keep my dinner in my body. Putting on a piece of clothing that fit me perfectly was a good first step to turning the evening around. Then I read the pledge on mtge tag. There was a part that made the bitch who lives in my head (the one who is never pleased, the one who said “15 lbs gone? Now 10 more? More.”) sit down and shut the fuck up for a few blessed moments. “I am having a POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WORLD”.
My worth is not tied to a meal, a number, a size. Every time I step on the rugby pitch, or run, ski, and climb, I am building my body and giving my mind the fucking break it deserves. If my mind and body are taken care of, I can take care of those around me and leave the earth better than it was before I arrived. I can’t do any of those things if if I’m actively working against my body and constantly degrading myself. I read the pledge again.
Then I got up and made my lunches for the week. And you know what? I’m going to eat them too. Its just food. It’s not something to control – it’s fuel, plain and simple. I will put this pledge on my bathroom mirror. I will continue to move on and up. I will learn to love myself. I am going to achieve my goals. I’ve always known all of this, but it has been buried deep.
Thank you for what you’ve done with all that is Grrrl and GrrrlArmy.
Reporting for duty

Most of you probably caught my IG story about visiting Julie . I initially put the call out because I was looking for a photography studio to simply borrow someone’s white seamless canvas and shoot some leggings. Bridget was going to be traveling with me. But plans changed, and all of a sudden I was asking Julie if she could shoot the leggings. It also happened to be my husband’s birthday and I wanted to do something ‘special’ for him since I have been away. His favorite color happens to be red. I just so happened to have red heels and a red thong body suit. Hahahahahaha!

Long story short we shot the leggings and got straight into a mock boudoir shoot. It was the first time I’ve ever done a shoot like this and I can’t tell you how amazing of an experience it was. When I arrived at Julie’s studio I was blown away by her level of detail. I can only describe it as a “woman’s touch”. For example, she had a sign that said ‘welcome Kortney’ sitting on the table. She had sultry R&B playing at the right volume. The lighting was amazing and she offered me a drink straight away.

We quickly started talking and she told me about how she got into doing boudoir. A lot of her clients are rape survivors or escorts. She explained how the photo shoots are empowering experiences for both herself and her clients. She struggles with body image on a daily basis and experiences healing through other women. She can still remember back in junior high and high school how her dad used to say “God you have the body of a linebacker” and her mom saying ” you’ll never get a husband if you eat like that”

Of course by time I was ready to leave I had her hooked in with some local Virginia GA members. Like K.P. to help her get started with Powerlifting! I mean Julie has THE PERFECT body type to lift some MASSIVE numbers. Thighs to DIE for. She’s just adorable, So personable and easy going. We both had a lot of fun.

So here’s the crazy thing. Since I was 21, I’ve been doing some kind of modelling. Back in my younger days I used to do a lot of implied nude and shooting with dudes to build my portfolio before social media had really become a thing. Model mayhem was the end all and be all. Over the years I’ve only worked with maybe 2 female Photographers. Even then it was just to shoot clothing for GRRRL and years back the odd shoot here and there. Like the iconic shoot with Jessica Frint in Humboldt County. But, ultimately it’s always been with male photographers. However over the past 4 years I’ve only shot consistently with one of my best friends who goes by the name “Tchalla Hawk” in the public eye. We’ve been shooting for a decade now and he’s one of the only Photographers who doesn’t see “flaws” as “flaws”. I’ve decided our goal by the end of this year is to release a semi-autobiography pictorial book that showcases our work and growth over the past decade without the use of photoshop or airbrushing.

Today was a radical change in experience. Having a woman direct me on how to pose in a sensual way was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Having modeling experience, I’d get into position and she’d tweak it ever so slightly then yell out “oh YES! That’s brilliant! Perfect hold that right there! GORGEOUS!”

Hearing compliments from another woman is life changing. It’s an energy that I cannot really explain. Those of you who’ve utilized the pledge cards and written a compliment to complete stranger which resulted in some kind of experience will know what I’m talking about. In the past I’ve taken A LOT of risque and racy photos in tiny outfits to show off my muscles. I always flexing and showing some kind of definition. But today was very different for me. I felt soft, and overly feminine. I almost felt strange. My entire life I’ve felt like I’m not worthy or sexy if I can’t see actual muscle definition. It’s a long-story as to why.But I’m acutely aware of it.

While traveling here in the United States I’ve worked out 3 times in the past month. So feeling like I’m not ‘ripped up’ and putting myself into poses that didn’t involve me flexing muscles, felt rather odd. However, when we went back and looked at some of the photos I was truly mind blown! It was like seeing myself though another lens. And this is exactly what I believe boudoir photography is designed to do. It’s not vanity, but more of an avenue to self acceptance. You get to see yourself in a powerful position (because lets face it Darryl Hall & Oats were singing ManEater with conviction in the background!) of sex appeal that you can chose to use, or not to use. Finding yourself exotic, enjoyable, desirable, fabulous.

I’m still having a hard time with the concept of where you draw the line between being a “good role model” for the NextGen and showing them that we have a power that needs to be harnessed and used at OUR will. Why do we sexualise women’s nipples but not men’s, when in actuality ours serve a function? They feed tiny humans. And also show them that there is nothing wrong with sexuality. Naturally humans (kids primarily) want to do what they’re told “not to do”. So if you’re exhibiting yourself in a position where you’re making a statement. This is me loving me. I’m not here for your approval. I’m not here for the likes on the pictures. I’m here to say goddamn I’m a stunning goddess and when shot through the eyes of another woman I can get a glimpse of my underlying power! Whether that power is rising up your masculine energy or feminine! Whatever your journey is you can find it whilst doing a boudoir shoot.

So. Much. Love.
Feeling content, accomplished, unafraid, and unstoppable with the GA charging forward.
MFCEO

It’s time to call attention to why GRRRL Clothing exists. It’s time to look past the clothing and truly understand the heartbeat of GRRRL and what can be accomplished through our Self Love Rebellion Campaign.

GRRRL clothing exists to create change for a generation of struggling young women who are currently and will eventually be leading this world. The struggle is so real that our youth are dangerously crippled and lost. We need your help. Our clothing is the vehicle we use to get the message out. It’s the flag we fly and banner we raise to rally the troops who will stand for change in a marketing world that would rather look the other way and profit from female dysfunction. Our vision is much greater than the clothes on our backs.

To quote Ceo of GRRRL, Clothing Kortney Olson, in her emotionally moving video for the self love rebellion project, “History tells us that we need HERstory. A stronger female influence. But how can that happen when women are consumed by an epidemic of self-harm, self-doubt, self-hate, fear, and prejudice? The annual healthcare costs for eating disorders globally is 1 trillion dollars. One in 3 women will experience domestic violence. One in five will experience depression. One in 5 teenage girls will suffer from body image related mental illnesses. What is the answer? Self love. All the research shows that self love is the personal pillar that underpins the achievement of potential. It fosters unity, disengages prejudice and fosters equality. It is the key that unlocks potential and personal happiness.”

1 in 5 teenage girls will experience depression before they reach adulthood.
7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school, and relationships with friends and family members.
Over 70% of girls aged 14–17 years avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.
Eating disorders are the 3rd most common chronic illness in young females.
Self-harm hospital admissions have increased by more than 68% in the last 10 years, with teenage girls 50% more likely to self-harm compared to teenage boys.
The incidence of eating disorders has DOUBLED in the last 10 years.
75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating.

We didn’t create the the Self-Love Rebellion Project because we want to sell clothing. Yes, our clothing is award-winning and awesome. Plus, when you support us by contributing to our growth, you will receive amazing GRRRL gear in return. It really is a win-win situation. Your contribution will enable us to visit 5 cities in America to provide access to our life-changing self-love event absolutely free of charge. You will be changing lives and rocking amazing gear.

Based on the eye-opening statistics I shared above, chances are that if you’re a woman reading this, you’ve been directly or indirectly affected by one or several of the issues mentioned. If you’re a male reading this, there is most likely a woman in your life right now who is silently struggling. You can make a difference.

We can help. We want to arm women with the tools they need to conquer their inner demons and rise above. It’s alarming that we live in a culture where self-love is considered rebellious and that standing up against mass media marketing to normalize all body shapes, colours, and backgrounds is considered courageous.

Ask yourself who you have allowed to influence your beliefs. Have you ever thought about how your thoughts have been influenced by the media? We typically accept our thoughts as truth without thinking about where they came from and why. Companies profit from negative self-images while women destroy themselves. Hating yourself is considered acceptable and normal behavior. What is most alarming is that these behaviors are expected and encouraged. Can you imagine how many companies would go out of business today if women simply started loving themselves? There is so much work to be done, and it starts right here with The Self-Love Rebellion and you.

This is our pledge. We intend to change the world one pledge at a time, one woman at a time.
I solemnly swear to the best of my ability to refrain from talking negatively about myself as well as other Grrrls.
I am an equal amongst my peers, and see myself as neither better than nor less than them.
Through this pledge of non-judgment, I understand and embrace that I am having a positive impact on the world and furthering the global revolution of body acceptance.
I take this pledge.

It’s time to change the game. It’s time to change our inner narrative as a society. It’s time for healing to begin. Come read our story. We invite you to become a vital part of the rebellion. We invite you to help us mobilize an army of change.

Remember as Eleanor Roosevelt said. A woman is like a tea bag-you cant tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
Keep fighting the good fight
SpunkyCanuck

Why Ambassador Codes Aren’t Brilliant, But What Is Instead

If you’re already an Ambassador (or Brand Advocate), don’t get bummed out. You’ve made it this far, so keep reading.

I’ve never been a big fan of ‘ambassadors’ or ‘affiliates’.

What is the difference between ambassadors, affiliates, and/or even partners for that matter? I don’t have time to give you a dictionary definition, so let’s continue.

Now, our first year with GRRRL, we started out an ambassador program that didn’t contain concrete outlines, unlike a company say like 5% nutrition. If you go on their website, it’s real clear that you can apply, but you need to have 10,000 + followers to even begin with.

We were taking women and girls onboard who were more or less “grrrl material”. We would check through their feed and read comments they left on other people’s profiles to make sure they were acting in accordance to our ethos, not posting with airbrushed photos, or just doing a bunch of tits and ass shots for likes.

When you have online ‘ambassadors’, the point is to use their channels to promote your brand, and they in turn make a commission off of any sales that get generated. But nowadays it seems like everyone has some kind of ‘code’ or ambassadorship with some kind of company. Livesore. Be Strong. (Just be Strong?) The list goes on.

There are a couple of different reasons why I don’t like giving people codes:

1.. I feel like they make other people feel excluded

2. Our brand weighs so heavily on connectivity, sisterhood, and abiding to a certain philosophy of life, that if someone is associated with our brand, they need to conduct themselves in a certain way.

3. They turn people into a walking billboard. PS- People love to shop, but they hate being “sold to”. That is why network marketing is so goddamn hard!

It’s confusing because some grrrls have codes with less than say 1,000 followers, but when someone emails up to tell their story and apply, and we write back saying we have guidelines now, is that they might not realise, that this other grrrl has TATTOO’D the brand on her body for LIFE.

                                                                      

Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch! If you’ve tattoo’d GRRRL on your body somewhere, you are straight up RIDE OR DIE. Call yourself an ambassador, my blood sister, IDGAF. You are OUT THERE DOING THE DAMN THING.

We also have grrrl’s like Diana Van Rompey who go out and set up booths at events and have paid for table clothes and display items out of their own pockets (with permission of course!), and are out there pushing the brand because they truly believe in what we are doing.

Our current team of ambassadors and advocates are amazing and have generated us a lot of new recruits, and we are forever grateful.  

But when we get 100’s of emails a week, of women asking for codes, even with the few professional Athletes we support financially, once someone posts to their markets, their database is aware of who we are. We need people talking about WHY we exist, and how that has impacted their lives. Out in the street doing gorilla marketing. Thinking outside the box. Etc.

Having professional Athletes like Rose Namajumas and Holly Holm (former) on the team, are great for us. They are straight up grrrl material. But as a start up company, who’s main focus is an equal sisterhood, with our clothing already being affordable AF, codes tend to give an air of ‘better than’, if you will, and to be frank, our stuff margins are already tight as me trying to fit into a pair of jeans. Comparable brands selling the EXACT same leggings as us, will charge up to $75-110USD.

                                                                      

Furthermore, back in the day when we used to have more time, we could check up on Ambassadors and see what type of interactions they were having on other people’s comments. I came across “That bitch is just a thirsty hoe, don’t pay her any attention”, and nearly fell off my seat.

I don’t have the mentally capacity to brush my teeth twice a day, make love to my partner in over a year, let alone find time to heal my thyroid, so I certainly don’t have time to be looking into other grrrls who are Ambassador’s ‘stuff’. It’s not our job to police anyone. You’re either in, or you’re not. What you do in your spare time, is totally up to you. However, when a brand is based off of principles, values and ethos, we can’t mess around.

We’re not GymShark- we’re not DoYouEven… we are fucking GRRRL. We are here to build a sisterhood, where we are created equal. A brand that doesn’t need to be paying people to grow the sisterhood. We have so many members of the grrrlarmy who ‘get it’, and are out there already doing the damn thing.
Going out on the street with pledge bands and cards. To be starting their own free training boot camps and asking us to give a 1 time discount for a massive order for all the new recruits to buy a shirt…

Sure… some women just want to say they have a sponsorship of some sort, and feel like they’re being supported somehow. Some just want the title. But most often than not, women want to give back and be involved in any way possible, as well as be able to be heard and share their story.

So therein lies the issue. How do we get more women involved?

Because I know the feeling. Full-stop. I’ve experienced first hand, that the first step to building self love and finding happiness, is by being of service to others. Making $400/hr to stand around and flex in videos, did not give me happiness and fill the void in my soul. What did, was being of service and finding my purpose. Feeling like I could help others.

So how we get more women involved? Well I’m so f**king glad you asked!

This is in part why we are running this Indiegogo campaign!

We want to give our grrrlarmy members the opportunity to take proven programs back into their communities and teach girls how to become grrrls!

Yes! Selling clothing and being a brand that
-refuses to use photoshop/airbrushing
-all body types
-doesn’t use traditional sizing

is amazing! But it’s no longer about us. It’s about YOU and giving YOU an opportunity to heal, then change the world around you, by first changing yourself.

So to give you a taste, we’ve put the Self Love Success Academy on our campaign.

We’re envisioning doing Train The Trainer style format, where you, our grrrlarmy members (customers, if you are unfamiliar with our brand) get to come and learn the rebranded format of Kamp Konfidence, and create change in your world.

                                                                       

This “Self Love Success Academy” is just ONE of TEN components from Kamp Konfidence. And what we end up re-branding Kamp Konfidence to, we’re not sure at this stage. At this stage, we’re just focusing on hitting our $85,000 mark so we can take our GL18 on the road and do a mini road show! In the clothing world, $85,000 is a drop in the bucket when you’re expanding on a global scale.

So we’re giving you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with what the future is to hold. As well as get this information into as many hands as possible. This course is life changing….

SO……

WTF is the “Self Love Success Academy”

OK, so by now you’ve been looking at all of our AWESOME perks on our crowdfunding campaign and you can’t decide what to get. I don’t blame you… there is so much awesome stuff on it.

So… what exactly is the “Self Love Success Academy” anyway? (which I’ll refer to as SLSA)

The SLSA is a 160 page, interactive workbook/journal that is designed to help any woman or girl, 11 years and older, start working on developing self love.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/grrrl-clothing-the-self-love-rebellion-project/x/3743439#/

Developing self love takes work. It requires taking time to sit down, and put pen to paper, and ask yourself some important questions. Most importantly, self love starts by building awareness. Building awareness can easily translate to ‘mindfulness’. Instead of living life on ‘auto pilot’, we learn to observe our thoughts and behaviours and more importantly, strategies on how to start creating change.

The trouble with explaining what this program covers, is that there is just SO DAMN MUCH it actually covers.

For $70, the course includes 15 HD (hi def) videos ranging from 5-10 minutes of myself, walking you (or your loved one) through how to use this workbook/journal. The course also includes supplemental videos that go along with the course, as well as printouts, such as an assertiveness quiz and so on.

                                                                      

The ironic thing is, I HATE doing online courses. I lose interest, am HELLA A.D.D. (Official) and have a hard time sitting still. But, the beauty is, and I’m not ashamed to say, I am HELLA entertaining and engaging 🙂

I guarantee when you finish this online course, which you can do during the 8 week suggested pace, or do at your own pace (because you have lifetime access to the course) that you will walk away a more empowered, confident female brimming with self love.

This course helps combat bullying, regardless of age, improves self esteem and worth, creates a sense of achievement, builds self love, enhances confidence, and overall sense of serenity.

So for the love of Prince, get this specific perk in your home, out to other parents at your kids schools, to women who run girl groups, coaches, DO IT YOURSELF! It’s a great way to bond with your Daughter in doing this together, but also is designed to be done by yourself as a grown ass adult! I guarantee you will learn something.