I am an awful leaver. I hate when things are over. Especially a beach day. But sometimes you have to leave to begin again.
Isn't funny how things never quite turn out how we imagine they would? If you would have whispered to my 18-year old self that I would be selling clothes online for a career, I would have laughed and ignored you. I would have kept on my path of college, grad school, husband (#1), divorce, teaching, husband (#2 and 10 years strong-ish) babies (3) and all the other events that sprinkled color and joy and heartbreak into the last 38 (almost 39) years. Owning a clothing boutique wasn't in my plan. The millions (slight exaggeration) of student loan debt are proof that I had other plans. But there is something about this life that feels like I am doing exactly what God intended to be doing. And so here we are.
Do you remember Wet Seal? That flashy, sequin-filled (size-shaming) store in every mall in America that was a Friday night staple for every pack of teenage girls in search of the next week's clothing line-up. That was my hell. It was without a doubt, always, on the stores-we-need-to-hit agenda. And I, with my thunder thighs (thank you boy in 7th grade who spit those hurtful words at me--I have still not forgotten you) and my big bones (turns out big bones aren't actually a real thing) would be forced to reach to the very very very back of every rack to see if somewhere back in the dark shadows there would be an XL hiding. But there wasn't. There never was. So I would play along. And I would snatch up the pieces that looked like they had the most stretch or were oversized, and I would play along with my tiny little friends. And inside pieces of me would break apart. Somehow under the fluorescent lights of Wet Seal, I let myself believe that I wasn't enough. That my body was too much. And the comparison game commenced. I (and probably you too) have been playing it for years. My game would go something like this--who's the biggest girl in the room. I would play it in my high school classes. I would play it in restaurants. I even played it in college. And it was always. Always. Me.
I was 300 lbs. I needed to carefully examine chairs before I sat down to make sure they could hold me. I would always chart my path to the bathroom while at restaurants to make sure I would be able to fit between the tables and chairs. I would marry a man just because I was so certain he was the only one that would ever want to marry me. I would eat to fill the holes. I would eat because I was bored. Tired. Happy. Lonely. Hungry. Sad. Frustrated. Mad.
I taught high school English. I would have to stand in front of classrooms full of teenagers (the most judgmental human beings alive) and make sure my arms didn't jiggle. And my butt didn't look too big. And I would try to wear clothes that didn't remind people (and myself) that I was always. Always. The biggest girl in the room. And the exciting (and super fun) part of that responsibility was that I had exactly ONE store I was able to shop at. One. Store. And walking into that store for me always. Always. Brought me back to high school. To the times when I tried to be like everyone else but the silent mocking stares from the sales girls were a constant reminder that I didn't belong. So in my 20's, at a size 24, I found one place that I belonged. One. Place. And I would have to pay. Big time. And I didn't have very many choices. And I couldn't be guaranteed that I wouldn't be twinning with every other plus-sized girl in New Jersey.
Things were going to change. I was going to change. Ironically though, it was never about being skinny. It was never about a certain size. Or losing this or that many pounds. I just wanted to be a mom. You see, when I was 25, married to husband #1, I lost a baby. And I was completely convinced that it was my fault (it wasn't). I didn't know what the future held for me--but I was certain of 2 things--1. I needed out of that unhealthy marriage. 2. I was going to do whatever I could to get my body healthy.
I had gastric bypass on August 3, 2008. And my whole life changed. The short version is this--I got healthy. Fell in love. Had 3 babies. Left teaching. Found LuLaRoe. Realized I could build a life around helping women of every size feel beautiful and confident and comfortable.
I quickly discovered that the same voices that whispered to me that I would never be skinny enough, pretty enough, tall enough (and on and on and on) were whispering the very same things to so many other women. And I realized that it really didn't matter if I was a size 10 or 8 or 28 because I only had one chance to live this life. One chance to mother my girls. One chance to be the friend my friends needed. One chance to see and do and touch and feel all the things God sprinkled in my beautiful life. And I realized that even at a size 8, my arms were still going to jiggle. And even at a size 4, I didn't have ankles (for real, I don't have ankles). And that none of that really matters.
So here we are. The girl that hates to leave has, in fact, left many times. I left a marriage. I left a life of hating my body. I left teaching. I left Pennsylvania. I left a company that I will forever be thankful for (LuLaRoe). But I have left all of those things to walk into seasons more beautifully designed for me. I left those places so that I could walk into places where my story could be a blessing to others. Where my passion for empowering women to accept themselves, their bodies, their scars, their stories can be my focus.
There are a million more parts to my story. A million more stories inside of me. I hope you join me as I strive to sprinkle your world with beautiful clothes, an insane amount of pictures of the humans I love, and all the things that make me smile.
Thank you so much for being here.