MY BODY STORY

I was always a small girl. I weighed 98 lbs up until my freshman year of college when I gained the “freshman fifteen.” My god, I felt enormous. My whole life I had had nicknames like tiny, adorable, little girl, skinny mini, string bean, etc. The list goes on. My tiny frame felt like it held my identity and when the pounds began to pile on, I lost it. Then I had babies and I have to say, while being pregnant and a literal house for another human was magical…it was also awful. The number on the scale climbed higher than I had ever seen, but I was young and I had always been small, so I figured after I got these babies out, I would just shrink back down like I always had after eating big meals.

This was not the case. I had to WORK to get small. THE AUDACITY. I never in my life had to work for that. I had to work for money, friendships, relationships, and my mental health…but my body? Oh no no no, not happening. I was bitter about it.

My weight went up and down throughout the next few years.  At one of my heavier times, people started to comment about my weight. A family member even TOUCHED MY STOMACH and asked if I had any news to share. Another person made comments about how earlier in the year (when I was in a skinny period) I was the skinniest I had ever been and he loved that. I was 120 lbs. but I was only thin because I was too sad to eat. Too stressed to move. Too depressed to care. I was a bad mother, a bad friend and a sad person at this time in my life. I had nothing going on, nothing I was working toward, nothing to be proud of and I wasn’t taking care of myself…

BUT I WAS THIN.

Until those moments, I had never been called fat before. I had never had an outside source make comments on my body except to tell me how small I was. This was new territory and my head did not do well with it.

But then, I started to think about what caused this most recent weight gain. I stood and looked back at the time I was in and realized that I was chubby because was because I was happy…

The Club had just launched, the fundraising, the pins coming in, the women pouring out their hearts to me, telling me that my art helped them and made them feel brave and strong. I started working my ass off for those women. For you. FOR ME. What I did for you, you did for me times 10. For the first time in a long time I felt valued and worthy, like I was doing important work and most of all, I felt like I was swimming in love. I had love coming in from every side and I felt solid in it. This is when the weight started to pile on. I was busy, I was working hard at my craft, I was being a mom, I was being social, I was participating in events, I was taking my meds, I was celebrating success with dinner and drinks with friends, I felt like a person again…

BUT I WAS FAT.

HOW DARE I BE FAT? 

So, I wanted to change it. Duh right? Why wouldn’t I? All these months I was just fluffy and happy and how dare I, so I took these pictures to show a “before.” They didn’t have the desired effect though. 

LET ME EXPLAIN. 

A before photo is intended to stand as a snapshot of all the work you have to do, the problem areas of your body. You are expected to see them and feel gross and flawed and think to yourself, “Damn, how did I get so disgusting? I have got to do something.” Not me, bro. These photos motivated me to love myself.

I looked at these pics and thought “I look really cute and sweet and sexy in these” and a few years ago, I wouldn’t have said the same. I didn’t see these pics and instantly become appalled at my own body. I didn’t see them and feel ashamed. I saw them, and then I came here, and decided to share them with you.I have had people say they wish they were my size, at my smallest and at my biggest, and I always tell them “no, I like your size” because I do and so should you.

The first pic is me sucking in and posed.
The second one is all my squish leftover from having kids AND 2 C SECTIONS in 1 year. Literally guys November 3, 2009 I had one C-Section, November 15, 2010 I had another. Of course my flipping body was going to change.

All I am trying to convey here is that you are beautiful, exactly as you are because you are more than a body. Your body is of course beautiful in all is squishy, curvy greatness too, but you’re more than that. You are a beautiful brain with ideas and thoughts, a beautiful heart filled with love and feelings, a beautiful person with hope and perseverance and tenacity and moxie running through you. You are more than a number on a scale or another person’s opinion on your body.

Your body is allowed to be different than what society thinks and tells you is “beautiful.” It is still beautiful and freaking powerful too.

Take a step back like I did and look at all you have, all you’ve done, all you’ve still to do and you will see all of the things that make you an incredibly badass human. That makes the weight of your skin, organs, muscles and god forbid fat seem so small doesn’t it?

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Mom Feels | Adjusting to Motherhood

“How did you manage not to lose yourself when you had your babies? How did you do it?”

My answer is complicated and multi faceted, but the TL;DR answer is… you do. You do lose yourself to a certain extent, but it is less of a loss and more of an exchange, really. 

Of course, I can say this now because I am not neck deep in diapers, burping cloths, nipple cream and sleepless nights. I have the gift of perspective now that I am nearly 8 years out. However, my journey into motherhood was so jarring and abrupt that it left an impression, and it only takes a moment of seriously thinking of those early days to conjure all of it up again along with every feeling attached to that season of life. 

My body was a squishy mess that I didn’t recognize when I looked in the mirror, my boobs constantly hurt and no longer belonged to me, I never slept, I hardly showered, post partum depression piled on top of my ever present regular depression, there was immense pressure – both external and internal- to be the perfect mother and wife and it was crushing me.

Let’s stop and talk about the depression thing for a minute. First of all, I cried constantly, so there’s that. One night, in a panic, I realized deep in my soul that I just could not do this. I. Could. Not. Do. It. So, I did super a rational thing…I called my friends and family and with the utmost sincerity, I tearfully asked them to adopt my children. I cried when they said no. Then, when I realized how insane that was, how much I loved my babies, how I would never let Courtney and Ashley adopt them…cried because of how horrible of a mother I was. Post partum was rough guys, not to mention, my friends dropped like flies once they realized that holding a crying baby wasn’t fun, let alone hanging out with the crying mom holding the crying baby. Yikes. So on top of everything else, I was extremely lonely. Like, cry-in-the-shower-clutching-your-knees-to-your-chest and asking-yourself-out-loud “why doesn’t anyone like me” -lonely.  As if i needed any more help finding reasons to cry at this point in my life. 

I remember these days like they were yesterday. Did I lose myself? Absolutely. Did I lose myself? Absolutely not. I was afraid that I would though, so you aren’t alone there. I was so afraid that I would never have friends again, that the place that I was at that moment was going to be the place I always was. I would never paint again, I would never go to school and get my degree, I would never get the time to fall in love with being a wife to my new husband, I would never get to put myself first ever again, and I would always smell like diaper cream. These were legitimate fears that circled in my head during the first years, if not longer. 

My kids are 8 and 9 now and if I could go back in time and sit next to the blubbering blob I once thought myself to be, I would be so kind to her. This is what I would tell her: 

Hey there sweet mama, I know your pain and I know it well. This phase ends and you come out the other side. Different than you were before, yes, but better in my opinion. You will paint again, you will fall in love and figure things out with being married, you will make a lot of mistakes but none of them make you a bad person or a bad mom. You will find times that you can put yourself first and restructure your priorities, find new hobbies and gain new, fantastic friendships that make all of this pain worth bearing. All of these sleepless nights end, their tiny feet grow big and smelly, your waist shrinks again, but even if it didn’t you are still gorgeous. You are, even if you don’t feel like it, gorgeous and powerful. You are way cooler of a person now. You learned and grew, you found humor in the heartaches, you found lessons in the loneliness. You know your worth now more than you ever have before, you know what you are capable of, you know what you bring to the table, and it is a feast. AND now you know how to swaddle a baby in less than 15 seconds. You became a stronger woman as most women do when they are faced with challenges. They did not defeat you, you found your way. Did you lose who you were? Yes, pieces of yourself stay behind, but you bring more forward with you as you continue to stay alive every day. It all evens out. The days are so long, but the years are short, and those babies won’t be in your arms forever. Try your best to enjoy where you are and do not worry about losing yourself, you will and you won’t. You will be amazing no matter what. 

I read somewhere once that you should prepare to be married to 6 different people in the span of a marriage. So, how many people will we all be and become in a lifetime? My advice there? Prepare for change. It is coming, it is always coming. It is not always pleasant, but you will see it through. I personally, cannot wait to meet the rest of the people I will become. Good or bad, I am excited to embrace her each time with a fresh excitement and a heart full of memories and pieces I may leave behind. Moving forward is a gift I am happy to receive. 

Also, in case you are wondering, I now smell like rose water.

Last but not least, my mama friend Autumn is selling a collaborative design (by me) in her shop Matriarch Handmade and if you’d like to buy one and help support two working mamas, DM her on Instagram or email me and let me know and I will get it going for you. See shirt below 🙂

BTS | Why I Chose to Start a Patreon

So, let’s talk Patreon.

Last fall, I was laid off from my day job, which I consider a blessing in disguise and I began doing Crybaby full time. In doing so, it not only became my main focus and job, but it became how I pay my bills.

Running a small business seems fun and it definitely is, but it is also hard, hard work. Aside from what you see, there are a million things you don’t see me doing. As far as Crybaby is concerned, I am the sole face and human behind CB. I design nearly everything you see in the shop, I create all the content you see on social media, I manage and maintain the website and blog, I fulfill the orders, I print out the shipping labels, I package each order with care and special touches (ex. confetti, extra goodies, special packaging materials such as the pretty pink bubble mailers they come in, etc.), and then, I take them to the post office so they can get to you. I test out new products, I pay to produce those new products, I draft blogs, I work on the My Anxious Nights project, I keep up with inventory and restock as needed, I offer wholesale nationally and have 10+ stockists right now that I keep up and correspond with, I am the voice behind every email, I connect with local and non local venues to set up pop ups and collaborations, I photograph everything, I edit everything, I literally do everything.

Aside from Crybaby, I freelance my design skills to other businesses, I sell some of my gently used clothes online, AND I have two tiny humans I am in charge of raising and loving.

So why did I choose to start a Patreon? Well, quite frankly, because of everything I just mentioned. Because I work really hard and if I had more people investing in what I do and make, I could do better and make more. Because I love that this is my job and would like for it to always be. And finally, because I believe that my work has value and meaning. I offer perks to people who donate certain amounts, they’re pretty great and I think you will love them too. Even if you donated $1 a month that means the world to me. Again, I believe in what I am doing and for the goals I have as a company and as a person, if you do too, please check out my Patreon and consider donating. I appreciate it with a full heart.

When the Storm Hits

So as we all know, I have depression.
Hello, my name is Natalie, and I have depression.
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Over the past 20 or so years, I have done serious work on myself and my depression.
From accepting it, understanding it, unlearning/relearning coping skills
to countless medication combinations, therapy, THE WORKS.
Along the way,
I discovered a few of my own ways to make my depression calm the heck down.

So without further ado,
here are my tips for when the depression hits:

  • Acknowledgement
    Despite the fact that “It’s fine” is my unofficial catch phrase, I have never gotten anywhere acting like I was fine when I was SO not fine. So own it, face it, say it out loud, talk to yourself in the mirror about it, write it down…something. Depression is there whether you want it to be or not, so acknowledging it is a very obvious but very important first step.
  • Redirect the Sadness
    Watching Grey’s is huge for me and my depression. Instead of wallowing in my own sad life, I wallow in theirs, and dear lord, theirs is horrific. That’s what you gotta do sometimes ok, you gotta take the sadness and throw it at something else. You take it and you throw it and you cry about it, because sometimes, you need to cry about SOMETHING that you can feel, experience and then turn off and walk away from. I cannot walk away from my depression, that jerk follows me everywhere, but I CAN walk away from season 8, episode 24. ::cue Snow Patrol:: If Grey’s doesn’t do it for you, try Beaches, Eternal Sunshine, My Girl, P.S. I Love You, Mona Lisa Smile, This is Us or just text me because I can hook you up with secondhand sadness ALL DAY LONG.
  • Take Your Meds (if applicable)
    In some of my more depressive states, the hopelessness can sometimes win and I will skip my meds. Because nothing matters right? Everything is shit, everything is doomed, and why even bother, right? WRONG take your meds. I am saying this to you, yes, but I am also screaming it to myself. TAKE YOUR MEDS.
  • Confide in Your Friends
    It is such a huge deal in your mental health journey to have support in place. Solid ground in the form of a friend. It can help so much to talk to a friend who gets it and if they get it, they can help support, motivate and love you through it. I recently had a talk with Kate about how difficult it has been for me to shower or straighten up my house, how the small things feel so huge these days, and instead of thinking I am gross or lazy, she pushed me. Lovingly, of course. She got me out of my house, she told me it was ok that I wasn’t bright and shiny, and that I was still worth a damn. After my weekend with her, I feel refreshed, loved, and deeply understood. I even showered AND cleaned my house. (see photo for proof) Friends are invaluable. (If you do not have a friend like this, email me. I will be that friend for you. We are in this together.)
  • Dance It Out
    This one may seem silly or pointless, but it can help, even if just momentarily. Everyone has that one song that when you hear it, you just have to move. Getting up and jumping around to some fun tunes can really lift the fog. It does not matter if you look silly, it does not matter if you dance badly. You gotta do it. Check out the hashtag #takefiveanddance on Instagram for some inspiration and click here for a playlist to inspire you to get your booty in motion!
  • Have a Cry
    It comes as no surprise I am sure that I advocate for crying. I am nothing if not on brand. Crying is an emotional palate cleanser. A reset button. It can be cathartic and a way to just purge your system of all the negative crap clogging it up. It isn’t always that simple, but sometimes it is and there is no shame in crying. Let it out.
  • Nuts
    NOT THAT KIND YALL GOOD GRIEF! Ok but for real, according to many sources I found on google… almonds, pecans and walnuts can really help. “Just an ounce a day can help improve both your physical and mental health. These nuts contain calcium, which can help offset hormonal imbalances in women as well as alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, irritability and impaired memory.” AW NUTS
  • Make Lists
    I find that it helps me to have a plan, even if the plan is small, even if I don’t completely stick to it, even if it is scattered …writing things down helps put things into perspective and makes it easier for my depressed brain to manage. Keep your expectations low, cut yourself some slack, and praise yourself for the things you manage to complete. Small steps forward are still steps forward.
  • Lean Into It
    Hear me out ok? I am not promoting wallowing. Maybe I am? I don’t know but I wear glasses, so I know everything. It is ok to feel sad. Depression is not your fault, it comes out of nowhere, and sometimes, the only way out is through. Lean into the feelings, allow yourself to feel them, give them names “I feel sad, I feel hopeless, I feel unworthy.” When I do this, it can help me to realize how irrational my thoughts are. When I say my negative thoughts out loud, I can immediately counter them with logical thoughts. Sometimes saying some of the thoughts out loud can make them seem so silly. I have done this exercise before and actually ended up laughing about it, calling my brain a jerk, and just moving on. I also like to yell, “I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS NONSENSE.” Come for the cute art, stay for the incredible advice.
  • Create
    Not everyone is Picasso or Mozart or Ansel Adams or Frida Kahlo, but that does not mean you shouldn’t try! It can really help to just get the bad feelings out in some creative way, and you may even end up with something great! Journaling, doodling, painting, DIYing are all great ways to get your mind off the sadness. Check out my Pinterest board for some craft ideas.
  • Brush Your Teeth, Drink Water, Paint your Nails, Take a Nap
    Sometimes the small things seem like big things, and consequently, that can make big things seem insurmountable. Let’s take 5 minutes to do something small, something for ourselves, something that is leading us in a more positive direction and then, let’s…
  • Celebrate Small Wins
    The fact that you are trying is something to be celebrated. Existing is hard, especially when it feels like the weight of the world and all its pressures are crushing you and your mind is a minefield out for blood and no one gets it and you are sinking. Anything you do to help yourself along – big or small – should go without praise. You are doing good, you are doing something, and that is everything.

But enough about me and my antics,
how do you combat your depression?
Tell us below in the comments! 

Coexisting with a Crybaby

Criers! Noncriers! Lend me your tears.
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Ok, that pun was terrible but necessary and I am not apologizing for it.  I want to address some concerns and misconceptions I have faced often in my life as a crybaby, in hopes that it will provide some clarity for those who simply do not get us and our weepy ways.

First things first, you should know that I have always been this way. that is not the case for some crybabies, but for me, I have always cried easily and often so I will be writing from my own perspective about my own experiences.

Crying comes as naturally to me as breathing; sometimes even more so. I have cried at Disney World, at work, at school, at family gatherings, on vacation, on a plane, on a softball field, in my car and in 14 states. I have cried over video games, game shows, meeting new people, missing folks, breakups, getting fired, a particularly upsetting episode of Our Gang. I have cried out of anger, extreme joy, love, hunger, hormonal surges, mental illness, through panic attacks and because I was just too sleepy.

Now that we have that in mind, let’s get to the misconceptions:

Crying is Manipulative

While I have cried a couple of times to get out of trouble, invoke a response, win an argument, etc… that is not standard, and I haven’t done that since I was a kid/teen. Non criers tend to think that I am crying in hopes of manipulating the situation or the people around them but I can absolutely attest to the opposite being true. I can’t tell you how often I have wanted to disappear when I felt the tears coming, how many times I have silently willed them away. If I could never cry in front of another human being, I would. To have such emotional self control…I can’t even fathom.

Crying is not mind game to me, it is simply a defense mechanism, an emotional expression, a soul cleanse, an involuntary response in almost any circumstance. One of the first times I just cried for seemingly no reason, I was 4 years old. I had recently moved to Illinois, hours away from my primary caregiver, Mamaw, and we went to visit her. I burst into her house like a tiny hurricane, and with me came the rain. I hugged her so big and just started crying immediately. Mamaw pulled away and asked, “Baby, what is it?!” Obviously she was worried I was hurt or something, but my tiny voice just sobbed back, “I ::gasp:: just ::gasp:: missed ::gasp:: you ::gasp:: so ::gasp:: much!” And the floodgates have been open ever since.

I still cry with that amount of sincerity. My little 4 year old self wasn’t exhibiting a flair for dramatics in hopes of getting a reaction out of the people around her, she just missed her Mamaw. 4 years ago, when I was let go from a job I really enjoyed, I cried through the entire thing. I wasn’t trying to get my boss to change her mind or feel bad about her decision, I cried because I was sad and disappointed in myself. Last night, when I was watching Grey’s Anatomy, I didn’t cry because I needed comforting from anyone (fun fact, I was alone so that debunks the entire thing) I cried because – excuse my French – THAT SHIT IS SAD!

Crying to Get Attention

This one pisses me off so much, I could cry. I literally want the opposite of attention when I cry. Attention often makes it worse, I know you agree with me. How many times have you been on the verge of tears, holding it together so well, then someone comes up with care in their voice and asks if you are ok and you just explode? Yeah, all the time? Same.

If and when I cry, I am not sending tiny signals through my tears to get attention from you. Grow up. There is also a subtopic here, that when I cry around you, that means you have to do something for me. If I cry around you, it is usually because I feel a certain comfort level has been achieved in our relationship, nothing more. If I did cry but also need something, I know how to use my words, not my emotions to get what I need. I literally started teaching my children that when they were babies, “Honey, what is wrong? Can I help? What can I do?” Standing in front of someone, bawling and expecting them to decipher that and react doesn’t work for babies and it doesn’t for crybabies. I cry because I need to, not because I need you. Do not stress yourself out thinking you have to DO something for me, you don’t. Just let me feel some stuff.

Crying is Dramatic

I am not saying that isn’t true, but isn’t that all about perspective really? For example…pets. I am not a pet person. I am barely an animal person. I like them, I don’t want them to be abused, hurt, hungry or alone but I can count on one hand how many times I have been sad over an animal. However, when I was 14, my best friend missed 2 days of school when her cat died. I still cannot understand that, it just isn’t something that makes sense to me…but that doesn’t mean she was being dramatic does it? She was feeling immeasurable pain that I couldn’t possibly understand. So the next time you think someone is crying to be dramatic, try being a little decent maybe? Just because you don’t understand it/have never experienced it/wouldn’t cry over it doesn’t make it a drama filled act. Everyone emotes in different ways to different things.

We can coexist – criers and non criers. It is possible, I have faith! Hopefully this helps you, whichever side you are on to either feel less uncomfortable by crying or more secure in your crying.

What negative things have you experienced
because of your crying?
Tell us in the comments. 

Love you guys, crying or not, love always.
xx Natalie

What I Mean When I Say “I Don’t Care What Other People Think of Me”

“You should hear the things people say about you.”

No, I shouldn’t, because it is really none of my concern. However, life doesn’t always agree, so inevitably, you will hear bits and pieces of negative feedback on who you are as a human being from time to time. That is just how it goes.  Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone will say nice things when your name is brought up. You are the villain in some peoples’ stories, so plant your feet and lean in. It is just the way it is sometimes. Just because someone else has a negative opinion of you doesn’t mean that they are correct. Of course, I am talking about people talking just to talk. If your friends or people close to you have something to say that is tough love or constructive criticism, of course you’d want to pay attention and take that into account. This is more directed towards that oh so high school way of people just talk, talk, talking shit without actually saying a thing.

You know you better than anyone. You are the one doing work every day to be a better you than the day before. You know all your mistakes, your triumphs, your intentions, your mind and your heart, so do not let it shake you that someone else doesn’t like you. They don’t know you. Everyone else only gets fragmented views in not always so flattering light, You live inside of you,  you have to feel good about you. Once you do that, it really doesn’t matter how the world perceives you.

Of course still try to be a good person! I am not saying go out and punch old ladies and destroy property, etc. and then smile and be all, “IT’S OK GUYS, I’M A GREAT PERSON INSIDE MY HEAD!”

Just do your best ok, love yourself, and then you can proudly say,
“I don’t care what other people think of me.”

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Feels Unisex Long Sleeve found here

 

Heart Eyes – Wet

“It’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever done
To love somebody and still run”

— Still Run, 2018

Recently, I decided to try to step into new things, musically anyway. I have this really annoying thing about me that when people suggest things to me (i.e. music, books, website, t.v. shows etc.) I ignore them as hard as possible. I do not do this on purpose, I promise! I am not just a jerk that hates her friends, at least I don’t think I am. I just like the things that I like and am reluctant to change, plus I have been burned too many times (I am looking at you, Thor Ragnarok).

I even have to trick myself into liking new things. For example, everyone kept telling me about The Last Podcast on the Left. “OMG you’ll love it, they’re so funny, smart and great!” I hard passed on this podcast for months before finally, I was caught up on all the podcasts I like and literally needed something new. So, I started listening to LPOTL as I fell asleep or when I was in the bath (so I couldn’t turn it off or change it). Why am I like this? I wish I could tell you. Long story short though, LPOTL is my new favorite podcast, hands down.

Anyway, someone lovingly suggested this band to me before, but it didn’t stick. Shocking, I know. But then…thanks to the horrible desk job I worked for a few months + iTunes “For You” playlist based on what I always listen to… I discovered Wet.

 

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The timing couldn’t have been better either, because their new album dropped soon after, so I had tons of things to listen to and fall in love with. So, if you are not like me, and you actually enjoy people suggesting new things to you, please check this band out. They are worth a listen, their lyrics are great, the music is catchy, and the vocals = swoon city.

Take Care with Self Care

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Self care is important whether you suffer from mental illness or not. Self care can be something as small as lighting your favourite candle or having a drink of water or as big as taking a solo road trip or buying a new pair of shoes. Personally, when I feel anxious or depressed, I find that distracting myself and trying to be productive can often ease the symptoms. This could be anything from re-reading my favourite books or sitting in bed to listen to my favourite playlist. Writing my thoughts and feelings down (even if nobody is going to read them) often helps me feel like they’re being lifted off my chest. Getting creative is helpful too. There are so many ways to cope. So many in fact, that sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming and difficult to know where to start!

Lucky for you, you have me, and I have CB and CB has this blog 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite forms of self care to help maintain mental wellness:

These are all ways of finding an activity that makes me feel at peace with myself and often makes me feel good about what I’ve accomplished. These activities are also great to do in groups, which is a perfect way of making new friends or reconnecting with old ones!

Sometimes, though, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Depression and anxiety affect my concentration and ability to sit still  long enough to complete one task. Sometimes even reading or watching a show/movie is nearly impossible. There’s also nothing wrong with letting yourself feel things and doing the gross part of self care like having a nap or letting yourself cry. On days like these I try to clean. When I first started therapy, my therapist told me that I should start with cleaning the mirror in my bedroom, and then as I’m already cleaning I’ll feel obligated to clean other things too. I understand that for a lot of people, myself included, these tasks can be difficult. Starting small can help, because small steps forward are still steps forward, and steps forward are something to be proud of and celebrated!

What are some ways you deal/practice self care?
Tell us in the comments!

 

love, Lucy xo

To keep up with Lucy, follow her on Instagram

Little Folks

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I remember this little girl very well. I look at her and instantly, I see everything. I know she would think I was just the coolest, and that makes me want to love myself more. So I keep her with me, because she deserves being held onto.

Little me; brave and wild. She spent hours climbing trees, as high as she could go, and she would stand on a sturdy branch and look down and the forest below. She wanted a dad who wasn’t there, loved a mom who couldn’t love her back the way she needed. She was straight A’s and crooked teeth. She was science club, clarinet, no fruit, no bad words. The day she got glasses she cried in front of her entire class because her teacher called her “the girl with the glasses” and everyone laughed. (Or she thought they did). The boys she liked NEVER liked her back, and self doubt first appeared on the scene, but she never changed who she was, even though she was lonely. Easily one of her best traits.

This little girl is me.

I’m still the exact same, just bigger, with straight teeth, lipstick, two kids of my own and 10 pairs of fun glasses. I traded in my treetops for a top floor apartment with a huge window looking out on a giant old tree. A safer version of my old home. When it rains, I open the blinds, lay on the floor and look up and pretend I’m in a treehouse. I am the same, and little me can’t tell the where she ends and I begin, and neither can I. I no longer ache for a loving mother; instead I became one. My sons will never have to wish for more.

Boys still don’t like me, but I think it’s because they are afraid of me, and I’m more than okay with that. Girls don’t like me either, but I like them, and I encourage them to like each other. I’m still lonely sometimes, but I do not need company to feel solid, and learning that changed my life. Even when I am alone, she is there. I never have to travel too far to find her. She’s everywhere I am. I carry her with me, so we are never alone.

If I could talk to her now, I would tell her countless things but here are a few:

  • you are amazing
  • it is so cool that you have a rock collection
  • it’s okay that you never learned roman numerals because you fell asleep in class that one time, it literally never comes up in real life. Same with algebra.
  • do not hurt people just because you are hurting
  • you don’t have to be around people who mistreat you just because they are family, you don’t owe them that
  • eat all of the food because your metabolism slows WAY down at like 25
  • you are going to hurt for a long time over a lot of things, but use it to make you kinder, smarter, and more determined, not bitter and angry
  • travel
  • actually try when you get to college, you will not get that time back and you are too smart to have failed out of university, are you kidding me
  • I know that you are insecure about your bird legs and knobby knees but please wear shorts if it is hot outside
  • you do not need boys to like you in order to find value in yourself
  • you will never like fruit so you can stop trying
  • don’t change unless it is to get better, nicer, more thoughtful, more mindful, healthier, and happier, you are great just the way you are

What would you tell your little self? Tell us in the comments!