**Testing**Testing** Okay, this thing still works.....
I went into a store today called, Hot Mama. I was greeted by a rather "Pretty Woman" type of salesperson. I picked up a cute Sweater Tunic Dress and asked if they had it in my size. To which she responded that a dress like that will cling to my stomach, which is where I obviously carry my weight and should look at something different. (A- Do I cry? B- Punch her in the face? C- Leave the story immediately? or D - Leave the store only after crying and punching her in the face?)
Okay, 1) I do NOT carry my weight in my stomach. I carry my weight through my hips. The weight in my stomach belongs to the four children that made a home in my stomach for a while, thank you very much. And 2) You just DON'T say that to a woman - mom or not. I am a grown woman, fully capable of trying on said Tunic Dress and deciding for myself if I like the fit on me or not. I appreciate the honesty of a salesperson, but not meanness .... especially in a store committed to clothing for MOMS. 3) I MOST CERTAINLY don't want to hear a comment like this from the seemingly anorexic 20 year old who most likely has no children.
Here's the real deal though. Our culture has continued to grow in it's definition of beauty and success. And the demands on young moms are just unbelievable. We are expected to have it all, do it all, and be a size 3 while at it....and then post the proof on Social Media. Gone are the days of wandering to the park or the mall in yoga pants and a hoodie. Nope, we can't even step out our front door without our make up on and dressed like a HOT MAMA less we be looked down upon. (By who??? Oh yeah, other moms who are just as tired as we are!) Don't get me wrong. I have nothing wrong with doing your hair or your make up. I have nothing wrong with wearing stylish clothing. I have nothing wrong with women being thin, pursuing thin, or any other fitness decision. I have a problem when women find their worth in this and expect me to do the same. I have a problem when someone else puts their definition of beauty on other women. On me. (Maybe I like flaunting my mom belly....maybe.)
What this saleswoman failed to recognize in her sharp, brief interaction with me is that in an instance, she opened up a wound that has taken much work to heal. I've never been the "little" girl. I've never been the "stylish" girl. I've never been much of any kind of girl. (Seriously - don't ask me to wear a dress!) I was, however, the girl who struggled with an eating disorder for 9 years of her life because I am still a girl who feels the constant demands to be all of that.
I wonder what this woman would have done if I would have told her that after 9 years of battling an eating disorder, I am now FREE. Or that I sell solution-based, Nutritional products for a living, and teach others how to regain their health. Or that I have run several half marathons and a full marathon in the last year. Or that I bike 30-40 miles several times a week. Or that I have gained and lost 330+ pounds in the last 13 years alone. (No, I was never 400 lbs....I have fluctuated that much weight up and down.) Or that I sleep with the same man every night who loves me, dimples (read: cellulite and stretch marks) and all. (Get your head out of the gutter...I said SLEEP! Don't you know how tiring my life is??) Or that in my pursuit of being thin, and healthy, and HOT, I have come face to face with the reality that God made me a Norwegian/Bohemian (read: big hips), mom of 5 (+1 glory baby who still took root in my big belly long enough to leave her mark), short, pear shaped (a pear who apparently ate an apple), running, biking, pursuer of health, lover of JESUS, HOT MAMA. And that is OKAY.
I pursue health because it is just that - health. Not WHO I AM. I pursue being a certain weight because when the scale hits a certain number, or my clothes fit tighter than skinny jeans - I just feel "blah" and that is no fun. I want to have energy to keep up with my busy life, and that won't happen at a certain weight. I pursue setting an example for my girls of what it looks like to live healthy and still enjoy life. (Eat, drink and be merry...right???) I love helping other women break free from the bondage of having to be someone they are not. I love being healthy on MY terms. I don't want to set the bar so high that my sons can't ever find a hot enough woman because of how I have portrayed beauty to them. (haha...I am FAR from that danger!) But I DO hope to set the bar high for my sons and my daughters on what true beauty is. I hope to set the bar HIGH in self acceptance and honoring the differences of others appearances.
So tomorrow, after shopping at the plethora of other cute boutique stores in our area, I think I will walk back into Hot Mama with yoga pants on, holding at least 8 bags of new clothing in my hand, look that woman in the eye and say - "Hey. Remember me?? I was the one you wouldn't help yesterday. Big mistake. BIG mistake. Oh....and eat a burger, will ya???"
ps. Just before I sat down to write this blog, I saw a very timely post floating around Facebook. I did take the time to read it and very much appreciated it. I especially loved her before and after photo's. In fact, I think that we should start a movement on social media of our favorite before and after photos portraying TRUE beauty, our beauty. Hot Mama's. Here are some of mine.
*********The founder of Hot Mama responded to me this morning after reading the complaint I sent via their website. She also read my blog. I was very impressed with her humble and apologetic attitude. She assured me that this was very much an isolated incident and they are already taking the steps to address this whole thing. The philosophy of Hot Mama is to help moms look and feel their best. She understood that I left that store not feeling good at all, and was very sorry. That said, I enjoyed hearing a bit of her story. She is a woman of faith as well, and has founded her business on that. I appreciate that. I'll probably give the store Hot Mama another shot. I may just look for a new location. ;) ********