Written By: Rachel Mangold
My first time in Las Vegas was one to remember. And not for the gambling, or the pool parties, or the bright lights: it was because of the inspiration and self-value I gained from Kortney Olson and her world-wide movement teaching GRRRLs everywhere that they are enough. Last year, I wrote an article about Kort and her amazing work to spread body positivity and self-love. I’d been building a relationship with Kortney for a few months on social media because of how much I look up to her. After reading my article, she gave my editor, Miya, and I free tickets to GRRRL Live 2019. GRRRL Live has been an annual conference held in Las Vegas by Kortney and her GRRRL army. It’s a two-day event that seeks to positively influence and inspire GRRRLs to join the movement and seek a life of non-judgment towards themselves and others. It’s an effort to see other women as our equals and not our competition.
We didn’t know quite what to expect walking into the Palms Ball Room that Saturday morning, and some people thought we were crazy to spend our weekend in Vegas at a conference. What Miya and I did know is that something special was going to happen. We learned about Honesty from Malina Moye, Service from Amber Galloway, Perspective from Janae Marie Kroc, and Gratitude from Kortney Olson herself. Each of these women brought something unique and empowering to the table: defeating the odds, overcoming prejudice, overcoming hate, and each learning to love their true selves.
The weekend was filled with triumph and growth. I watched a group of strangers cheer Miya on as she completed a 130lb farmer’s carry she thought was impossible. I saw women break down and be comforted by others going through and experiencing the very same emotional catharsis. I learned that “your voice is the most powerful tool” and that laughing is a form of therapy. I learned about the difference between my gut and fear reaction and how to determine which was speaking to me.
My biggest takeaways came from what I learned about gratitude and balance. I’ve been dealt a pretty good hand and though I’ve experienced my fair share of downfalls and heart-break, I can look over my life and be appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had. Kortney said it best as a shift in perspective. When faced with something that will probably be difficult to accomplish and get through, it’s as simple as saying “I don’t have to do this, I GET to do this.” That’s not to say that you have to stick with everything in your life when it may be defeating you. It means that our adversity can be a blessing and that our challenges can be opportunities. This new mindset paired with the knowledge that “balance does not equal happiness and fulfillment in all areas” has changed how I view my own personal growth. While I can split up my time and energy in different areas of my life, I must understand that this balance does not require me to be 100% successful in each and every area of my life. I can be successful without finding absolute happiness and fulfillment in some things while also being successful and finding complete happiness and fulfillment in others. That kind of balance is something I get to have and something I can be grateful for.
Overall, GRRRL Live 2019 was one for the books, and I am eager to see the GRRRL army grow beyond measure and to continue helping women reclaim their lives, their power, and their individuality. Join the movement below: