Our Ostelin Strong Alumni tell all
When it comes to strength, most of us immediately think of physical strength.
In fact, when we polled the nation on our attitudes and opinions about strength, the number one reason women didn’t rate themselves as strong was because they don’t see themselves as ‘physically strong’ (68%)^. Other reasons included that they frequently felt anxious and stressed (66%) and similarly that they doubted themselves too much (64%)^.
But beneath the surface, what does it really mean to be strong? As part of Ostelin Project Strong, we’re working with women across the country to help share their own unique stories of personal strength. Anecdotes that underpin what strength means to them – and spoiler alert: physical strength is the last thing that comes to their minds!
These women’s stories reveal just how strong women can be even when they doubt themselves or they feel anxious and stressed – it is truly empowering to hear strength revealing itself in some of life’s most challenging moments. So, let’s find out what some had to say…
This photo captures a moment in my life, a time where I had no choice but to step up and find my own inner strength.
I flew to LA by myself to learn a new style of training (RFT, Raw Functional Training) and stepped way beyond my comfort zone. Even though the trip pushed every physical barrier possible – the toughest part of the experience was actually the internal strength required to not only travel internationally on my own to learn something completely new, but to be the only woman in a gym full of very fit men.
While it was certainly confronting, I had no choice but to lean into my own inner self
– that inner resilience we all have but sometimes shy away from, to get me through and ultimately achieve what I wanted to while I was there. That trip to America was life changing for me. It taught me to celebrate my own strength I had kept hidden away for some time.”
This photo may look like a happy and excited expectant mother about to embark on her parenting journey. What the photo doesn’t show is that just two weeks earlier this soon-to-be mother lost her husband, her best friend and her son’s father.
What does it mean to be strong? To me it means going through the rough seas with a touch of grace.
In year twelve life threw a storm at me. My dad passed away, turning our whole world upside down. The first man I ever loved gone, shattering my heart into tiny pieces. The pain and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness, even when surrounded by so many people was unimaginable. The rose-coloured glasses I wore, were now tainted.
Going to university and completing a degree, suddenly seemed liked something I could not grasp and somewhat pointless. I didn’t sit my midterm exams, as at seventeen I was picking out a casket and attending my dad’s funeral and just the thought of putting one foot in front of the other seemed overwhelming at times. However, with all the odds stacked against me I decided to stand strong, brace for the rough seas and show myself that even during the worst storm I’ve seen, it wasn’t as strong as the strength within myself.
Strength to me is shaking off the shackles of who we think we need to be, and just BEING!
The job I do is incredibly rewarding – yes we have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs but it is in the more vulnerable moments when I feel at my most authentic and totally connected to our audience.
Brooke Spain @anorganisedapartment
Women’s strength knows no limits.
When I think about myself, my friends and family, often we are in survival mode at times when we are also strong. We often don’t acknowledge our strength at the time. Often afterwards we reflect and then realise “wow that was hard and wow I did it.”