Go, Shawty! – Layne Cawthon

2 Sep

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Layne from mrspennylayne. Guys, Layne is just one of those infectious people gifted with the ability to make folks feel treasured. Because you are treasured when you’re with her; it’s magical. I need you to know that one of my favorite memories of this girl is from college when I directed the pageant on campus (and that’s a completely different post for another time) and Layne’s talent was performing the Evolution of Dance. She nailed it every. single. time. Girl has moves, y’all.

When she’s not dancing, which is rare, she’s hanging out with her husband, John Boy, and their bulldog, Gus, at their lakeside home in Arkansas. Her heart is so good and her blog is fantastic. I seriously can’t tell you how much I enjoy her point of view and distinct writing style. I know that’s the former English teacher in me, but it’s true.  So, please be sure to visit her and give her some love! -MS

 

 

 

my goodness, it’s good here. it’s comfy to be in ohblessyourheart. it really is. probably because MS has one of the most welcoming hearts i know. her little online living room is just homey to me.

 

my journey to accepting my body as it is started and ended within about a 20 minute time span. maybe a little longer. maybe.

 

i have always been tiny. picture a normal size kid, reduce it by 20%, and there i was. just a tiny little blonde girl with a chipmunk laugh and the uncanny ability to not know when to stop. (i kid. except i was a teensy bit annoying. still am. workin’ on it.) sure, elementary school was hard, and i got teased a lot and really bullied quite a few times. but i was raised in a traditional home with some really great people. for the most part, i never felt like i had to hide who i was. (my parents, to this day, celebrate my quirks. Christmas 2012? “we picked out the ugliest purse. it looked just like you.” it totally did, and i love it even now. and then when everyone got little disney coin purses to keep in their car? “we got you stitch because you’re kind of a mess.”) all that to say, i never felt stifled growing up. but at 4’9.5″ i was just waiting to…actually…grow…up.

 

 

 

this was taken in fall 2012. yes…that’s me, age 25, unable to ride a state fair of texas ride. the struggle is real.

 

 

 

i don’t know what made us check. honestly, it was probably an episode of oprah or something. but we decided when i was 14-years-old to make an appointment with an endocrinologist. at the time i thought this was cutting edge technology. (and it really might have been. i have no clue. i never researched it after my 20 minutes of dreaming.) they could take a sample of your blood and determine if you were going to grow anymore. i remember dreaming of the possibilities. what if i were 5’3″ and could be like my friends that grew over summer and looked so skinny come fall? what if i were taller than my sister? my parents? what would my new legs look like? (i literally have short everything. short arms. short torso. short legs. short attention span. glitter. ponies. donuts. bye-bye.) they took my blood. i think i might have cried for a minute because i hated having my blood drawn. then we waited anxiously in the doctor’s office and dreamt of the possibilities.

 

“well, it’s official. you are not going to grow another inch.” (he lied. i grew a half an inch my senior year. rounding me out to a grand total of 4’10.”)

 

just like that, my dreams of long limbs and towering over everyone were crushed. it took 20 minutes total. it should’ve broken me. 14 is a fragile age for any girl, and i was no exception. but, ya’ll, it was somehow one of the most empowering moments i had ever experienced. i remember looking around the room and having the emotional equivalent of an “opa!” moment. it just somehow, magically, didn’t bother me. i remember thinking to myself, “welp, this is as good as it gets. better get used to it. it’s my forever.”

 

for me, it was a gift. it took the guesswork out, and it made me feel 20 steps ahead in this difficult self-acceptance journey. i just felt free. i felt like myself because i was myself. this was me.

 

sure, i still sometimes wish i was a little taller. when you’re this far under 5 foot, it’s hard to stay in shape. on a good day, my body is kind of pin-up. on a normal day, my body is kind of pinup gummy bear. i have a theory that when you gain 1lb. it looks like you’ve gained 10lbs. and, lucky me, for whatever reason, i gain weight in my face first. thanks for that, universe. care for a few more details? i’ve broken my nose well over 10 times. even tried to have surgery to fix it, but it got broken again. it’s so, so crooked now. i was told by a doctor that i have the equivalent of a 90-year-old person’s back. all kindsa loss of disk space and arthritis goin’ on there. i have random bouts of anxiety, and i have years of insomnia under my belt. (thanks, night shift!)

 

but you know what? it’s my body. all of it. mine. i could’t possibly be another inch taller because then i wouldn’t be me. and i have to be who i was created to be. it’s the only way my life feels comfortable. my short, curvy figure, my crooked nose, my crazy wonky back, and my ability to stay up for 30 hours for no reason. i can’t claim that i never have moments of insecurity. i have them all. the. time. it’s just part of being an ever-evolving human. i get self-conscious about my nose or if i randomly gain a few pounds. but i always go back to one particular quote that grounds me and helps me over and over again: comparison is the thief of joy.

 

and i wholeheartedly love this joyful life. opa.

Seven Things: 25

29 Aug

Guys, thanks for making my Loving Yourself series so successful. I’ve gotten a huge response from people who are excited to contribute, which is so affirming. I love sharing your stories. Love. It. So. I’ve decided to turn this series into a semi-regular feature. If you have a story you’d like to share, feel free to contact me via email at marysusan.delagrange@gmail.com. (If you happen to be a guy, that’d be super awesome ’cause I want to hear from you, too, you manly man.) Thanks so much for loving each other and me and yourselves so well. You’re magical people.

 

 

 

1. Did you hear our good news?? My husband, the butcher, is one of six (six!!) people in the country to be awarded a scholarship to attend the Butcher’s Guild Conference in Napa, CA in September! My husband is a rock star. He’s a rock star who makes the sexiest tomahawk steaks this side of the Mississip.

 

Proof.

 

The scholarship covers the cost of the conference, so we’ve set up a Kickstarter project to raise the remainder of the travel expenses. So far it’s been a smashing success! So much of a success in fact, that we met our goal in just four days!! I can’t tell you how grateful and surprised and grateful and thankful we are. So, so grateful. 

 

Now that we’ve met the goal of sending Vin to the conference, any other funds raised will be put toward establishing an LLC so we can take this party on the road to local farmer’s markets this summer. So, if you didn’t get a chance to donate before, we’ll still take your money, haha! (But seriously, we will.) Learn more about the project and our plans for the future by visiting our Kickstarter page.  If you’re as passionate as we are about having an ethical responsibility towards animals and food or if you just really love bacon, please consider funding our project. Vin is going to do great things and we’d love for you to be a part of it!

 

 beefmap

And you should really go learn more about what the Butcher’s Guild is all about, too. It is an amazing organization and we’re so proud to be affiliated with them. 

 

 

 

 

2. Children’s Television. Guys. Daniel Tiger has a new baby at his house. I know it aired a while back, but we’re slow to get to things around here. But, y’all. It’s a new baby. On Daniel Tiger. And I got way more excited about this fact than I rationally ought to. Not sorry at all. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little misty eyed over the new baby’s name. (Sniffle)

 

Also, have you seen Peg + Cat? It’s my most recent fave. Friend Katy hates it, but I forgave her because she’s wonderful in every other way. It’s a kooky show about Peg and Cat (duh) who solve problems and teach math concepts. Have I ever told you how much I hate math? I hate math maybe more than anything in the world. Like, I get serious anxiety when I have to do mental math. It verges on paralyzing at times. Peg+Cat is my favorite and it’s about math. I probably like it so much because Peg and Cat are ridiculous. I find myself talking like Peg a lot, so if I call you an “ahmaaaaaaaazing cat,” you should understand and just go with it.

 

 

 

3. Are you guys reading things? Sometimes I am. Mostly when I sneak into the bathroom to pretend to poo when in reality I’m just hiding from my progeny. You really need to tell me that you do this, too. Once you tell me that, you should pick up a copy of I Heart My Little A-holes by Karen AlpertGuys, I laughed out loud many, many times. This book is honest, irreverent, vulgar, crass, full of expletives, and basically everything you ever wanted a book about parenting to be. You know all those dark and angry thoughts you’ve had about parenting but were too afraid to actually verbalize because you thought somebody might come and take you away? Alpert just says ‘em. She’s unapologetic and, while my style of parenting and views on politics probably differ from hers, I am all kinds of grateful she put those thoughts down on paper. Cause lets be honest, we’ve all contemplated killing Caillou. (But never Peg. Or Cat. I’m looking at you, Friend Katy.)

 

 

 

 

4. Anybody else have a two-year-old? Can we take a minute to hold hands and promise each other it’s gonna get better?

Meaningful pause…

Thanks. I needed that. This is poor Lily all day erraday. 

Even her Band-Aids need Band-Aids. (And I just now realized how irritating it is to type out “Band-Aid.” Thanks for nothing, Johnson & Johnson.)

 

But look at how sweet she was on a “Mama/Lily Date” to the grocery store…

I just can’t get enough of this sweet little thing. Life’s hard, baby girl, but it’ll get better. I promise.

 

 

 

5. The other day Maggie (who is learning to use scissors) wanted help making a robot mask. Then she got real pissed, and rightfully so, because it ended up looking more like the type of headwear worn by white supremacists and ditched the whole project. I don’t blame her at all.

 

Naturally, Vin scared the crap out of me by sneaking up behind me like this:

So. Flipping. Scary.

 

 

 

6.Okay, I know I already kind of talked about it, but how awesome are all of our contributors to Love Yourself? I just love all of their stories so. much.

If you missed them, you can find them here: LorelaiStephanieKate

Which one speaks most to you?

 

 

 

7. Some links that rock:

    • BuzzFeed’s at it again with an awesome 12 Day Love Yourself Challenge. Anybody want to do it with me and post ‘em to Instagram? I’m starting Monday, September 1 and I’ll use the hashtag #loveyourself…do it, too, so we can love each other loving ourselves. Did that make sense? It doesn’t matter because you get me, you ahmaaaaaaaazing cat!  (You can follow me on Instagram, bee tee dubs.)
    • Your Body is Not Your Masterpiece – A friend on Facebook said we should read this one every single morning. I concur. It’s just so good.
    • What other good stuff did I miss this week? Leave links to good stuff in the comments!

 

 

Have a great Friday and weekend, everybody! Don’t forget to love yourself! -MS

I Move Through Every Inch of Me – Kate’s Story

27 Aug

kateLater in the Love Yourself series, we’re going to discuss the plus-sized end of the weight spectrum. Today, I’m proud to share Kate’s story, which covers the complex issue of struggling to put on enough weight while being told that certain parts of her body were too big. Kate’s story is one of bullying,confusion, and ultimately redemption.

Kate is a dear, dear friend of mine. She’s the kind of friend I call and random times with random questions and she always assures me that I/my children are completely normal. (No, that doesn’t make her a liar. It makes her nice.) I can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve talked each other down from one cliff or another. She’s a Parent Educator with a MS in Family and Child Studies. Kate lives in Texas with her rescued pup, Penny, where she dances, tells stories, knits, paints, and loves on kids and families. You can read all about Kate and Penny’s adventures here.

Don’t forget to love yourself today! -MS

 

 

I Move Through Every Inch of Me

I grew up with a nontraditional body image issue. I was always fairly severely underweight (due, in part, to being on Ritalin from the age of six, and an undiagnosed acid reflux issue), never got enough sleep, and wasn’t physically active. I was pale, skinny, and had large, dark circles under my eyes.

 

My slender frame didn’t save me from ridicule. Kids are pretty awful. “She’s so skinny, I bet she even smells like spaghetti” was whispered behind my back at age ten, and in high school, a girl told me a boy had said “She looks like a man trapped in a woman’s body.” “You’re flat, Kate, like Meryl Streep” my well-meaning best friend in fifth grade said.

 

And yet, I knew gaining weight would be bad. Very bad. I watched female relatives (who I thought slender) go on diets when they went over a certain weight. Even my classmates were taking slim fast in their lunch.

 

The year I turned twelve, I started out weighing 66lbs, and ended weighing 86. I finally registered on the percentile. Hopefully people stopped thinking I was anorexic or being starved.

 

But then I hit an interesting dilemma. I was fourteen and at a pool party for my dance team. The director (who was already pulling girls aside and telling them they couldn’t dance until they lost weight) was telling us “Every girl either has a stomach problem or a butt problem.”

 

I glanced down at my flat stomach, knowing I was as small as I could possibly be. Sarcastically, I said, “I guess I have a butt problem, then!”

 

She looked at me, looked down at my hips, and gave me a knowing look I translated to “Uh, DUH!”

 

I was so startled. I knew my waist was really small, and I knew there was nowhere “in” to go as far as my hips were concerned. And hadn’t my relatives always protested when I wanted to sit on their lap because I had a “bony butt?”

 

But then this knowing woman had just affirmed that something on my body was too…big?

 

It continued. Measuring us for our crushed velvet unitards (I KNOW), she winked at me and told me she’d “give me 30” on my bust measurement, measured my waist (almost 24), and said “but what I’m really worried about is your hips.”

 

At the end of the season, she separated us into groups, the circles and the lines. The circles had to run a whole lot, and the lines had to tone. I was in the lines. But then she began workout stations and looked pointedly at me when she said “This one will help trim your hips.”

 

I began to think maybe she was right. Even after I realized how manipulative and awful she was and left the team, going to a strength and stretch class with my mom, I told the instructor I wanted to “trim up these,” pinching the tiny amounts of fat accumulated in between my hips and waist. Any time the question of figure came up, I told people I was a flashlight, which was straight until it hit the lens, then out sharply and straight down. I turned around in the mirror, constantly checking. What did a good butt look like?

 

College came around. I continued the narrative. “I look like a teenager” “I have a…big? butt, possibly” “I don’t have a figure” “I look like a prepubescent girl.” A popular thing for girls to say was that we were made to look exactly such a way that would be most pleasing to our future husbands (a concept I find absolutely disgusting now). My (often silent) humorous reply was “oh no, I’m going to marry a pedophile!” I remember one wonderful moment when, after hearing me joking about my sub-par body, my friend Summer stopped me on the stairs in our dorm and said “KATE! You have a FIGURE.”

 

Wait, what? Is that what that was? I have…a figure. Hips, not a huge butt, but a graceful curve coming from a narrow waist, which rested beneath broad shoulders…almost an hourglass.

 

But, still…

 

Surely no normal man would be attracted to this flat, altogether unattractive, loud, opinionated girl, preordained since before the beginning of time or not.

 

And I was proved right over and over again. No normal man seemed at all interested in what I offered. Which furthered the thought – I’m not exactly pretty. I’m not the kind of person someone would find attractive. I’m not going to have a Some-Enchanted-Evening across-a-crowded-room moment. I’m not the kind of girl boys fall in love with. If someone wants me, it will probably be in spite of my appearance.

 

I didn’t end up dating anyone at all until I was 26. And that was a huge mistake we won’t go into here. I did learn, however, that being wanted didn’t make me feel beautiful. It made my body feel like it was not mine. It was hollow, used.

 

Writing this post, I had time to think when I felt most beautiful. I may never consider myself a knockout, but God do I feel beautiful when I’m dancing. When I’m making something. When I’m playing with children or holding babies.

 

I think body acceptance has more to do with its use than with its appearance.

 

When I move through every inch of me, I am every bit as sensual as the most seductive woman on the planet (no matter what anyone else thinks). When I run around with those littles, I am grace and motherhood without being a mother. When I peer down to double check a pattern, or lift up the safety goggles to examine my most recent project, I am a powerful, strong, capable woman. I hope that is the beauty that radiates from me, regardless of my appearance.

 

Oh, and those “too-big hips”? They look kick-ass in a pencil skirt.

We pause from regularly scheduled programming to bring you this compelling tale…

25 Aug

So, last night I posted this picture of myself on Instagram.

 

Y’all. Tonight was/is fodder for a blog post. Stay tuned for a report. That is, unless I’ve been carted off to prison or the looney bin, at which point I will be enjoying my vacation. #sternmamaface #dontmakenodifferencetotoddlers

 

Now, I have yet to be carted off to either of my desired vacation destinations (fingers crossed!), but guys, it was just one of those days that turned into one of those nights.

 

Vin’s brother, Dan, is getting married to wonderful Kate in October and yesterday was their wedding shower. As is usual with family gatherings, getting ready proved to be chaotic since I had to get the kids bathed, their hair done, and clothes laid out since they weren’t coming to the majority of the shower (thank you sweet Jesus for those two uninterrupted hours of adult interaction and for all the wine. Amen). My father-in-law, the father of the bride, and Dan were tasked with dressing the kids and bringing them at the end of the shower to make an appearance. So I had to make sure I drilled all of the info about which dress/shoes went with which child into my dear sweet father-in-law’s head. He is a good, kind, man, but we can all agree that he knows nothing about children’s fashion. I can say this because it’s true and also because he’s flying to Spain literally right this minute and won’t be back for a month, so I fear no retribution.

 

Story Time Out! Okay, right now I want you to close your eyes and visualize something with me. Conjure up this image: It’s a crazy frazzled me…rushing around like a crazy frazzled person…a crazy frazzled person with a black and blue thumb ’cause it got smacked by a hammer two days before…now imagine that you are crazy frazzled me attempting to wrestle yourself into Spanx with a mangled thumb…also imagine that these are the very same Spanx that you wore to your own wedding five years and three children ago…now give your crazy frazzled self a deadline of two minutes to get this task accomplished. Please make sure you visualize lots of grunting, straining, and sweat which makes your hair frizzy. Everybody savor this image for a moment. Okay. Back to the story.

 

What this plan actually meant was that the men showed up at the end of the shower and the kids were completely adorable…at least as adorable as they could be running around like crazy people, drinking iced tea and making pit stops at the cake table where they used their dirty fingers to scoop leftover edge icing off of the cake plate. Thank God this thing was at a winery because…wine, duh.

 

Needless to say folks were worn out by the time we got home, but it was one of those situations in which we were well past nap time but we were to the point where you just gotta push ‘em to stay awake because Heaven help you if they fall asleep too close to bedtime. This is the point at which we listen to techno music as loud as possible to keep people from sleeping in the car.

 

So, we were enjoying a peaceful dinner with the family when all hell broke loose. And by “peaceful dinner” I hope you know I mean that I was literally up and down a kazillion times cutting meat, buttering corn, getting water, cutting more meat, being chastised for cutting more meat when what they meant by “more meat” was “more mushrooms, dammit!” and I just didn’t get that translation because I’m clearly the most stupid person alive ever. And there were tears and complaints and whining and lots of screaming from the baby who now thinks that the best way to communicate is just to shriek. He gets that from his sisters. Obvs.

 

So it was a peaceful dinner after I banished the girls to the other room to watch TV because I was trying not to kill them and I was just getting up to give Ev a bottle (and was eyeing another bottle of wine for myself) when all hell broke loose.

 

 

She. Bit. My. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiipppppppppllllleeeeeee!! She bit my nipple! My niiiiiiiipplllleeeeeeee!!!!!!! Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh baaaaaahhhh hhaaaaa!!!!!!!

 

 

I actually laughed at first because it was pretty funny. But then I saw the bleeding wound and changed my tune.

 

“Shit! This is really bad!” Shit!! She’s gonna say ‘shit’ at preschool!!

 

So Vin took the victim to dress the wound (’cause he’s basically a Civil War surgeon) and I took the perpetrator to see what the eff was going through her head. And Dan and Kate took a moment to share a meaningful glance that said, “Awww, hell naw! We are not having kids!!”

 

I feel the need to add that we’re big on being anatomically correct at our house. Therefore, people are obsessed with nipples lately. Like, the other day I hear Lily say from the back seat, “This is my nipple!” and Mags corrected her, “No, Lily. That’s not your nipple. That’s your foot.”  Awesome. But for somebody who seems to have it all down, Mags definitely needs to revisit the nipple location lesson because she definitely was not bitten on her nipple. It was really closer to her armpit than anything. Definitely not nipple. (And I can’t wait to see what creepy search terms lead people to this blog now that I’ve written the word ‘nipple’ seven hundred million times in one post. Nipple.)

 

So after Mags’ not-nipple was bandaged and Lily was admonished that, “We use our teeth to eat and talk. We do NOT use our teeth to hurt people,” a talk that I’m certain she took to heart.

 

Until the next time. 

 

And there’s always a next time.

Guest Post: Help a Girl Out by Stephanie Barnard

22 Aug

 

The following is an excerpt from a fantastic post by my college friend, Stephanie. Stephanie and I worked on a few projects together in school and I have always admired her heart for others. She’s just so kind. She’s also an incredibly talented artist, a special education teacher, a fairly recent newlywed (holla!) and the creator of Help a Girl Out, a project dedicated to reminding women to love themselves. She’s been featured by the Tyler Morning Telegraph and you can find out more about HAGO on Tumblr or on Facebook. Do be sure to read the rest of the post. You absolutely will not be sorry…there are graphs! That’s all from me; the rest is Stephanie. -MS

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

“Caged” by HAGO featured artist Allie Lamb.


 

The Results Are In.

I finished the last question and clicked Publish.

 

“Do you really think anyone will fill it out?” I asked.

 

“I’m sure of it,” replied my husband. (He has always been the optimistic one.) “Just wait,” he said. (Come to think of it, he’s always been the patient one too.)

 

I sat at the computer for what seemed like an hour, as if staring at it would magically send a personal mental email to all the women on my friends list.

 

Nothing. “Why don’t you turn it off until tomorrow? Give them time,” he said.

 

Ugh. I ignored him. I couldn’t pull myself away.

 

I’m not really sure what prompted me to create the survey in the first place. It’s no secret that women all over the planet struggle with self-image issues. So why did I need to see the actual numbers? Maybe I needed affirmation that I wasn’t alone in my self-consciousness. Maybe it was nerdiness, remnants still left from college, manifested as a social experiment. Maybe I was just a bored teacher with nothing better to do on my summer break. Who knows?

 

It consisted of only five, anonymous questions so I figured at least one person would humor me, but then again with all the BuzzFeed lists, quiz results, and YouTube videos that get posted to Facebook, maybe no one would even notice my little survey.

 

Then I saw it.

 

The response box that was previously empty now contained a one.

 

A one!

 

Someone had pitied me! Hooray!

 

A surge of excitement shot through me. It literally felt like I was bungee jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Knowing this, you can only imagine how I felt over the next 24 hours.

 

2.

24.

85.

153.

270.

 

To say the response was incredible is an understatement. My original goal was to entice at least ten women to participate, but obviously the final number far surpassed a measly ten. As of today, a total of 345 women and girls have completed the Self Image Survey.  If I had not discontinued it, I have no doubt that the number would still be rising. Even before considering these women’s answers, the sheer number of participants screamed “This is a big deal!”  However, it wasn’t until I began scanning the responses that I realized exactly how big.

Read the survey results for yourself here.

“Their Doubt Isn’t Worth the Price of Your Brilliance” – Guest Post by Lorelei Taylor

19 Aug

Here’s our first guest post on loving yourself, by Lorelei Taylor. We were in a wedding together and instantly hit it off. I was completely taken by her bright eyes and joyful personality, and once I heard her story, I loved her even more. Visit her on Facebook for more information about her journey and for ways to connect with this amazing person! That’s all from me, here’s Lorelei… -MS

 

 

“Their Doubt Isn’t Worth the Price of Your Brilliance”

 

There was a time in my life when I was filled with fear. I was afraid of everything, from being good parent to having to having a clean enough house. Wrought with anxiety, I hid in my kitchen and my Little Debbie powdered doughnuts. My body weighed 250lbs, my mind was heavier.

 

Last year I jumped into an online challenge group, to support a friend. The first week, our coach, Andrea asked us: “What are you afraid of? The deep root cause of it?” I had a few surface answers, “I’m afraid to yo-yo diet”, “I don’t want to struggle like Mom did.” and so on. I sat there with my fingers hovering over the keyboard, digging for a truth in my heart. What poured out of my soul onto that keyboard changed my life. The root cause of it all was simple: I was afraid of people, and more specifically, their judgement.

 

I was holding myself back because I didn’t want to give others the satisfaction of seeing me fail. And this simple, prideful, fear had a major impact on my life and my health. Discovering this shook my world. Why was I giving them so much power over me? Why was their opinion more important than my own? Why was I pushing through hard workouts and restricting junk food for the people who care about me least? They controlled my parenting, my beige decorating theme in my house, my weight. Suddenly, I didn’t want to lose weight anymore. My goal switched to shedding fear and living for myself.

 

You see, fear of judgement is one of the most powerful, pointless fears we can have. It pulls our hearts away from purpose and towards mediocrity. When focused on this fear I didn’t shine, I was too afraid to.

 

Now I live with passion. I replaced our beige furniture with bold red, I dress in what makes me feel pretty, not what hides my flaws. I parent my children in a way that meets our standards and expectations, not my neighbors. And I share my flaws openly. I’ve lost some friends along the way. Friends that don’t understand my message, my purpose. And while this has broken my heart a few times, each time, without fail, they’re replaced with someone who wants to see me succeed. It’s a beautiful feeling to feel comfortable with the people around me. To be myself without fear.

 

You are not a number on a scale. You are not the clothes you wear, or the disease you’ve been diagnosed with. You are a brilliant combination of all your life experiences. Your heart pulls you in unique ways that are desperately needed on this earth. Don’t let others dull your spirit. Their doubt isn’t worth the price of your brilliance.

 

 

 

Lorelei Taylor is a military spouse, mom of two amazingly fantastic children, and fitness coach with the Beachbody company. Her goal is to help moms overcome the same struggles she has. With a weight-loss of 94lbs to date, she has an understanding of what the journey means. The destination may be losing weight and getting healthier, but the journey is one which teaches us confidence, self respect, and believing in ourselves. To connect with Lorelei you can find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/lorelei.taylor.

On Loving Yourself: A Series

18 Aug

First of all, thank you. Thank you for liking, sharing, talking about my stretch marks. I can honestly say I’ve never thought I’d say that in my entire life, but thank you. Seriously. Oh Bless Your Heart had the most views ever the day I posted about my stretch marks and that wouldn’t be possible without you guys sharing it with others. You’re the best.

 

But, why bodies? Why body image? Haven’t we all been over this before?

 

Yeah. I mean, I know I’ve heard the same message on a continual loop since junior high:

Love yourself. Love your body. Everyone is beautiful in her own way. Yada, yada, yada….

 

So, why hasn’t it sunk in? Why do I/you/we continue to struggle with loving our bodies?

 

I think it is partially due to the fact that we still place so much value on being “beautiful.” Even when we don’t want to, it’s hard not to get sucked in. It’s really hard to fight a lifetime of subliminal messaging, am I right? It’s even harder to fight that lying voice in your head, spinning negativity and self-loathing. It’s just plain hard.

 

And the older I get, the more the struggle weighs on me. This is a journey toward self love and I want you to come with me. I need you to come along and help me. I’m pretty good at loving others and I think you probably are, too. There’s obviously always room for improvement, but I find it infinitely easier to love somebody else, to pour into them, rather than into myself.

 

Which is why I got this tattoo.

 

                                  Because it’s hard to remember sometimes.

 

 

So, for the next week or so (don’t hold me to any specific time frames ’cause I do what a want) I’ll be doing a series on loving our bodies, which really means loving ourselves. I have some really excellent guest posts lined up, which I’m fantastically excited about. These are women from all kinds of backgrounds, ages, and body types. They’re single, married, with kids and without, and I asked them to share their stories because they are unique and because I can trust them to be real with you.

 

My hope here is that we will create an environment for affirmation, validation, healing, and growth. More than anything else in this entire world, I want to create a place where we can be real. Because none of this is going to work unless we are open, raw, and real with each other. I’m never going to feel okay with myself if I feel like I have to hide all the time.

 

Therefore, I’m laying the groundwork now. This is not going to be a series in which somebody who appears to completely have their shit together tells you just to love yourself as you are. It doesn’t matter how well-meaning she is, I just can’t handle being told to love myself by someone whose life is straight off of Pinterest, mainly because I don’t feel like I have anything in common with her. And I desperately want you to know that in this space, anything goes, ugly reality and all.

 

So here’s reality:

 

Today, I am wearing maternity pants.

 

My youngest will be a year old next month and I am currently wearing maternity pants. 

 

I am not pregnant so don’t ask and I am currently wearing maternity pants.

 

I think they’d also be considered yoga pants. So, maternity yoga pants is what I’m wearing right now. 

 

This is a lesser known yoga pose called, “Salutation to the Shit.” It’s a really great pose for stretching your body so that you can hopefully muster enough energy and flexibility to kick the strewn toys and food from the dining room into a pile in the corner that you can ignore for seven weeks. It takes a lot of focus…and maternity yoga pants…and coffee.

 

 

The first guest post will be up tomorrow, so stay tuned! If you would like to contribute to this series, shoot me an email at marysusan.delagrange@gmail.com and I’d be over-the-moon excited to provide a platform for you to share your story.

 

Don’t forget to love yourself today!

-Mary Susan

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