Let’s Chat – Body Image

body image, quiltytherapy

After writing about my struggle with confidence I want to explore other areas that some of us may have challenges with. Raise your hand if you’ve found body image to be an area you’ve struggled with. I’m sure that was a number of you.

I want to clear that I’m not talking about Body Dysmorphic Disorder, rather how you actually see yourself. The person you see in the mirror. Until recently I still saw someone who was bigger. While I saw myself as stronger, happier, and overall healthier, the weight I had carried lingered in my personal perception.

It wasn’t until one of my friends said I had saggy butt in my workout gear. This was not the first time someone had commented, but other comments were too early in my journey.

Saggy butt debacle

That moment was eye opening. I had noticed that I was swimming in a couple of clothes that I still wear, but my resistance to buy clothes to fit my new body has lingered. What if I gain a good portion back? What if? What if?

Well, another saggy butt debacle happened that catapulted me to really think about how my body has changed. I went for a run with my dog last week. I had her leash in one hand and my cell phone in another. Unfortunately, my tights kept creeping down causing some havoc on my run.

While I didn’t lose my tights, it did prompt me to actually look in the mirror. The woman I am seeing has changed. She is not who I had been. As a health coach I used to tell my calls that YOU are the last person to notice the changes. You need an Oprah moment to see how far you’ve come. I guess almost losing my tights on a midday run was my Oprah moment.

So I took myself to Marshall’s to shop their workout gear. For Christmas, I had gotten a gift card, that only took me almost three months to use. It was not a disappointment. I picked up two new tights and three new tanks. In a local swap group I scored another pair of tights.

Guess what happened?

On Saturday I wore clothes that actually fit my body to boxing. I wasn’t fighting clothes that were too big. There were even a couple of compliments. Holy camoly!

Then I took it another step further and wore the adorable striped dress I picked up at Draper James while in Nashville last month. I was so hesitant because I haven’t fit into this size for a WHILE.

I felt amazing! Seriously, I felt confident in myself wearing clothes that actually fit me. I have watched a million shows that do style makeovers and encourage people to wear clothes that fit. It’s a game changer.

It’s hard to look in the mirror and appreciate the changes that have happened. This isn’t something that happened overnight and will continue to be an issue. Google Photos loves to remind me to look back at photos. When I do, that’s the woman I still feel like I look like. Heavier and not happy with herself. This is who I keep seeing.

However, that is not the case. I’ve worked really hard to change my body and my mindset. I think it’s only fair that I give my new self a chance to shine.

Do you struggle with you see in the mirror? Have you undergone a change and still yet to see it? Let’s see how we can support each other.

Quilts Bind Us Together

Making new friends as an adult is not easy.  However, having a common interest makes it much smoother.  Helping start the Indy Modern Quilt Guild was one of the best decisions I ever made.

When I’m at guild meetings or around these women I feel at ease.  They get my quirkiness about fabric, design, and know the language.  It’s a different type of support that I get from other friends in my life.  Maybe it’s acceptance?

Some of my closest friends are quilters.  Over the last five to eight years we have grown from barely knowing each other to being great friends.  These women who were once just guild members with me have left an impact on me.  We have supported each other through births, losses, new homes, weddings, and life in general.

This is an old picture of us from 2014.

Recently life threw a rough patch my way.  You may have noticed the blog and my social media has been quiet.  Everything is fine now and I don’t plan to share more than that.   It was nice to see texts from them to just be there if I needed it.  Hell, someone brought me tacos and it made my afternoon.

Luckily, I had a quilt that Rachael had gifted me.  Do you see all this NEPTUNE?  It was just sitting in her pile of quilts and she didn’t use it.  That is friendship.

If you don’t belong to a quilt guild, you should consider it.  Where else can you want into a room of people and they get you.  They understand that you love this designer, hate this line, won’t try this, etc.  My guild is pretty awesome at being your cheerleader when you’re stuck too.  Try it, you may just find some new friends too.

Bonus if they share their scraps and life with you.

Five Reasons You Should Go To A Quilt Retreat

Does your quilt guild offer a retreat?  If you haven’t been because you’re nervous let me highlight why you should be going to a retreat.  Indy Modern Quilt Guild has been hosting a retreat for five years and we have had newer members join us each time.  Were they nervous at first?  Absolutely.

1.  These are your people

Quilters get each other.  We understand your obsession with a designer or getting sucked into a quilt-a-long.  This is a place where you are among people that understand that need to create.  You all may have different styles, but that’s part of the fun. You also get support, see #3.

2.  You have time to create

Time away from home, your commitments, and potentially Wifi give you that time to tackle your sewing list.  Maybe you want to make 4 quilt tops, maybe you want to quilt a massive quilt you haven’t had time to do, or maybe you want to tackle a pattern that you may want help with.

3.  You have support

You have built in help over the weekend.  Not sure about a design choice?  You can get instant feedback and make a change.  We like to call it quilt by committee at our retreat.

4.  You can try new tools

Is there a ruler you’ve been wanting to try?  A machine you’ve been eyeing?  Good chance that someone on the retreat may have it and let you try it out.  At our recent retreat someone was struggling to sew a bag on her machine, so another member offered to let her try her machine.  It’s the machine she’s been contemplating buying.  Now she’s saving up for that machine.  Hello free test drive on something you will make.

Someone brought their Accuquilt cutter.  I had not played on one and tried to use it.  Ugh, not my jam right now.  However, someone else used it to cut into a fat quarter bundle she wanted to play with.

5.  Girl time and time with friends.

I don’t think many of us get enough girl time in our lives.  A retreat is a wonderful opportunity to truly connect with someone else.  Learn about their lives, hear their story, and start supporting them.  Some of my close friendships were bonded at the retreat years ago.

Bonus if someone brings things to help you relax.  Facial masks, a massager, and/or wine helps.

The next time your guild hosts a retreat, go!  Don’t hesitate because this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

2018 Goals and Planning

Looking back on 2017 has given me some great insight and I can see personal growth.  I’m looking forward to 2018 by putting things in motion to make it a wonderful year.  The next few paragraphs are raw and unfortunately true.

Let’s go back to December 2016.  I wasn’t happy in my current job and had been looking for some time.  The jobs I really wanted wouldn’t interview me because I was missing things they really wanted to see.  My opportunities for growth within my company were limited.  Then something happened that was a defining moment.  A co-worker touched me inappropriately at our Holiday Party.  I was mortified at what happened and it basically changed how I felt about myself.  Yes, I did report it to HR and he still works at the company.  No, I won’t name him publicly.  He can live with his own shame.

Do you know what my first words to HR were?  I dressed conservatively and this happened.  Nothing says sexy like a black high neck dress, black cardigan, black tights and black heels.  How was this my fault?  That’s how I felt at the time and it ruined December.  We spoke to attorney, but I didn’t want to put myself and family through that.  Instead, I put some feelers out and found a new job quickly.  The new job was completely different and way less money.  So, maybe I should have pursued things with an attorney, but I don’t know that I would be where I am today.

The impact of that December night and some ass hat’s actions impacted most of my 2017.  Not all as bad, which is why I have decided to share.  Let’s dig into the bad so you know where I’m going for 2018.

  • Huge shake to my self confidence.  I just haven’t been myself.
  • Weight gain.  Eating my feelings and lacking self confidence helped, right?
  • Motivation way down.
  • Generally just pissed off.

It affected all parts of my life.  The feminist in me is mad as hell that I didn’t stay and fight.  Stand up for myself, press charges, and demand more.  Instead, I ran away and quickly found a new job.  As 2017 comes to a close I’m more confident in sharing what happened.  The #metoo movement was motivating.  It’s sad that so many of my friends had that posted, I wanted to hug them all.  It was liberating to know I’m not alone.  Deep down I knew that.   People I didn’t expect posted their own stories too.  I have decided that I won’t let this incident define me any longer, his actions will not win.  I am so much more than that glimpse in time and event.

Towards the end of 2017, my husband and I really started digging into where we want to go and our goals.  I have some big things coming out in 2018, that I can’t share just yet.  It fits right into all of this I promise.  I took on some virtual assisting work to help expand my skills.  Finally, I felt creative again.

Things were getting back on track professionally and creatively, but personally I was still struggling.  During my annual exam I had a frank discussion with my doctor about my health.  Luckily, she was frank right back.  We chatted about my lifestyle habits and what could be causing my weight to creep up or stay the same.  The exercise, sleep, and stress management were in place.  Then she asked about my diet.  As a former health coach, I thought I had it together.  I was eating lots of fruits and vegetables and cooking at home.  Well, she brought up carbohydrates.  Then after some discussion maybe that was the area I needed/should change to see the weight loss I was hoping for.

(Insert HUGE eye roll from me)

I laughed her off and said yeah okay.  After the appointment I started looking at what I was eating and was flabbergasted.  Rob and I chatted about changing our nutritional habits and what we could maybe do.  Since he does most of the cooking, I needed and wanted his help in this.  We changed our diet up and ditched lots of carbs.  I’m talking chips, crackers, taco shells, etc.  Still lots of veggies and now more nuts and fats.  It’s been a challenge, but I like how I feel.  It took an honest conversation that I didn’t want to hear to encourage me to make a change.

Since I started making changes with my diet, having conversations around other changes have been easier.  It’s become apparent that just doing a desk job all day isn’t the best for me.  I crave flexibility and being my own boss.  Moving into 2018, that is a goal.  Make it work so I don’t have to work for others.  This is a longer term plan that isn’t feasible right this moment, but something to work towards and focus on.

What does that mean?  On the blog you’re going to see some changes.  You already know that sewing and quilting is a huge stress reliever for me, but there is so much more to me.  I’m going to dig into confidence and ways to make some changes.

confidence, 2018 word, personal goals, self improvement, kicking ass in life

My word of the year for 2018 is confidence.  As I’m working to boost my own confidence in 2018, I will be sharing things that I find or tips that are helpful.  This will not be an easy focus or change.  It’s going to be hard work that will have huge benefits in the end.

If you know me personally, you may be surprised just how much confidence I am lacking these days.  You may be thinking, “You’re loud, opinionated, and seem to have it together.”  Thanks friend, but that’s the case.

Now that you know where I’m coming from and the overall theme, it’s time to dig into how.

  • Read and expand my knowledge on boosting confidence.
  • Take some time daily to breathe and reflect.
  • Keep up my regular exercise for my overall wellness.
  • Kick ass at something new.  Learning something new will help me build a skill and challenge myself.

I hope you stay with me on this journey.  Thanks for letting me get that huge secret off my chest.  Let’s move ahead and make 2018 a wonderful year.