Thursday, April 12, 2018

I'm Making a Shift

For many years this blog has been a place for me to share my thoughts, updates on life and mostly vent my frustrations. Those posts may still come occasionally, much like they do now, but I've decided I want to do something more valuable with this space. This idea has been a long time coming and will take much more time to become fully developed, but I can't ignore the pull any longer.

Some of you may have heard of the terms intuitive eating, health at any size, body positivity, some of you may not have, but these interconnected concepts are something I've become very interested in recently and something I plan to learn more about in the coming months and years. I'm not a nutrition expert or psychologist or fitness professional, but I have a lifetime of experiences revolving around fat shaming and diet culture and self-hatred, experiences I hope can make a positive impact on a few of you out there.

I have been blessed with the gift of words, of being able to write and express my thoughts and feelings. I've made a living with writing before (and hope to do it again in the future) but right now it's time to use this talent and put my words to good use, to make this world a better place.

Stay tuned as I work out the details and get my jumbled thoughts in order, but watch for more focused, thoughtful posts and less ranting coming very soon!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It Starts with Love

I've been quiet for about as long as I possibly can. I've had many, many things running through my head in the past few months about body positivity, mom-shaming, mass shootings, and politics. In almost all cases I keep my opinions to myself online because causing an argument on someone else's Facebook timeline is not high on my list of things to do, but I have to get a few things off my chest.
Of course, right now the hot topic is mass shootings and gun control. I'm not here to talk about gun control or gun regulations, even though I am in favor of taking a good hard look at the gun laws we have in our country and seeing where improvements can be made.
I am here to talk about the lack of compassion, understanding, respect, patience, and love that are literally ripping our country and our families apart. In the day of social media, where hurtful, hateful and downright terrible comments are hurled across cyberspace at people we don't know, is it any wonder that more and more kids today are suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses than ever before? Is it any wonder that suicide rates are higher than ever before? Is it any wonder that kids and adults alike are turning to senseless acts of violence because they've been bullied for YEARS?
Yes, there are not enough resources available to those struggling with mental illness to get the help they need, and yes, mental illness, especially the stigma against those with mental illness needs to be addressed in this country. But in the meantime, we have to stop.
We have to stop spreading hateful messages on social media, we have to stop the bullying, we have to stop the hatred and disrespect for people who don't look like us and act like us, we have to stop!
If you are making rude or derogatory comments about celebrities, professional athletes, or anyone on social media you are part of the problem. If you judging or shaming someone who has a different body-type, skin color, parenting style than you do, you are part of the problem. If you are calling people with different opinions than you "libtards" or "snowflakes" or any other names meant to be derogatory YOU are part of the problem. This list could go on and on for longer than any of you care to read, but I'm going to make a bold statement here and say WE ARE ALL PART OF THE PROBLEM. Sorry for the caps, but it's important. I'm sure there are people out there who are wholly inclusive, loving, respectful and kind to every other human being, but I can safely say I don't know any of them. We are all guilty, myself included, of making hateful comments about others, whether in private or on social media, it doesn't matter. Because do you know who is hearing those comments we make in private? Our children, our grandchildren, our nieces, and nephews... impressionable little children that are watching and learning from the things we do and say... the generation that is going to inherit a dark and scary world if we don't do something now.
Different doesn't equal wrong. Just because someone doesn't look like you, act like, vote like you doesn't mean they are wrong, and it certainly doesn't mean they deserve to be hated by people who don't even know them.
Change, real and lasting change, won't happen overnight and it won't be easy, but we have the chance to make a real difference in the world, in our children and the world they are growing up in. Little kids shouldn't have to worry or wonder if they might get shot at school today. But until we start spreading love instead of hate, teaching our children to respect and accept those that are different from them, teaching them that under no circumstances is bullying okay and then modeling that behavior for them, nothing is going to change. Change can happen, but it doesn't start with arguing across political lines, it doesn't start by being hateful or close-minded. It starts with reaching across our differences and finding common ground, it starts with understanding, compassion and respect, it starts with love.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - A Year of Craziness, Happiness and Love

I can't believe 2017 is over already, in some ways it has flown by, but in others, it's been a long year. A lot of things have happened this year, both for me personally and for our family.
I published my first two books this year and it has been a hard, rewarding, learning experience from the very beginning but I hope this is just the beginning! Thank you to everyone who supported my author journey, I can't wait to see where it goes next and I hope there are many, many more books in my future. I am so happy and proud to have finally made my dream of becoming an author come true. 
Mason celebrated his second birthday this year and learns so much every day it is amazing. He is smart and sassy and independent, but I wouldn't expect anything less of him. He is my child after all. He started a new daycare in August and loves to go to "school" and "play" with all his friends. He is still a good eater and loves his vegetables, but also loves Mac and Cheese and candy. We are hoping using the potty will be his next big milestone (finger crossed for everyone involved). Mason loves Real Salt Lake and going to the soccer games; he was even a soccer player for Halloween. He is obsessed with the Paw Patrol and had a very Paw Patrol themed Christmas, which he loved spending with his cousins at Nana's. Although he is definitely a challenge some days, Mason brings so much joy to our lives and I don't know what we would do without him! 
In probably one of the most unconventional ways ever we learned we will be welcoming a new baby in 2018! For those who haven't heard that story, I had a bad bout of appendicitis in late July, so bad in fact that they couldn't do surgery because it was too risky and would've been much more invasive than was preferred by anyone (me and the doctors). So after a five-day hospital stay, I was released and scheduled to have my appendix removed six weeks later when the infection and inflammation had had time to go down. John and I arrived at the surgery center the morning of my scheduled surgery, only to find out I was pregnant and wouldn't be having surgery that day after all! Baby number two is coming late May. 
We had a lot of adventures this year from a family trip to South Dakota to a five-year anniversary celebration in San Francisco to a trip to Seattle for an authors conference.  
I can't wait to see what to see what 2018 brings for me and our little family! And I'm wishing you all a happy, healthy 2018. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One for My Parents

Well hello again! It's been a while. I've composed lots of blog posts in my head since the last time, but I never actually wrote them. Oh well, maybe one day I'll get to them, but for today I want to dedicate this space to my parents.
I was at their house over the weekend and my little sister, who make fabulous wedding cakes, said something about crediting her success to my Mom and Dad always teaching us we could do whatever we wanted. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided she was right.
I can't remember a time when my Mom or Dad ever told me I couldn't do something. Except for the time I told my dad I was going to dunk a basketball, he shut that down pretty fast, but let's be real that was never going to happen. When I wanted to be a doctor, they supported me 100%. When I changed my mind and went into journalism instead they never said I was being silly or throwing away my potential. When I told my mom I wanted to run a marathon she didn't laugh at me, instead, she did it with me. When I decided I wanted to publish a book they never once doubted me, just supported me like they always have. It's because of them and their unwavering support that I've accomplished one of my biggest dreams of becoming an author.
I think my sisters and I are pretty lucky. We grew up being told, and in turn believing, we can do anything we want, anything we put our minds to, anything we are willing to work for. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a support system like that. But there is more! We didn't just get the message to dream big, our parents also taught us that if you want something you have to work for it and nobody owes you anything. I heard the phrase, "Life's not fair," on a regular basis throughout my childhood and teenage years. And while at the time I thought my parents were just saying that to stop the whining of four little girls, I know now that it is true and am glad I learned that valuable lesson as a child. You don't win just by showing up, you won't be successful just because you want to or because that's what's fair, you are going to fail sometimes.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for letting me fail so I could learn how to get back up and try again. Thank you for teaching me that hard work and a good attitude will get you a lot farther in life than talent alone. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. Thank you for teaching me to dream big and never give up.

Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Almost Here!

I don't remember the last time I was this excited. My book is coming out in two weeks! 14 days people! Whew...I can't believe it is finally here.

I've spent the last 8 months writing, rewriting, researching all of my self-publishing options, working with editors and cover designers, and just getting every possible detail figured out. I was talking to John about it yesterday and he said, "Wow you've really put a lot of thought into this." And I have! Not just writing but marketing and releasing it and making sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed.

As a self-publishing newbie, I'm sure there are things I haven't even thought of, but I feel confident in the product I'm putting out. It's been reviewed by beta readers, edited by a professional editor and proofread for a final review. I hired a cover designer who did an amazing job creating a stunning and unique cover for my book. The final manuscript is currently being formatted for print by a professional so I can have physical print copies in addition to an ebook version.

I sent out Advanced Reader Copies to some bloggers and a few friends yesterday, and I've already gotten some feedback. People are reading my book and liking it and it makes me unbelievably happy. There are people that have marked my book "to-read" on Goodreads, people I don't know want to read my book! I don't think I've stopped smiling all day. It is an amazing feeling to have people read your words and actually like them. And it makes me so excited to release my baby out into the world.

I know not everyone is going to like it. I choose a pretty controversial topic for my first book and I know there will be some that absolutely hate it, but I'm okay with that, even the most successful authors have people who hate their books. I've even made peace with the fact that many of my family members and conservative friends will probably hate it. I'm just excited to finally be publishing my book and I can't wait for you all to read it!

For anyone who cares, I've already started work on my second book. It is in the very beginning stages of writing but I'm planning on publishing it late this year.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Body Shaming Is Not Okay

I made a small post about this on Facebook a few days ago but I felt like it deserves more, especially since I have such strong feelings about this topic.
Some people (read: ignorant idiots) are shaming Lady Gaga for her "pooch" that was visible during the Super Bowl Halftime show. I'm sorry, were we watching the same show? I saw no pooch, what I say instead was an incredibly talented dancer and performer doing things in sky-high heels that I couldn't never hope to do in bare feet. She ran and danced and sang for 13 minutes, something that would leave most of us a huffing, puffing, sweaty mess. But some people think her stomach is what we should focus on. Those people can f*** off.
Body shaming is not okay. It's not okay to make fun of stars that will never hear (or even care about your opinions), it's not okay to hide behind the internet and make comments you would never say to someones face. It doesn't matter if Lady Gaga will never read your insults because you know what there are other people listening to and reading the thoughtless comments you make.
Let me tell you a real story. One day several years ago my two little sisters and I were watching CMT and Lady Antebellum was on the TV. The lead singer, Hillary Scott, had recently gained some weight (I actually think she was pregnant but that is besides the point). My two sisters spent several minutes commenting on how she looked and how much weight she'd gained and how fat she looked. I sat there nearly in tears. If they thought this beautiful woman on the TV in front of me was fat, what on earth did they think about me? So I asked them. "If she's fat, what does that make me?" They back pedaled so fast I actually find it funny now. "You're not fat Paige." "That's not what we meant." "You look great!" Yeah okay, like I was going to believe any of that after what I'd heard them say three seconds ago.
See it didn't matter that those comments weren't directed at me, they still hurt, because I can guarantee you I was fatter than Hillary Scott but if she wasn't pretty enough, then I definitely wasn't. It didn't matter that she had a killer voice and a successful music career, all that they were talking about was her weight.
The point of this story is not to make my sisters feel bad, but so everyone can see how these seemingly innocent comments and discussion can have an impact on people you know and love. I know there are people out there that will say we should be less sensitive and not take everything so personally, those people can go to hell. Why don't you try telling a third grader that is bullied because of her looks not to be so sensitive?
I want to cry for all the girls growing up in this age of social media. When I was a little girl I only had to deal with the mean things people were willing to say to my face, now people hide behind the internet and hurl insults at people they don't know and it is so sad. When all we do is critique a woman's appearance, regardless of what other amazing talents she may have, we send the message that looks are all that matter, that unless you look a certain way nothing else matters. A message little girls are getting loud and clear. Is that the message you want to send to your daughters? Your sisters? Your friends?
I don't have a daughter but I can guarantee you if I did those are not the things I would want her to learn about self-worth and body image. I would want her to know that she's beautiful no matter what, that beauty goes deeper than the surface, that there are more important things than thigh gaps and the size of jeans you wear, that her successes and failures in life do not hinge on her looks, that she is worth more than the opinions of ignorant people, that the number of likes on Instagram or Facebook don't equal happiness, and that is she loved and cherished whether she's a size 2 or a size 22.
The world is full of enough hate and discontent without tearing each other apart over nonsense like a belly pooch. Let's stop tearing each other down for things that don't matter and start celebrating each other for our difference's and unique talents because that's what makes this world a beautiful place.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Letter to Me

For every girl out there doubting yourself and hating yourself and crying yourself to sleep at night because you aren't pretty enough or popular enough or skinny enough. For any girl who has ever been bullied or made fun of or alienated. For every girl who is struggling through high school wondering if things will ever get better, this is for you. 

Dear 17-year-old Me,
I have so many things I want to tell you. I know that high school can be hard, high school in a small town has to be the worst. There is no where to hide, everyone knows you and the mistakes you've made, you can't get lost in the shuffle like you could at a bigger school. Don't worry though, someday you'll look back and love that you got to graduate from high school with the same 20 kids you went to Kindergarten with.
I wish I could take away all the hurt and the pain your going to feel over the next few years but I know I can't. It's going to hurt like hell when the boy you have a crush calls you fat, and when your friends have to set you up a date for prom because no one will ask you on their own, and when you overhear someone you thought was a friend saying hurtful things about you. Whoever said "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" was a liar because those words are going to hurt and you're going to cry and you're going to eat cabbage soup for 5 days straight because being skinny would make everything better.
I want to tell you not to do those things, not to let those people crush your spirit and take away your confidence but I know you probably won't listen because I've been there and I know it's hard to listen to the few people telling you you are beautiful when it seems like so many voices are saying the opposite but don't let the opinions of a few mean-spirited people change you. I see the way you laugh and make fun of yourself so others can't do it first. I know it is exhausting to put on a happy face every day and pretend to be confident even when your not, but don't give up. Don't stop being you because some people are too ignorant to appreciate how truly awesome you really are.
Believe me when I say someday, someone will tell you you are beautiful every single day and mean it. They will love you with their whole heart not because your perfect but because they love your imperfections. It might not be as soon as you would like but be patient. I've said it already but it's worth repeating don't give up, don't lose hope, don't stop being you, because somewhere out there is someone waiting to love you just the way you are.
Try not to hate your body. I know it's hard but try to love the body you have today, it's capable of some pretty amazing things. Love your body, take good care of it and don't be so hard on yourself, and I promise you will be happier. Love your body for what it can do, not what it can't do. Don't compare yourself to others, we were all created different for a reason, embrace your differences because they are what make you you, and you are beautiful. You are unique and beautiful, don't ever let anyone else tell you otherwise. Don't let a few bullies dictate how you feel about yourself, let your confidence shine through and be proud of who you are, no matter what anyone else has to say. 
Don't be afraid to follow your dreams. You can be anything you want to be, truly believe that. There will always be someone there ready to tell you can't, that your dreams and goals are ridiculous and unattainable. There will always be someone that wants to keep you down so they have someone to keep them company at the bottom. Don't let them do it! Don't ever be ashamed of being smart and driven. Be proud of the skills and talents you were blessed with, nurture them and watch them grow and you'll be amazed at the places they will take you.
High school is hard, I know it is, but nothing lasts forever. Choose to be happy now, don't wait for some magical number on the scale or a boyfriend to be happy, life is too short to rely on others for your happiness. Find happiness in the journey and enjoy every moment. 
There are so many amazing things waiting for you out there, go get them.