Introducing She Can & She Did
In 2014, my cousin handed me a book that changed my life, The Confidence Code by Katy Kay & Claire Shipman.
Confidence and I go way, way back. It's a language I knew how to speak long before I could form sentences. And when insecurity overtook my inner confidence which, if I'm being totally honest, was most of my teenage and young adult life, I knew how to fake it.
But after I graduated from college with my undergrad in theater, something changed. I no longer had a safe space to play and practice my art in. Up until that point, if I was struggling with my body image or grief, I'd grab a play and escape with a character whose eyes I wanted to investigate the world with. Without that outlet and direction, I didn't know what to do next. And despite an overwhelming sense of confidence in myself and my acting capabilities, I didn't think I'd ever work a day in my life as an actress because of my acne, acne scars, and weight. I was lost, helpless, and I felt absolutely alone.
Then, I did what I've come to learn is something that a lot of people do when their life falls apart, I was just desperate enough to start running. And despite the fact that I was the self-appointed President of the "I F*cking Hate Running Club", running from my problems ended up saving my life.
Running a half marathon and then a marathon didn't just help me redevelop my confidence, it gave me the courage to believe that I could do just about anything I put my mind to. Because here's the thing about running, I'm really f*cking bad at it. Just for some context, I've run over 8 marathons now. I have a personal best marathon time of 3 hours and 41 ish minutes (which is RIDICULOUSLY fast) and just this morning, running 4 easy miles felt harder than my first marathon.
It doesn't matter how hard I work, running never fails to humble, motivate, and inspire me to persevere. Running taught me that just because I'm not innately good at something doesn't mean that I shouldn't give it a try. Or that despite what the mainstream media tries to sell me, strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way. And most importantly, running connected me to a community of women who have been to hell and back again and are fighting to put their strongest foot forward.
But I'm getting ahead of myself! Back to 2014 and the book that changed my life.
From self-doubt and perfectionism to how our confidence is a key factor to our success, The Confidence Code put into words what my friends and I were struggling with. We knew the gender gap was real. We knew that confidence affected how we judged what we thought we were capable of. When we looked around our hip corporate offices, we all saw a diversity problem. And despite being overqualified for our entry-level positions (I was a receptionist), we all struggled to "demand a seat at the table" when we didn't feel over prepared and perfect.
Doubt and perfectionism. Those tricky SOBs who swoop in the second you're ready to negotiate a salary, ask for a raise, tell someone you love them, give a big presentation, apply for a new position, or decide to run your first marathon.
And after I finished the book for the first time, I knew what I needed to do. I had to find a way to help more women shine a light on the importance of building their confidence muscles. So I did what any woman would do, I dove into the research and waited 3 years to find the courage and the confidence to take that leap of faith! After all, what good is a storytelling platform if it isn't perfect? How could I ask someone to teach me how to make a business plan if I couldn't figure out how to create a business plan on my own!?! How dare I waste anyone's time when I didn't have it all figured out?
If you're not catching my sarcasm, I've spent the last 3 years struggling to plant the seed that The Confidence Code gave me. I came up with every excuse from, "Once Run, Selfie, Repeat is finished, then I'll start She Can & She Did" to "so many other people are already doing this. My voice isn't needed!" and my personal favorite, "I already have a vlog, podcast, and blog! I don't have time for another podcast and website! WHEN WILL I DATE!?!"
But what kills me is that I never once was able to admit that I cared so much about helping empower women and building community through storytelling that I was just afraid of putting myself out there, failing, and embarrassing myself.
When I launched my running blog Run, Selfie, Repeat back in 2013, I didn't have a single expectation because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know a damn thing about blogging let alone running. Why would anyone turn to me when there were super serious websites like Runner's World out there?
Turns out, people weren't coming to me to learn about running, they were coming to me because I was one of the few people online who was talking about why I ran. Eventually, my running blog became more of a "life with a side of running" blog and after the 2016 election, I couldn't ignore my need to make She Can & She Did a reality any longer.
1 year later, here we are. She Can & She Did isn't perfect and we have a long way to go but my hope for this next chapter is that it brings women together and amplifies our voices. It isn't easy to discuss what makes us different. It isn't easy to speak out or listen to our hearts, gut, and mind. It's hard to question our faith or forgive ourselves when we f*ck up. (And if we're going to talk about the hard shit and get real, we're going to f*ck up.) It takes a hell of a lot of heart and even more practice. She Can & She Did is a place to share openly, honestly, and be heard.
From the stories of the women who risked everything to give us the lives they thought we deserved to sharing the stories of our own struggles and successes when we can see ourselves in the stories of others, change happens.
That's what I want for She Can & She Did. For women to come together and be the change we want to see in the world.
The future isn't just female. It's strong, ambitious, funny, and confident as hell.
Here's to the next chapter.
I hope you'll join me and share your stories with me,