My mission when I started writing these articles two years ago was simple. As I have told you, my fitness and body confidence did not come easily and I wanted to help other women who felt disenfranchised from the fitness movement or business to feel inspired. I did not want to sell a fitness program or package because there are a million ways to lose weight and get in shape. That is not where the problem lies. I believe it is only when women feel they are worth it that they value themselves enough that they will stick with a program.
My heart breaks every time I encounter a woman in a social setting who tugs at her just slightly too-tight clothes. That blouse that pulls under the arms or the buttons that gaps just a bit; or holding her jacket, purse or arms just so, to cover up a bit of a tummy. I have said it before and I will say it again: being fit is not about size but feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Even the most confident looking among us can feel insecure about how we look.
I have written about one of my personal heroes, Maria Shriver, before and the wonderful Women’s Conferences she has done as First Lady in Long Beach every year. The theme is always the same; be an architect of change. She has spoken so openly of her insecurities, under the weight of expectations and trying to find out who the real Maria is. She has moved me in so many ways, as I have hoped to do in a small way for you.
But the events of 2009 with Sully’s landing in the Hudson River, and the year-long media attention that followed, has left me profoundly changed. There have been so many changes in my life, that the time has come for me to end my monthly writing as a fitness columnist for Alive Magazine. I won’t be leaving altogether, but will now only be contributing feature articles from time to time, on an occasional basis.
I have to thank Eric Johnson for giving me the opportunity to find my voice. Although I was passionate about women’s wellness, I did not think of myself as a writer. I am a much better oral communicator. I like eye contact—gesturing of hands and immediate feedback. For me, getting the thoughts in my head, of which there are many, to proper sentences on a page is a monumental leap. I told Eric this section would not be your usual “exercise” section, but my voice talking to women. And he readily agreed. And so it was a great pleasure when out on a hike I would pass a woman and he would turn back and say “I enjoyed you last article, I can really relate”.
No matter how pulled together one may look on the outside, I know we all have those inner doubts; those secret thoughts we share with few, if anyone. My goal is that if I share, I reveal myself, and you can feel more comfortable and realize we are all far more alike than different.
So before I close, let me share one more story with you.
This last year has afforded our family many amazing opportunities. Ironically, two happened to be doing pieces for national magazines. First I did a piece for Shape Magazine and secondly, Woman’s Day asked me to write an essay for their November issue. So remember I am not a writer, but being an “Architect of Change” in my own life I thought I had to step up. The piece was about gratitude, of which I felt much, and about the thousands of letters that had come to our house. The piece came together fairly easily. But before I sent it off to the editor of Woman’s Day, I sent it to our public relations firm that now handles all of Sully’s “stuff.” I told them I had no pride of authorship and to edit away. “Add or subtract as you see fit,” I told them.
When the essay came back I sent it straight way to Woman’s Day. A few days later the editor, named Ellen, e-mailed me and said they had a few paragraphs that did not sound like me and they wanted to revise or edit and wanted my input. When I read the passages they were talking about it was the specific changes I let someone else make for me. I was in a pickle. Do I admit my lack of confidence or do I try to make the edits? I decided to send her my original essay and tell her I had run it through the PR Company and see if they liked that better. What I got back was a profound lesson for me at the age of 51. She said, “You have a wonderful ‘voice.’ You don’t need anyone else—you can do this on your own.”
So here I am, still learning that lesson and sharing it with you, with the hope that you can see part of yourself in there. You have what it takes; you just have to be confident that it is in there.
I am excited to say I have been invited to speak at the East Bay Women’s Conference Monday March 1. You can find out more information by going to the Walnut Creek Chamber website: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 925-934-2007. I hope to see you there.
It has been my great privilege to share with you and I wish you all success. I hope to see you on a trail sometime!