City: Fayetteville, AR
Career: Arkansas FoodCorps Fellow (non-profit leadership)
Dream Career: Working in community health through food, gardening and community activism (maybe I’ll have to create my own job.)
Your favorite way to be active. Why do you love it?
Something that I know about myself very well is that I gotta move. Every day, in some way. Hopefully throughout the whole day. So, I make it happen however I can. I bike to work everyday, I run on trails or roads, I rock climb in the gym and on bluffs outside, I do yoga in classes and in my bedroom, I dance to Spotify in my office at my makeshift standing desk, and I grow food in my yard and at school gardens. I couldn’t pick one thing, because any kind of movement brings me life, and energy, and color in my cheeks. When I am active, I am more challenged, I feel stronger, I am more alert, I feel happy.
Find yourself in a slump, how do you motivate yourself?
When I am slumping, I first go for a run to try to shake it off or clear my head. I sit down in the midst of a beautiful natural place and take it all in. I breathe deeply, pray, sing songs that motivate me, and I allow my mind to think. I am also motivated by talking to people that care about me and I know are in it with me. Sometimes, just talking through things with someone helps me to organize the thoughts that feel jumbled in my mind. When I don’t have the people around me to talk to, I write or draw or doodle to organize my feelings and thoughts on paper… to-do lists turned into mind maps turned into reflective journaling.
What makes you feel strong?
When I am my best self, I feel strong. When I allow myself to do things that are hard for me or scary, no matter if I succeed or fail, I feel stronger for having tried. I feel strong when I eat food that my body asks for and when I push myself to use my muscles and brain and bones and lungs and heart beyond the ways I thought I could. I feel strong when I can be the someone that another someone can come to for motivation and inspiration and a shoulder and a boost and a support. What’s really cool is that I feel really strong when I feel the most vulnerable, because the more I stretch myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to be better, the stronger I am becoming.
You’re in a room of teenage girls, what is the best advice you can give them?
Remember to be thankful. It’s a pretty cool life that we get to live here, and sometimes we get lost thinking about things that maybe don’t matter too much. Be grateful for the people in your life, the opportunities you’ve been given, and the things that you have. Use your voice and your self to build people up instead of tear them down. Know that you matter, so much, you have a voice that deserves to be heard, and you have the power to change someone’s world for the better. Living each day being grateful, smiling, and being a force for good in this world is a great way for things to fall into place in a great way.
Who is one female, other than your mother, that propelled, supported, or gave you an opportunity in your life or career? What was her best advice?
There are so many incredible females in my life that have propelled me and given me an opportunity in my life, so it’s really hard to pick one. But, in the spirit of remembering how much the small moments in life matter and how much it matters to let people know how important they are, I want to talk about a professor I had in one class in college. The class was called “Intro to Disabilities,” and we got to explore all sorts of facets relating to disabilities. As a person that had always been a “good student” and always gotten great grades, I hurriedly turned in a paper during a hectic finals week that I knew was good enough to get an A. My professor gave it back to me a few days later, and she told me that my paper was decent, but she knew that I could do so much better. She said, “It’s not about the grade- I’ll give you the A. It’s because I can see in you that you are a leader. I know that you are someone that is going to have many opportunities to talk to people about important things, and I want you to be able to do that really well.” She believed in me. She could see deeper than the words on that page and she challenged me to not just do ‘good enough’ but to do my best, always.
I think in 2017 it’s important that women…
I think in 2017 it’s important that women stand together, in confidence and support for one another and for all people. I think that women need to remember that this life is much bigger than one’s own lived experiences, so we must know what is happening in the lives of our sisters and brothers all over the world. Let’s not get caught up in the selfish “me” but the greater “us,” standing even with those that no one else is standing with. Let’s remember that some women face many more barriers than other women, and when we don’t acknowledge that sometimes we are running different races, we can’t cross the finish line together. In 2017 let’s also remember Desmond Tutu’s words, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Let’s love, as hard as we can.
List three things you love right now
Mostly anything with sweet potatoes, bike commuting, and letters in the mail
What song/playlist pumps you up?
Lucius. Every time.
What is a goal you have in 2017? Why is it important?
I want to let myself wake up early and start the day with some reflection, prayer, reading, running, or yoga. I like to have a little space to think about things and take some deep breaths before diving into all the other things the day will bring.