Swallow Your Pride


Mighty girl Maggie Mason’s book came out this year! I got my copy at the perfect time. My pregnancy brain has taken over and my brain cells are all being hijacked by the baby. I am in dire need of ideas for my blog.

On page 36 (a page titled “Swallow Your Pride”) she suggests you scan in a really awkward adolescent photo of yourself and tell a story from that time. “The more miserable you were, the more endearing you’ll become” is her promise.

Okay Maggie. I’m trusting you on this one.


So the first photo I will share is my high school cheerleading photo. It is a detail of my past that people in my life often gasp at. “You were a what?!” Yes. It’s true. You could find me on the top of pyramids, doing “herkies” and twirling about in a short skirt.

I did it because I liked to dance and loved choreographing those half-time routines. Honestly, the sideline cheers were a wee bit embarrassing, an unfortunate part of the job description that I endured so that I could do the running man and electric slide come half time.

Nevertheless, when I decided to become a life coach two years ago, some of those same fears returned. Would people think I was dorky to want to be a life coach? Was there any way to make it cool? I was afraid people were going to think of Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live or Dr. Phil… I was afraid Matt would think it was silly.

Then I had a dream.

In the dream I was a cheerleader. In the dream, I told Matt that this was really me, that as shy as I was to admit this part of myself, it really was who I am at my core. And this is what made me happiest: empowering others, encouraging them and believing in them so that they could create more and more of what they dreamed of and loved.

In the dream, and in real life, he is proud of me.

In a way, this photo represents an old part of me. But it also just me. I am a cheerleader.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.



  1. husband

    Oh my God I love you even more.

  2. Punky

    Love the tie-dyed tank top. You go girl!
    Gimme a C
    Gimme an O
    Gimme another O
    Gimme an L
    What’s it spell …
    That’s right.
    Be proud.

  3. Jen D

    Look at that tan!!! I bet you looked so good in frosty lipstick.
    I like that story. I struggle with articulating my true self in my journalling and blogging. You do it so beautifully.
    How are you feeling these days?

  4. jen lemen

    i was a cheerleader, too. 😉

  5. Abigail

    More often than not our dreams end up making quite more sense than expected.
    Way to make your dreams come true. 🙂
    Oh, and cool hair.

  6. Holly

    Oh my! I am laughing…. Those are great pompoms. Ours were orange and black – ugh. When I want to embarrass my love while we are cooking dinner together I often break out an old high school cheer. The silliest is “How funky is your chicken…” Sigh…
    Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great book!
    And that is such a swoonish thing for your man to post in comments! 🙂

  7. Regina Clare Jane

    Gosh, I am going to have to look around for my old pictures to find out who I really am! I wasn’t a cheerleader, that’s for sure…
    I don’t think your pregnancy brain has taken over as much as you think, Andrea- that was a super post! Rah, rah!!!

  8. Teri

    I’m sorry, but you don’t look at all miserable in this photo! But it’s okay, because you’re already quite endearing.
    I didn’t have the legs for cheerleding in high school. My legs were suited more for the math team.

  9. my pink sky

    the title of that book made me laugh because i just posted a “what i ate for dinner” post. maggie would be so ashamed…but i love this cheerleader vision of you 🙂 ever so endearing, perky pose and all! i remember a long time ago it was cool to be a cheerleader. now i’m told they are all just tramps mascarading around as school spirit. oh the good ol’ days.

  10. Christine

    yes you are. you are always an inspiration.

  11. blackbird

    beautiful then…beautiful now.

  12. Nicole

    this picture is so cute!
    if you are a cheerleader in real life, then does that make me a homecoming queen? I am not sure what to think about that!?! this is something only a few people know about me (that i was homecoming queen my senior year), but it sort of feels good to get it off my chest.
    Come to think of it–i really am a homecoming queen–i am a queen learning to come home to myself. thanks for the reminder. you really are an inspiring cheerleader!

  13. meg

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh I’m glad I read the comments on this one. Becuase the best part is maybe your husband posting under “husband.” Made me giggle.
    I agree. You do not look miserable! Maybe it’s just an embarassing sometimes mis-interprited phase… but I’m not sure I belive you that it was totally akward…
    I was sort of a bellydancing, middle-eastern dressed coffee serving, sass talking, and sometimes even lingere in public wearing, renassiance fair brat cheerleader at that point in my life. And when I look back at those pictures I not only see pretty costumes and great freinds I see such sparkle in my eyes. It’s such a important thing to keep with you I think… it’s easy to fall into the “I’m an adult, life is hard and I’m tired” routine. And truth is I’m still a sass talking, eye sparkling girl deep down. I’m just missing some of my crew… 🙂

  14. corinne

    i loved your post! my good friend who is pregnant keeps doing these crazy silly things and asking crazy questions, that she would normally know the answer to. like, “who is Dr. Suess?” 🙂 she swears the baby is hijacking her brain cells to keep growing and getting smarter. while i haven’t experienced this yet i can only imagine. thanks for sharing.

  15. Amy

    She did look good in frosted lipstick and she was always tan. I remember that picture so clearly. You have always been and continure to be an amazing person.

  16. rachael

    aww. now that’s just sweet. 🙂
    and she’s right, it does make you more endearing.

  17. tongue in cheek

    All high school cheerleaders/songleaders come out of the closet!
    I was never blonde, tall nor pretty. But I loved to dance, and the excitment of a close game, made richer by the crisp autumn air!

  18. Boho Girly

    we are so one.
    if i showed you my highschool cheerleading photo you would freak out. hello…same pose.
    and i only did it for the dance as well. and noone would guess today that i was one.
    i giggled, then i laughed, then i got teary eyed reading this post. well done maggie for the inspiration!
    you were beautiful then and beautiful now. two completely different styles but the same beautiful heart.
    lovin’ on you, soul sistah. xoxo

  19. kristen

    aww andrea, i love this! you’re so cute! and it’s a great analogy!

  20. kristen

    aww andrea, i love this! you’re so cute! and it’s a great analogy!

  21. jenn

    i am always amazed at what connections you and i have…
    when i had decided to do life coaching with you i told myself i needed someone on the sidelines of my life cheering me on and this is why i wanted to start this journey with you. i actually pictured you with pom poms jumping up and down cheering before our first call.
    so, imagine my laughter and complete love for you when i saw this post.
    you are a cheerleader my girl, a great and wonderful one too.

  22. Jenny Rebecca

    What a great post!!

  23. Laura Neff

    Haha! Why am I not surprised, my west-coast jewelry making, coaching, baby making, post-cheerleading friend? I was a cheerleader, too, and no one can believe it today!
    I’d not made the connection to coaching, though, and I love it. THANK YOU for adding in that perspective. It will help me bring bounciness and zest into my practice, and I’m sure my clients will love it.
    Thinking about you, momma, and still hoping we’ll meet in person one day!

  24. Mindy M.

    most definitely endearing, just as promised.

  25. Swirly

    HA! I was a cheerleader too and no one ever believes that about me either!!

  26. Leah

    You are a cheerleader and I am stunned! (I had to decide between cheerleading and editing the literary magazine; guess which won out?)

  27. victoria winters

    Hee hee! I was a cheerleader too! 🙂

  28. jen b

    You’ve pulled it off, akward photo = inspiring post, really andrea how do you do it? I think I need to get that book.

  29. Gooseberried

    Yay cheerleaders! I was one too, but I wasn’t as tan as you are! 🙂
    I love that book btw. Would highly recommend it to any blogger.

  30. Brendan

    Funny timing. I was just recommending your blog to my lovely (8.9month pregnant) wife last night. And I was explaining how I get so much joy from reading your site because I knew you as that cheerleader. You were just a budding bundle of happy energy (my perception) who’s now blossomed into an articulatly reflective woman. But your post is begging an uncomfortable question for me, if you’re still a cheerleader does that mean I’m still a punk? Oh God Save the Queen, No!

  31. stef

    me too! I was a cheerleader and no one ever believes me! HA!! To all of us cheerleaders out there who’ve been in the closet so long – let’s let out a great big CHEER!!
    ha 🙂

  32. m

    Andrea I think silver pompoms make a great acessory! why can’t you get bags like that!

  33. kim in Camas - ScrapToMyLu

    I was a cheerleader and sadly, everyone believes me. LOL Herkies……….I haven’t thought of that word in a very very long time.

  34. chrissy

    b e a u t i f u l .

  35. pixie

    this is so freaking great. i can’t believe we had the same hair and same cheering sensibilities. GO FIGHT WIN! xoxoxo p

  36. Rebecca.

    You haven’t posted in so many days….I hope you and baby are doing well and you are just busy with some sort of pleasure…..
    Worry. Worry. Worry.

  37. tracey

    (Big inhale) I was a cheerleader too!(Big exhale) There, I said it.
    Gimme an S. Gimme a U. Gimme a P-E-R…
    Alright you know where that’s going.
    Hee hee.

  38. Lauren (Knitting in the Desert)

    What a great reflection on what brought you to coaching. I am touched by your ability to embrace your younger self. Good for you.

  39. rama

    if i took my blog seriously i know the perfect sad sack picture of myself. fortunately, i don’t post too many photos on mine.

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