Yes, I Do ALL This and I Am Just Fine

ElmoLSCI was at an event this weekend with a bunch of Power Social Media Moms and it was glorious. Sure, the backdrop was amazing. The Liberty Science Center was our playground for the day and parents and kids alike delighted in all that LSC has to offer, and believe me, they have a lot to offer, including Elmo. Who doesn’t love Elmo?

The reason I enjoyed the event so much was bigger than just the cool experiments and looks of utter glee on the children’s faces. I loved this event because the moms that were present make me feel normal anytime I am with them. They are all entrepreneurs, some in addition to working for a corporate entity during regular business hours. All of these women are busy, like not enough hours in the day busy. They are all devoted parents that balance motherhood with a healthy dose of self-identity. They have all answered, often begrudgingly, the question, “how do you do all that you do?”.

Most importantly, they are all happy. They know the life they’ve chosen looks hectic to the outside world, but they are all  sure they have the best gig going. They all support one another in their choices because they know support doesn’t exist everywhere and part of being a Super Power Mom is lifting up other  moms, all moms. These women, these super-busy, powerful, smart and funny women, accept me as their own, without question and I love it. These girls, they get me.

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

It seems no matter how great the people in my life are, I often feel the need to explain myself. I don’t have a traditional job. Hell, I don’t even have only one job. I haven’t had one job since I was 12 and answering phones at our church in the evenings and that was while I was in school and playing sports all day. When people as me what I do, my first response is to chuckle and say, “When?”.

I’ve spent my life constantly dipping my fingers (or even diving head first) into new things and trying on different roles. Somedays it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but most days, it all feels exactly like the best life for me. And yet a lot of people can’t really understand or accept that. They say I have too much on my plate. They ask how I handle it all. They don’t think I am particularly good at anything because they can’t label any one thing that I do. They look at me cross-eyed as I run from here to there keeping up with all the blessings in my life. LSCFamilies

Because they are blessings. Busy, is a blessing. Opportunities are a gift. There is nothing in my packed life that I wish I had said no to. Being busy means you pretty quickly learn the art of saying no to things that just don’t fit the big plan. And whether the outside observer believes it or not, I am very clear on my plan.

Suck the marrow out of life every chance I get. It’s pretty simple.

I think I might add to it: spend more time with people who get my plan so I can spend less time explaining or justifying or defending who I am. I am busy. I am blessed. I am a whole lot of things at any different time.
Most importantly, I am happy doing what I do and being exactly who I am, especially when I’m with women who get that.


I Learned More than Just How to Cinch a Waist on The Today Show

TodaySHowSo the title up there may be a bit of a stretch… sorta. Two weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure of being asked to help out with a Today Show style segment wherein Rockstar Stylist Denise Caldwell would teach the world some tricks for dressing slimmer.

I got to go hang out with some B List celebs (and Amy Adams) that were also there for taping, as I sat in the chaos of  what I’m guessing is the B List green room for a bunch of hours and absorb all there is to absorb backstage at my favorite morning show. It was all I could do not to totally FanGirl out and spend the entire morning taking pictures of name plates, sitting in Willie Geist’s chair and asking the hair and makeup people to dish on celebs. Holding in that enthusiasm was the greatest acting role I have ever had.

In the weeks leading up to my appearance, I had a bit of an existential crisis. I mean, I am just a church-working mom who isn’t particularly fit at the moment. Why the heck was I going on national television for a style segment? Granted, I wasn’t the one giving advice (Although, I could have. I’ve dressed this body for many years.) but I still somehow felt like they were going to figure out I didn’t belong and cancel the whole gig.

I have always loved fashion. When I was younger, I had every plan to make a career in it. Then, for whatever reason I went a different way and ever since, no matter how much I dabble,  I have felt unworthy of returning. Lately, it has been both because I’ve been out of the game for a while and I no longer see myself as someone who fits the mold. So I write the occasional piece here about clothes and I try to do makeup tutorials here and there, but I largely leave “Style Blogging” to the young and or skinny, accepting it is not my place in the world and then trying to justify it by the fact that my day job isn’t really in line with the frivolity of dresses, hand bags and mascara.

Then, that morning as I sat in that makeshift greenroom I realized it does all fit in line because it’s all me. The enthusiasm I felt that morning is the same one I feel when I really connect with a family at work or write a really good post about Social Good or cooking or money. That burning in my chest that day was the same one I feel whenever I am passionate about something and just because in this case it was something frilly and fun doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of my passion.

I can be a mom and a church lady and over 40 and not a size two and still have a deep love of all things designer. There is a difference between loving it and worshipping it and as long as I keep myself in the world of the former without letting it take over my life, all of these passions can live congruently within this one “bosomly blessed” girl.

I had to write about a reason that I loved a style website the other day and my answer was that the community was inclusive, meaning everyone had access to loving style, no matter who they are or where they come from. Maybe now that even includes me.

That means you can look forward to more posts about trends and fashion and all things frilly and fun right alongside the social good and money and food. Because, Reinvention is nothing if not inclusive, of all sides of you.

Post-Op: Lessons Learned

This is my life for the next two days. Books, remotes, (Thank God the new FIreStick arrived!) pills and a breathing apparatus. Good times.

This is my life for the next two days. Books, remotes, (Thank God the new FIreStick arrived!) pills and a breathing apparatus. Oh, and a GwynnieBee card for clothes shopping of course! Good times.

Last Tuesday I went to work for a few hours and abruptly dragged all of my kids out with me 60 minutes after we arrived because I felt like I had been hit by a truck and I was 99% sure I was having a heart attack. My chest hurt, my upper back hurt, I was having trouble breathing and I started sweating, just sitting there at my desk. The inner monologue raging in my head vacillated between berating myself for overreacting and managing how to write quick directions for the raising of children after I was gone.
Depending on your view point, either the reasonable or the overreacting part of me won out and I dropped my kids to a neighbor and got myself to the ER. Before you go crazy about me driving myself to the ER, know that I live about 3 blocks away so it was safe. Also, I’ve had an ambulance come and take my own mother away, and there was no way I would let that happen to my kids if I had any power to avoid it.
Long story short, the incredibly quick and competent people at the hospital ruled out any kind of coronary issues almost as soon as I walked in the door, and then nearly as quickly diagnosed this horrible pain as a gallbladder attack. After some more tests, and me putting two and two together and realizing that I’ve been suffering from these attacks (at much more mild levels) for two years, it was decided I should have surgery to remove my galllbladder. I managed to push them off for a few days so I could be home for Christmas and my Middle One’s birthday but surgery was scheduled for Monday.
Now, my Inner Health Coach was skeptical about removing part of my digestive system, even though everyone assured me it was no big deal. In the end though, the thought of eliminating the recurrence of that pain won out and I decided to go ahead with the procedure, even if it meant altering my diet going forward.
And now, in recovery mode where I am forced to sit on my couch and do nothing (ish) I have lots of time to sit and think. This is never good! What I learned is that maybe I need to push harder for medical solutions before I end up in the ER. I’ve been to the doctor multiple times complaining about this pain. I’ve been sent for chest xrays and cardiologist appointments but never once has the word galldbladder come up. Over time, I had just accepted the pain as a routine part of my life until the day it got so bad I didn’t even recognize it as the same.
At the hospital yesterday they just kept remarking on how “otherwise healthy” I was. They marveled at the fact that I was even in for this surgery for some reason. The surgeon took pictures to show us because it went so well. They sent me home very quickly after it because I was “healthy” enough to be better off at home.
I need to stop assuming I’m unhealthy.

I’m seeing that I let my weight gain literally weigh on me. I  blame myself and accept any ailment as some sort of punishment for my bad choices and lack of self control.

Pardon my language, but how F***** up is that?!?
What’s even crazier is that I am just now realizing it. I have always been a pretty happy girl, or at least I try to be. My weight, while it bothers me, has never really stopped me from doing anything. After, all I just the day before my ER trip took my plus-sized self onto television. (More on that later!)
But over the last week, this medical deal and the perfect timing of two blog posts that were illuminating to say the least, all have me thinking about myself in a very different way. While my weight has never really stopped me from doing activities, it may very well have stopped me from treating myself well. Blaming myself for everything. Refusing to take care of myself because I clearly “earned or deserved” whatever pain or ailments I experienced. I accepted mediocrity as a way of physical life when I’ve made it my mission to refuse to accept mediocrity in any other area of my life.
So, this week I’ll take the doctors’ advice and go slow and rest and maybe, even try to begin the process of healing, not just my gallbladder, but my whole sense of self.