Compliments. Can They be Toxic Without Even Realizing It?

Adulting

“OMG you look so good.”

“You are amazing!! So proud of you.”

“Girl, you look better than ever. So happy for you.”

“Give me your secret!”

“WOW, you look great!”

“Good for you for taking care of yourself and sticking to this journey. So inspirational.”

I’ve seen these comments or comments similar under so many weight loss transformation pictures, even some of my own. It feels so damn good to transform your body. I know, because I’ve done it. It’s so incredible to see someone’s weight loss and it’s hard not to praise the crap out of them, because you know they most likely went through hell to get to where they are now.

I truly would not have thought anymore about this topic a year ago. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind that there may be an underlying issue here. I have recently started to follow women on social media of all shapes and sizes, specifically body positive influencers like Mik Zazon. This is done intentionally to broaden my understanding of women and to break free from the social construct that we are put in as young girls. We are taught and shown that image is everything. Even if your parents showered you with compliments (mine did) and let you be who you wanted to be (mine did), it’s extremely difficult for us not to compare ourselves to the thousands of images we see daily of skinnier and prettier women splashed all over social media and Netflix. How can a few compliments from our parents or spouse combat that? They can’t, they truly can’t.

“Okay, Taryn. That is no secret. It is hard to feel beautiful in today’s society, but what’s that got to do with complimenting someone’s weight loss?”

Is has EVERYTHING to do with it. How many of us have looked at women who have gained weight and thought to ourselves, “Gosh, she let herself go. That’s too bad. How sad for her. I wonder if she’s okay?” Quite honestly, I’ve thought these things before. Now, how many of us have looked at women who have lost weight and thought to ourselves, “I wonder if she’s okay? I wonder if this weight loss was due to anxiety or depression? I wonder if she was feeling so shitty about herself because of society that the only way to be happy was weight loss? I wonder if she loves herself more now?”

The answer is no. We don’t think these things. We praise her. We are so proud of her. She is killin’ it! We want to be like her and she is now worthy of praise because she’s a skinnier (and better) version of herself. Before, all we saw was weight and we felt bad for her. So this is the BIG question that I want to pose to myself and all of us…Did her weight loss change all that was good about her on the inside? Is she now magically mentally more capable and/or smarter? Does she not have a million more qualitites to praise other than her appearance?

An example from my own life…

I struggle with anxiety and when I have anxiety I don’t have an appetite. I also swear that the anxiety butterflies in my chest and stomach (currently flying around as I type this) burn my calories for me. When I first had a big weight gain it was so embarassing. I was drinking way too much. I wasn’t working out. My mental health was in a horrible state. BUT, when I lost 10-15 pounds, everyone praised me for it. That initial weight loss was all due to a bad break up. I couldn’t eat and my axiety was through the roof. I also was still drinking too much. My mental health once again not great. But who cares right? Because I was skinnier, so I was better.

Flash forward a couple more years during the hardest time of my life, dealing with my mentally abusive ex. I once again dropped 10 pounds and I was THIN! My mental health…the worst it had been. I was drinking occasionally but not as often, because I was honestly scared too. I didn’t know what I’d do to myself or him if I got drunk. I needed to be clear headed in case I needed to call the police etc… but I remember saying “well, my lifes in shambles, but as least I’m skinny.” I remember feeling so sexy, but you guys I was broken and shattered.

I has been working out during this time and started to understand that going to the gym or praciticing yoga was a great way to cope. I still continue that to this day. It’s way more mental for me than physical. I am in the best place mentally I have ever been although some days, not really. Let’s just say I am in the place where I am starting to understand myself. I’m starting to understand that life’s hard just means I’m doing life right. Thank you Glennon Doyle (If you haven’t read her book Untamed, you need to). I’m human and it’s okay to be mad, sad, happy, disappointed, anxious, angry etc…it feels good to accept all that I am.

That being said, I am also in a very good place physically and trust me, everyone notices and everyone compliments. In fact, the first thing some famly members say to me when they see me is comments about my weight loss, because once again, I’m skinnier so I’m better. There’s more to be proud of, because look how good she looks! Guess what, I still have crippling anxiety that beats through my chest day in and day out. I still don’t have an appetite and have to force food down my throat sometimes. I am not better! I am still struggling, especially during these COVID-19 times when the future of my business and our wedding is unknown.

But anyways, the whole point I’m trying to make is that YOU are still worthy of love and praise and all the good things no matter what size pants you wear. YOU are not your weight! YOU are not fat, you have fat, which is perfectly normal! YOU have a beautiful wise mind and caring spirit. No matter how much your weight fluctuates, no one can take that away from you! The reverse is true too, if you are an ugly person, no amount of weight loss will heal the resentment and anger you feel towards others.

I do have a disclaimer though….my mental health and feeling confident on the outside does have a direct correlation to how I am doing on the inside. I’m also in no way saying that we should stop complimenting people’s weight loss completely. Compliments are an amazing motivator and quite frankly, they just feel fricken good! I’m still navigating how I want to move forward with my compliments on appearance. It’s tough and I don’t have all the answers. I genuinly appreciate compliments, of course, but I can’t help feel that if I gain weight will I be undeserving of them? Will I be unworthy of praise? Will people think I’ve let myself go?

We just need to be mindful of the ways in which we compliment. I think as a society, especially raising kids, we should compliment the person on who they are not always on how they look. Examples:

“Wow, you are incredibly resilient.”

“You have the most caring and loving heart.”

“You walk into a room, and it lights up.”

“I am a better person because of you.”

“You challenge me and teach me so many things. You are a blessing in my life.”

“You are an amazing human.”

This is a tough topic! I love feeling pretty and I love looking good to be quite honest. I personally feel better about myself when I’m toned, tanned, and working out. I believe in the power of moving your body. But there’s a difference between being skinny and being healthy. I always strive for health and whatever the result is physically, then it is what it is. This topic is also triggering and I apologize if I triggered you in any way. If you are stuggling with your relationship to food. I see you. If you are starving yourself to fit into that swimsuit. I see you. If you are obsessively worried about gaining weight. I see you. If you know that you’ll never look like the models and you can’t accept it. I see you. If you’re terrified of gaining weight. I see you.

Biggest thing I hope to do, is to at least start conversations about this. To pretend this dichotomy in our society doesn’t exist is ridiculous. Let’s keep talking about it! I hope to gain more insight on this by talking with more women. I hope one day I don’t have to rely on people’s compliments about my physical appearance to feel good about myself. I hope one day, I will believe I’m worthy all on my own.

Much love,

T

I'm Okay and Then I'm Not

Adulting, Dance, Mental Health, Womanprenuer

I wish this blog post was fun. I wish I was taking about fashion trends I’m currently loving or discussing ways to switch your old products to safer beauty, but I just don’t have it in me today.

A week ago I was hit with the reality that my business would be “shut down” until AT LEAST April 3rd. I own a dance studio and I make a living off of being there, in person, with my students. That’s my favorite part about this business actually is the personal connection I have with my kids. Yes, there’s other options and thank goodness we have technology, but it’s not the same.

I am a part of this network of dance teachers/studio owners on Facebook and while it’s been amazingly helpful at times…it has caused me so much anxiety through this process. There are thousands of members and among them are studios that have been around for 50+ years or instructors that have been teaching for 20 years or dance companies with hundreds and hundreds of students with the money/resources to tape professional, online lessons etc…. THIS as a beginner with a small town studio has made me feel inadequate and completely shaken my confidence. Gosh, I sound whiny, but it’s how I feel!

Here I am 100 miles from my studio. I have teachers that are amazing, but they are scattered around trying to still keep up with their own college classes, now online. I thought I knew how to lesson plan, but physically not being there has me stumped. Yes, I am aware of the Band App and Zoom. I’ve heard it all and I’ve read every suggestion out there. It’s a mess and today, I’m just not able to pull myself out of the negativity.

I have emailed out next steps to my WDC families. Even through my hopelessness, I do believe communication and transparency are key. I do have some solutions at the moment and I know for a fact everything will be okay…eventually.

I feel guilty for even throwing myself a pity party when there’s people out there loosing family members to this virus or the elderly who don’t have much time left and aren’t able to have visitors or the students with horrible home-life situations who rely on the schools for food and stability. It’s all too much right now.

The weight of it all feels so heavy. So heavy in fact that I want to lay on this couch and hide for awhile. I know my body needs to move and I have plenty of dancing/exercising I need to do, but I don’t want to. I’m tired.

If you know me, you know I try so hard to see the positive and keep the humor alive even in the midst of the chaos, but today I have nothing to give. I am nothing to laugh about.

I hate writing blogs like this…. where I have no advice at the end. No profound statement to give you all. No amazing words of wisdom or empowerment. All I have is sadness in my heart today and if that’s you too, you’re not alone.

Most days I power through, but I know it’s okay if there’s days where I can’t. You don’t have to either. Whatever inconveniences you may be feeling right now because of this damn virus, big or small, you are entitled to them. You want to cry? do it. You want to scream? do it.

Growing up, when I was stressed out, I remember my mom telling me to just do at least one thing or get just one thing accomplished that day. I’ve been overwhelmed since birth, I swear to god! But, I carry that advice with me especially in situations like this. One task at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time.

I will eventually be my motivated self again, I just know it, but for now negative Taryn is going to try to accomplish at least 1 more thing today. Positive Taryn will be back soon.

Much love,

T

Top 20 for 2020

Adulting, Mental Health

I don’t do super specific resolutions, because I feel like I am ever-changing and mid-year or every week I could come up with a new goal ya know? We shouldn’t limit our goals, dreams, or desires to just once a year, BUT with a lot of reflection on last year…I do have 20 short, but sweet tid-bits I’d love to do, accomplish, see or learn.

  1. Put down the Netflix, pick up some more Brene Brown
  2. Remind myself that I am good at what I do
  3. Understand that 26 is NOT old
  4. SAVE SAVE SAVE that mula
  5. Go to Vegas for my bachelorette partayyy
  6. Actually utilize my barre membership meaning 3+ times a week
  7. Continue to learn how to love every single part of my body
  8. This is a tough one for me…but have a little less care about what others think
  9. Know that it’s okay to not have myself completely figured out yet & find contentment knowing that I may never completely “figure myself out.”
  10. Give more compliments to others
  11. Give more compliments to myself
  12. Get paid collaborations with companies I whole heartedly love
  13. Work with local organizations that help abuse survivors
  14. REMEMBER THAT I DONT HAVE TO DO IT ALL RIGHT NOW OR THIS YEAR
  15. Continue to give my all to my students & host 2 more successful recitals
  16. Go somewhere warm with my sweetie and celebrate our marriage
  17. Clean my car more often (Kyle will appreciate this one)
  18. Visit my bff across the pond
  19. Start to plan my next trip to Australia
  20. Finally….have the most beautiful, romantic wedding EVER!!! 😉

I might not crush all of these and I will most likely revert back to old behaviors occasionally or forget to prioritize my mental health, because that’s life. I’m human. Make sure if you set goals or if you want to accomplish that HUGE dream this year that you also give yourself some grace and patience. It might not happen the way you want it to. Something unforseen may occur, but don’t be too hard on yourself! Happiness is an accumulation of doing the next right thing NOT doing everything all at once and working yourself to death.

Hope your 2020 is a year where you can love every piece of you and for those that are hurting, just know your broken pieces can be placed back together and YOU WILL feel whole again.

Much love,

T

The Proposal of My Dreams

Adulting

I might be biased, but Kyle’s proposal was the best thing I’ve ever seen and It was absolutely the best night of my life so far.

I remember dreaming about this day a couple years ago and it felt so far away. Before Kyle, I really didn’t even know if I’d get married. I was so negative and distrusting of love and Kyle made me believe again, slowly but surely.

First things first, we talked about marriage, kids, and the future a lot. We got a dog together. We bought a house together. I mean we both were committed for sure, but he never gave a real indication of when a proposal would happen like NOTHING…ever. He was cool as a cucumber. It’s ridiculous and impressive!

Buuuuut one day, about a month ago, I did see a specific receipt on his phone (whoops). I did not go searching anymore after that, because I really didn’t want to ruin any surprise he might have. I started to brainstorm with friends about when this could be happening and the only conclusion was obviously Breckenridge. It’s an annual friends trip and we have a gorgeous cabin set in the mountains. We’d be surrounded by friends. I was like, “that is definitely when he’s going to do it, hands down!”

So in my mind I was going to make sure I had a cute little mountain outfit and make sure my nails were perfect, because that’s when it was going to happen, right?

Then Tuesday, November 19th rolls around and I had a scheduled dinner date with my friend Sierra and new friend, Erin who also happens to be the lovely photographer that Kyle and I had take our fall photos! We’ve become close and thought we’d catch up with Sierra after her honeymoon. Erin said she had meetings with clients that day so she was going to be dressed nice. Sierra also said she felt like dressing up a little bit and if anyone knows me, they know I have no problem dressing up! So I was like “yeah, perfect!”

We were in a group text and earlier that day I had suggested tacos but then Sierra said something about burgers at the Old Mattress Factory (Old Matt) and in my mind I was like, “omg yes sounds delicious and also I had wanted to check out the upstairs venue for our possible future wedding (premature, I know lol).

Erin met me at my house earlier that night and we were chatting about everything under the sun and of course, I brought up possibly getting engaged in Breckenridge and she fed into it brilliantly and at that point I 100% thought I would be coming back from Colorado engaged.

Flash forward to the Old Matt…we sat at the bar first. Looking back now I did think that was super odd, like why not a table? We got a drink and the lady behind the bar just happened to be the venue manager. Erin has mentioned to her that I would like to see the upstairs and then Erin had to step away for a phone call with a “friend who was on a blind date.”

The venue manager offered to take me upstairs and Sierra said she’d come with. I left my coat on the chair, because I thought it was just going to be a quick peak around. As we were walking up the stairs, the lady told me that I didn’t have to bring my drink (now I know why) and Sierra was about to set her drink down on the stairs and I was SO confused, but still had no idea.

Then….I opened the door.

Erin Ren Photography

The only way I know how to describe that moment is an absolute adrenaline rush. I remember feeling the same way another time in my life. It was on the state dance floor looking out into the thousands of people that showed up to support dance and watch my team. Pure adrenaline, love, shock, and overwhelming happiness. That’s exactly how I felt Tuesday night. It was kind of an out-of-body experience actually and I really didn’t cry much, because I was so blissfully stunned. I was trying to be in the moment, but my body was shaking and my mind was racing. I remember him shaking too while he said his beautiful speech that I know he had been working on relentlessly. I keep replaying the moment over and over, because I don’t want to ever forget how that felt.

Never in my whole life have I had someone plan something so special and thoughtful. Just solidified that he is indeed the best man in the entire world. Continues to blow my mind everyday.

After he placed the gorgeous ring on my finger, he played music and we danced….

Erin Ren Photography

Of course, throughout the whole proposal he had Erin, the talented photographer, snapping photos and I truly can’t thank him enough for planning that detail, because it was one of those moments that I really want to relive and cherish forever. Pictures help fill in the spots where my adrenaline blurred things out a bit (he got me good y’all).

Along with photos, Kyle made sure to include my best friends and that’s SO him! He’s not just the most amazing man around me, he thinks of others first, always.

So Sierra was at dinner with me and after an emotional proposal, I turned around and there was Alyssa!

Erin Ren Photography

These two cried more than I did. It was so dang cute! They had both known for awhile that this was coming and just a couple days before this Alyssa and I were at wine club (yes, I’m part of a wine club that meets monthly) and I couldn’t stop talking about when he would propose and where! She managed to play it off and keep silent THE WHOLE TIME. Her and Kyle’s sister both knew and their acting skills are above average. Incredible performance ladies!

Speaking of acting, Kyle had called my parents a month prior to this to ask for their blessing (they live across the country) and he also sent a picture of the ring to my Gma’s. His family also knew. Everyone around me knew and I literally didn’t have the slightest clue. Blows my mind!

I’m still basking in all the happiness. My adrenaline has been pumping nonstop and it’s been almost a week! I’m having a hard time eating, because I have so many butterflies. I also can’t stop wedding planning. We have our venue picked and a couple other big details planned already, but truthfully it’s because I’ve known that I’ve wanted to marry this man for 3 years….Soooo I might’ve have been planning on the side for a little while now. 😉

9•5•20 is going to be our best day yet!

Here’s to forever with the man that sweeps me off my feet everyday.

Erin Ren Photography

Much love,

Taryn

Be a Good Person -God

Adulting

I’ve been having multiple conversations about faith, religion, god, and all of the above lately. I’ve chatted with a few friends about it and it’s been a topic of discussion with Kyle too as we plan for the future.

I grew up in the Methodist church and back during my high school days when my parents would drag me there, I would’ve told you it was annoying. But, when I look back now, I am thankful for that foundation and I always left church with a full heart and a comforting feeling.

Kyle has told me that his experience is different. He grew up Catholic and not meaning to offend anyone, but you can imagine what a teenager thought of a traditional Catholic service. Not relatable and something he didn’t find moving or comforting. He said he didn’t take it very serious. BUT, he did love his Catholic High School and the bond he established with his brothers. They went to Mass, had religion classes, as well as the regular curriculum. They held their students to an extremely high standard not only regarding grades, but also behavior. He loved how they had five pillars or something like that, where they were taught how to be men of faith, great future dads/husbands, and to treat everyone with respect.

Because of his memorable high school experience, we are considering having our children go there as well. My only hang up is I do not want my family to be raised in the Catholic church. There, I said it. I don’t believe it’s a requirement if your kids want to attend a Catholic school, but I also don’t know if I want them learning all about the Catholic traditions when that’s not something I necessarily agree with and not what I value in my relationship with God. Also, it’s not what I grew up with! Where I grew up I actually didn’t know a lot of Catholic families or maybe I did and I just didn’t pay attention, but most of my friends either didn’t attend church, were Methodist, Lutheran, or non-denominational.

So, this brings me to the discussion of faith and religion in general. Let’s take out all labels for one second and simply talk about Christianity. First off; I went to Sunday school, I know the main Bible stories, I grew up in church/youth group, and I was confirmed. I loved my experience for the most part and the biggest thing I took away from all those years was that we treat people like Jesus would have treated them. We don’t judge harshly and we try to live like Jesus did with compassion and empathy. The other thing I grab onto is the fact that regardless of what you believe in, there is something bigger than you out there aligning and helping you make things happen in your life. I truly believe in a higher power. I’m a pretty realistic person, but also extremely sensitive and emotional. I know in my heart that something has had my back, because some of the mistakes I made should have brought me worse things and some how I ended up okay. I ended up better than okay.

For me, it’s not about memorizing the bible front to back, chanting the same phrases over and over, sitting in a pew every Sunday, not eating certain foods on certain days, what you wear, or who you fall in love with…it’s about BEING A GOOD PERSON. Just don’t be shitty person. I really don’t think it’s that difficult of a concept.

And those who sit in judgement of others who may not be as “religious” as you…you’re the worst kind of human. Being Christ-like is being understanding of ALL. Jesus walked with the worst of the worst and was there for them through it all. I’ll just bring it back to my favorite quote, “Those with glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

That is exactly what Kyle and I want our future kids to understand…that it’s about being a good human, caring for your neighbor, doing all you can to be empathetic, kind, and loving. I understand that the Catholic church does teach all those things too, but somewhere along the line I feel as though many who attend those traditional services have lost the main point. They get so wrapped up in, “well, it’s just what we do” or “If you want to go to heaven, you just have to do x, y, z.” Like no, I truly don’t believe God wants you to just go through the motions and chant the same phrases over and over again. I believe he wants you to breakdown, cry, and talk to him in your car, because you’re about to lose it. I believe he wants you to ask questions and dive deeper into the meaning of life. I believe he wants you to have transparent and HARD conversations with the ones you love. There’s no way he wants perfection, because it doesn’t exist! I believe he wants us to worship with beautiful, fun music. I believe he wants us to sit and talk about REAL issues of the world and find some answers as empathetic, loving people! AHHH I could go on!

Moral of the story is that I’m re-evaluating what it means to be a “Christian” and what the next steps look like for Kyle and I. The absolute best part about it is that we are very much on the same page. Our values align and we want the same things for our future family, we just aren’t 100% sure what that looks like yet.

I am trying to possibly find a non-denominational church in the Omaha area preferably not too far West as we are closer to downtown, so if anyone reading this has any suggestions please let me know!

Thanks so much for continuing to support my life, my journey, and my thoughts!

Much love,

T

And Then I Came Back to Dance

Adulting, Dance

I tried on some pink ballet shoes, but thought gymnastics might be better

and then I came back to dance

I wanted to be like my friends, but made a shot in the wrong basket

and then I came back to dance

Middle school was tough. “Friends” didn’t want me to make the team. I doubted if I would, but I did 

and then I came back to dance 

Pressures of high school brought me the wrong friends 

and then I came back to dance

Hamstring pulled 

and then I came back to dance 

So many tears. So many hard practices. The crowd roared. We were one of the best in the State 

and then I came back to dance 

The next year was painful. No state visit 

and then I came back to dance

Once again, the pressures of high school weighed on me daily. Started the path of mistakes

and then I lost dance

College was a whirlwind. Depression and drinking.

I had completely lost sight of dance 

Wait. An opportunity approached me. I walked into tryouts with pride 

and then I came back to dance

A fire had been lit. All I wanted was to ignite that same feeling into others

and then I taught dance

A city job pulled me away. Left me empty and after one important phone call…

I CAME BACK TO DANCE

 

Much love,

T