In Defense Of Yoga Pants: Live And Let Live

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By Kate Kole

I’m wearing sweatpants as I write.  Which is unsurprising, because I spend as much time as possible in my sweats. It’s been a lifelong love affair between me and that glorious cotton/poly blend and I have the childhood photos to prove just how often I’ve chosen to favor comfort over fashion.

So, it pretty much goes without saying that I can totally get on board with hitting the gym in sweats. Especially on an 8-degree morning, like the one detailed in The New York Times OpEd piece, Why Yoga Pants Are Bad For Women.

What I can’t get on board with is this: shaming women who choose to wear anything else, like the “skintight, saran-wrap-thin yoga pants” the author references. Continue reading

What I’m Just Now Learning About Self-Love

What I_m Just Now Learning About Self-Love

By Kate Kole

I grew up in the era of Freddie Prinze Jr. movies and Nicholas Sparks novels, and you’d better believe that my view towards romantic relationships was skewed accordingly. You know, towards that soul awakening, against all odds, white hot and passionate kind of experience. Which it seems, exists in some form and duration, but isn’t exactly the foundation of every lasting love story.

My journey towards self-love has proved to be equally misguided. It doesn’t look or feel like I thought it would. I firmly believed that once I sorted through my life and perfected myself, then I could accept and celebrate who I’d become. Self-love was a finish line to cross with a million road blocks to overcome and mile markers to get through first. Continue reading

Letting Go Of The Need To Be Liked And Loving Myself Instead

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By Becky Houdesheldt

First, let me say that it is not difficult to get me fired up about something, especially if I’m passionate about it. Here’s an example. Once, when my brand-new hand mixer broke after 2 uses, I went on a tirade about how my parents have had the same hand mixers since I was old enough to know what they were, and they’ve never had an issue, and how things aren’t made the way they used to be. Yep. I did.

Sometimes I’d get caught up before I had a chance to realize what I was doing, and then profusely apologize. It’s not in my nature to upset the apple cart, as they say. Often, I’d rather just be quiet and let everyone get along rather than speak my truth. The older I’ve gotten and the longer I’ve been sober, the more I recognize that fear has a way of dominating my life. When I am in fear, I make decisions that compromise my core values because I’m unwilling to deal with the potential unknown outcome. Continue reading

A Reminder For When You’re Feeling Lost

A Reminder For When You_re Feeling Lost

By Kate Kole

My first job out of college was working as a photographer assistant for a school portrait business. Our team of photographers and photographer assistants drove across our Iowa and Illinois region to take yearbook photos. In order to get to schools on the other side of the state before the day started, we regularly had to leave our office well before dawn. On one of our 3:30 a.m. wake-up call mornings, the photographer and I got lost. This was pre-cell phone apps and car GPS systems, so our earliest sign that we’d missed our exit wasn’t thanks to Alexa telling us to make our next legal U-turn, but instead was courtesy of a “Welcome to Missouri” billboard.

Luckily, the state trooper who pulled us over for driving well beyond the speed limit was kind enough to give us directions to where we were going (along with a hefty ticket). And miraculously, we weren’t far away. In our frazzled high-speed chase to capture middle school glamour shots, we’d simply overlooked our exit. Within minutes, we were back on the road and even made it to the school on time to take pictures. All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Continue reading

I’m Not The Enemy, You’re Not The Competition, We’re In This Together

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By Becky Houdesheldt

Can I just say that I am tired? I am so tired. I’m tired of using other women as a barometer of how I feel about myself on any given day. I’m tired of constantly feeling as though I’m less than because I’m not as thin as I once was, and envying women who appear to be walking around without a care in the world. I’m tired of making assumptions about women that I don’t know because of my own insecurities. I’m tired of making other women competition in my mind.

I’m tired of wearing undergarments that physically hurt me in order to appear as though my physique is different than what it actually is. It’s exhausting. I am never equal, I’m always better than or less than. It is absurd. I’m tired of hating myself because I don’t fit into what society says is beautiful. I’m tired of basing my value on what I think I see in the mirror. Continue reading

Life > Our Bodies

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By Kate Kole

I went to the beach last week. And for the first time in 2 years, I decided to bare my belly in the sun. Because, I wanted to go into the water with my nephews and relax on our sprawled-out blanket. I wanted to listen to the soft waves roll onto the shore, and feel my feet sink into the sand, and watch the sunlight glisten on the water without giving my body as much as a second thought.

Mere moments after taking off my tank top, my desire to forget about my figure and focus on an afternoon with my family faded. I began studying my stomach, critiquing its imperfections and the way it folded as I sat down in my chair. I glanced around, staring at other women, feeling the all too familiar urge to compare my body to theirs. Continue reading

Blowing My Own Cover

Blowing My Own Cover

By Kate Kole

Growing up, I struggled to learn math. From long division in elementary school to algebra in high school, I had to work relentlessly to comprehend equations and formulas. I went in early, met with my teachers during lunchtime, and often stayed late to receive the extra help I needed. Even after getting loads of specialized one-on-one attention, math still felt difficult.

My struggle frustrated me. I spent hours in my bedroom at home, textbook open, tears welling up in my eyes, overcome by the feeling that I was failing. It came so much easier to my classmates, and in comparison, I felt like I was lacking some essential book smart gene. Continue reading

Self-Care Is An Inside Job

Self-Care Is An Inside Job

By Catherine Miele

Nowadays, “self-care” is as ubiquitous as gym selfies and Instagram-worthy slices of avocado toast.

That is to say, self-care is everywhere.

As the wife of a licensed professional counselor and as somebody who lives with my own mental health issues, I believe that practicing self-care is a critical component to living a well-balanced life.

But are we taking the concept of self-care too far? Are we misunderstanding what it means to care for ourselves deeply and compassionately? Continue reading

Enough Is Enough

Enough Is Enough

By Kate Kole

Maybe it’s because summer is coming. Or maybe it’s because I’m a sensitive person, or because I work in the fitness industry, or because I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m not really sure what the main culprit is. All I know is that I’m increasingly getting the sense and feeling the message that the toned body comes first and the confidence comes second. That sculpted arms and tight tummies are the ticket to self-love. That acceptance comes with a smaller pants size and prettier face. That embracing who we are is only really possible once we’ve achieved our goals and proven our worth. And that feeling like we are enough is and always will be contingent on something external. Continue reading

Just Show Up

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By Kate Kole

I love the moments in life where things just seem to click. When a song plays, or a conversation happens, or a piece is published – and right there, in that instance, you could practically swear it was meant for you – like the universe somehow aligned to give you the boost, inspiration, or wisdom you needed to carry on. Continue reading