The Names We Call Ourselves.

The Names We Call Ourselves.

Community Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration WANT Women

Think back on the times your negative self-talk has started to act up. What was it usually trying to tell you? What did it signal?

Teaching yourself a new language, whether it’s Spanish or Self-Respect, is a process. Sometimes it’s as simple as going word by word. Phrase by phrase. And at the end of the day – it’s all just me, telling myself what to believe.

Yoga teacher, artist, and cancer survivor Sarah Girard is a pro at name-calling. Today, she shares with us how her name-calling began, the way her narrative evolved, and how we can each reexamine the most important names there are: the ones we call ourselves.

 

sarah girard


Hi.

I’m Sarah G.

The biblical meaning of Sarah is “Princess.” The American meaning is “Happy.” I’ve got a lot of Sarah-competition out there in the world. Sara(h) been one of the Top 100 baby names for decades, and in my generation alone, my fellow Sara(h)s and I reached Top 10 status.

My friends have always coupled my last name’s initial onto my name. Always. They can’t call me by my first name alone – there are always a few of us around. Partly because of this, I have always had a strong urge to set myself apart, to be unique rather than grouped together with my name-twins.

But as it turns out, I didn’t need to work all that hard to be “different.”

~

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer called Retinablastoma. My eye was surgically removed and now I wear a prosthetic. I was so young when this trauma occurred, that I have many memories of growing up in and out of the hospital. And I have even more memories and experiences of how others have responded over the years when I tell them what I have been going through.

There is a darkness to being “different.” We might think (or at least hope) that kids wouldn’t make fun of the sick kid with the prosthetic, and that adults wouldn’t look at her with pity and shame as if she’s a lost pet. But kids are the most brutal about the things that they don’t understand and adults pity the things they wish would never happen to themselves.

Sicko.
Weirdo.
Freak.
Oh what a tragedy!
You poor soul!
How miserable your childhood must’ve been!

Hearing it repetitively over and over for decades makes it really hard not to believe. So I started identifying with their reactions, naming myself with the same rejection and shame that was being reflected to me.

I was a sick, poor soul. A freak. A tragedy. I desperately wanted to fit in, so I tried to disappear in the sea of other girls with my name. If I could just be Another Sarah, I could escape being Me.

I ducked my head down into books to avoid stares and questions. I became committed to over-achieving at school. I got smarter. Way smarter. If I could outwit the bully, then I could overcome the bully.

But the thing about getting smarter is that I started learning who the bully actually was. The bully wasn’t other people, though they contributed to it. It was all the discomfort and rejection inside myself that I had been holding onto like a safety blanket. I wasn’t able to accept the kid inside me who desperately wanted to fit in, and at the same time, would always be different.

The more I learned and processed, the more my perspective shifted. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one hurting herself through negative talk. I started seeing that we were all doing it.

And we need to change it.

We are all hurting.

We have all made mistakes.

We have all hurt someone.

And we are all hopeful and desperate to be seen and accepted.

We are here, belonging to this group called “humanity,” that feels so deeply and craves true connection.

The names we call ourselves matter so much more than the names other people call us. -Sarah Girard Click To Tweet

The great thing is that time moves us along: we graduate, relationships change and our lives evolve. We learn how to adapt, and have the opportunity to learn how to work with our past, not against it. Every now and then I’ll get a sinking feeling in my stomach when I meet someone new and have to tell them about my eye, fearing they’ll call me a freak. But I’ve got this. I can introduce myself with kindness and acceptance, knowing I’m not alone in this.

Let me take a moment to also say that I am extremely thankful to be here and for the expert doctors who saved my life. The cancer never spread to the rest of my body. And I am grateful to my family for always encouraging me to live fully empowered disregarding my handicap as a weakness.

I have stopped calling myself Freak and started taking on other names: Sister, Daughter, Artist, Yogi, Educator. And these are names I love so much. They connect me to my communities, but they also help me stand out on my own.

~

The names we call ourselves matter so much more than the names other people call us. That being said, I do love my given name. Call me by it. I’ll answer.

It’s simple but stands for so much.

Royalty. Happiness. And ALL my story encompasses.

So hello. It’s me. Sarah G.

 

sarah girard


Sarah Girard is a Venice Beach-born, NYC-based yoga and meditation teacher. Being a cancer survivor, artist, and food lover, she incorporates resiliency, courage and humor in her on-going group, corporate, and private classes. Over the past two decades, Sarah has studied with leaders such as Bryan Kest, Annie Carpenter, Maty Ezraty, Leslie Kaminoff, and Nikki Costello, and accumulated over 1000 RYT hours. As the Director of Meditation and Yoga Fundamentals for Culture of Fit, she created corporate wellness programs which are implemented in companies nation-wide. Her writings have been published for Yoga City NYC, Prevention Magazine, Self, and is an ongoing expert consultant for Furthermore. As an educator, she is always learning and celebrates the challenges we greet in our daily lives. Find her on Instagram.


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WANTcast 069: Orthorexia, Explained…And What Worked For Me When I’d Had Enough

WANTcast 069: Orthorexia, Explained…And What Worked For Me When I’d Had Enough

The Recovery Myth the WANTcast

Orthorexia nervosa is a sickly ironic twist on healthy eating, a laugh in the face of nutrition facts. It’s what used to be called an EDNOS: Eating Disorder Not Specified. The term “orthorexia” was coined circa 1997 by a doctor who suffered from the condition himself: there was no name for this condition, therefore there was no research. And since there was no research, it was just deemed a vague, disordered set of habits. Still, 20 years later, the information about Orthorexia out in the world – and by the world, meaning The Internet, of course – is mostly the same words regurgitated over and over. Speculation. Haziness. 

The worst part? Orthorexia is still not recognized by some doctors as a “real” eating disorder.

I mean, what?

Isn’t any form of an eating disorder a “real” eating disorder?

Orthorexia and other EDsNOS don’t always result in extreme weight loss. For me, it did. But even in my healing process, my weight fluctuated up and down – it was never a true indication of whether I’d moved forward or not.

So how do you know that you or a loved one might be on the orthorexic path – or developing disordered eating habits? Here’s some signs you might need to intervene, and some things that worked for me when I was at my all-time low and decided I’d had enough.

Health is an ever-evolving journey, not a fixed destination. Click To Tweet

SHOW NOTES:

The Recovery Myth on WANT
NEDA 
National Alliances On Mental Illnesses

 

Like this episode? Leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!



Today’s episode is sponsored by Marie Forleo’s B-School, an 8-week online course for creative entrepreneurs that gives you the tools, strategies, clarity, and guidance to create the business you’ve always wanted to see in the world. Sign up at http://share.marieforleobschool.com/WANT (I’ll be doing it again this year, so we’ll be schoolmates!)

WANTcast 068: Valuing Your Agency + Inclusive Actualization with khoLi.

WANTcast 068: Valuing Your Agency + Inclusive Actualization with khoLi.

the WANTcast

Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison, aka khoLi., is a writer, editor, and strategist, developing impactful tools and workshops for personal and professional growth. khoLi. believes that every human being has the right and responsibility to confidently and creatively contribute toward an equitable future for all. As the Founding Partner and Executive Director of HOLI. BRANDS, khoLi. expedites these contributions by working to enhance the quality of life for historically marginalized communities through the fulfillment of deficiency and growth needs like belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization.

In this episode we talk:

• Valuing your own agency and how to be in charge of the story you’re writing for yourself in this journey

• Looking at branding/business/wellness/community through a “Maslow’s Heirarchy Of Needs” lens

• Self-actualization, and what that even MEANS

• How to make the words “diversity” and “inclusion” more than empty words

• Healthy relationships when the person you’re in a relationship with (romantic or otherwise) is also your business partner

• Intensity addiction

• Imposter syndrome

• Dealing with jealousy

…and so much more


WANT khoLi.

Think of the creativity and advancement we could have if our examples of excellence, and of what gets included, included everyone. -khoLi. Click To Tweet

Find khoLi. at http://www.carriekholi.com, on Instagram at @khoLi.

Show Notes:
Facebook
HOLI Brands
Khafra Community Cohort
Hella Black Brunch
Everyday Devotion
Elizabeth McGrath
Ologies with Alie Ward about “Matrimoniology”

 



Today’s episode is sponsored by 
Marie Forleo’s B-School,
an 8-week online course for creative entrepreneurs that gives you the tools, strategies, clarity, and guidance to create the business you’ve always wanted to see in the world. Sign up at http://share.marieforleobschool.com/WANT (I’ll be doing it again this year, so we’ll be schoolmates!)

Confessions Of A Stage-Four Clinger.

Confessions Of A Stage-Four Clinger.

Community Love Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration

When I was little, I used to hug and not let go.

I know, it sounds so precious in the retelling. I’d hug my teachers, my friends, strangers, and of course, the characters at Disneyland.

I am in family photos around the world. I don’t have to see them to know they exist. I would see those characters, the constants in my life, those faces that were unable to change or be anything but Love Incarnate. And I would wrap my arms around them and bury my little three-year-old head in their synthetic fur coat, and in that moment I felt time was paused and I was loved.

Sweet, right? Yeah, until my parents had taken the picture and I still wouldn’t leave their side. I’d stand there next to them on watch, god forbid they hugged another kid, god forbid someone else became their new favorite person – god forbid they forgot about me when I went away.

~

I am a recovering Stage-Four Clinger. And it’s not just the death-grip hugs I’m talking about. I cling to people, I cling to places. And most of all, I cling to ideas. Attachment, for me at least, is less about the actual thing and more about my relationship to it. Becoming attached to something (or someone) is almost always at least in part becoming attached to the story you’ve written about it in your head.

My clinging isn’t physical, and it’s probably not the kind of clinging anyone else would notice but me. My mind goes into overdrive, like a frantic puppy who senses its owner is about to leave for the day. When I cling, I submit to the feeling of scarcity. When I cling, I set the stage for Imposter Syndrome to waltz in and snag the spotlight. And Imposter Syndrome isn’t just about career goals and success. It shows up everywhere.

Am I a good enough friend?

Am I too selfish? A pushover?

Am I really good enough, wise enough, strong enough to weather this life I’ve constructed, or have I just made everyone believe I am? Will they find me out?

And so I cling tighter.

I used to think that when you became more self-assured and successful, your Imposter Syndrome just melted away. Or at least melted away quicker than it would if you weren’t so self-assured and successful. Nuh-uh. What I’m starting to learn is that as you become more and more You, you open way more doors and windows for Imposter Syndrome to enter through. Your Imposter Syndrome doesn’t melt away – it amplifies and attacks. The irony is that you’ve got waaay more introspective ammo to battle it than you ever did. It just becomes more of a constant battle than a sometimes-tiff. It’s wildly empowering and scary as hell.

I feel myself clinging when the story I’ve told myself starts to develop holes in it. And I cling to no-one and nothing tighter than I cling to MYSELF. I worry that I’ve created a mess. That I’ll never be able to live up to the expectations I’ve built up for myself. I’ll never forget when a co-worker once called me “enigmatic.” Who ARE you even, Katie Horwitch?  he teased. It was the first time I realized I might not be the person I’d always told myself in my internally self-narrated tale. I’m too introverted and too solitary to be the kind of companion I feel I should be. I’m too much of a team player to be the kind of leader I know I can be. I’m too interested in day-to-day life to seek out the adventures I know are open to me. I’m too private to be public. Too soft to be tough.

~

Loosening your grip on an idea you’ve built up about a person or a place is tough. Loosening your grip on an idea you’ve built up about YOURSELF, though – well, that’s next-level. You’re YOU, after all. You can’t escape You.

But then again, why would you want to? The more you know about how your story is “supposed” to unfold, the less chance you have at surprise and delight and all those other emotions in-between. Clinging isn’t an act of love. It’s an escape. A redirect. When we cling, we bring in the ships and shut down the lighthouses. We call off the search party and refocus our energy onto taking ourselves captive.

When exciting opportunities come my way – a chance to lead a big event! a friendly-friendship gains soul-status! a YES to that YES I’ve been pursuing for months or even years! – I feel my Stage-Four Clinger coming out and I have to tell her NO. I have to tell her that…as much as it pains me to admit it…that she was not always right. She rarely was, actually. Because she was coming from the wrong place. The place that made me feel like the Always-Second-Best, the Always-Runner-Up, and The Always-In-Search of how I can be BETTER. My inner Stage-Four Clinger wants so desperately for me to Find Myself – but she wants me to do it by following an outdated set of rules I made before I actually started to LIVE.

Finding yourself isn't about abiding by a past vision, and finding yourself isn't about searching for a new you. It's about coming home to the you that was always there. Click To Tweet

I still count hugs as one of my love languages, and I still make choices that feel more in service of an imaginary version of Me than the Me I am right now. But I am learning to loosen my grip. I’m learning that my embrace will linger way after I let go, and that I don’t need to be hyper-present to be deeply felt.

Finding yourself isn’t about abiding by a past vision, and finding yourself isn’t about searching for a new you. It’s about coming home to the you that was always there. To cling to a vision of who you should be or could be will never, ever reap the kinds of rewards you’ll get when you honor who you are right now and go from there.

 

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WANTcast 067: Rethinking Influence, Impact + Healing with Jessica Murnane

WANTcast 067: Rethinking Influence, Impact + Healing with Jessica Murnane

the WANTcast

This episode should be subtitled “The Conversation That Gave Me A Vulnerability Hangover.” And that’s exactly why I love talking to Jessica – she’s a pro at being kind, inclusive, AND pushing you to examine your belief and your norms at the same time.

Jessica Murnane is an author, women’s health advocate, host of the One Part Podcast, and founder of endometriosis awareness platform Know Your Endo AND One Part Plant, a movement that’s all about eating one plant-based meal a day to make a big difference from small changes.


In this episode Jessica and I talk about depression, moving through mental and physical health struggles (especially in our “sharing” culture), her endometriosis advocacy, being an influencer vs having influence, fitting in with the other people in your industry, how the new-age wellness industry can step up their game and how YOU can help, and – my favorite – making change happen and creating impact out there in the world, FAR from the online space.


WANT Jessica:

Show Notes:
Jessica Murnane + One Part Plant
One Part Podcast
Know Your Endo (sign up for the course here!)
The WANTcast, Episode 010: On Letting Go Of The Life Weight
WANTcast 028: On Fixing Others, Food Issues, Forgiveness + Feeling Fly As F**k (No Matter What)
Dr. Aviva Rohm on the One Part Podcast

 

Every season, we’ll be spotlighting an organization that’s making strides when it comes to making shift happen. This season, we’re proud to support She’s The First, an award-winning non-profit organization that fights gender inequality through education. To learn more, go to shesthefirst.org


Like this episode? Take a screenshot + share on social, leave a review on iTunes, share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast and #womenagainstnegativetalk!

Long-Distance Friendship: How To Stay Connected When Life Gets In The Way

Long-Distance Friendship: How To Stay Connected When Life Gets In The Way

Community Most Popular Posts Tips + Tools

Life is always going to keep handing you (or your friend) full schedules. Geography and time zones – or sleep schedules – won’t always be on your side. Here’s how to stay connected when life gets in the way.

 

Making friends as an adult is hard. And keeping those friendships strong when life gets in the way? Even harder.

It can feel like the companionship cards are stacked against us – but we actually have more in our favor than not. We’ve grown into ourselves. We know what we love and what we don’t. And as we get older, we become less into appeasing others and more into honoring ourselves. We can be “friendly acquaintances” or “work buddies” with people in our various social spheres with zero pressure to develop a deep and lasting bond, like when we’re younger and in school or living in dormitories.

But life changes a lot as an adult, and friendships morph. You don’t need to live far away to feel like you have a long-distance friendship. People move across town, across the country, or across the world. They start new jobs, or grow new families, or take up new hobbies that fill up their soul. Work gets tough and obligations pile up.

Building a life for yourself as an adult is a complicated, ever-evolving process. And sometimes, it gets lonely. That doesn’t mean you’re alone, though: lonely’s just love with nowhere to go.

I gave myself a “friend-tervention” about a year ago when I realized that after planning and executing an amazing wedding, taking on a job that took up the majority of my time and energy, and hunting for a new apartment in the city, I’d been a pretty crappy friend for…well, for too long for me to be comfortable with. Plus, hello, I moved across the country almost three years ago! Time zones weren’t helping at all. I was super lonely, and felt disconnected to my nearest and dearest. And so I recommitted to upping my friendship game, to the people who lived far, but who lived close too.

Part of this meant making decisions to recommit to my sense of community in general – in business AND in life. When I joined Aaptiv, I became able to workout with anyone, anywhere. I could cheer up the people I loved when we were far away – and uplift people I didn’t even know yet. I let go of the classes that made me feel stretched thin and like I wasn’t able to give my all. And I increased the frequency of WANTcast episodes I released per month, and increased the amount of solo episodes I recorded so I could talk directly “to” listeners more and have a conversation “one-on-one.”

I ALSO started looking for ways to meet up with local friends that fit for both of us. Scheduling work dates with our laptops, figuring out when our schedules overlapped, grabbing a coffee with them on their lunch break. And I started to devise strategies around showing up, literally or emotionally, for the people I cared about most WITHOUT sacrificing myself in the meantime. Because to show up for your people, you really do need to show up for yourself first.

To show up for your people, you need to show up for yourself first. Click To Tweet

 

Life is always going to keep handing you (or your friend) full schedules. Geography and time zones – or sleep schedules – won’t always be on your side. Here’s how to stay connected when life gets in the way:

 

1 – Schedule calls into your cal.

My calendar is my lifeline. If something’s in my calendar, you bet it’s gonna happen. If it’s not, good luck to me remembering it. That goes for work, social plans – and sometimes, if the week is really nuts, even phone calls.

Texts to your nearest and dearest are great, but there’s something that can’t be beat about voice-to-voice connection, whether it’s a phone call or Skype sesh. Scheduling out time to “just say hi” or catch up might feel forced or contrived, but if the alternative is that “just saying hi” keeps getting put off…then this might be a strategy that helps you stick to your shared-words.

There are two ways you can do this: Schedule your calls along WITH your friend. If you use a digital calendar, like Google Cal, make a calendar event, and invite your pal so they’ve got it down, too. But if that feels too forced, then just schedule time in your OWN calendar to call someone, anyone, each week. I have three different reminders in my calendar spread throughout the week – when I KNOW I’ll have time to talk – that say Phone Call To Someone I Love. That way, even if I end up leaving a voicemail, I know I’ve taken the first step in connecting.

Of course you can call as many people you want to call, whenever you want to call them. But having it in the calendar is a reminder to take the time to do it, even when life feels overwhelming.

 

2 – Send them something they want, need, will make their life easier, or will make them smile.

Care packages aren’t just for sick days or sleep-away camp. They’re also for saying I Miss You, Good Luck, or, well, I Care. They can be emotional – like a copy of “Braving The Wilderness,” a book all about finding your place in the world, that I recently Amazon Prime’d to a friend struggling to identify their place in the world – or practical – like the fancy umbrella an anonymous person recently sent my way to help brave this wacky NYC weather (ps….who are you? I love it!).

Yes, this post is sponsored by Small Packages. Because it’s a company I’d champion and celebrate anyway. I LOVE their mission of making connection easier, and I love that they just want women to connect with those they love most. If you’re like me and you’re a bit, uh, over-achiever-y in the gift department, they knock it out of the park: you can select a box that’s themed around a life event like celebrating a birthday or buying a home, or around a sentiment like “I miss you” or “I screwed up.” And unlike some other boxes that might seem sterile or run of the mill, they go for quality over quantity – the products they choose are DOPE (literally have never seen a box this good – check out the picture above!) and they’ll even handwrite a card for your friend, from you to her (with zero character limit for people like me who prefer to write novels over notes).

Last week, I surprised my dear friend Jen with the “Missing You” box because a) The box reminded me of our favorite activities together, and b) Duh, I missed her.

I’m not sure how Jen and I became as close as we are, but the “Us”-ness of us just sort of appeared one day. She was only a few months into living in Los Angeles, and I was just a few months into teaching at Equinox. She arrived in my class and I had an automatic girl crush on the second-row powerhouse who looked like Wonder Woman and joked like Tina Fey. Multiple times a month, we’d meet up at a tiny strip mall in between our apartments for what we called Hooves And Paws: a manicure-pedicure date preceded or proceeded by fancy coffee beverages and the realest of real talks. When I saw the “Missing You” box, including a book of deep-dive conversations, a sleep mask that gave me H+P relaxation vibes, AND some really really good coffee…I knew it was the one.

Jen’s had a pretty wild year-plus, from business highs and lows to a death in the family to almost being on fire, literally. I am so proud of how she’s moved forward fearlessly through it all with grit, grace, and a crapton of humor. She’s got some big things going on right now that I can’t support in-person – so sending her something that reminded me (and her) of spending quality time together made her day, and it made mine too.

(Btw…if you want to send a Small Packages box to a friend, use code WANT at checkout for 10% off your order. Boom. Done.)

 


3 – Set boundaries, make priorities, and honor them.

Even when I worked in an office 9-6pm, I still was running SOMETHING in addition. Whether it was a freelance writing gig, acting auditions, or eventually WANT, I used to feel really guilt putting my work aside for social time…so guilty, that I almost always did it.

I ended staying up way past the wee-hours, cramming in the work I didn’t get to that evening, or scrambling on Monday when I didn’t use a little of my weekend to prep and get centered. I was way too exhausted and spread way too thin. I was so afraid of saying NO – for my work, for my health, for my sanity – that I started to realize my yesses didn’t mean much. Because I was always sacrificing something. I was exhausted, and wasn’t fully present. I wasn’t placing value on my time, or my friend’s time. Nothing was the priority. And that wasn’t fair to anyone. My friends deserved to really GET ME when they got me.

I now know how to say NO, and it’s saved me AND my friendships. I no longer dance around my priorities, and no longer feel guilty if I turn down an invite. The flip of that? When I say YES, I am ALL. IN. No work, no half-of-me….all of me, right here, right now. My friends respect my work, my health, and my sanity – and I respect theirs. I’ve even had friends tell me that because I’ve said I need to take a mental health day to myself, they feel comfortable saying that to other people now, too.

4 – Meet them where they’re at. 

I saved my favorite for last. So often we expect each other to be exactly the same person we were when we first met. But as our lives change, WE change too.

Jacki Carr put it so succinctly in Episode 063: it’s important to reintroduce yourself to your friends as you grow and evolve – and get to know them in their evolution, too. Your friend who is a new mom probably is going to have some new priorities in her life now, and your friend who moved across the country is probably learning things about themselves they would’ve never predicted five years ago. Your friend might be in a period of self-discovery, or in a period of career expansion, or they might just be a different person now than when you first met them. And every single one of those scenarios is something to be celebrated and get curious about.

What’s incredible is that when you commit to meeting your friends, whether near or far, where they’re at – you sidestep feelings like jealousy, resentment, and __. You get to stay curious, stay surprised, and keep “friend-dating” them even after you’ve reached soul-mate statusMeet your friends where they’re at in life – and they’ll meet you where you’re at, too.

 


WANT Yourself:
How do you stay close to friends when life gets in the way? What are some ways you keep your relationships strong, even when distance or circumstances might not be on your side?

Leave a comment below telling us – you might be helping out a friend in need who’s reading.

 


This post is sponsored by Small Packages, next-level care packages for the people you love the most.
Use code WANT for 10% off your order.

 

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