At the beginning of February, a good friend of mine from graduate school invited me to a LuLaRoe (LLR) pop-up party on Facebook. I wasn’t really sure what it was, but in support of my friend I decided to attend. I love clothes, she loves clothes and she knows my style.
It was a Friday night- the hubs and kids were occupied- which is not always the case on Friday nights. I sat down in front of my computer with a glass of wine (okay, maybe more) and got ready for my introduction to LLR. It was chaotic and awesome and overwhelming and I loved it!
The most confusing part was figuring out how to actually buy something. With LLR, there are only a couple thousand pieces made in each print shipped to consultants across the country. So, the chance that you will see something in more than one consultant’s shop is rare. You’ve got to be fast as you comment “SOLD” on each pic. This creates a frenzy as we all vie to get our hands on our ‘unicorns’ (a popular, elusive print).
Well, two glasses of wine and $250 later, I had figured it out and was hooked.
Most of what I had bought that night was for my daughter’s birthday, but I did snag a pair of leggings and a new skirt for myself.
Little did I realize it, but at the time, I was- in many ways- on my way to hell in a hand-basket, to quote my mom.
A month before, I found out that I had stroke-level high blood pressure, my hair was falling out, I’d gained 30 pounds, had more zits on my chin than a 13-year-old boy, and my house was still undergoing renovations from the year before. To say I was stressed would have been an understatement. I was falling apart at the seams and had no idea, except that each day it was a little harder to keep up, a little more difficult to keep it all together. Some days all I wanted to do was sleep.
Having gained so much weight since starting my consulting job two years before, my daily uniform had turned into an oversized green cable-knit sweater, a tee shirt and jeans. The only elements to this ensemble changed daily were the tee shirt and undergarments. I was in a rut.
But, then my first LLR package came in the mail and saved me. Yes, I know; it is just clothes. But, these clothes…
These leggings- everyone loves these damn leggings.
I am NOT (or I wasn’t) the type of person who believed and endorsed that leggings are pants. But, they ARE!! They are so soft, the softest thing you will ever put on your lower extremities. One of my friends describes them as clouds for her legs. She’s right.
And, the patterns. Oh, the crazy patterns. Again, not really my thing…but I have since embraced the crazy.
For me, there is something fun about looking down at my legs while I am working and seeing some cool geometric pattern, or scissors (because they remind me of my dad), or cats (because there is a crazy cat lady trapped inside me) or sparrows (because I am a dreamer and want to fly) …the patterns are so numerous and unique there is something for everyone. And, they change monthly.
At a time when I felt like I had lost myself, yet again, it was leggings of all things that brought me back to where I needed to be. But, it goes so far beyond leggings.
Skirts, dresses, and tops oh my! And, it is all awesome! I know I may be starting to sound like a commercial and yes, I have decided to drink the Kool-Aid, and I am on the list to onboard for LLR.
But, what I have since found is that LLR is more than clothes. While the clothes are great, that is not what got me hooked. It was the LLR culture and the communities these women have developed that drew me in.
I’ve been fat all my life. One of my earliest memories, from about 5 or 6 years-old, is wrapped up in my hate of the fitting room. Because I was already in husky sizes, because there are mirrors everywhere in those little rooms, because I just fucking hated buying clothes as a fat kid.
As I got older and had more control over what I wore, I figured out how to dress to feel more comfortable in my skin. But, like many women, my body was (and remains) a perpetual source of contention. This discomfort is often amplified when I come across other girls and/or women who I feel inadequate around. Society frequently encourages women to compete with each other. We all feel we have to- be the prettiest, the skinniest, the curviest, the smartest and so on. I don’t like nor do I understand this competition.
Female acrimony does not exist in the LLR groups I am in. The women are NOT competing with each other. They empower each other. It starts off so small; someone will post a picture of herself in a new dress or skirt, hesitantly. And, within moments, seconds even others comment: You are beautiful, you are phenomenal, Rock that dress girl!
And, then as women become more comfortable, they post more and they open themselves up to their LLR community.
I want to be a part of that. I want to make other women happy by empowering them.
People like to say that life is short. And, in many ways it is.
But, if we are lucky- it is, ultimately, very long. I’ve made myself over so many times in my 38 years, I’m not sure how many times I have. Each time I come out a better person on the other end.
At the LLR Inspire tour, we spent a lot of time talking about our why. Why do we get out of bed in the morning, why does anyone care if we do?
While at the training, I was like, well, my kids; my kids are my why. Easy, peasy.
But, now with more time to think about it- my why is much more complicated than that. I want to create and own something that is only mine. In 2013, I started HipCajun, my etsy store. I am a terrible business woman. Over the last three years, I have given away more bracelets and earrings than I have sold.
But, I didn’t start the shop to make money- wire bracelets are not going to send my kids to college. I started my shop because I make more jewelry than I can ever wear, and I make more lip balm than I can ever use. I noticed that other people liked what I made and it made them happy when I just gave them one. And, it made me happy too.
My why is also making things. I live to create. It doesn’t matter if it is wire jewelry, lip balm or an infographic on cloud trends; making things makes me happy and gives me purpose.
I know that this post may seem like some sort of endorsement for LLR and in some ways it is.
But, in the end, it is really a call to women everywhere who don’t know their purpose anymore, who have thrown themselves so selflessly into their children, their job, their spouse that they don’t recognize themselves anymore. I am talking to you. Maybe crazy leggings and funky printed dresses isn’t what you need right now.
But, you need something. Go.
Go find what that thing is and embrace it. Take it in and find yourself again.
You are beautiful, you are phenomenal…