#SWW: A Conversation with Máire Hannigan

#SelfWorthWednesday is a piece of DOY that has not only fed the hearts of our community, but also of our own girls. Máire Hannigan, one of the masterminds behind the movement, has been a constant light towards the community. I’ve had the pleasure of calling her a friend, a coworker, and now, an interviewee. Dive into the heart of Máire, and be amazed by her voice. 


Are there any quotes or mantras that you hold close to your heart, even closer when your heart is feeling a bit lost? 

    Back in 2014 I was lucky enough to be given some words of advice from none other than Taylor Swift. Here are some of those words: "Self doubt can be like falling down a rabbit hole, and it's hard to tell whether it will end in some new epiphany or in feeling lost and defeated. You have to be the judge of when to take it easy on yourself." 


Dance was an incredibly large piece of your life when you were active on stage. Now that the corridors of backstage are not as accessible, how do you free yourself? 

    That’s a really good question actually. The stage was the one place where I was completely free. I remember one particular performance where I let go of absolutely everything. I just turned my brain off for the first time in my life and everything just flowed. It just felt so incredibly natural for me to be where I was in that moment. I'm not sure if I've found anything that gives me the same feeling, but I've recently started attending Pilates classes. It's only once a week and when I'm not working, but I've found it's the thing I look forward to every Monday night. It's time I set aside for myself to not only be active, but give my mind a chance to rest simultaneously. I always leave feeling refreshed. 


Of all the empowering and inspiring women around, who would you say are the top three that truly push you forward and remind you not to put your dreams to rest? 

    I recently finished reading Hannah Brencher's book, If You Find This Letter, and I've taken a few of her webinars and I can't help but be in awe of how she carries herself and how much she cares about helping other people. She's someone who I think of when the doubt starts to creep in because somehow, she gets it. Like myself, she is a writer and she holds so much wisdom in the area of self-doubt and fear, which are two things I constantly struggle with. She's truly inspired me this past year. 

    Sarah Dessen, a young adult author, whose work I've loved since high school, has recently become a huge influence. A few years ago, I started following her on Twitter and I'm so grateful I did. It's comforting to know that even the people you look up to, and aspire to follow in their footsteps, aren't always sure of themselves. Her humbling presence on my timeline encourages me to keep going. I adore her writing, and it's nice knowing the person behind the stories that I have grown to cherish feels the way I do when it comes to her craft.

    Cydney Irby, aka the boss lady of all boss ladies, the wonderful woman behind this organization. I wouldn't be where I am without her. She helped me see my potential and she's been rooting for me from the very beginning, before she even knew me. She's got so much to offer this world and I'm honored to know her.Her hard work and dedication to making the world a better place for everyone encourages me to stick it out and do anything and everything but give up. 


Think back to your 13 year old self. What would you want her to know about her future self? What would you want her heart to be prepared for? It’s cliché, but sometimes cliché is powerful. 

    You’re going to be okay. There are going to be some major changes happening in the near future. They're going to break your heart and push you back into your shell, but you're going to be okay. You're going to lose some people and it's going to be hard. But you're going to be okay. The friendships you make in high school are not everlasting. You outgrow people, you meet new ones, and you learn a lot about what it means to be a friend. You're going to be challenged and people will leave, but it will do nothing but make you stronger. Take the hurt and the sorrow and use it as fuel to drive you. You're beautiful and strong and so incredibly passionate. Don't let anyone take away your spark. Your fire is contagious and the world deserves to experience it. Cherish every moment. Hold onto the things that free you from your fears and stop holding yourself back from letting the world see you. You're going to be okay. I promise. 


When do you feel most confident? Is it when you stand in superhero position in front of a crowd, chin up, or when you’re tucked away in your room behind a journal? What makes you feel so driven? 

    For me, confidence comes in the small moments. The times when I'm sparked by an idea and I can't help but let it take me by the hand and charge forward. When I'm feeling inspired by something I've read and I have that "I can do this" state of mind. It doesn't come around often, but I live for those little moments, the ones when fear disappears and a muse decides to show themselves to me and I can't help but feeling overwhelmingly motivated. 


Where do you feel, within the last 5 years, that you have grown the most? Was it something that you consciously worked upon, or were you in the middle of creating when suddenly you realized that you were flying higher than you ever had before? 

    I think it's been a process for me. I don't think it's something that I one day realized was happening because we are constantly changing and growing. Who we are today is not who we were a year ago today. I try my best to continue to improve. I'm human, I have fall backs, and I make mistakes, but I'm always looking towards becoming better. I think this past year was a big step for me. I started my own online magazine and everyday since then has been one of learning and change and growth. 


What would you like to see yourself doing in the future (let’s say 10 years)? I don’t mean that you would like to have found your dream man or that you live in a mansion in Beverly Hills. What I mean is, what would you like to see your heart chasing after? What would you like your state of bliss to be feeding off of? 

    I think the common answer for questions like this is happiness. We all went to end up happy. But we forget that happiness isn't a destination. Happiness is not an end goal, because happiness is not constant, it's a fleeting feeling. In 10 years, I just want to be in a place where I know I worked hard to get there. I did my best and I am still striving to be my best. Yes, I want to be happy, but I know aiming for constant happiness is unrealistic. I want my heart to know what it's like to defeat fear and to continue to do so in whatever it is I end up doing. I can't say I'll be where I want to be in 10 years, but I hope I can say that I never gave up.