Two-thirds and Over it.

I have just hit my third trimester! Happy 7 months to us… Can we please speed up time now?

This journey has been quite a doozy from the very beginning. For the whole first trimester I was on a diet of dry toast and chicken noodle soup. Morning sickness was all day, every day and I couldn’t catch a break from the nausea.

Transitioning into the second trimester was wonderful at first because the nausea was finally subsiding, and then I starting having palpitation-like movements of my heart near the end of month 4. I was admitted to the cardiac unit and they diagnosed me with a condition that essentially means my heart rate jumps way too high, way too fast, but only sometimes. So I was prescribed a medication to take that helps with the tachycardia (the jumping of my heart rate).

At 5 1/2 months I became ill with pregnancy related nausea and was sick for two weeks. I wasn’t able to go to work, as I was running to the bathroom every hour or so. I became dehydrated and was admitted to the hospital again and given fluids. After those two weeks, I caught the stomach flu, which knocked me out again for another week. I finally got to work again after a total of three weeks off. Many people would enjoy that long of a “break” but I didn’t do anything fun during that time. I slept and stared at my walls. And was back to the diet of dry toast and chicken noodle soup.

When I finally got to 6 1/2 months, I began having contractions that were close enough together that I had to be monitored in the hospital. Thankfully, our little guy wasn’t ready to come yet… but I’m still having quite intense Braxton-Hicks contractions just about every day, but they’re irregular. Apparently these “false contractions” are to prepare a body for labor and delivery, but I’d be thankful if they stopped for a while. Because of how intense these have been, along with all of the other medical issues I’ve had during this pregnancy, I have been restricted of traveling more than 30 minutes or so from the hospital I’ll be delivering at, starting a month before the due date.

The best part about all of these months filled with sickness, time off work, and contractions has been getting to feel (and see!) this baby kick and wiggle around. He has been super healthy throughout this whole pregnancy, even when I haven’t been- his heart rate is wonderful every time we hear it at the doctor and he has been showing fantastic movement since about month 5. Yesterday was the 28 Week appointment and we’re measuring about two weeks bigger than we are… Everyone is predicting he will be here before his due date, but hoping it’s not more than a couple of weeks!

With all of the expectations I had for pregnancy from what I had seen on social media and from reports of people I know, I was expecting most of this time to be filled with glowing and a cute bump and happy tears. I got the opposite, mostly, with night sweats and nausea and lots of sick-tears. At the end of the day, when I lay down and feel Winston kick and wiggle, I know that “it’s all going to be worth it” when he gets here. I’m willing to put in the hard work for him to be a healthy and happy baby… but gosh, I am so over the whole thing. I have already decided that I will not have another baby after Winston because I don’t want to put myself (and all of my loved ones taking care of me) through this craziness again.

And, speaking of those loved ones, I have to just mention how amazing my support system has been:

My wonderful fiancee, Matt, has been bending over backwards from the beginning to make sure that Winston and I have everything we need, on top of working more than full-time hours at his new job. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through all 9 months of this pregnancy, but Matt has made life so much better. Even when I don’t feel good he makes me smile and laugh. He helps me remember that this is only temporary, and even though it kind of stinks sometimes, we’ll get to have a healthy baby boy in the end. He keeps me looking on the bright side and looking forward to our future together. I am so thankful, appreciative, and immensely proud of this man. -Thank you, Matt.

My amazing mom has been by my side through all of the tough stuff and for the happy times. She is encouraging and she reminds me of who I am and what the end goals are, especially when I’m in a hormone-induced overly-dramatic frame of mind. She keeps it real with me, but makes sure to give me all the support I need. -Thank you, Mom.

Best friends are hard to find, and luckily I stumbled upon mine in the 8th grade. Abby has been such a ray of sunshine on days when I am sick and feeling gloomy. She makes me remember happy moments from when we were kids and from back in high school. This chick knows me inside and out and she isn’t afraid to call me out when I need it. She keeps me sane when I just need someone to vent to and she gives great advice when I need it. I can’t wait for Winston to have such a great role model. -Thank you, Abby.

And then there is my future mother-in-law; She has been a saint, literally. God could not have blessed me with a better woman to have as a new family member. When Matt and I stay on Saturday nights to be able to get up for church Sunday morning, she is always up when we get there, just to make sure she can chat with us before bed. As much as we are baby-prepping, she is too. She wants to make sure that we know we can go to her for help and support any time, even when Winston will wake up crying at three a.m. and I know that she will be one of the best grandmas in the world. -Thank you, Kris.

So, I am over this pregnancy. But I am happy that our little guy is safe and healthy and I am happy to have such a fantastic group of people surrounding me.

20 Weeks: Oh, We’re Halfway There!

I have officially been growing this human for 20 weeks. Yep, that means we are halfway to the moment of holding our little guy for the first time!

The past 4 months have been full of emotion, stress, sickness, house-hunting, car-purchasing, craziness, and love… and I wouldn’t change a single moment (actually, if the morning sickness hadn’t hit me like a truck, that would have been cool…).

I am feeling this little baby kick and wiggle now. He already has my whole heart and has me completely wrapped around his fingers. I love this guy more than I ever thought was humanly possible and I haven’t even held him yet. I cannot wait to meet him in January! I am happy most of the time and when I’m not… well, let’s just chalk it up to hormones.

I have been talking to Matt (Winston’s dad slash the love of my life) about what I want our son to be like and we have been having the discussions about how we want to raise him.

Characteristically, we want Winston to be kind and honest, strong and smart, happy and healthy. Those aren’t all the things we want to raise him to be, but those kind of encompass everything else. Physically, I think it would be nice if he got my curly hair, but honestly it’s the character stuff that we care about.

Throughout all of my time being pregnant so far, I have had so much support from family and friends. Matt’s parents and my parents have been wonderful. They are all excited for their very first grandbaby and they all like to check in to see how Winston and I are doing. I feel truly loved by them and I know that their hearts are exploding for Winston, just like mine.

Speaking of support, I just need to let the world know about how truly amazing Matt is. Pregnancy isn’t just tough on Mamas, but it definitely strains Daddies, too. This man has been putting in time to do lots of house-hunting and budgeting and cooking while still having a job. He does everything he can to make life easier for me and he lets me take time for myself. He is fully feeling the pressure that being a new parent brings on, and I have to say, he is handling it all like a champ. Matt has been at every doctor appointment and he picks a book for us to read to Winston at bedtime. We all have our moments, and he has his, but I honestly couldn’t do this without him. (Hey Matt, thank you for all you do- I love you!)

At the end of the day, after reading a book to our little guy, I just thank God for all I have been given. Our doctor is so competent and caring. Matt is supportive and loving. Our parents are encouraging and excited. This baby and I are 20 weeks along and we are healthy.

So, this is halfway. This is happy. This is healthy.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Getting Through the Months… Week by Week

It’s been a while! The reason? I’m growing a human… and that is tough work. Let’s just say my pregnancy thus far has been far (very far) from easy. It’s been the opposite of a walk in the park.

The First Trimester really felt like a drag. I was so tired (all. the. time.). In the First Trimester, which is 12 weeks total, I had morning sickness almost every day. (Special note: Morning sickness is NOT just in the mornings.) During most of weeks 5 through 10 my diet consisted mainly of chicken broth, saltine crackers, and Pedialyte. Weeks 11 and 12 were quite a bit better and I was able to get back to all of my normal meals (with some exceptions, since now some of my old favorites are revolting).

Week 13. The start of the Second Trimester. What a glorious week! This is the week we got to find out the gender of our baby… It’s a boy! Winston Eli is the name we have picked out, so hopefully it fits him when he arrives in January.

Week 15 was a bit scary. I was admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath and heart palpitations. I was terrified and so was the rest of my family. The first two days of being in the hospital was essentially just monitoring me 24 hours a day, plus giving me bag after bag of fluids through an IV. The doctors could not figure out what was causing my symptoms, but the good news is that Winston was not ever impacted (he was wiggling and kicking when the OB team would come to check on him). His heart rate stayed normal and consistent the whole time (which was a huge relief for me).

Finally, the doctors were able to determine that I have PoTS (or Postural Tachycardia Syndrome) which, long story short, means that my heart rate shoots up to crazy levels when I move (roll over in bed, sit, stand, and walk). They were able to give a prescription that is safe for our baby boy and for me, which I can now take. I was finally discharged and given consent to go back to work, with the condition that I just take it easy.

My doctors told me that the onset of symptoms was probably brought out by my pregnancy, and that they didn’t think I would be one of those moms who had smooth sailing throughout the rest of carrying this little boy. While not really reassuring, it’s good to know that not all mothers have easy-peasy, smooth sailing pregnancies.

We’re to about week 16 now, which pushes us into the 5th month of this little guy in my tummy. I am able to feel him now, but very slightly. It’s like a little butterfly or a couple tiny bubbles in my lower stomach. We read to our little guy every night (at least two books) and I spend about 10 minutes each morning playing him music on my phone (mostly classical).

Hopefully nothing else happens in the next few months- we’ve had quite a rough time lately. But, I wouldn’t change it for anything… because in January I will get to meet our little guy!

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

Greener Grass

So, it’s been quite a while since I poured my thoughts out to the world. Recently, there has been so much going on in my life that I have put aside my passion for writing… which has led me to a cramped creative space, begging for an outlet.

Life is hard, people. Very, very hard. I thought that I had a new direction (one that I was enjoying). Slowly, the work has become mundane and just not what I thought it was going to be. I do a decent job, but I don’t like it. I am falling into the trend I see over and over in my life… I am happy, I become unhappy, I notice some greener grass, I go to the greener grass, I am happy, I become unhappy…. and so the cycle continues. I am a “grass is greener over there” kind of person. Because of that fact, I have noticed how discontent I am with life.

A little while ago, I set out on an adventure I hoped would be quickly life changing. Wildflower Reflections was created on Christmas Eve because of my wonder of the world around me and my peacefulness while sitting next to the decorated Christmas tree. This blog was supposed to take off and I was supposed to be the next person who went from homegrown blogger to grassroots entrepreneur. So, what happened? Why did I seem to let the flame die? The answer to both of those is that I became distracted with the things I thought were important. I stopped writing because it wasn’t my top priority when I began my newer job… the one that I make money at.

And slowly, I began to fall again into my Greener Grass cycle. I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I sleep for ages. And then the tables turned again.

I was in shock when the pregnancy test said positive. So I took a couple more. Those said positive, too. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom yet. I freaked out for a couple weeks. Then I announced this baby to the world and have received so much support.

Some days, staying in bed and then choosing to write is the best option.

Despite all the support I have been getting, I still feel that something is missing. I am hormonal and exhausted and I feel like a crazy person… but I still want this dream. I still see the green, green grass of Wildflower Reflections. If I could quit my job right now, today, and just write and try to get this to take off, I would do it. Realistically, that isn’t an option… but since when am I a realist?

So, the thing is… I am not content where I am. I am not happy with this direction of life. I am not ready to give up and be mundane… I am meant for more than all of that. I am meant to be content and happy and out of this world. So get ready, everyone, because I think this might be a bumpy ride.

Delaying the Inevitable or Fixing our Fate: Climate Change

***Warning: You are about to read an article of opinion. This content might produce feelings and opinions for some of my readers. If you would like to comment about your opinion, please do so in a constructive manner. I would love to hear your thoughts and give you the opportunity to respond, but unkind remarks will not be accepted. Thank you. -Elle***

When the state of Iowa was first settled, it was a giant forest. River to river was all trees and plants and so many other green things. Animals prospered and there was a natural way about the place. Now, there are fields after fields and houses and roads and cars and humans interfering with nature.

Lately, I have noticed the news and talk about climate change increasing. It’s a terrifying reality that makes me realize all of the harm humankind has caused this once-beautiful planet of ours. I know that this issue- the topic of climate change in general- is immensely controversial… but I have to get my thoughts out. I want to be able to leave this planet knowing that everything is going to be alright for those I am leaving behind. I am terrified that my 7 times great grandchildren won’t ever know what it is like to breathe clean air or to walk a street unlined with trash.

Ice caps are melting. Ocean levels are rising. The seasons are becoming inconsistent. What happens when we can’t fix the damage we, as a species, have caused?

It is in the best interest of humankind that every single person begin to consider the impact they have on this planet. If you decide that you’re a little scared, too, then join me in beginning to change your doily routine to help our planet. Walk or bike to work a couple times a week if you live close enough. Use reusable grocery bags when shopping. Ask for no straw when you go out to eat. Plant a tree. Pick up trash and recycle what you can. If you are in the market for new food containers, consider glass rather than plastic. Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth. Trade a tiny bit of convenience for a huge long term effect. If you don’t want to do anything physically, donate to organizations who do!

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

I am not advocating for everyone to be all in, super crunchy, or a tree-hugger… Even I am not any of those. I am suggesting that there are so, so many small changes a person can make in just one day that can have a lasting impact for years to come. You don’t have to make a whole lifestyle shift, but you can reduce your footprint by a shoe size or two. You don’t need to be rich or well-known to advocate for our planet. You don’t have to join protests or movements or organizations. You just have to commit to one or two things. And then once you have those down, consider adding something else.

This planet is important to me. My 7 times great grandchildren deserve to grow up in a non-desolate, beautiful place just like I did. Just like my 7 times great grandparents did. Let’s make a change, for the better.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What a Wonderful Life: Graduation Edition

Where in the world has time gone?! Why is he growing up so fast?! I know my parents are thinking the same thing, but as the Big Sister, I have a different perspective.

My baby brother is all grown up. In less than a month, he will walk across the stage with all of his classmates, receive his diploma, and officially be done with high school. He will move out of the house he has lived in since he was two years old. He will begin a full load of college classes. He will officially be an adult. Say whaaaaaat?!

Day 1 of being a Big Sister. I look upset, but that’s probably because it they told me to look at the camera when I just wanted to keep looking at my Little Brother.

You see, it wasn’t very long ago that he was born. It was the middle of July and I was definitely looking forward to being a Big Sister. I practiced holding baby dolls so I would be prepared to hold my new Little Brother. I hugged my mom’s belly so that I could practice giving hugs to my new Little Brother. I was so excited to have him come into the world. Finally, my parents dropped me off at an aunt and uncle’s home so they could go have my Little Brother. I got to see him in the hospital the next day. My hair was in a ponytail and my bangs were curled (thank you, Aunt Sheila!). My mom let me sit next to her in the hospital bed… and I got to hold my Little Brother for the very first time. They told me his name- Austin John Kahler.

When other people came to visit, I would give them dirty looks because I couldn’t hold my Little Brother while they were (all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins wanted turns to love on the newest addition to our family). When my Little Brother and mom were able to come home from the hospital, my parents did a wonderful job of involving me in this new baby’s life, ensuring that I still felt important. I took my role as Big Sister quite seriously.

Over the next few years, I jumped at the chance to feed him and hold him, help him crawl and walk, show him how to get in the cupboards to play “waiter” with the Tupperware and how to tie his shoes. I loved being a Big Sister and I loved that I got to teach him all the things I knew.

Austin on his second birthday… yes, he had the classic bowl cut and he was quite adorable!

Before I knew it, he was growing up. He watched me learn how to ride my bike without training wheels… and consequently he was the first one to run to me when I crashed into a row of mailboxes. I watched him learn how to play sports and be part of a team. We were able to chase each other around our yard, run through the sprinkler, make snow angels, play catch with the baseball, and shoot basketball hoops together. For children’s time at church, we walked hand-in-hand to the front to sit on the steps together. He picked me up (with our Grandma Alt) after school and I showed him all the things I learned in Kindergarten that day.

Fast forward to middle school and junior high… we were still best friends and we went through a lot of trauma together. We stayed close, even during circumstances that would drive most siblings apart. We looked out for each other and worked hard to make life better for the other. He was my calm place and I was his rock.

Finally, it was my senior year- he was a freshman! We had a gym class together and he threw dodgeballs at me, all the time. I loved being able to pass him in the hallway and it was even okay with me when we pretended we didn’t know each other (he didn’t want me to embarrass him)… I left for college and he continued to excel.

This was the day he picked out Dymond from the Cedar Bend Humane Society.

Fast forward again and it was suddenly his senior year. I was looking forward to planning his graduation party and I was excited to see him in all of the sports he would decide to play this year. He ended up going out for Cross Country and Track (both of which he hadn’t been in before). He decided to go to prom with a group of friends! He has been living a wonderful life!

Senior Photo, summer before senior year
Photo Credit: Cody Croskrey of Cody Croskrey Creative

I am so proud of the young man my Little Brother has become. Words cannot describe how much I love him. I cannot believe that I am a Big Sister to an almost-graduated high schooler. No matter what he decides to do with the rest of his life, I know that he will put his whole heart into it. I look up to him (and not just because he is taller than me now). I am so proud of him. I cannot wait to be on the sidelines of the rest of his life, cheering him on.

Here’s to you, Little Brother. I love you.

*All of Austin’s senior pictures were captured by the talented Cody Croskrey of Cody Croskrey Creative.*

Growing Pains.

Spring has finally sprung and I am thrilled about it! The new season of the year has also brought a new season of life.

A few months ago, I succumbed to a deep depression yet again. I could hardly see a way out. I fell behind in all of the classes I was taking. I was highly unmotivated. The thought in my mind- playing over and over- was the statement, “I don’t know if I can survive this pain again.” This time in my life was so excruciatingly painful and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of my family.

I had a long talk with my mom over the phone one evening after a particularly difficult day. I was in Iowa City and she was in Hudson. She told me to come home that weekend and we could discuss options. Eventually, we landed on the decision that I would withdraw from my classes, take a couple weeks off work, see my doctor, and make more frequent appointments with my therapist. She helped me through all of it.

I stayed at home for the time that I was off work and my doctor suggested switching medications. My therapist and I began working intensely on Cognitive Therapy, which helps me recognize my thought processes, especially when the thoughts are more negative. We come up with alternative statements I can insert that are more positive. The more I use the positive thoughts, the more automatic they become.

During this transitional period, the point came up that if I was not going to be taking classes full time, that I needed to have a full time job. So, with some reluctance (because of the depression), some fear (because of the unknown), and some tears (because life wasn’t going how I planned), I started applying for anything and everything that sounded remotely interesting. And then I got a call…

I was asked to do a phone interview with a hiring specialist at Geico. You know, the insurance company with the green gecko? The phone interview was successful and I was asked if I would be interested in coming in for in person interviews. I had to get a blazer. I was in the offices for about five hours that day (interviewing, role playing as a customer service representative, interviewing again, testing on a computer simulation, and more interviewing). At the end of my final in person interview I was offered the job on the spot, and I excitedly accepted.

When Dymond wakes up she likes to snuggle, which makes for great photos!

I then realized that I would prefer to live closer to my future place of work (and my lease was almost up on my current apartment). I began to apartment search. I found one within a month of looking (in budget!) and I will be able to take my precious dog, Dymond, with me. We move at the end of next week!

It can be difficult to keep growing, both in life and as a person. There are always so many changes, for me at least. I am learning to breathe and live in the moment. I am learning, again, that my life doesn’t always go the way I think it should. I am learning that no matter what comes my way, I will be able to get through it.

Happy spring, everyone! I hope you are all growing with the beautiful flowers, too. -Elle Renee

Statement Jewelry: The 411 on Necklaces

Picking out the best necklace for an outfit can be tough! Here’s my take on what you could be doing to help pull your outfit together!

The first part of picking any piece of jewelry at the store is to consider your skin tone. Is your skin tone warmer or cooler? The best way to test this is to stand in natural light and look at your wrist. If your veins appear more green, you have a warm tone and if the veins appear more blue, you have a cool tone. There are also people with a more neutral skin tone, so the veins don’t appear more green or blue, but rather both! People with warm skin tones typically look really good in golds- yellow and rose, as well as copper and brass metals. Cool skin tones usually look really good in white gold, silver, and platinum. People with neutral skin tones typically pull of any metal really well. Skin tone, however, does not mean that you HAVE to only stick to the example above, but it can be a good starting place, especially if you are new to the jewelry world!

Shape: If you are wearing a top with a boat neck or crew neck, you should chose a necklace that is rounded in shape. If you are wearing a v-neck top, you should wear a necklace that is a v-shaped.

Length: In my world, there are three ways to wear a necklace- long, mid-short, or short! Your long necklace should end just below your bust and your mid-short necklace should end right around the top of your sternum. Short necklaces should end at least one centimeter above your neckline but not higher than three centimeters. Reasoning- The necklace could sit awkwardly on your chest or fall inside your shirt. Pearl necklaces, though, are one exception. They are meant to sit higher, more around the collarbone area!

Color: If you are not wearing a metal based necklace, you likely will go with something colorful! If you choose a pastel or a light/soft hue for your necklace, your outfit should have at least one other, bolder color or pattern. (Examples: Dark wash jeans, royal blue blouse, light pink necklace or light wash jeans, black and white patterned blouse, lilac or baby blue necklace.) If you chose a bold, bright hue for your necklace, your outfit should be more subtle to let your necklace do the talking. (Examples: Black jeans or leggings, flowy black blouse, bright red necklace or dark wash jeans, white blouse, green/emerald or blue necklace.)

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is a great example of skin tone and shape! The woman in this photograph has more of a cool skin tone, so the silver goes well. The top she is wearing is a deep crew neck, so going with a rounded shape was good! The only thing I would change is the length of this necklace- It sits just a couple centimeters too high from the center of the shirt.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

This necklace is a good example of something bold, not necessarily in color, but definitely in pattern and material! I like how the shirt and blazer are both neutrals, but in my opinion, the tan in her necklace would be better with a tan blazer. Also, I think that this necklace is just a bit too long and should sit about an inch higher so that it’s not in the middle of her chest.

A couple more examples:

Let’s say that you have some really amazing red shoes you want to wear. You could put together a really light wash of jean, a white blouse, and a bright red necklace. Add some bright red lipstick and your cool shoes will stick out, along with your necklace and lips! This creates three points of interest in your outfit, so you’ll know you look super great! One suggestion for an outfit like this is to ensure that your reds all match. If you have a bright red shoe, a purple-red necklace, and an orange-red lipstick… you’ll look like a hot mess.

What if you have a necklace made up of many colors? I would suggest letting the necklace be the star of the show. I would wear all black or dark wash jeans with a cream or tan blouse. Remember the shoe rule: black based outfit = black shoes and tan based outfit = tan shoes! If your necklace has both blacks and browns, go with a cream shirt, dark wash jeans, and black shoes!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know! -Elle

Back to Basics: by Elle

I believe there should be four basic parts to every woman’s outfit. Here’s what they are, with a few examples:

Every outfit needs a bottom, a top, a shoe, and an accessory.

The bottom can be a pant (jean, legging, slack) or skirt (upper knee, below the knee, maxi) and the top can be a blouse or cami. Obviously, we all wear shoes, so I will just explain the best types as I give outfit examples. Finally, we come to accessories. These can be anything from the blazer over a cami to a pair of statement earrings, from a bright necklace to a cute bag.

Outfit 1- Casual Daytime. Keep it simple with a light wash skinny jean paired with a black long sleeved t-shirt. Black boots or booties and a vest in a fun color or pattern. If black isn’t your color, try a navy top with brown booties!

Photo by Ambar Simpang on Pexels.com

Outfit 2- Office Wear. Dressy, yet comfortable and something you can be confident in. Try boot-cut, navy slacks with a cream, short sleeved blouse that isn’t too form fitting (nice and flowy). For shoes, go with tan flats or nude closed-toed high heels. Add a navy or red blazer and some fun lipstick for a pop of color!

Photo by Martine Savard on Pexels.com
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Outfit 3- Date Night. Cute, yet functional! Dark wash skinny jeans with a fun colored or patterned top (long or short sleeved). Booties, brown or black, depending on the color you choose for a top (navy or brown in the top = brown shoes, black or gray in the top = black shoes). Add a neutral cardigan and a fun bag, and some fun earrings in a unique shape or fun color!

Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

Casual Daytime, Office Wear, and Date Night are the three types of outfits most people use on a weekly basis, at least that’s what I think! Let me know if you have any comments or questions about building an outfit; I will be thrilled to answer and post more basics! -Elle

Here’s my example of Casual Daytime or Date Night! Photo Credit: Caraline Grebner

Self-image.

Worth. Perception. Validation.

Let’s be honest… I do not see me the way my mom does. She says that I’m beautiful and calls me “Princess.” Doesn’t everyone’s mom say similar things? Does anyone actually feel the way that their mothers say they are? Or is it just me?

For a long time now, I have hidden the fact that I am unhappy with my outward appearance. I have only truly expressed this to my mom. But there isn’t much that she can do, except for continuing to tell me that she thinks I am pretty and that she loves me. But there is still my mind, and it won’t allow me to feel the way my mom says I am.

The way that I look in the mirror has impacted every single aspect of my life. Every time I take a bite, I think of the saying “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” and every time I have to get dressed in the morning I put on stretchy leggings so that I don’t have to shimmy into another pair of jeans that is just a bit too tight. Every time I look in the mirror, I wonder how I got this way.

Now, some people are super confident in how they look, even if they aren’t models or celebrities who are shown in the media. That is such a wonderful thing… But let me tell you, the media and the way that I have been exposed to “skinny” as the only way to be pretty… that’s hard on the mind. That makes it hard to convince oneself that they are as worth it as any Covergirl.

My perception of others is never about the way they look. It’s always about how they treat other people and their attitude toward me and the world. I don’t know why I picture other people judging me based on the way I look; I don’t think that poorly of the world. It’s just the not-so-little voice in the back of my head doesn’t want me to perceive myself in a positive light. So, what’s a girl to do?

I know that I am not the first and I’m not the only person to feel this way, yet I still imagine myself as being all alone. That not-so-little voice tells me that my feelings and opinions are not valid because I won’t ever grace the cover of a magazine or walk a runway. The way that my brain associates words and phrases like “out of shape” and “unhealthy” and “fat” and ugly” when I look in the mirror makes me not feel at all human or valid in my humanity. I am not perfect, and that not-so-little voice can’t wait to point it out.

I have tried the fad diets and workout routines. I have never stuck to one. Not a single one. I don’t see the immediate gratification that I am so used to getting in this world, so I shut it down. And I look in the mirror. And I still don’t like what I see. It’s a cycle I haven’t been able to break.

This is a hard topic to write about, even in 2019. Even in a world more accepting than ever before… because even if someone gives me a compliment, I don’t take it seriously. I graciously say “thank you” and I store it in a box that the not-so-little voice never lets me access.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for me to be happy as myself without any weight loss or physical changes. It’s time for me to be real. Open. Honest. This will not be easy. I need to make myself feel better emotionally and mentally and make that not-so-little voice get smaller.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, this girl is going to start calling her friends and family more often. This girl is going to get a couple veggies at the grocery store this week. This girl is going to go for a walk and get a bit of exercise in. This girl is going to meditate and read her bible and go to therapy. This girl is going to focus on herself and what she needs to be happy. This girl… this girl is going to get it together, one way or another. -Elle

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Grebner