The Art of Feeling

A few weekends ago my family held an estate sale at my grandparents home. A home they spent over 30 years in and where so many of my childhood memories took place. My grandparents are still with us, but are no longer able to live in their home and due to financial reasons, the house had to be sold.

Since my husband and I won’t be able to head back to Washington for a visit until after hockey season, I will never get to step foot in the house I spent so much of my childhood in again. I wish I would have known the last time I was there to take it all in. I wish I would have had the foresight to go into my grandpa’s shop and soak in the smell, his projects and the items he collected from the past that meant so much to him.

The things that remind me the most of my grandpa are cowboy boots, suspenders, pearl-snap flannel shirts and the amazing smell of his shop. With only an 8th grade education, he eventually ran a successful plumbing company for as far back as I can remember. Before that, he was in the army – a paratrooper in the Korean War whose job it was to rescue POWs. His stories have always fascinated and frightened me since I was little. One in particular about having to jump from an airplane in the middle of the night and landing in the ocean. He watched friends die – getting tangled in their parachutes and others being eaten by sharks. The older I get, the more I can’t imagine some of the horrors he witnessed. He was also an iron worker who helped build the huge Boeing buildings in Everett, WA. My grandpa was my hero.

Being so far away, it’s easy not to think about these things and focus on other things. It’s easy to focus intently on raising Greyson, being in a new city, and running my business. But our minds are remarkable, and things we don’t want to think about have a way of slowly working their way to the forefront of our thoughts. Chris is gone a lot with hockey and sometimes the loneliness for home and family is so incredibly palpable. I long to be able to watch my sweet niece grow, spend time with my family and for the indescribable view of Mt. Rainier on a clear and sunny day.

I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago (nothing new – along with anxiety comes many sleepless nights) and I was watching Garden State – a movie I had not seen since college. I don’t even want to count how many years ago that was, even though it seems like yesterday.

While in college, I naively thought I so completely understood this movie and what it meant to grow up, leave home, and come back to face painful childhood memories. I listened to the soundtrack on repeat, believing the songs were like a soundtrack to my own life. But the fact was, I only lived an hour away from home in Seattle and had no idea what I was doing with my life. I was a hot mess, but having the time of my life. As cliche as it is, ignorance is truly bliss.

As I rewatched this movie, I started to slowly identify with the main character. And much like Zach Braff’s character, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life ‘numb’ – either blocking out painful events (for example, the night I briefly mentioned in my #MeToo post, or my biological dad leaving and abandoning our family) or medicating myself so I don’t really have to feel those big feelings. This was a new realization for me, and it hit me like a brick wall. When was I going to let myself accept and process these things instead of shoving them down into the deep hole of denial.

I sat in the bathroom after the movie ended and just cried. I cried hard and for a long time. I cried, mourning the loss of childhood places and people that made me feel safe and loved, I cried about being so far from home and away from my family during the holidays – again for the fifth year in a row, and I cried for the innocence that was lost in the event I wrote about in my last post. My heart broke into a million pieces with each tear that slid down my cheeks. For so long I’ve gone along with the mantra ‘fake it til you make it’ but sometimes we need to take a step back and just be real with ourselves. It’s ok that some things hurt and it’s ok to sometimes simply not be ok. We can’t heal and grow until we push through these events, we can’t become our best selves by pretending bad things don’t and haven’t happened.

Thanksgiving to Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year, but this year I can’t seem to shake this longing to be back in the PNW for the holidays. I think this is the first time I have accepted that things can’t go back to the way they were. I can’t go back to being the little girl watching black and white movies with my Grandma during our slumber parties, eating banana splits and circling things in the Sears catalogue I wanted for Christmas and I can’t go back to being the college girl who had no idea that some people you trust are capable of really horrible things. The only thing I can do is to work through the pain and move forward and I can’t wait to see what MY best self looks like. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on giving myself the grace to feel – I’m saying goodbye to the deceiving comfort of numbness and welcoming what is to come with open arms.

Me Too

Today is one of those days where I wish I could crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and ride out my anxiety alone and in silence. But the reality is, I’m a work from home mom with a 2 year old to take care of. My husband is gone most of this week and upcoming weekend with hockey so that means it’s just me and Greyson.

My day started with our Frenchie puking all over a rug and Greyson’s playroom, Greyson deciding today would be a great day to throw as many tantrums as possible, and being let down by someone I considered a friend. By 9 AM my anxiety level was already at a high and I looked at the clock thinking, ‘ten and a half hours until Greyson’s bedtime…I just don’t think I can do it today!’ And then I cried. Like ugly cried, for a good five minutes. Who else has been there?

Anxiety doesn’t just stop for us when we already have too much going on, in fact, usually it gets worse.

But as I sit here and type away while my son has his umpteenth tantrum of the day (over what – I have no idea) I can feel the tension slowly releasing. Not all the way, not even half way, but a little and I’ll take that over nothing any day.

Writing is my therapy. And the things that stress me out become less powerful when written down.

If you remember the ‘Me too’ movement on Facebook last month, I was one of the many who posted those two words. My story isn’t something I’m ready to share yet – maybe one day, but just posting those two little words brought back a lot of old anxiety and traumatic memories.

But like I mentioned earlier, writing something down gives it less power over you. Saying something out loud, lessens the strength of something that has a hold on you. And I’ve found freedom in letting those two words I wrote be seen by whomever follows me on Facebook.

Own your anxiety. While you may not be able to make it disappear you can feel proud in knowing you fight against it daily. Whether it is everyday mom life situations or past traumas and experiences, you can face your anxiety head on and tell yourself it won’t control your life. I’m not letting it control mine, anymore.

Hide Your Crazy

Do you ever have days where certain songs just break your heart, but in a good way? Today is one of those days. I was getting dinner ready to go in the crockpot, listening to Miranda Lambert on Alexa (on a side note – does anyone else find themselves forgetting her name or calling her ‘Alexis’ and getting so mad when she doesn’t respond?! Only me?) Anyways, Miranda has always been one of my favorites. Her lyrics are raw, from the heart and so often touch my soul in ways that only music can.

My mom had even commented many years ago that her song ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ reminded her of me. I’ll give you a lyric example ‘Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady…’ Which I can totally see pertaining to me. Only those that know me best have seen the crazy – but it’s in there and God forbid you’re around when it comes out!

This morning the song Dead Flowers came on and the lyric: “I’m drivin’ through a hurricane and all he can say is ‘man ain’t it such a nice day?’” just took my breath away. This is exactly what living with anxiety feels like and what I’VE been feeling like recently. I had to sit down and give myself some grace to just feel. Anxiety is like a storm, and one that comes out of nowhere, like a tornado dropping out of a cloudless sky.

I recently started attending MOPS at a local church and our message last week was about having people you can say ‘I’m not OK’ to. This is tricky. You can’t just walk up to the grocery store clerk and announce ‘Hey I’m NOT ok, but thanks for asking how my day is going!’ Can you imagine the response?! No, this was about friends or family you feel comfortable saying ‘You know what, no things aren’t ok right now.’

As most of you know, I live a LONG way from my immediate family. Like almost the entire United States separates us now after this most recent move. Going home to visit used to be a simple flight, but now with a busy 2 year old, flying alone with him just isn’t in the cards anytime soon. Some days I get so homesick my heart aches. It’s not a feeling everyone understands, but it’s deep and it’s all consuming.

My grandparents are older and not doing well health wise. They are living in assisted living and their home (which was my sister and my’s second home after my parents’ divorce) is being put up for sale. While the rational part of my brain knows this is the best financial decision, the sentimental part is having a rough time. I remember sleepovers with my grandma, watching old black and white movies and eating banana splits, going into my grandpa’s shop to explore whatever project he was working on at that time and playing for hours in the hot tub and swimming pool. The smell of his workshop is something I wish I could bottle up and save. There’s nothing like it. I know this is part of life, growing up, and growing old but this is one time I’m feeling brave enough to say ‘No, I’m not ok.’

I’ll leave you with one more Miranda lyric – since she seems to be on repeat today on Alexis, I mean Alexa – ‘What doesn’t kill you, only makes you blonder.’ So today, I’ll take my anxiety and have faith that it will all be Ok. Sometimes just saying it’s not, is all it takes.

A Life Well Lived

What makes a life well lived and what does this mean to you? I had a therapist ask me this very question when we were still living in Lincoln and to be honest I had no idea what that meant to me at the time. I told her I would think about it for a week, and have an answer for her at our next appointment.

During that week, I sat down countless times with a sheet of paper and pen and tried to come up with my ‘perfect’ answer – to no avail. I stared at that stupid blank paper and willed the ‘right’ answer to show itself to me. I showed up at my next appointment feeling like I had failed an assignment and sadly told her I had no idea.

While she assured me that it was perfectly OK to not have an answer, it was important for me to figure out. It became something I thought about daily. When I look back on my life I want to be able to say ‘I had a beautiful life – a life well lived.’ I knew Greyson and being a mom was key to my life well lived but I also knew there was more. As much as I adore being a stay at home mom, I still need a part of my life for me. Greyson is my life, my heart and soul, but I also need a piece of life for Lindsay.

Having anxiety, there are so many things I DON’T do because I simply let my anxiety overcome my want of doing something. I can’t tell you how many times I have skipped social events with the excuse of not feeling well. My anxiety takes over and instead of sucking it up and pushing through, I simply let the anxiety win.

I just recently overcame my fear and hesitation of putting Greyson in childcare for a few days a week for a few hours. I was worried about what would happen if I wasn’t there – again the unknown and the feeling of being out of control. This week I hesitantly headed to a meeting with his new caregiver with Chris and instantly knew I was making the right decision upon meeting her. Greyson will get to make friends, I’ll get to grocery shop or make time for yoga and I know it is the best decision for both of us.

A few months ago, I found out I had earned a trip to Montreal through my job as a merchandiser for Chloe + Isabel. I was so proud of myself but the thought of traveling alone and interacting with so many strangers made my chest tighten. At first I was adamant that I wouldn’t go. Too much unknown, and I wouldn’t know a soul there. I also worried about who would watch Greyson (it’s hockey season so finding childcare is always a struggle) and about leaving him for 4 days.

Well, my in-laws happily and generously offered to stay while I was gone and I really had no excuse – so I went online and booked my flight. My trip begins in 5 short days and let me tell you, my anxiety is strong. But I keep repeating to myself ‘what is a life well lived?’ A life well lived is new experiences and going out of my comfort zone to meet new people I wouldn’t meet otherwise. I am an introverted extrovert – I love to be social but in small groups or with people I know. This trip will be an exercise in personal growth, and nothing can change without growth.

This trip is pushing me to experience something new, cultivate new and important relationships and to really practice overcoming my sometimes crippling anxiety. It is a step towards living my life without fear and worry.

Here are some of the things I have ‘worried’ about already: what shoes do I pack, what if the local people are rude because I don’t speak French (even after 3 years of French in high school I think I only remember ‘may I please use the restroom’ which I guess may come in handy), what do I pack to wear, what if I have no one to sightsee with, what if my dress for our formal night isn’t formal enough, what if I get lost, what if no one talks to me…the list could be it’s own blog post in itself. But I keep repeating to myself ‘in the grand scheme of things – these are trivial’ – I have earned an incredible experience and I am going to let go, breathe, and experience something new and beautiful. This will be an opportunity I look back on and say ‘that was an experience that helped to make a life well lived…’

Mommy Meltdown

Today…today has been A DAY. Do you ever have those days where your anxiety is just like ‘Ha ha, we’re in my world today sucker!’?

Well I do. And usually I can fight through them with a lot of distraction and keeping busy, but today has been a whole different story.

I’m fairly sure Greyson has a sixth sense for days when I am feeling this way. Today started with a meltdown over eggs. His meltdown, not mine – that came later. My usual egg-loving son refused to eat his scrambled eggs for breakfast. And the peanut butter toast I offered after that. Only when I sat down to eat an English muffin did he decide he wanted my breakfast to eat…so I made a second one for myself – which he ate as well.

I made a THIRD English muffin and ate it hiding in the downstairs bathroom. I have heard of moms hiding places to eat food so their kids didn’t see, but this was my first experience…oiy.

We then spent an hour (I kid you not) sitting in his teepee and me repeatedly pressing the ‘on’ button for one of his fire trucks that has dying batteries. The sound of the pathetic siren dwindling down on its last battery juice is still stuck in my head.

When it was finally nap time (hallelujah!), I took the fastest shower on record, had a pity party and possibly shed a few tears while drying my hair and slapped some makeup on my face.

I had roughly 30 minutes at this point to get everything I needed to get done while Greyson napped. I was in turbo mode – I wanted just FIVE minutes to meditate and practice some mindfulness in silence and to try to pull this not so happy day out of the toilet.

Just as I was taping up my last box of jewelry for a friend to borrow (check out my link if you are curious about my job!) I heard a tiny voice on the monitor…sigh. So much for mommy’s quiet time.

Next up: grocery store to get food for dinner and a bottle of vodka for mom (I kid I kid!) I tried lifting Greyson into the cart – always a feat because I’m short, a wimp, and he weighs nearly 30 pounds – and he did the whole straighten his legs and refuse to sit down while screaming ‘no no no’. I handed him my car keys (what is with kids and car keys?) and distracted him enough to get him seated and belted in.

I foolishly thought to myself ‘Ok…we’re good, deep breaths and we will be out of here in no time!’ We zoomed around the store and I even stuck to ONLY the items on my grocery list!

Right before heading to the checkout line, I looked down and realized that Greyson didn’t have my keys anymore. They weren’t on the floor, in the aisle behind us or in the cart. So…we carefully backtracked to every section we had been in until I thankfully found my keys on top of some organic bok choy in the produce section. At this point, I was fantasizing about the xanax I was going to take when Greyson went down for his second nap.

I ended up with two extra items on the checkout belt because toddlers seriously have about as many hands as a kleptomaniac octopus and FINALLY we were paid up and ready to go.

While I pushed my little guy back towards the parking lot, I saw a black SUV with its back trunk door hanging wide open. YES, it was my car and it had been sitting like that the entire time I was in the store – Greyson must have pushed the latch button during our struggle to get him to sit in the cart after I gave him my car keys. Greyson 2, mom 0 for this grocery store visit.

I stopped at Tim Horton’s for a large double double (coffee is my drug of choice, ha) and the sweet girl working the drive thru told me I looked very pretty today. I busted out crying and told her thank you. And now I must find a new Tim’s because I am the crazy lady who cried after she complimented me…we finally headed home.

Now for Round 2 of what will my child decide to eat today. We tried peanut butter and jelly, Mac and cheese, string cheese and finally goldfish. Nothing. Sometimes I wonder how toddlers even grow with their weird and picky eating habits. I took a deep breath and let it go. I sat on the couch and cried, again. This blog post should have been titled ‘The Day I Bawled My Eyes Out Over Everything.’

Now this is where my day finally began to level out. My sweet boy crawled into my lap and snuggled up against my chin. He cuddled up with me for a good 30 minutes – record cuddling time for Greyson – and I felt my heart rate slow and my tears gradually stopped. My heart expanded to exploding with the love I have for this little boy. I guess he has a sixth sense for when I need some affection too. And so it goes with life and a toddler. Ups and downs, but the most intense, true and all-consuming love you will ever know.

If you can finish that movie quote then I like you already.

(The fam at Presque Isle.)

My parents and brother have been visiting us here in Pennsylvania since last Thursday and looking back, I have to say moving away from my family when Chris and I got married over 4 years ago was one of the hardest things I’ve done. I was pretty miserable for the first year after we left Washington state (coincidentally we moved from WA to Erie, PA that first move and now, three years later we are back) but I have grown as a person in so many ways and I am so grateful for these life experiences. There is no personal growth without some discomfort.

(Grandma and Greyson.)

My mom reminded me this morning, as Greyson was crying because I was wiping his snotty nose…’ Remember when you used to tell me you would be the perfect mom, have no rules, and your kids would always think you were the best mom ever?’ Well yes, I do faintly remember telling my mother that – probably while seething with anger over a curfew argument or something trivial. It’s so funny how time and actually giving birth to a child can change your perspective on things (well everything really.)

(The moment my life and opinions on EVERYTHING were changed forever.)

I can remember thinking how easy it would be to have children – and how hard I thought I had it as a teenager. I just knew I would be the ‘cool mom’ – no rules for my kids because that wasn’t nice. My kids would come and go as they pleased. I would let them make their own decisions about curfew, dating and important life decisions. How delusional we are as teenagers…or at least I was.

Now, 20 years after becoming an official teenager (holy cow that makes me feel old, ha) I can’t believe how crazy I was. Maybe every teenager goes through that ‘I know everything’ stage, but mine was bad. I was a brat, and I’ll fully admit that now. How my mom didn’t strangle me during those years is now a miracle looking back. I owe my mom and step dad a big THANK YOU for putting up with me.

Sometimes the sassy Lindsay makes a surprise appearance even now in my 30s. When I realize she’s making an unwelcome visit, I politely tell her to get the heck back to the 90s/early 2000s and stay there.

But what HAS changed for good is my perspective on parenting. Gone are the days when I thought being the cool parent and having your kids like you regardless of any situation were important. Now all I pray and hope for is that my son will grow up to be a kind, loving, and honest human being. In today’s world, sometimes I wonder exactly how that is accomplished, but I’m ready to make any sacrifices to make sure my son knows he is loved more than anything in the world. And I know one day, he’ll be grateful that I cared enough to make all those ‘unfair and uncool’ rules.

Milestones

My son turns 2 years old tomorrow and it just doesn’t seem possible. As a stay at home mom, I often think of the saying ‘the days are long, but the years are short,’ and I think this year I am finally understanding exactly what this means. The time has flown by, and I have no idea where the last two years have gone. I am so grateful to have been able to spend these past two years with Greyson. I’ve witnessed all his ‘firsts’ and cherished every snuggle and cuddle and I am so lucky to have had this opportunity.

I’ve cried every day and evening for the past 5 days and I can’t quite put my finger on what part of this milestone is making me so emotional. When I wake up tomorrow, I will officially have a 2 year old. A little person that walks around with a part of my heart. It’s an odd feeling having your heart walking around outside of your body, but the moment Greyson was born, a piece of me went with him.

Two years ago tomorrow my life was changed in the most incredible and amazing way. I don’t think I slept for three days straight after Greyson was born. I watched him constantly while he slept, making sure he was still breathing. I didn’t ‘sleep while the baby sleeps,’ I just worried. Sleep deprived and dealing with crazy hormones, I cried all the time. I was amazed at how much I could love this tiny person who I had just met. That intense love terrified me at the same time and I became obsessed with the thought that something bad was going to happen. I laid awake at night, made a million doctor appointments when I was convinced there was really something wrong – there wasn’t. And forbade anyone from carrying him down our stairs to the basement.

Now, I know this was just postpartum depression, but at the time I felt like I would never relax or really be OK again. I knew Greyson was the best thing that had ever happened to me, but I was also so scared. I rarely took him anywhere, I didn’t want to expose him to germs or people I didn’t know and I was totally and completely self conscious of my body. It was a tough time for me. I wanted to protect him from any and all things in the world that might possibly harm him.

I still feel this way. I worry about his future, his happiness, and his safety. Some nights I am paralyzed with fear thinking about the ‘what ifs’. There are a billion and one of them. But I don’t want to be that helicopter mom, always hovering, preventing any life situations from befalling my child. I want the world for him, as probably every parent does.

I asked my mom once how to get over this all enveloping worry and she replied ‘I considered all three of you kids as gifts from God, so I told myself I would appreciate every single day he let me borrow you.’ I try to remind myself this every time the anxiety and worry overwhelms me. So this is what I will do tonight as I put my baby to bed for the last time as a 1 year old – thank God for this precious gift and enjoy every single day that comes.

Rolling With It

It seems like I haven’t written in FOREVER…but we have been pretty busy. Last week we had our house packed up and we drove over 900 miles from Lincoln, NE to Erie, PA – with a toddler and anxious Frenchie in the car I might add. This is Olive, medicated, because she is such a spaz and can’t handle car rides:

We closed on our new house and moved in last Friday. So needless to say, things have been a bit hectic. Our upstairs is still filled with boxes and I am mentally willing them to unpack themselves.

I wish I could tell you all that my anxiety has calmed down since last time I wrote, but it hasn’t. I’m just not very good at dealing with huge changes. I love our new city, our new home, and I’m excited for this new chapter of our lives but the anxiety is there all the same.

I should be ecstatic about this new adventure and I am – my business is flourishing and I absolutely LOVE what I do ( http://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/lindsayhartsburg if you are interested) and I earned a trip to Montreal this October through the company, Greyson LOVES the extra room in our house and we even have an extra room to use as his playroom, and Chris LOVES his new job as head coach to the Erie Otters. But…anxiety doesn’t listen to the rational part of your brain that knows all these things. It just does it’s own dang thing.

Yesterday I took Greyson to Presque Isle (the main photo was taken there) for an early morning walk and let me tell you how good it was for my soul. We can forget the fact that I am so out of shape I was breathing hard after half a mile, ha! This mama needs some exercise – but that’s a whole different topic. After growing up and living most of my life in the gorgeous PNW, being near the water instantly calms me. I realized yesterday morning that I need to appreciate the things in my life I CAN control and be thankful for the things that make me feel happy.

I can drive 10 minutes from our new home and be at Lake Erie and that is something I am so grateful for. In Lincoln, the local ‘lakes’ were basically pond sized bodies of water especially to someone used to living near Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean and actual ‘lake’ sized lakes. Lake Erie is HUGE and I can go sit on the beach and listen to the waves roll in. There are actual sandy beaches on the lake side – that’s right, sand, and lighthouses. It’s gorgeous. The bay side is just as beautiful, with views of the city and calm, peaceful waters.

During our walk yesterday, my passion for taking photos was rekindled. I haven’t had the desire to practice my photography since we left here three years ago. I’m excited to break out my camera (even though truthfully I have no idea what all the buttons do, I just guess) and photograph some of the beauty and history here in Pennsylvania.

I can’t wait to share these photos with you. Find what it is your soul needs, and pursue it.

Embrace

I thought I would write this post throughout my long weekend in Austin. Today started off bright and early at 4:45 am. As much as I try, I cannot get my makeup and getting ready routine down to less than 30-40 minutes. If you have any helpful tips or tricks, I would LOVE to hear them.

I also woke up to a pounding headache – since I just got my Botox injections on Wednesday and the side effects are usually headaches for a week or so…odd since that is exactly the reason I am getting these injections in the first place (but that is neither here nor there). I said a quick prayer and popped a migraine pill and now I'm happily sitting in Denver waiting for my connecting flight to Austin – headache free but with a wicked craving for some Caribou Coffee…

On the plane now, I just finished watching the documentary Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt – and I am in tears. Not cute little watery eye tear drops, but crocodile tears and an ugly cry face that rivals Kim Kardashian's. The lady next to me on the flight probably thought I was having a breakdown.

If you have never seen this movie and struggle with body image issues, I highly encourage you to watch it. I have come away with two huge revelations. Firstly, I am a hypocrite and secondly, I have such a long journey ahead of me.

I am a hypocrite because while I spout off lines (even in this blog) about loving yourself and in turn loving your body no matter what, I don't. I still skip meals, pinch my extra skin and fat in the mirror and loathe my body. Packing for this trip, I reluctantly packed shorts because I knew it would be insanely hot. Shorts are on my list of things 'I don't wear' and I know that while wearing these shorts, I will avoid sitting down and if I can't, I will refuse to look down at my thighs while doing so. I'll just come out and say it. I hate my legs. I always have.

It started in 3rd grade when a friend of mine grabbed my calf muscle while we were sitting in class and wiggled it. I watched, horrified, as the skin, fat and muscle bounced and jiggled. She said something to the effect of 'mine don't do that!' That was the year I quit ballet and became completely and totally disgusted by my own body. Third grade – probably 9 or 10 years old – and already hating the body God made for me. And now at 33 years old, I finally see how sick and sad this is. It has taken me 23 years to reach this point of being exhausted by my hatred of my own body. I don't want to do it anymore…

•••

I decided to take the weekend to enjoy my time and was so exhausted each night I crashed before adding to this post. I'm back in Denver, waiting for my final flight back to Lincoln.

I had every intention of forcing myself to love my body this weekend after watching the incredible documentary, Embrace, but that didn't happen. I even told my friend, Mona, all about it and how empowering it was when she picked me up from the airport. But after a few hours, I completely and totally reverted back to my default mindset. I refused to wear the shorts I had packed, it was hot, humid and I was taking my vacation seriously and eating whatever I wanted.


As you can see, a lot of my trip revolved around food. VooDoo Doughnut and Culinary Dropout were two of my favorite places we visited and of course while my stomach was enjoying every guilty bite, my mind was tearing myself to pieces. I had a terrible migraine my first night there and every time I vomited, this sick part of me celebrated all the food I was getting out of my body. This fight in my head regarding my body is nonstop.

I posted the main photo of this blog post (me paddle boarding – SUP Austin – with the Austin skyline in the background) with a lot of hesitation. Could you see my cellulite and untoned thighs easily, or was the picture far enough away? I am ashamed to say that even after crying over the documentary on the plane and repeating to myself that the need to love my body and myself is so important, I'm still fighting it. I'm still obsessed over every bump and dimple.

I want to be confident and a role model – a healthy body image advocate, but I loathe what I see in the mirror. I feel like a complete phony and this post is my confessional.

I know my mindset is harmful and unproductive. I know I need to love myself, but the journey to get there is daunting. Loving this body means giving up some sort of control. If you struggle with body image issues, I know you understand.

So here is my plan for the next few days: make healthy food choices, get exercise in, and repeat to myself that I am worthwhile – my body is mine and it's not perfect but that's ok, and that my perception of 'perfect' is skewed and harmful.

It's hard to open up and be vulnerable about my struggles, but without honesty and openness, nothing can ever change. I see a confident me that loves herself and her body far in the distance and I am willing to fight to get there.

This picture with my sweet friend Mona will be a reminder of our amazingly fun weekend, our friendship, and a good reminder of how I need to feel about myself:

Someday I will look in the mirror and be able to say this with all honesty.

I've never been a very patient person. Actually that's a huge understatement – I may very well be the least patient person I know. Waiting – whether it be in a waiting room for a doctors appointment or for something I ordered online to get delivered – is not my forte.

I can't count the number of times I have left a line at a store because I just really can't handle the waiting to check out. It JUST happened last week at the outlet mall while waiting to purchase some gifts at Carter's. I'm also one of THOSE people that just randomly sets down items I decide I don't want in the wrong department of the store….there, I said it. I apologize to any of you that work in retail – I know you hate me now, ha. But it does feel good to get that off my chest!

So…waiting for this move to Pennsylvania, the closing of our current house and the title company to get their act together for the new house is so so difficult. Maybe this is just a life lesson I am supposed to learn and maybe this is something I need to experience in my life, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. In fact, I don't like it – it gives me anxiety and that annoys me.

So, in true Lindsay fashion, I planned a last minute trip to Austin next weekend to see one of my closest friends, Mona. I needed something to look forward to and something to get my mind off of waiting. I haven't seen Mona since my wedding four years ago, so a visit is LONG overdue.

She's one of my closest friends and someone who is constantly there to lend an ear to my craziness. I can't even express how grateful I am to have her in my life. She's the brunette to my blonde.

I lived in Texas for almost a year in 2009. A long story maybe I'll share in the future and another crazy split second decision I made moving from Washington state to Lubbock, Texas but one I don't regret for a second. I made lifelong friends, learned to appreciate good BBQ and had some of the most crazy fun – most of it involving my dear friend, Mona.

This visit will be much different, we are both married now, with kids, and our days of staying out until the bars close is probably long gone – but I cannot wait.

This will also be my first time away from Greyson for more than 24 hours (insert panic attack here just thinking about this!) But, I know I need this trip. As moms, we have a hard time putting ourselves first sometimes. We worry about what will happen while we are gone, if it's selfish to leave for some 'me time' – but guess what, none of that is fair to ourselves. The mom guilt pull is strong, but I'm resisting the urge to fall into the trap. We all need breaks, we all need time to find our pre-mom selves again, even just for a weekend. That doesn't have to mean the crazy nights of our pre-family days, but a new realization that 'mom' and/or 'wife' are not our only defining characteristics.

I can't wait to fill you in on my visit and all of our adventures for the weekend, but until then, I'll do my best to patiently wait for the trip and the big move.

xoxo, Lindsay