Pass the Chocolate.


The kids are napping, so I clunk down on the couch and take a quick look at my phone. What was intended to be an ‘I wonder what so-and-so is up to’ turned into me discovering that a past acquaintance is a very successful fitness instagrammer. She is owning it well and doing it beautifully.

Perhaps it was because, in that very moment, I was unpacking (and shoveling) delicious chocolate biscuits into my mouth while also remembering that I needed to buy a pair of spanx for an upcoming wedding (the timing on that one...) but man, did her insta-feed give me a heartache.

This is not a new experience for me. Depending on the day, I can be a real beast to myself. Some days I can be all about ‘body positive’ and be working hard at taking steps towards eating cleaner, whole, and healthy. Some days, however, I side-eye angrily any wafer of a girl who passes me. I’ll use my metaphorical laser-beam-eyes at any hint of my own reflection. No one wins on these days. I’ve heard the term ‘yo-yo dieting,’ and while I’ve never legitimately dieted in my life, I sure know how to yo-yo on my comparison, my courage and especially on my compassion.

Today, I’m not sure where I’ll be landing. If I’m not careful, it will result in me feeling shamed and a bit angry at this innocent instagrammer and myself.  The shame in me wedges a thought in:

‘that body of yours is not going to be any body’s fitness inspo. That's for sure.'

I sigh.  Today, I want to end the day feeling courage, feeling kind.  The truth speaker in me pipes up:

  ‘That body of yours is doing great work for the season you’re in. There's different versions of beautiful, you know. Oh, also? That dress? You know the one. Damn, girl, you two make a good team.‘

On a separate occasion, I was reading the comment section of a very successful blogger family. (You know, the ones who get paid to live life and go on adventures.) One commenter piped: “They’re the most enviable couple of their city.”  It was snarky, yet, it hit a heart string. It actually hit really hard. It gave me a word that summed up a heart struggle I've had for quite some time.


I knew that these two events were correlated.  I know that if I’m not intentional with my thoughts, there is one thing I'll start chasing after. I want to be thinner or stronger or do a better job at self-care, have a cleaner/better organized home, or well-behaved kids. All these things. Often for a very shady reason. All my insecurities have this at their root:  I crave enviable.

What I find, however, is that becoming more enviable doesn’t actually quench any heart need. Not a one. My need is for connection. I don’t really want to be envied, I need to be empathized with. I want to be related to. I don’t want a thousand followers singing my praises. I want a group of arm-in-arm women speaking truth back to me. “Me too, girl, me too.”

That doesn't come from looking at a well curated picture nor does it come from curating them. That kind of connection comes from a different kind of living. It comes at a much costlier one. I've found it sometimes looks like coming undone in front of people I care about-which can feel so horrific and sanctifying all-in-one. It sometimes looks like showing up, even while feeling the insecurities in full force. It's a deliberate act of not hiding behind a swanky dress, a few pounds lost or a pep talk. It's meeting people where they're at knowing full well they might catch a glimpse of where I'm at  (and a lot of times that place isn't a place sought after.) A lot of times it means walking in a humility that isn't born out of insecurity-and that kind of strength is other worldy.

In this act of choosing to be vulnerable -relateable- it changes the conversation. I don't need to make sure you know I'm succeeding at any section of my life unless it's encouraging, empowering, fulfilling to you too. If it allows you to be included in the party, excellent. I want to share my joys, and my sorrows. But if it isolates? If it makes someone feel like crawling away and not sharing their story? I don't want any of it.

So, in that moment with those two delicious chocolate biscuits in my mouth, I chose between these two realities in my head.  I chose to fight for the truth  I'm wanting to embody. I mustered up the response I know I need to have:

 “She is doing really well with the work she’s doing. I’m glad she’s pursuing health. She’s allowing others to see how to do it-and how wonderful to see so many growing more whole because of her.”

It feels a bit forged in that moment, but sometimes my heart takes time to own the reality I'm fighting for.  I allow her success to not shadow my reality. I remind myself that I am succeeding in my own ways as well. While this body isn’t where I want it to be, it is enabling me to do the good work I’m impassioned to do. It is being brave and patient as I work towards wholeness and healing. While it folds and puffs and shapes in ways that make me often puff and scowl on harder days. It is also strong and allows me to do much. It has given much. It isn’t well preserved, but it has been well used. I’m being faithful with it to the best of my abilities.

My body has been wildly fruitful for me, and for it, I have more wrinkles, greys, and marks. That's not something to dishonor. Nor will I dishonor you because you lack any of the above, or yours come in a different variety.

And so, I do a reset. I look up at my ceiling and mid-mouthful say “Thank you God for the delicious chocolate biscuits!” Unintelligible to any other than the God-Almighty. I say it loud because I can eat them in freedom. I close out of Instagram because I’m not after curated, and my heart clearly is feeling tender. I later laugh at my daughter as she talks in a strange dino-voice at her brother, and I choose to fill up my water bottle and make those small strides towards healthy. I text a friend to share a funny story, to connect-since that's really what I was after in the first place.

My body is ‘full’ and so is my heart and my life. That fullness that I get to embody in more ways than metaphor can live fully next to a gal who is sporting a smaller-size. I can relate to her even if she takes up less space than I. We’re mothers pursuing what we know as best, or we are simply women fighting for connection and truth. She, perhaps, isn’t after being more enviable either. Her pant size, nor her fitness level, nor her success at any thing she's pursuing get to dictate her relate-ability. We have so much to connect over and there's too much at stake to not.

And if that isn't enough good news for my heart, here's some more: If there's one thing I've learned, near every gal I know can relate to a good piece of chocolate. And living here in Finland, I've got enough of that to go around.


  1. "Me too, girl, me too!"
    You wrote so clear and sound with such wisdom and depth something that I could fully relate, all the way! The struggle, the joy, the decision making, envy and longing, so true, so real! And longing to share and connect in it all - o my heart!
    Thank you for writing this!!!

    1. Oh sweet friend! Thanks for taking time to read this and write back. Any time I write something a bit more vulnerable it makes me get a little nervous. Your voice and encouragement are such an anchor. Such a sweet encouraging friend, Ella. That little girl is blessed to have you as her mama.

  2. I feel you today, girl.
    I had thoughts a-tumbling in my head very similar the other day and I have been struggling to form them into a positive blog post that encourages rather than tears down. You, friend, have beautifully described very real feelings and done so in a way that is uplifting and unguarded- as always. Thank you for this post- for your honesty and candid nature and willingness to connect!

    1. It's such a big deal to me to have a friend like you, Amy. So grateful to share our similar joys-and to know you share similar struggles. You're one of my favorite people to connect with.