Humans are programmed to be story tellers and story consumers. Before the invention of written language all we had were stories. And that programming runs deep. We still connect more deeply with each other, remember more information, and best learn via storytelling.
Live A Great Story is a local, San Diego, community geared towards inspiring each other to craft our own meaningful, impactful journey through, yes, stories (in addition to events and cool reminder products like stickers, t-shirts, etc). They reached out to me after seeing the bits and pieces of my story that crop up from time to time in my social media, my yoga classes, and through my interactions. I'm so excited and proud to be an ambassador, to share my story, to inspire, and to be inspired.
A good portion of my story is well known to many of you. Lifelong competitive runner finds yoga to balance running. Oh and to balance the stress of being in a doctoral program. Graduates with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and moves down the traditional college - grad school - career - house buying path. Somewhere along the line realizes she isn't happy, despite everything looking rosy on paper. Starts November Project San Diego, watches that community grow, and realizes a larger desire to foster connection. Quits corporate job, takes a yoga teacher training, and ends up loving teaching. Tada! Looks quite linear when put that way.
Like most good stories, there's a prequel - a stage setting chapter or two. Since I was a child I've been a perfectionist. I needed to have the highest grades, to perform best at athletics, and to make everyone around me proud. No, there was no traumatic event or life change that spurred this perfectionism, it's just always been there. Unsurprisingly, it worked to my advantage much of my younger life. I made varsity teams. I graduated second in my high school class. I got into my first choice college. But the pressure of college, the reality of life at that age, began to take a toll. While my grades were still excellent, and I ended up graduating with honors, I started to learn that perfectionism wasn't easy in other areas of life. I had a hard time making friends for the first few years of undergrad, I was a small town girl in a big city and I felt alone, I struggled with body image issues and the comparison that runs rampant amongst college girls (and this was BEFORE social media as we know it).
My sophomore year in college is lowlighted by a toxic roommate relationship. A stress inducing living situation that ended with me 10-15 pounds heavier than I had ever been and being forced to move out of a beautiful apartment. To say I was dealing with anxiety is an understatement. This quickly became a self destructive situation. I started dieting, taking diet pills, spending too much time at the gym, and eventually falling into full blown bulemia. By this point I had established a strong group of friends (many whom I still have to this day, miraculously) yet I wanted to be fiercely independent. I had never asked for help before and I wouldn't start now. So I started pushing everyone away. And, to no surprise, the anxiety, depression, and eating disorder worsened.
It was a reality check forced in my face by a good friend who had stuck around, despite my constant pushing, that changed things for me. She forced me to begin to get help, to begin to change, to begin to heal. And what made it work was that she made me connect with her. Talk to her. Hug her (I hated hugs). Cry to her. Laugh with her. And be accountable to her.
Perfectionism, extreme self reliance, removal from others - those all pushed me to my brink, even though at the time I thought I was simply being motivated and independent. It was connection that brought me back to a place of self care, understanding, and healing.
And that understanding of the power of connection has been interwoven through all of the ups and downs of my story ever since.
My mission is to connect people: to themselves, to each other, and to their communities. Because it is my most sincere belief that connection is the key to life.