Dear Victoria’s Secret…

Dear Victoria’s Secret,index

Can I call you VS? I think the endless amounts of money I’ve spent in your stores and once-Angel-holding-card-member gives me that right. I hope this message finds you well. I know that you are super busy sending out magazines to every household in the world of your catalogs even when they aren’t subscribers (is anyone besides college fraternities?) with your gorgeous models so perfectly Photoshopped (check out this great site to see some really botched up Photoshopped images: The Illusionists). But I’m hoping you could indulge me a bit…supermodels-beforeafter

In my twenties, I lived for your stores (and your online shopping). I couldn’t wait for the swimsuit issues to come out. I bought at least five swimsuits every issue. I received a pair of flannel pajamas every year for Christmas (and matching slippers!). I had what felt like a never-ending supply of 5 for $20 panties. I even enjoyed your semi-annual sale commercials where the British lady would tell me how “bras and panties are up to half off”. I owned pretty much all of your PINK sweatpants and a large majority of your workout clothes too. Let’s face it, I was one of your VIP customers.

But now, I’m a mom. And that doesn’t mean that moms can’t shop at Victoria’s Secret, it means that as a mom of a one-year-old daughter, I never want her to. So please…PLEASE target the appropriate age demographic for your stores. As a thirty-something-year-old, do you think PINK targets me? Do you think PINK targets anyone besides teenage girls? Because that’s just what we need, more teens wearing slutty lingerie. Why not? Isn’t there a shortage of teen pregnancies these days? And yes, I understand the act of having sex isn’t consummated through lingerie but what else are your ads/stores/ridiculously young half naked models promoting? Because it’s not a slumber party! And don’t even get me started on your holidays commercials…

I value your need to conform. I really do. You need sales and young girls need…what would you call it? Confidence? Yes, young girls need confidence. They need to feel good about themselves so let’s push bras and underwear (I LOATHE THE WORD PANTIES!) on them. Better yet, let’s make a brand called PINK and make it all ‘cute’. Oh and let’s add some sports/university lingerie too because that’s important for college girls, having their university or some ‘cute’ saying about their university plastered across their ass. I’m embarrassed to admit I have a sleep shirt by PINK that says “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” As a wife, it could maybe pass as cute, maybe…if you’re newly married and under the age of twenty-seven. But as a high school or college student, it’s not cute. It’s degrading.

Women want more respect. They want to be treated as equals with men. But when is the last time you saw a man wearing underwear that said “come and get it” or “pay attention”? Why are women expected to be sexy all the time and why do we encourage it?! WHY? The selfies, the duck face photos, the bikini shots, the boob shots….what the shit?!

I mean seriously, what the shit?! The problem is we’ve all done it. We have. You took a selfie or a bikini photo at some point in your life. And if it was recently you probably posted to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat. However, if we cannot respect ourselves then how can we expect others to?

There must be a start and Victoria’s Secret you are it. Stop advertising to young girls! Just stop. Being sexy at sixteen isn’t cool, it’s called a bad reputation. No one under the age of eighteen should be in your store without a parent. PARENT!!! There should not be high school girls shopping with their boyfriends at your stores! Don’t you find a problem with that? Oh wait, you don’t. You just want sales and everyone to salivate over your televised fashion show which is pretty much the Miss America Pageant in lingerie…ok, now walk and wave…watch those wings, Angels!

Don’t get me wrong, your models are stunning. They really are. But that’s not my problem. It’s how you advertise them. It’s the marketing strategy you have targeting young girls. It’s calculating. It’s corrupt. It’s cruel. Because the thing is, we need young women to gain confidence without having to expose any of their body parts. We need young women to feel beautiful without changing who they are. And if we continue down this rabbit hole, it’s only going to get worse. What happens when eleven and twelve year old girls are shopping at your stores? Will you be comfortable selling them lingerie? What if it was your daughter? If you are Victoria’s Secret then where are the women in your company? Because there’s no way in HELL there are moms pushing for these kinds of ads, especially if they are moms of teenage daughters. And let’s not forget how Photoshopped your pictures are! WE ALL HAVE FLAWS! That’s what makes us human. These images are such a distorted version of reality! What are we really teaching here? That nothing is real? Sure seems like it…

The sad reality is you won’t change…but I will. I will stop going into your store. You’re not the only place that sells bras and underwear (for anyone interested Gap Body makes bras that are way more comfortable and last longer than VS). I will continue to throw away your catalogs and coupons. I won’t miss you. Not one bit. And as my daughter grows up, I will tell her everyday how beautiful she is. And when we walk by your stores I will tell her that nothing in there will make her beautiful and to always remember that. It must be easy for you to sleep at night. You can’t ‘control’ who makes purchases in your stores and it’s not your ‘fault’ if someone misinterprets the brand you’re representing. Frankly, I don’t know what you’re representing but it’s not self respect and it’s definitely not about giving young girls confidence.

Thanks for listening and do me a favor, save a few hundred trees and never send me another catalog again.

Sincerely,

A mom who loves her daughter more than you could ever understand.

When Did I Stop Caring Completely?

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There came a point in my life when I stopped caring about what I looked like. I didn’t stop caring completely, I just ‘wasn’t as concerned’. It happened after my wedding. I was in the best shape of my life and I was newly married. I had a husband so my desire on ‘dressing to impress’ vanished. I found someone who loved me for ‘me’, even when that me had no make up on or was covered in acne creams. He loves me through all it all, even in the moments where I am the furthest thing from ‘sexy’.

We found ways to continue to stay in shape so we didn’t fall into letting ourselves go as a married couple, but when you live together, there isn’t really time to impress or a need (I think the vows ‘for better or worse’ could probably be applied here). Sure, we got dressed up for date nights, work functions, holidays and other events, but it wasn’t all the time. It wasn’t like when we were dating. And even after a while, you become comfortable enough to stop ‘trying’. I remember the first time I decided not to wear make up to hang out with my now husband. As I drove over to his (now our) home, I had this pit in my stomach filled with worry about what he would think. I entered with the bold statement, “well, this is me without make up” as he told me my face is beautiful and he always wants to see me that way…

Well, his wish is my command! I’m sure he didn’t mean ‘all the time’ but these days, that’s definitely what he gets. I have completely stopped caring about how I look. I think the worst part is it’s spilled into the rest of my life too. I go grocery shopping in sweat pants, I sometimes don’t even brush my hair before throwing it up and heading off to work and when we have parties/work functions/events to attend, it’s truly a struggle for me to fully dry my hair and put a somewhat presentable face forward.

I have become a beautifying slob. I have stopped caring completely about what I look like and it’s not okay. I have become lazy with my looks. I am embarrassed…except, I’m really not! I can scold myself a million times but I just don’t care that much. I should…but I don’t. I had a friend mention to me who got a new job that she wanted to dress better because she thinks people take you more seriously when you do. I tend to agree. Putting on my business suit, fixing my hair and applying some make up goes much farther than my baggy sweaters and maternity pants (which I completely need to stop wearing but I refuse until I return to my pre-pregnancy weight!). Or does it? Do people really care? Seriously, do they?

I need to work on getting back to trying with my looks, I really do. I guess there is just so much else going on in my life I don’t have the time or the will. Because as much as I say I don’t care, i still have that desire to feel pretty. I want to look it and be told it. Not all the time, but every now and then. So today I dressed better for work, wore my hair down and even applied some make up. Does it make me feel more confident or that people are taking me more seriously? Not really, but at least it’s an effort. And without effort, we would never have results. Beauty is only skin deep, but it never hurts to give that skin a good house cleaning once in a while.

Why Every Girl Deserves a Sister…

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I love my sister more than anything. I don’t think I could even put into words that amazing relationship that we have. In my eyes, she can do no wrong. I will never judge her. I am very protective of her (she is younger than me). I see all the beauty (inside and out), grace, faith and love that she possesses. I am constantly in awe of her. I admire the person that she is and sometimes wish I could be more like her. She has the ability to look for the positive in every situation (and person). She rarely complains and never gossips. She is one of the most patient people I have ever met. Her faith is so devout, inspiring and beautiful. She is charitable, honorable, trustworthy, beyond generous and my best friend in the whole world.

I truly feel blessed because I know not everyone has a ‘blood sister’. They have best friends that are their sisters. They have cousins that are their sisters. They have co-workers that are their sisters. There’s is a sisterly bond that often exists without a blood relation. Whichever your relationship is, you (hopefully) have a sister (or sisters!) because I believe that every girl deserves one.

Our sisters are our best friends. They are our confidants. They are the ones we go to for advice, to vent to, to cry to, to cry with, to laugh with, to share with, to grow with and to experience life with. They are the ones we tell our innermost secrets to and the ones we know will never judge us, no matter what. They take us as we are. They love us unconditionally…the same way we love them. We may fight, argue, disagree and at times even say hurtful things, but we forgive, we forget, we move on and we let it go.

They’ve seen us at our best and at our worst. They’ve stood by us in some of the most joyful and difficult times in our lives. No matter if we were born with a sister or met at any point in our lives, we have shared in experiences and created memories that will last forever. No distance could ever come between the relationship you have. No amount of time could pass that could alter your communication. At times, you know exactly what one another is thinking. You laugh at inside jokes only the two of your could ever understand. You never worry about being anything other than yourself when you’re together. You always ‘tell it how it is’. With sisters, you are always there for one another…always.

As I think about the future and one day, God willing, having more children I hope that Emma will have a sister. I hope that she will experience the pure love and joy of such a special bond the way that I do. If she doesn’t, I hope that she finds a friend to call her sister, one that she can rely on, trust and love like she is family. Every girl deserves a sister. ***Thank you Steph for being not only the incredible sister that you are but my very best friend.

Why My Child is Beautiful

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I was never one to say that ‘babies are beautiful’, even though they are. I always thought of them as tiny little beings with misshapen heads that look scared, squished and too fragile to touch!

I never really loved babies either. I wasn’t the type to go all ‘goo goo, ga ga’. I would hold them but was quick to return, especially during crying fits. Everyone would tell me “it’s different when it’s your own”, but I worried ‘what if I don’t feel that way?’.

It wasn’t until I had a child of my own that I realized everyone was right and how truly beautiful they are. When I found out I was pregnant I had an immediate connection and knew no matter what he or she looked like, my child would be beautiful. And I don’t mean beautiful in the vain sense, but a special form of beauty. The kind of beauty that takes you breath away because you created this child…what a miraculous gift from God! Truly, how else could it be described other than a miracle?

I look at her and think how lucky I am. She is beautiful to me because she was created out of love. She has a beautiful soul, so pure and unknowing of the world around her but exploring with every part of her. She has beautiful tiny feet that curl up and a beautiful smile…and sometimes smirk (just like her daddy). She has beautiful eyes and a beautiful little tiny nose. She has a beautiful heart which I know will only continue to flourish and melt my own as it does each day. She is beautiful to me because she is my baby.

So now I get it. I get why every person in the world thinks their child is beautiful…because their child is. How could you not think so? How could you look at that little face and see anything but beauty? My feelings about babies has changed. I love them…and I love them all. My heart aches when I hear a baby crying, especially my own. I love holding babies and try to soothe them when they are crying (even though it’s sometimes difficult when my baby is screaming her head off!). And although it was one of the most challenging times in my life, I miss my newborn baby (but look forward to all that will come as she continues to grow)!

It isn’t wrong to agree with someone telling you that your child is beautiful and it isn’t boastful either. It’s a sense of pride you feel knowing that you created this human being…YOU DID! In my eyes, my daughter always will be beautiful and I am proud to say it. For those of you that have children, I hope you are proud to say it too. Life is a gift, and I feel so blessed to have given life to such an incredible little girl.