God Saved Me From Me
“Pass it on.”
Have you ever looked back at your life and thought, “There’s no way I went through that just for me”?
That’s how I feel when I look at mine.
Like, there has to be an easier way to learn the things I know than the way I did it.
Visible Confidence is my way of passing on those lessons I learned the hard way.
It's funny because when people see my resume, they assume I'm someone who's never been through anything. And while that's a great thought, it's not the truth.
So here's the real story.
I'm not sure if I started out shy or not. I just know that after living in an abusive situation and a custody battle between my parents, I ended up that way at the beginning of sixth grade. I was the type that noticed everything but didn't say much because I just knew it would come out wrong.
Being the tallest one in my class - even taller than the boys - and wearing glasses that covered almost my entire face didn't help, and I was bullied through middle school. "Olive Oil, Jolly Green Giant, Four Eyes"... the list goes on. I even got called "white girl" for "talking proper."
The bullying stopped when I ended up being really good at sports in high school. But that didn't replace the feeling of not being worth much with confidence.
It actually got worse because with each award I won, I felt more and more like a fake.
(The following might be TMI, so you can stop here if you're worried about propriety, or if it might stop you from hiring me, haha.)
Despite struggling with eating disorders and self-harming behavior, I became the best basketball player on the West Coast and signed a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University. Two months after, I was sexually assaulted. That didn't really help the situation.
Looking back on it though, the silver lining is that it's allowed me to relate to the 1 in 3 women who will also be sexually assaulted in their lives.
I'm so thankful for basketball though, because it saved me from myself in those early years. It taught me how to live confidently even when I didn't feel confident. And the better I got, the more I was able to build confidence in that arena, in my skills on the court, no matter what was happening off it.
And it worked for four years in college as I became a 3-time All-American and Vanderbilt's all-time scoring leader.
After college my dream was to play in the WNBA, and I did in Sacramento, San Antonio and Atlanta. I also played in France, Russia, Hungary, Lebanon and Turkey – Istanbul was my fave. On the basketball court I learned who I was, how to work and how to conquer fear.
I always dreamed of Lisa Leslie type success but that wasn't in the cards for me. After 3 injuries in 3 years - a broken kneecap, torn Achilles, and a torn ACL - my body made it clear that we couldn't play basketball anymore.
And as my dream career ended, so did a big part of my confidence. I no longer had the one thing most of it was built on.
At that point I made a decision.
I refused to retire at 29 and spend the rest of my life wishing I was still playing, hating whatever job I ended up with and not knowing myself apart from the game.
So Elizabeth Gilbert style, I went on my own "Eat, Pray, Love" journey to find myself and to build confidence in that person once I found her. It took living intentionally, a lot of time and introspection, some tears and a bunch of journal pages - over 400 if you're curious.
Along this journey, things started happening.
I started to discover and then build genuine confidence in who I was apart from the number, role and title that had molded me and given me validation throughout my life. On that path I finally addressed past events that I'd just swept under the rug because I didn't want to deal with them. And that brought healing.
I discovered the talents that had made me great at basketball were transferable to other areas of life and extremely valuable in business. And I learned how to believe in and support myself the same way I believed in and supported those around me.
With inner change came outer change. I started to stand out, not just because I'm 6'6" but because of the presence and confidence I brought into each room in every situation. It was crazy because I didn't realize it until people I knew started commenting on the difference.
Whenever I talked about how shy I used to be they would ask me how I changed and what I did to find my confidence. And I found that I could still relate to their struggle - in many different areas because of my past - and absolutely loved helping them. It never felt like work.
And that's where this journey began, to help as many women as possible find confidence, clarity and success in their lives, no matter what they've been through.
Overall, I love sushi, road trips and own every single Harry Potter movie. I’m super absent-minded, an introvert living an extrovert's life, a recovering perfectionist and aspiring essentialist.
I’m passionate about success but never at the expense of authenticity.
Everyone deserves to live confidently in a life they think is beautiful and I want to help them do it!
So whoever you are, thanks for reading my story, and I hope we can connect soon.
Cheers to you,
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." - John 1:5
Happiness is not exclusive. Every woman, given the right tools, can love who she is and the life she has.
A beautiful woman with no class is like a vase with no flowers.
You'll never find you while trying to become someone else.
No experience disqualifies you from amazingness - the strongest people walk the hardest paths.
Encouragement with no practicals is like icing with no cake.
Love is both a noun and a verb.
Being inspired by each other instead of threatened is a choice.
In the independence of drawing your own path - and the sisterhood of walking the journey together.
Who you are and who you show people should be the same person.
Empowerment is more than beauty advice and workout tips.
We're all meant to play a role in something bigger than ourselves.
You're your own kind of beautiful.
There's freedom in authenticity and stability in purpose.
I believe in US.
I BELIEVE IN YOU.