Speak Up.

I spent a lot of time at the ballpark when I was little. It was my favorite place to be, I loved it. Any time kids had a pickup game of baseball, I’d sit on the side, usually by myself, and I’d watch them. My brother was always right in the mix of the kids—he always made fitting in look easy when we were young. He would walk right up to them and join in on whatever they were doing, and they always looked like they were having the best time.

And I would just watch.

But one day my mom saw me watching, and she pushed me to go play with the other kids. I grabbed on to her leg, and I told her I didn’t want to play, even though I really did. I always wanted to play with them.

“You’ll have fun, I promise. You just have to go out there. You have to do that. Go.”

I was terrified. But I did it.

And you know what?

Mom was right. I had fun.

That particular story has a happy ending, but unfortunately, I didn’t learn a lesson that day. Instead I went right back to being shy and keeping to myself, and sitting on the sides while watching other people have the good time. And I did this for most of my life.

As a kid, I was shy.

As I grew older, the shyness turned into a fear of sounding stupid.

And that turned into feeling like nobody would care about what I had to say, even if I said it.

Even though I had ideas and thoughts to contribute, I kept quiet most of the time. Eventually I turned to writing as a way to communicate because I could carefully pick my words and put them together in a way that made sense not just to me, but also to the people reading it. While I was in college studying journalism, I began blogging. It was usually sports related content, but I blogged about real life subjects too, and people really seemed to appreciate what I had to say.

I knew I had to write for a living. I also knew that I was going to have a hard time doing it until I mastered the art of speaking, too.

When I was done with school, I moved to North Carolina. I decided that if I was going to fail at life, I was going to do it in a place where my parents couldn’t witness it. That’s how little faith I had in myself.

I didn’t apply for writing jobs at first because I didn’t think I deserved them, and quite frankly, I was afraid of getting one and being bad at it. So I got a part-time job at Target that didn’t even cover my bills, most of the time. After months of barely being able to feed myself, I hit a breaking point.

I had to call off work because I didn’t have enough money to put gas in my car.

I called my mom, in tears, and she told me “giving up is not an option.”

Just as she did when I was that little girl at the ballpark, Mom was there to give me the little push I needed to put myself out there. I started applying for any writing job I could find, and eventually I got one as a reporter.

But I still didn’t trust my voice. I still lacked confidence in my speaking abilities. I still felt like it wasn’t my place to ask the tough questions or dig up dirt, so my reporting days were dead after only a few months. But I kept trying to find different avenues, and eventually I found my way into copywriting, which changed the course of my life, really. And it wasn’t the jobs that changed me. It was the people.

My first copywriting job was in fashion.

My second was in education.

My third was in organic lifestyles.

While my experience at each place was different, there was one common factor—I worked almost exclusively with women. Strong, smart, independent women. Almost all of my bosses during the past 5 years have been female, and each of them not only made me want to be a better worker, but also a better person. They pushed me to speak up and to show off my skills and to never feel less than anyone else.

They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

They helped me trust my voice.

My whole life has changed during the last 5 years. Without getting into specifics, I hit an incredibly low point in 2017 that changed everything. I had spent so much time trying to take care of someone else that I neglected myself, and my choices landed me in a hole that I didn’t know how to climb out of. I couldn’t do it alone though, I knew that.

So I came back to Ohio. I started over.

And it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Starting over or beginning something new can be terrifying. I know that better than anyone. But it can also be the very best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. You just have to get past the scary part first.

I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I have more confidence than I ever thought possible. I trust myself again. I believe in myself.

I even talk for a living now, can you believe it? I can’t either! 5-year old me would be SHOCKED.

I do live events for this absolutely wonderful company, and I have my own all-female sports podcast.

The reason I am telling you my story is because I want all of you to know that whatever you’re going through or whatever challenges you’re facing, I can relate. Through all my ups and downs, I was blessed to meet some powerful women along the way who showed me that anything is possible, as long as I didn’t give up. Each and every one of them inspired me not only to speak up, but also to help other women speak up, too.

It’s our job to life each other up, ladies.

Working for CC Originals was an easy decision because I saw a company truly founded on women empowering women. We’re here to help you be independent and chase your goals. That’s all we want.

So to all the women who have inspired me and continue to do so: Thank you for shaping me into the fun, confident woman I am today.

And to all the women reading this who need inspired: I’m here to help you the way those women helped me.

Thank you for reading my story.

Can’t wait to get to know you all better!