[images][image][image][image][endimages]It was a beautiful Sunday in Malibu, California and usually I would love nothing more than relaxing on the beach. But, on this special day, I ventured up into the hills for the I AM THAT GIRL retreat and I couldn’t have been happier about it.
IATG is an organization that promotes self esteem in girls. What I found was a group of like-minded people sharing, being vulnerable and creating a safe space for everyone to be themselves. All I had to do was be myself and nothing more (if only I had access to this in high school or even college!) It was even more inspiring than I imagined.
These girls, the IATG chapter leaders from all across the country, touched our hearts and moved us to tears with stories of depression, perfectionism, mean girl syndrome, abuse and how I AM THAT GIRL has transformed their lives.
Beyond inspired by the experience, I asked IATG co-founder Emily Greener a few questions about the amazing organization.
What inspired you to start I AM THAT GIRL?
I had a conversation with Alexis that changed my life. We shook hands and I joke that in that moment, somewhere in the universe there was a sonic boom, and the world was never again the same, certainly my world was never again the same. She told me her story, except she didn’t tell me the version that was all wrapped up in a pretty bow. She told me the version that was messy, and challenging, and exciting, and honest. She told me things she was ashamed of, embarrassed by, and what she was really proud of.
And it made me want to tell her stuff. Like some serious stuff. Stuff I didn’t even know I felt or thought. All of a sudden it was safe. Her sharing gave me permission to share, and there was this profound understanding that I wasn’t alone. This was the first time I experienced someone leading with vulnerability. And it turns out this way of leading could actually change the entire world. We spoke about what it means to be a girl in the 21st century and asked these enormous questions like, “Why are we so mean to each other?” and “Why are we so mean to ourselves?” and “What would be possible if we would collaborate instead of compete? Contribute as much as we consume?” “What if we created a space that was safe to say all the things out loud we’re all experiencing and no one is talking about?”
“What would the 21st century women’s movement look like today? When girls are bold and beautiful, smart and sexy, fierce and feminine? A movement that not only includes men in the conversation but requires them. One where we didn’t focus our energy yelling about what’s wrong but rather creating what’s right?” This idea, this movement was called I AM THAT GIRL. I felt a fire burning inside of me unlike anything I had ever experienced before and I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I needed to follow it.
What do you hope girls learn from I AM THAT GIRL?
I hope they learn that they are enough as is, that it’s okay to be who they are instead of who they think they are supposed to be, that we are far more powerful when we collaborate instead of compete, that they are not alone, that contributing to the world is the single greatest way to build confidence and feel fulfilled, and that they have to learn to love themselves before they are fully equipped to love others.
What is the most rewarding part about your involvement in I AM THAT GIRL?
The girls who join the movement and who I get to interact with. Watching these incredible, brave girls show up for themselves and each other creates an accountability for me to do the same and that accountability as completely transformed and continues to transform my life. Together we are shifting girl culture, and to have a hand in that inspired me more than anything else in the world.
THAT GIRL is the best version of each of us. She’s all ages, ethnicities, classes and religions. She’s got a smokin’ hot heart and drop dead gorgeous mind. She is forever a work in progress, she seeks to be confident in her own skin. She speaks her truth, sees the best in others, and is leaving this world better than she found it.
Take the pledge today at iamthatgirl.com!