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VV Post

This might hit close to home or feel far away.

Chances are though, you or someone dear to you has felt this way before.

Can you visualize something with me friend?

You're standing in the checkout line of Target. It's a busy Saturday morning, the lines are long. You look to your left and see a shelf of magazines, you grab one and begin flipping through the pages.

Picture after picture of flawless, photoshopped faces attached to fit, firm bodies stare back at you. Each one more perfect, wrinkle and blemish free than the rest.

You think to yourself: these faces and frames don't look like mine. In fact, they don't look like any of the women I love and spend my days with.

As you dig deeper, the article headlines shout similar words and phrases.

10 ways to loose weight before summer.

The best ways to please your partner.

How to fit in those size 2 jeans again.

You look down at your stomach and awkwardly yank at your shirt that shrunk in the wash. Suddenly the dress you picked out to buy, laying on the belt, feels silly to purchase. And your mind swirls down a vicious cycle.

How could I wear a dress like that when I look like this?

Why did I eat that bagel this morning? 

Am I ever going to get my lazy self to the gym?

Vv Post 2I was a sophomore in high school when I went on my first diet.

A lot of girls were doing it, it seemed like the cool, hip thing and I desperately wanted to fit in. A friend recommended shakes for lunch. Though at the time, my body was used to way more food, so I brought a sandwich too.

With time, I became more disciplined.

One shake and half a sandwich.

One shake and no sandwich.

One shake.

Half a shake.

Thankfully in time, I snapped out of this. I missed good food and was sick of being hungry. Yes, I ate more but the lies of not being pretty still snuck in and polluted my thoughts.

vv 3When I was a senior, our teacher told us we could study anything.

Anything?

Yes, anything. 

My mind swirled. What am I passionate about? What makes me fired up? What makes me smile or a little bit sad? What's something I know little to nothing about and wish I knew more?

For the first time in ever, I made a decision in less than 30 seconds. The topic I wanted to rip a part and pull through was clear.

How the media reinforces a negative self body image. 

I wanted to research it. I wanted to shed light on the epidemic and how much I loathed the way women and men were misrepresented.

How the expectations presented were unattainable and deadly.

vv 6I share all of this with you dear reader, because I believe whole-heartedly in another way, a change of course.

And because I have to believe some of you have felt this way too.

I have to believe, though it pains my heart, that you've felt not enough. That you've felt guilt after eating. That you've screamed in the mirror after trying on fifteen different outfits before going out. I have to believe, because I've felt all of this too, that you've thought your story was too small or insignificant to share.

That maybe it wasn't a story worth telling.

If I could leap through the screen and hug you I would.

vv 4

Can you visualize once more with me?

Imagine being at that same Target checkout line and reaching for a magazine on the shelf and finding a picture of...you.

Does that sound crazy in our world?

As you flip through the pages, you find women you recognize and admire. Women who've sat around your table. Women who know and love every laugh line on your face.

Imagine reading stories of courage and hope and redemption. Imagine finding heartache and friendship and laughter.

vv 5This dear readers, is what Verity Vareé is all about. This is exactly what this company of women are trying to accomplish. They seek to share your story, your mothers story, your neighbors story and publish it in a beautiful book for all the world to see.

But it doesn't stop there.

This publication is only the beginning of even bigger dreams. Dreams of hosting and running workshops. Dreams of speaking into the lives of young girls in schools and after school programs. Dreams of telling stories of real beauty - the kind that doesn't need to be filtered, altered or changed.

I believe in this company so much. I love, adore and admire every woman on the team. Head on over to their about page to meet them all too. And folks, these ladies need our help. Right now, we can all be part of the mission of celebrating true, raw beauty. We can all be story tellers and sharers.

Watch their beautiful video below to hear the heart behind this project. And head on over to their kickstarter page to learn more!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/verityvaree/verity-varee-book-launch-a-true-beauty-collective

 

 

Dear Mom,

Lauren Gay Photography I started this post late Tuesday night with hopes of publishing first thing Wednesday morning.  And now it's Thursday.

Oops.

But with my head spinning over the fact that my sweet sister, your dear daughter, became a mother, I just couldn't get my words to fall into place.

Plus it was 10:30pm and I was slowly turning into a pumpkin.

So I didn't finish these words on your birthday.  But, who cares?  Lets celebrate all week. You deserve it.

It's hard to sum you up Momma.  It's hard to pinpoint all the many parts that make you brave and bold and loving.  Because here's the thing, you're an all the time, tell it like it is, hug ya when you need it, powerful woman.

You're one of the few people who can read me.  You know when I am actually completely terrified while I pretend to be cool as a cucumber.

You know full well I'm lying through my teeth on the phone when I say, "Yes Mom, I'm fine".  When Lord knows I'm not.

You're always the first one to call or text or apologize when we've had conflict.

I can be so prideful.  But you?  You just forget about keeping score or who was right or wrong. You just love and forgive and let go.

So much of who I am is because of you.  How do I know?

I struggle to arrive anywhere empty handed.  Be it a plant, cookie tray, or bottle of wine, I need something, anything, to show folks I am so touched to be in their home.

Because you always insisted we bring something.

I  believe a good ol' fashion thank you card never goes out of style.   I can hear your voice ringing in my ear, "Maeve, did you call so and so for that sweet gift?  Did you write them a card?"

I ache to be a good neighbor and friend, even when it might feel awkward or inconvenient.

You're the first person to bring a loaf of bread to a new family that moved in down the street.  You call and stop by when a family has lost someone really important to them.  You check up on the elderly neighbor who lives alone in case they need something.  You invite the neighbors kids over for a swim in the pool.  You babysit your daughters friends kids.

I believe, with all my heart and soul, that all we are and do and believe starts in the home.

You made sure we always ate dinner together as a family.  Even when life was crazy. Even when you and Dad worked full-time jobs and grandma moved in and Jess played field hockey and I played..cheerleading.  Our table was a sacred place.  And that could never be broken.

I believe marriage is hard work.  I know it's something you have to fight for, each and every day.  You've shown me it's about taking a leap of faith and choosing commitment.  It's about standing next to your man when he becomes choked up giving a speech.  It's about always giving each other a kiss when you leave for work. It's about choosing to talk at the dinner table, not read the newspaper, when the kids go away to college.

I also know when a really good song comes on you get up and dance - immediately.

Lauren Gay Photography

I'm constantly in awe of you mom.  Constantly inspired by your love and gratitude and generosity.

I know life has changed drastically.  I know it must feel strange to retire, to see your two little girls all grown up, to see your oldest daughter become a mother too.

But I am so excited for you.

I'm excited to see how you grow and dream and love, even more deeply.  I'm so excited to laugh and dance and sit around the table with you.

Cheers to your life, in all it's beauty and change, in all it's grand adventure, unfolding bit by bit, moment by moment.

Happy [belated] Birthday sweet mother.

I love you dearly.

-your daughter