Someone once told me I was doing it wrong. DOING IT WRONG. It doesn’t matter what “IT” was. I saw a quote that says “Just because someone is on a different path than you does not mean they are lost.” That person who told me I was doing it wrong….she was wrong. She was very wrong. I have made a million mistakes, some bad decisions, said some words I regretted, hurt some people I shouldn’t have, and all of it has me right here, right now. And there’s no place else Im supposed to be.
My High School reunion was pretty cool. I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I realized they have each taken a different path to where they are. Some married, some divorced, some widowed, some with kids, some with no kids. Some who had tackled alcoholism, abuse, heart break…and some dealing with Brain Rot. And you know what…not one of them is doing it wrong. We are all doing it exactly how we know how. Exactly how we can. Exactly they way that is best for us right now. And a bunch of years of stupid, immature, judgement fell away. Just like a robe that falls to the floor. And my shoulders felt light and I knew all that had ever happened to me, around me, was all exactly what brought me there. And the trip was worth the kind words I got from an old friend about how my blog had helped them.
I am not super proud of every decision I’ve ever made. But I think you get to an age where you reflect a lot and my best friend & I hiked yesterday and did some reflecting. I work with teenage girls and people with weight issues. Self esteem and self acceptance are hard to come by in those two groups of people. And for me…it might’ve been hard to come by for a long time. But time has a way of rolling some pretty cool people into your path. And Im reminded of a Cheryl Strayed quote (of course) “PUT YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF BEAUTY MORE OFTEN”. And instead of dodging the scary things, the new people, the new experiences…I choose now to stand and let all the beauty that can possibly be, roll right into me. And Ive learned to like me…just the way I am. All the good. All the bad. All the weird.
All paths aren’t straight. All rules aren’t meant to be followed. All destinations don’t have a one-way-only-to-get-there map. In fact…I now know that most of the fun and most of the lessons and most of the love happen OFF of the path, on the roads not on the map, in the way of beautiful people who have something to show you. Crooked paths are so much better than straight ones. You scoop up all the interesting when you venture off the path.
Feeling grateful today for this moment in my life where I can jump on a plane to Texas when I want to. Go hiking when I want to. Stop into a tattoo shop on a Monday afternoon and get a tattoo when I want to. Maybe the good moments don’t throw themselves at you- maybe you have to look really hard to see them…but man…its worth the effort to look.
Maybe I was lost. Maybe I am lost. But I tell ya what….lost and wandering is a much better place to be than on a straight path to the same place everyone else is going.
Stronger than yesterday.
When you get married and buy the house with the picket fence and get the dog and have the 2.5 kids you have it all. You do. Its how its supposed to be, right? I got lucky. Amazing husband, two crazy awesome kids and a great place to live. I watch how other people parent. How patient they are and how they make their children such a huge priority. I do as well. My kids, my family…they are my life. I would kill for them. Die for them. And I am a Wife and Mom. Proudly. Happily. It is my greatest role in life. The best two things I’ve ever done are those two kids. And after MANY pregnancy losses I am acutely aware of how lucky & blessed I am to be called Mom. It’s my favorite name. Do you sense a “but” coming?
I’ve often thought of a bride when she walks down the aisle. Such a symbolic gesture of Father “giving daughter away” to her husband. My Dad did. He cried. I cried. I was born Jennifer Renee Ellis. When I went to legally change my name after I got married I changed it to Jennifer Ellis Nugent. It says that on my social security card. A name may only be symbolic to some. But when I BECAME Jennifer Nugent I did not let go of Jennifer Ellis. When I became a Mom I did not lose my dreams. For me. My desires and visions and the things I wanted for myself. When you become a family your dreams broaden. I dream for 4. I dream for my kids to have a beautiful happy future and for Patrick to race again and for us to all be ok. I’ll beat some doors down, pick, fight, claw and never stop working for those dreams to come true for them. But I still dream for me. And I wont feel guilty about that. I wont.
I think there’s this layer of foggy guilt that lies across a mother. For when she does things for herself it is selfish. It is not for her family. I work with women who feel too guilty to workout, get fit, take time for themselves. They can’t seem to justify 30 minutes a day just for them if it takes time away from their kids or husband. And I know its harder for Moms/parents of smaller kids. But part of my “job”, my calling…is to let people know its ok to dream for YOU. And be unapologetic about it. My Mom and Dad were very much in love. They vacationed together and separately. My Dad took trips with his buddies (usually on a Harley through the mountains). And my Mom took girls weekends trips with her friends (usually to a spa or retreat of some sort). I grew up watching this. And it was my normal. And it worked. They took time together, many trips, many nights out for “dates”. But they also took time for themselves. When you marry at 18 like they did its pretty important, difficult, and awesome to continue to hold on to YOU. That part of you that was YOU before there was anyone else.
This whole Beachbody Coaching thing has been a DREAM. Along with that dream comes trips I earn, work trips, meetings, fun stuff. Stuff I have to leave town for. Stuff I have to leave my kids for. So I miss some things. Once in awhile. I’ve missed a couple of soccer games and a few cheer performances. And I was sad about it but…..I am a good Mom. I am completely and beautifully and crazily bad at this parenting thing MOST of the time but I know Im a good Mom. Because I have GOOD kids. And those kids watch me chase MY dreams. Watch me do this thing for ME! Its mine. And I hope Im showing them that its ok to always chase your dreams. And I mean that in the very most selfish of ways. I thank my family for understanding and standing behind my dreams. Because I never stopped being that girl- Jennifer Ellis- that had big dreams. How beautiful that I get to chase them now. Relentlessly and unapologetically. Dream a little. Dream a LOT. Dream big and never EVER lose YOU!
A picture’s worth a 1000 words. Or in this case just one…S**T
So tomorrow I start the 21 Day Fix program by Beachbody. I sold it to several people & we plan to keep each other accountable day to day. It’s a 21 Day workout & healthy eating program. I like what I hear about it b/c it’s really for all levels of fitness. For those that are new to exercise, or workout fanatics, for those with a lot of weight to lose or like me- just want to tone up & eat healthier.
I’m 41 years old & completely ignorant on food portions & how many servings of fruits, veggies, proteins, etc I’m supposed to eat each day. This program is sort of an “eating for dummies” thing in that it includes 7 containers of various colors that correspond to what type of food to put in each. Sounds easy enough. So here’s the hard part…
I HAVE TO POST BEFORE & AFTER PICTURES OF MYSELF!
I’m not worried about the workout or really even the food since I know that I can do anything for 21 Days. It’s those pictures….those damn pictures.
So what’s the biggy? I mean a few of my friends affectionately (I think) call me a “skinny bitch”. I’m not bad for 41. I’m not overweight, I feel comfortable in workout clothes and I never thought I had a body image issue….UNTIL NOW. I’m literally freaking out over posting pictures of myself in workout clothes for people to SEE! I’ve gone round & round in my head this week about what angle I should stand at, what I should suck in, what tricks there are to hide cellulite & age spots. It’s ridiculous. I’m also fairly modest (no seriously).
So all of this nonsense made me stop & think. If I’M nervous or anxious or self conscious about this Im sure many others feel this way . There are people starting weight loss programs everyday. They struggle with losing weight, health concerns, self esteem issues and a lack of support. I also do not EVER want my daughter to feel ashamed of her body. What am I teaching her if I’m not comfortable with mine? I became a Beachbody Coach to motivate & help others. I’m finding that actually I need the help of others too. I think we all need each other…fat, skinny, tall, short…it’s all ok. Everybody’s journey starts in their own place. Mine is different than yours. I don’t think it matters from where you start. What matters is THAT you start.
So tomorrow, in all my glory I will post pictures of myself. And I will proudly start a 21 Day journey to feel better & hold myself & others accountable for their health.
P.S. Dear voters of America, One day my daughter might run for President. Please PLEASE do not hold over her head the fact that her Mom is nuts & posted half clothed pictures of herself on the Internet. Sincerely,
Madelyn Nugent’s Mom