I dumped my skinny jeans into the Goodwill bag. I was so freaking tired of them, and to me, they symbolized all the things I did/said/wore in an effort to be like all of the cute girls in carpool line. I mean, everyone was wearing them, so how could I not own a pair -- or 10? But every time I wrangled and wiggled my way into them, my legs looked like sausages freshly stuffed into their casings. And then, that critical little voice in my head would tell me that I was too fat, and if only I could lose those 10 pounds, I could look fab in my jeggings. We all have that critical little voice in our brain telling us we're not good enough, we don't have enough, we're not pretty enough. So what if we decided to silence that voice and tried being who we really are instead of who we think we should be? What if we chose to live a life where we weren't chasing the skinny girls, the popular girls, the girls who like to tell us constantly how great their lives are on Facebook? We're beautiful, talented and amazing, and actually living our lives like we believe it can start right now. Here's how to begin:
1. Acknowledge that you are so sick of jeggings. You decide that you want what makes you happy, confident and fabulous. Those skinny jeans just don't suit you, and clinging to a fad that really should only be worn by 6 ft. tall women will only make that bitchy judge in your head scream louder. Start the process right now -- ditch that skin tight denim and take a deep breath. You're on your way.
2. Get Going. Once you've made the decision that you're tired of trying to be someone else, you have to act on it. The Universe isn't going to drop a care package of jeans on your lawn--you have to start doing the hard work. Take an objective look at where you are and where you want to go. What's holding you back? What do you really love, even if it's not cool or trendy? Get excited and take steps--even baby steps--incorporating things and ideas that make you smile.
3. Ask for help. Don't try to go through this process alone. You need someone who is further along on this journey and can help you find your own path. You need your mentor to conduct a therapy session in your closet, so that when you're ready, he can wrestle those MC Hammer pants out of your hands. Making life changes is hard, so lean into your mentor when you start getting discouraged and want to fall back into sweatpants.
4. Do the dirty work. Try on tons of different jeans. We have to try different things to see what works for us and what needs to be thrown onto the sale rack. It may feel like you're grasping, trying anything and everything that might make you happy. You may even try on some things that your friends have or do, and that's ok, but you need to remind yourself that while these things may work for them, something even more fabulous is waiting for you.
5. Throw yourself a little party. You ditched the constrictive skinny jeans and the symbols that they represent. No matter how small the achievement, revel in it. Have a cocktail right where you are. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your moment of realizing that there's a whole world out there void of skinnies, and you want to experience all of its possibilities. With each discovery of something wonderful, throw yourself a mini celebration. With every faux pas, do the same--not because you fell down, but because you got back up that much wiser.
6. Don't stop just at jeans. Your whole wardrobe likely has clothes that you've kept around "just in case", but they're holding you back from realizing the true beauty of your mind, your soul and your backside. How can you shine if you are buried under that oversized crochet Christmas sweater that was the rage in 1989? (We clearly must have been in a national crisis if we thought it was worthy of a rage.) Don't be scared to junk all of the things that worked in the past but just don't do it for you anymore. It's time to branch out and surround yourself with the things you truly adore and the people who see you for who you really are--and love you even more for it. Even in your MC Hammer's.
Heather Sample Spires is a practicing attorney, wife and mother living in Atlanta who formerly only valued success, hard work and Louboutins. She is currently working on a humorous memoir recounting her rocky yet irreverently funny journey to find balance, love and purpose in her life.