The first time I was ever referred to as “squishy” was when I was about 19 years old. My husband (then fiance) and I were at a grocery store in Arizona doing some shopping when a little girl ran up and hugged me from behind. I turned around and she quickly loosened her grip around me and looked around in panic for her dad, who was not far behind her.
“Sorry”, he said out of breath, “she thought you were my wife, she has the same color hair as you”. I laughed, and knelt down to introduce myself. She caught site of my engagement ring and asked me if she could borrow it for her Halloween costume… She was Tinkerbell. I told her that I bet she could find a ring better than mine at the store, and mid sentence she locked her arms around my neck again!
“Sweetie, you can’t just hug strangers! Not everyone likes hugs!” her dad said. “But dad! I HAD to hug her! She’s so nice and squishy!” Clearly embarrassed, her dad grabbed her hand and they scurried away. In all honesty, that is probably one of my favorite interactions to date. Kids are the best in so many ways. I sincerely cannot WAIT for Lexi to be old enough to repeat stuff she shouldn’t or make situations that were once comfortable, uncomfortable. Kids just say things with the purest of intentions, and I feel like we could all learn something from them.
Now, being only 19, I definitely didn’t think of myself as squishy, at least, I didn’t think I did. I remember fighting demons in my head HARD while we lived in Arizona. It was isolating, we were tired, we were making just enough to pay our bills and we were both working multiple jobs, at all hours of the day, just trying to make the best life for ourselves that we could. Which, of course now that I look back at it, I live a very cushy life now, thanks to the sacrifices that we made when we were younger and it was definitely worth it.
I think back to my 19 year old self often. Such a weird age. Literally NO ONE at the age of 19 is doing the same thing. Some have children, some are married, some are in school, some are working two jobs and most “take a year off” to sit on their parents couch and get stoned.
One thing I had never second guessed until I was 19 was my body image. I was always taught about self love and healthy habits and learned at a very young age that we are all beautiful in our own ways. Until, that is, I was working at a salon in Arizona. You guys, this day still rattles me to my core. I think about it and eyes well up with tears (in fact, I’m getting quite misty writing this) I was in the break room, clocking out for lunch. Our lunch was in split shifts there so half the staff went at one time and the other half went after us. I was in a room full of probably 13 or 14 other people. My boss came up to me, and in front of everyone, said “she wasn’t a fan of my outfit”. Confused, because I was not only following dress code, but wearing the EXACT same shorts as the other front desk girl (who, was a size 2 might I add, and I only knew we were wearing the same shorts because we bonded over the fact that we got them on sale at Walmart). I politely questioned her, and asked if shorts were against the dress code, because so-and-so was wearing them. She scoffed and said “well when you look like so-and-so, then we can talk about you wearing shorts”. I was sent home to change into “something that covered my lower half appropriately” and haven’t stopped thinking about it sense. You know what the worst part about that story is? I can almost guarantee you that this women, who was WELL into her thirties at the time, never, ever thinks about the fact that she told a 19 year old girl that she could gladly wear shorts when she lost some weight. This horrific memory is in my head every. day. Especially now in a world of Instagram Models and VSCO and presets galore.
This was something I worried about a lot when I was pregnant. You see moms who have completely let themselves go after childbirth because they feel totally uncomfortable in their new skin. Whether they bounce back or not. I lost 37 pounds when I was pregnant. Didn’t gain a SINGLE stretch mark. Yet, since having my baby a year ago I have gained 64 pounds. SIXTY-FOUR. And what’s so weird is I never noticed it until a few months ago.
Back in February, I went HARD in my business. I double promoted and that was so huge for me. I started getting recognized on social media and had boutiques reaching out to me to partner with. It was probably one of the greatest “highs” I’ve ever had. It was great until I received all my new clothes, tried them on, and looked in the mirror. How on earth was I supposed to get people to buy these clothes when anything I put on made me look like a puffy baked potato with legs? Also not to mention that any time I would do a try on haul, or post a story on Instagram of me going to the gym, I had every BeachBody coach IN THE WORLD (not literally of course) message me “asking” to try their program. “Asking” why I was going to a gym and not “working out in the comfort of my own home because gyms can be intimidating when you’re out of shape”. “Asking” what nutrition plan I was on and that the reason for my weight gain was a mindset thing. Nothing makes you feel more insecure then when a group of people attack you for looking the way you do. Attacking might be a strong word, but let’s look at it this way: let’s say you post pictures makeup free. Maybe you don’t wear a lot of makeup or you work a job that doesn’t require much– whatever. Let’s say that you shared a makeup free photo of yourself during your time of the month (um, can we all say, “hi chin breakouts!”). Then, after you shared that picture, BOOM! There I am in your inbox saying how I noticed your breakout and that I had some great skincare and makeup you could use. Rude, right? It’s LITERALLY the same with any direct sales company. There is 100% such a thing as a right place and a right time. Now if you had shared that exact picture with a caption saying something like, “HELP! Looking for new skincare/makeup to tackle my crazy hormonal acne!” thennnn that’s a totally different story.
Here’s a fact friends, when you’re approaching somebody about something that you sell and they DIDN’T ask for it– 9 times out of 10 it’s insulting.
And no, I understand not everyone who sells supplements or workout plans is like this. But still to this day, I get at least one random message a week “offering to help me get to my fitness goal”.
Truth is, I don’t have a “fitness goal”. I just want/wanted to feel in love with myself again after the weirdest year of my life. Did you know the “postpartum” feeling can last up to 24 months?! Yep! Insane, right? I feel like it’s been months of being stuck in this body, this head space, this overall attitude that I wasn’t used to. And I felt nothing but hopeless. I’ve been to six different doctors now who have all told me a million different things. It’s my thyroid, no it’s not, you have anemia, you have anxiety, you’re still just adjusting to postpartum etc. Which makes it even MORE frustrating when there is no “answer”. Then, you’re forced to just cope with the fact that it IS you. Your “bounce back” game was over before it started. Slowly but surely you keep buying clothes that are too small, and wearing baggy tops to hide your squishy belly… Because friends, after child birth, your stomach will ALWAYS resemble a marshmallow in some way, shape or form. I wasn’t wanting to go Live anymore, something I’ve always loved doing, because all I could see was my double chin and size ZZZ boobs.
I was laying in bed one morning and I was scrolling Instagram and saw Trisha Hyde’s post. Trisha isn’t far from me, postpartum wise, I think her youngest is 6 or 7 months old. She’s a mother of 3, and she seriously is amazing in every aspect of life! This was what she chose to share with her followers:
Here it was. FINALLY someone with a social media presence that was honest, raw and told us it was OK to feel beautiful in whatever season of our body we were currently living in. She then went on to say in her story that at first, as soon as she was cleared to workout, she was determined to get back to her post baby body. But after doing it for a few weeks, she admitted that she felt like it was causing more pressure than it was worth. She was focused so much on being who she thought everyone else wanted to see, instead of who SHE was happy seeing. She talks about not being afraid to size up your clothing, and that you should eat the damn doughnut! I always feel silly saying I have a role model, but this girl, LEGIT is mine!
Being a platform to spread self love and body positivity when everyone’s talking about how Jessica Simpson lost 100 pounds 6 months after having her third child is refreshing. So Trisha, if you ever read this, I just wanted to say “thank you”. Thank you for helping me and other women like me learn to love themselves again no matter what season they are in. Whether fitness is your number one goal, or that McDonalds Big Mac is all you can think about. Whether you’re 3 months into it, or had your last kid 10 years ago. Just remember, you should be your own idea of perfect, not someone elses.
Until next time, Divas