if the shirt fits… wait.

And the winner for Best Angst Face in a Train Scene goes to… Lindsay Shaw in Chicago Trip 2009!

Hate to break it to you, readers, but  next week there will be no FBDC posts. My husband and I will be off the grid (that is, in my hometown-in-law Chicago — if you’re in town, holla) visiting family and friends while taking a much needed getaway from our busy lives here in the Sunshine State. I will miss you, and blogging, but I’m looking forward to a week away.

The first time I went to visit the city of Chicago I was a completely different person. For starters, I was only Dan’s girlfriend. I wasn’t even his fiance yet, let alone his wife. (I also made horrible faces on trains, apparently.) But more importantly, I wasn’t a self-love warrior. I was far from it, actually; a broken shell of a girl whose entire existence was built on a sandy foundation of impossible standards and unhealthy, destructive lifestyle choices. My second trip to the Chicago area was just over a year ago. I had just started my blog, completely unaware that it would explode into a self-love movement just six months later.

As I gear up for my third trip to the Windy City, I’m excited for a lot of reasons, most of which you’d probably expect: not being at work, spending time with my love, getting to be a tourist, seeing my distant friends and family, and going sledding (it’s snowing up there right now, right? Isn’t it always winter in Chicago?)

But this visit also brings about a unique and abstract excitement that is wrapped up in my self-love journey. You see, sometimes, it’s hard for me to chart my spiritual and emotional growth here in Tallahassee. Living day in and day out here, experiencing each moment laden with baby steps toward self-acceptance, can make my journey seem almost pointless and uneventful. Sadly, because the self-love decisions I make each day are relatively small, my progress sometimes appears minimal at best, invisible at worst. I know they’re making a difference. I do. But it’s like wearing the same shirt everyday when you’re losing weight — you can’t tell the difference day by day, but one day, the shirt just doesn’t fit anymore.

That’s the main reason I’m looking forward to this trip. Each time I’ve gone to Chicago, I’ve noticed that my old shirt — my old self — doesn’t quite fit anymore.

It’s baggier in parts, yet tighter in other parts. Some new holes have been worn and some old tears have been sewn back together. Stains have been bleached out and dirt has been washed away. These changes are small and hard to recognize each day. But by removing myself from the familiar and mundane, I can finally see that I’m growing and changing in incredible ways.

So today, I am thankful for removal. I am thankful for vacation. I am thankful for a change of pace. I am thankful for the realization that each and every day, each and every healthy choice, each and every positive comment, is one step closer to redemption. Renewal. Peace.

I’ve gotten so many emails from people who say that some days it’s so easy to love themselves. They tackle the day knowing they’re beautiful and valued, but then a nasty comment from a friend or a mean email from their boss will make them wonder if any of this is worth it. If you’ve ever felt that way, like you’re wearing the same shirt everyday in “self-love boot camp” but not seeing results, be patient. Trust me. One day, you’re going to realize your shirt is two sizes too big and that the progress you’ve made is an inspiration to the world.

tuesday tip — share.


Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t really love someone until you love yourself?”

I’ve heard that phrase a thousand times before. And while I get what it’s saying and agree with the general premise, I (the all-knowledgeable Lindsay Durrenberger) know that it is actually possible to love someone else, even if you don’t love yourself.

I know, because I did it for a number of years.

During the darkest time in my life, the years in which I could never imagine a world where loving myself was possible, my heart passionately beat for others. I had a handful of very close girl friends that I know I really, truly loved. I was also in a real, honest relationship with a boy I loved so much it was almost painful. My heart was so full of love for others that I thought that even if I did get to a place where loving myself was an option, I wouldn’t have room inside my heart for myself. And, usually, I didn’t mind that so much.

Until I got into a fight with a friend or my boyfriend. Then, everything changed.

My self-loathing would take over my entire existence like a really bad stomach virus. My palms would sweat. My pulse would quicken. My stomach would turn and bile would rise into my throat. Oh no, I would think. They’ve figured me out. They know I’m horrible. The jig is up. My broken, ugly self has busted through my kind facade and now, I’m going to lose them. I will be alone. Forever. Like I deserve.

Has anyone else ever felt this way? Or is it just me? Regardless, it sucks. Looking back, I know I absolutely loved my friends and my boyfriend. I really did. But I didn’t love them in the healthy way that can only come from a person who loves him or herself first. The way that only a person who accepts him or herself for everything he or she is, flaws and all, can.

For reasons I’m not really sure of yet, over the course of the past year of my self-love journey, the love I’ve learned to have for myself has completely changed the way I love my friends and husband. Not only do I know full well that a mistake I make or a flaw I have isn’t going to leave me stranded with no one, but the beauty my friends possess has become much more evident to me. Their smiles are brighter. Their hearts are more exposed. Their laughs sound more heavenly. Their skin looks more radiant. Their eyes are shinier.

I can’t really explain it. But I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t hold it in anymore and I have to tell them how wonderfully beautiful and loved they are.


Even though, based on my story, it might seem a little bit backwards, today’s tip is to tell your friends, family, and whomever else you love just how beautiful and wonderful they are. Daily. If you’re like me and you know a bazillion wonderful people, make a promise to yourself to tell at least one person a day how much you cherish them. How much they inspire you. How much their existence enriches your life. After a week, month, or year of this, you will have a clear concrete understanding of just how much love you are capable of giving out. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn how to dish out some of that love to yourself.

diet coke 12-pack: week of august 22, 2011

Another week has come and is now making space for the weekend! Some of you may be hanging out with some crazy lady named Irene over the next couple of days. Stay safe, friends! Take it from a Floridian — hurricanes are no joke.

This week’s 12-pack is a bit thin, and for that I apologize. I’ve been feeling pretty rotten the past couple days and staring at a computer does not help. But, alas, what I lack in quantity I make up for in quality. These links are pretty swell. Drink up!


Alrighty! That’s it. Hope you guys have a fabulous weekend with minimal storm damage and maximum love. Xoxox.

things i love thursday! (august 25, 2011)

Life is beautiful. We love until we die.

Oh how true. This life is so very lovely, despite the twists and turns and breaks and burns. I have a lot to be thankful for this week, so let’s get to it!


  • Seeing off Felicite and Jessica. And by “smile” I mean “cry a thousand oceans.”
  • Coming home to Michael Hoffman and consequently home made bread!
  • Sugar-free hazelnut soy lattes.
  • “My name is Lindsay, I’m 25, and my favorite J-Hi moment ever is…”
  • Spending quality time with my j-hi students and leaders.
  • Fun Station laser tag! Even though it was a bazillion degrees.
  • Unexpected hang outs and alcohol consumption with old friends.
  • Apples to Apples. ALWAYS.
  • Spontaneous compliments.
  • Spending the morning with my love.
  • The Breakfast Club bible study.
  • Student Ministry open house.
  • The senior high leaders.
  • Twitter secrets.
  • Hanging out with Trisha, Chrissie, and Angie for wedding planning (even though I can’t tie a bow for beans and am therefore essentially useless, haha.)
  • Going out to dinner with my love.
  • Chips and salsa.
  • Friends’ birthdays! Yay Libby and Randy!
  • Finnegan’s Wake.
  • Blushing.
  • Sacrificing sleep for fun things.
  • Matt, Tyler, and Cherish!
  • Wine.
  • Salmon.
  • Jeopardy.
  • Talking about literature. (And humorously bashing Twilight.)
  • My husband. Seriously. He makes me laugh so much.
  • Wearing my favorite dress!
  • Hot Chelle Rae. (Not even close to ashamed.)
  • My lunch date with Lauren and wonderfully massive salads at Hopkins.
  • Everyone is back in town.
  • Music.
  • Art.
  • Love.
  • Life.

Phew, now it’s your turn! What do you love?

tuesday tip — labels.


I’ll never forget ordering my first small t-shirt.

When I was in college, my sorority got t-shirts made for pretty much every event we held. I always ordered a medium because that was my size and, courtesy of my twisted ED-wired brain, I was always terribly ashamed of it. I was positive that whichever sister I submitted my order to was judging me for being a medium and not a small, and that everyone who saw me in my shirt thought the same thing.

My junior year, right before I was diagnosed with EDNOS, I ordered a small for the first time. I knew I’d lost a good deal of weight, so I was confident (hopeful?) I’d be able to fit into a small. When my shirt came in, I stood in front of my mirror, held my breath, closed my eyes, and tried it on. When I opened my eyes to see that the shirt fit, my spirits catapulted me up into the air onto Cloud 9.  Angels sang the Hallelujah chorus as I pranced around proudly in a small sized shirt. I felt unstoppable. I felt invincible.

And, of course, by invincible I mean relieved that my starvation was finally paying off in a visible way.


A couple months ago (before I tore my ACL) I was in my room getting dressed to go on a run. I opened my t-shirt drawer and sifted through my collection until I finally found one of the several small shirts I ordered myself in college. I held it up to my chest, thinking it probably could still fit, and then I stood in front of the mirror, closed my eyes, held my breath, tried on the shirt, and then…

Oh shit.

The shirt didn’t fit, which made sense, because I’ve gained weight since being diganosed with EDNOS. Duh, I thought. I knew this would happen. I sat down on my bed, my spirits crushed, and didn’t even bother going on my run. Now I have to wear medium shirts and everyone is going to see that I used to fit into small shirts but now I have to wear mediums and therefore I’m fat and ugly and worthless and…


If you’re like me and just knowing that whatever label you’re wearing isn’t small enough, let it go. Not only does no one else on the planet know what label you’re wearing (contrary to popular belief, it’s printed on your shirt, not your forehead) but no one else cares. Oh, and more importantly, labels have no bearing on your self-worth whatsoever. Whether you wear a small or an XXL, a 4 or a 20, you are lovely. You are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Imagine what life would be like if that was printed on your shirt. Go ahead. Imagine it.

And now, make it your reality. Mentally replace all of your clothing size labels with words like, “beautiful” and “gorgeous” and “talented” and “incredible.”

Because even though your size labels are only printed on the inside of your clothes for only you to see, these true labels are what everyone else already sees. It’s about time you did, too.

diet coke 12-pack: week of august 15, 2011

Happy Friday, loves! Hope you’ve had an incredible week. Mine’s been quite the rollercoaster, but I’m blessed as always. Hope you enjoy this week’s 12-pack!


Alright, kiddos. That’s all for now. Weekend hard. 🙂