For Her.

Today my 6-year-old daughter asked me if she looked fat in what she was wearing. I was dumbfounded that she would even be worried about something like that at her age. After a brief moment of shock I of course told her she looked great in what she had on, and to also remember that every body is different, and every body is beautiful.

To be honest, it made me a little sad to think that she is already concerned with her weight. Her unwavering stubbornness in wanting to dress herself since she was 2 1/2 years old, and absolutely detesting having her hair brushed and styled, was the extent of it so far as I knew concerning her looks. The fact that her weight is something she was thinking about made my Momma heart ache just a little bit.  Remembering my own experience, I was at least 11 before it even registered to me about what size I was.

The more I thought about it last night, the more anxiety I felt for my daughter and the struggles she will have to go through. My experience as a teenager was rough, as it was for most kids my age. It seems today though, that middle school aged kids just completely skip over the awkward phase. Boy, if I could have a time machine I would LOVE to go back and just skip right on over my horrifically awkward middle school years. They were not fun. I was bullied, and I hated myself most days. But you know what? I got through it, and it made me a stronger individual and taught me so much about people in general. I feel like I am a much more empathetic person because of the bullying and teasing I went through.

During my senior year of high school, a friend of mine who I had known since 6th grade asked me if I had moved there in high school. I laughed, and just said “Yup!” and prayed he would not look back at our middle school yearbook. Thankfully I could just laugh it off by then, as I had come into my own by freshman year and had a lot more style and confidence.

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I mean look at me, I was just awkward. Thankfully I had my braces off in fifth grade so I dodged a bullet there, but why on earth did I pick the BIGGEST glasses in the store? I literally have no logical answer for that.  I had no sense of style. Part of this awkward phase was because my Mom was terminally ill all through my middle school years, so I didn’t have her there to teach me things like how to do my makeup or my hair. I’m definitely not blaming her at all, but it’s a huge part of why I was so lost when it came to anything to do with beauty.

It doesn’t seem right that girls are suddenly grown up at the ripe ages of 8, 9, and 10. Why are parents today so obsessed with making our daughters into these little adults so young? Media in general is to blame big time. This social media obsessed generation has access at their fingertips to countless portals of information, photos, gossip, fashion, and news. It has changed our once innocent kids into little adults at a younger age. My kids have accidentally seen or heard things from their friends or via commercials and ads no matter how hard I try to protect them from it, that I had NO clue about until I was well into middle school.

Girls from a young age are being pressured to be sexy and be so much more grown up than they really are. Young girls and women are bombarded with the message that they need to be sexualized to get anywhere in life.  It has become a common theme when it comes to anything in entertainment these days. There are horrendous celebrities that are so commonplace now, and so influential to young girls. It just makes me sick. I will never let my daughter think that Kylie Jenner for example, is what she needs to be or look like. I want to teach her that being intelligent, educated, modest, kind, and healthy will make her beautiful inside AND out.

A while ago, a viral photo went around Facebook of a meme showing what my generation dressed like when we were little (think: side ponytails, stirrup leggings, and puff paint shirts) compared to what little girls dress like now (think: high fashion adult wear in mini sizes). It was meant to be funny, but the more I thought about it, the humor was lost for me. There is so much pressure nowadays for our little girls to be dressing like these little fashionistas, when in reality, they probably could care less.

My daughter for instance, would rather be in a tank top or t-shirt and leggings any day over something fancy. I can’t even get her to wear jeans! Getting her dressed up for special events or even church on Sunday turns into a HUGE debate. I tell you what, my daughter will rule the debate team one day! If she was given the choice between something considered “high fashion” or covered in glitter and fun characters that she loves, she would pick the glitter hands down. So why would I try to force her to be someone she doesn’t want to be? I won’t.

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So for my daughter, I will try my very best to continue to teach her to not be afraid to be herself. The pressures she will face as she gets older are ten times what I had to go through. I am afraid for her, but if she is as stubborn and sure of herself as she is right now at the age of 6, I have a good feeling she will be able to navigate herself through the awkward stages just like I did.

I always make sure I am never negative about my own body. She has often asked me about my stretch marks and stretched out skin on my stomach from having my three kids. I have never said anything negative to her about them, (even if I do to myself), and make sure I tell her they are from having her and her brothers and I am so grateful for them because it means I have my kids.

My husband too, is a huge influence on what my daughter thinks of beauty. He doesn’t hesitate to tell me I am beautiful in front of them, even if I am super sweaty and have just come from the gym with no makeup on. We always kiss and hug one another in front of the kids. Kids hearing their parents say “I love you” to one another is so meaningful. Seeing a good solid relationship, and seeing how a man should treat a woman is very beneficial for their young minds. It sets a standard for them of what a good relationship looks like. I want my boys to know how to treat women with respect, and I want my daughter to know what kind of relationship she deserves to have in the future.

Even though I am not perfect, all I can do is continue to be a good example to her. I want to be the woman she strives to be when she grows up. For now, I will let her continue to be herself, and just be a kid.

xoxo

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Lotus Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah

Hare Krishna! We ventured down to Spanish Fork today to visit the Radha Krishna Temple, or Krishna’s Lotus Temple. Jess and I have been here before in 2010 during their amazing Holi Color Festival, which is generally at the end of March. If you have never been to the color festival, GO! It’s amazing and a one of a kind event here in Utah.

I had never been here other than the color festival so I decided to take the littles! It ended up being the perfect weather and there was no one else there! So we explored the grounds and said hi to the llamas and the various birds.

It was a wonderful day! We actually met the Priest of the Temple, Pandit Kanak Das,  and he was very sweet. He also does palm readings! Follow him here.

The temple itself is a beautiful structure that you think would be so out of place to be in southern Utah County. And yet, when you are there, it seems to be in the the perfect place. It’s peaceful, and you can constantly hear birds singing who nest in the tops of the temple, and the peacocks calling one another. It’s magical really! If you’d like information on the temple, visit their site here. They even do yoga classes and there was one in session while we were there. I may just have to come back and attend one 🙂

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Until next time!

xoxo

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Fear Is a Liar

Today I have been thinking about fear. Fear is no stranger to me unfortunately. He has been trailing me like a creep since I was a young girl. Currently in my life, things are sort of up in the air. I won’t get into any details, but our family may be in for some huge changes in the next year or so. So, for the past few weeks I have been a hot mess. I have let fear take a hold of me, and as usual, he excelled at his job. I have broken out in stress hives twice this past month, and have had more sleepless nights and panic attacks than I would like!

Talking with my husband the other night, he brought up a good point. These decisions will need to be made whether we would like to or not. So, is it better to go about it freaking out, or just accepting it and sort of going with the flow? The second option, obviously is the right one. Although letting go of things is hard for me, for the moment I am doing my best to take in a deep breath of courage, and breathe out the fear. I’ll let you know how that goes!

So what exactly is fear? It’s different for everyone, sure, but down at the root of it, fear is always the same. He’s a big FAT liar! Fear does nothing but make us question ourselves, and change our minds, and be too afraid to do anything. Fear is a bully as well. It always seems that when I am on the cusp of something amazing, he strolls in. Great business idea? Cue fear. Great idea for a book? Cue fear. Want to go do something adrenaline pumping? You get the idea.

I recently came across this great motivational video on Facebook. In it, the actor Will Smith is speaking to a group of young adults. He speaks about fear, and how it inhibits us from doing amazing things with our lives. My favorite quote from the video is when Will Smith talks about jumping out of a plane, and it ended up not being as scary as he had built it up to be. He said this:

“God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.” – Will Smith

As true as that may be, don’t expect me to be jumping out of a plane anytime soon! But, I definitely will apply this concept to all other aspects of my life.

Growing up with Fear

My Mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was 12 years old, and it changed our family’s lives forever. When we came home early from school that afternoon with our Dad so they could talk to us about it, I remember my Mom sobbing and laying her head into my lap. I was suddenly consoling my mother, when it was always the other way around. She was fearful, and it made me afraid too. The world to me, suddenly became a very scary place. We all coped with Mom’s illness in our own way, but I let the fear take a strong hold of me. I developed a very serious OCD, that at times became so debilitating that I felt like I could not function. I was afraid of getting sick, and would wash my hands over and over until they bled. Often, I would just stand and cry at the sink because I literally could not stop myself. I became afraid of touching things, of chemicals, of illness. It was overwhelming for a 12-year-old. I rarely talked to my parents about it because I knew they were going through enough. At night, I would be so exhausted by my rituals that I would literally pass out the minute I laid my head on the pillow. One night, after praying for God to help me for what seemed like hours, I fell asleep kneeling by my bed with my head laying on the mattress. I woke up the next morning, and felt different. I decided that I was not going to let this control me. Don’t think this was an easy task, it took months and months. Eventually, I was able to control it, and I am so proud of myself for being able to overcome it. I am occasionally triggered by various things, and it definitely rears its ugly head sometimes, but I no longer let that fear take control of me anymore. For people who had OCD’s , please don’t be afraid to ask for help like I was. I probably would have been very beneficial for me to see a doctor, so if you or a loved one needs help please go!

Afraid Abroad

In 2015, my husband and I got to go to Europe to celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary. We had planned a two-week trip that would take us to London, Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Florence, Lucerne, Normandy, and back to London. It was an amazing trip, and we made some memories and saw things we will never forget.

We took an overnight sleeper train from Berlin to Munich. It was the fifth city of our trip, and by now we felt (sort of) like pros of jumping on and off the trains, and navigating around these gorgeous foreign cities. I had forgotten our Eurail passes and my Dad had to FedEx them to Germany. THAT is a whole story for another post. So, needless to say, we had been on quite an adventure already.

When we arrived in Munich we made our way to our AirBnB which we used our entire trip. I highly recommend it to get the real “feel” of the cities! Plus it’s WAY cheaper than most hotels. Anyway, so we checked in and met our host. He showed us to our apartment, and when we settled in and signed into the WiFi our phones literally BLEW UP with texts, emails, Facebook posts, and facebook messages. All of them were asking us if we were okay, and were making sure we were not in Paris. Jess and I were confused. We had not heard anything, so we turned on the tv in our apartment. The Paris attack on November 13, 2015 in which 130 innocent people were killed had just occurred hours before as we slept on our train. I watched the television in horror, and instantly wanted to go home. At the time, no one in Europe was sure if there were more attacks that could happen, or where. They were urging all people to be cautious. The fear for me was so overwhelming. I started spiraling into full-blown panic mode, and told Jess we needed to leave immediately and get home to our kids.

My sweetheart took me by the shoulders and gently talked me back from the edge. He’s a pro at it now, and I’m so thankful for him and his patience and love for me in my spectacular displays of anxiety. He told me the best thing for us at the moment was to sit tight and not do anything rash. We knelt down and prayed together for guidance and reassurance, and prayed for those who had been killed and their loved ones. When we were done, we agreed that we would stay and enjoy the final week of our trip. We were already there, and we needed to make the most of our situation. For the remainder of our trip, our passports were never left in our Airbnb houses in case something awful happened. He reminded me that morning of a quote my Poppa has said for years and has become a family mantra:

“Don’t let fear govern your life.”

I didn’t then. I will try my best not to let it ever, because fear is a liar.

Until next time!

xoxo

The Raw Brunette

Mother’s Day and its Accompanying Heartache

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Contrary to the title, Mother’s Day is in fact a wonderful day. I love being showered with the cutest handmade cards and gifts with the sweetest “I love you’s” from my littles, and text messages from my friends and family.  I love getting breakfast in bed, and not having to do any cooking. What I ask for every year is a nap, because that is the best gift anyone can give me! But the truth is, this day always has a little dark cloud cast over it for me now. My own personal storm to dampen the day.

I don’t say this to put down anyone’s views of this special day, but it is truly how I feel. My mother passed away in February of 2015, after a long battle with multiple myeloma cancer. Everyday without her is painful, but on special occasions like her birthday, holidays like Christmas, Easter, and today just makes my heart ache so very much.

rawbrunettemothersday (My Mom with my two oldest when they were 4, and 2 in 2012)

Even today, two years after she has passed, I found myself standing in my Father’s kitchen helping to put dinner on the table with my stepmother, and the panicked thought suddenly came to me: “You forgot to call Mom and tell her Happy Mother’s Day!” And I stood back for a moment and my eyes filled with tears when reality hit me that I was in my parents home that they shared her last 8 years, and she was no longer here. I do not think the urge to call my Mother will ever go away- I called her at least once a day every day until the last year of her life when she became so sick and reclusive that she got rid of her phone.

Six months after my Mom passed, I was shocked to discover I was pregnant. We had decided to be done after our third, so this was unexpected indeed! We were excited of course too, but I’ll be honest, it took me a few days to get over the shock that I would have to go through another pregnancy. My pregnancies were not the easiest. I deal with anxiety and depression, and it magnifies itself when I am pregnant. My third pregnancy was the hardest, and my postpartum depression was almost unbearable.

That being said, once my morning sickness was somewhat manageable, I was already picking out names and imagining how I would be dealing with two babies so close, (my son was just barely 1 when I got pregnant!).  Around week 12 we went in for the ultrasound where we would get our first look at the newest little peanut. My doctor’s face suddenly looked concerned, and he turned to the nurse and whispered something. They both nodded in agreement, and he turned to me.

“There doesn’t appear to be a heartbeat. I’m so sorry, Heather.”

 

Those words cut into my still broken heart like a knife. I started to sob while still laying on the table. My poor husband didn’t understand what the doctor had meant. He thought that it was too early to hear a heartbeat, but once the doctor told him that the baby didn’t make it, his face crumpled up.

As if the heartbreak of losing the baby wasn’t hard enough, next came the process of getting it out of my body. I went through a failed round of what I can only describe as abortion pills, which left me in complete agony for four days. They put my body into labor, so it made me feel sick, and have all the accompanying contractions and horrific pain of having a baby. The only thing was, I wasn’t getting to have a baby at the end of it. I laid on the bathroom floor for half a day because I was too sick to walk back to my bed, and I just cried and cried. I remember at one point feeling my hair being brushed back from my face, but no one was there. I knew it was my Mom.

On day five, I went back for another ultrasound, only to horrifically see on the screen that the baby was still inside me. I found myself once again sobbing on the table in my OBGYN’s office. I was scheduled the next morning for a DNC. Thankfully, the surgery was successful, but my husband said that when I came to in the recovery room I started crying saying that they had taken my baby away, and he said it was so incredibly heartbreaking.

My baby would now be one, and yes, I thought of her today. My daughter is convinced it was her baby sister.

Mother’s Day is an incredibly emotional day for me. But that being said, motherhood itself is incredibly emotional. We go through heartaches almost daily, and handle it with finesse and strength, (or at least we pretend to). Motherhood would not be motherhood without the struggles, the bumps, the fights, the pain, the suffering, the messes. Without those, we would not be able to experience the laughter, the kisses, the fun, the rainbows, the love, and the joys. It’s all connected whether we recognize it or not. We as women, and mothers need to be easier on ourselves, and others. Motherhood is NOT easy! Give yourself a break, even on the hard days. We all have them. There are these spectacularly unrealistic views of what society thinks Moms should be, (hello Pinterest!), and yeah, that’s never going to be me. But you know what? I am okay with that. I am absolutely content with not being perfect.

Although I am not grateful for my losses, I am grateful for the things they have taught me, and how it has helped me to recognize the good things in my life, and be a better mother and person in general because of it.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Love,

The Raw Brunette