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.

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