"My body may not be “Instagram perfect”, but it’s strong, and it’s mine, and I’m proud of it." - A story by Liz Colhoun

“It’s not about perfection it’s about the process.” The words Catherine left us with on the second to last song.  The lights completely off and the smell of a freshly blown out candle guided me to the finish. Feeling fierce, accomplished and unstoppable.

I’ve always been a fierce and strong-willed women.  I ALWAYS lead with my heart. Perhaps that’s why every job I’ve ever had, in one way or another, was all about taking care of others. I’ve planned people’s weddings and organized their closets and even their homes. I’ve worked as a personal stylist, helping them feel and look their best.  As a pastry chef at a restaurant in San Francisco,  I spent  long hours rolling dough and melting ganache, creating cookies and beignets hoping to leave diners wanting to come back for more.  If there’s one throughline in my career, it’s making people feel special.

face2.jpg

None of these jobs could have prepared me for the ups and downs of motherhood. When my husband Mikey and I welcomed our first baby, Wells in 2013, he was everything I had always dreamed of. Becoming a mom was, too.  But I soon saw myself acting strangely: running to target at all hours to buy diapers. Jetting to Gap and ZARA to get our family coordinating outfits. All things that didn’t NEED to be done. I was so busy I didn’t take advantage of those newborn cuddles and I for sure wasn’t napping while the baby napped.  My need to make people feel special had turned into a form of mania. By trying to keep control of everything, I actually felt completely out of control.

Fast forward three years to the birth of our daughter Margaret, the mania came back with a vengeance, and this time I fell even harder. I had gained 75lbs  during this pregnancy.. Instead of manic trips to Target, food had become my drug. As my mania swung out of control, I became obsessed by what others thought of me.  Scrolling through Instagram, bombarded by images of perfect-looking moms, with perfect looking bodies, only made me feel worse. I felt like I was falling short in every way, from my body to my newborn daughter. 

 I had no idea that I was suffering from postpartum depression. All I knew was that I didn’t recognize the person I saw in the mirror. I wondered if I would ever find myself again.  

pic1.jpg

Then, in the fall of 2016, my sister talked me into trying a SoulCycle class.  I fell hard again, but in a GOOD way this time.  There was light! There was happiness! A world beyond running errands, changing diapers, and being a mom! Those 45 minutes on the bike became precious to me. They gave me time to think. They gave me space to dance and plot the next step in my career. Most of all, they gave me time to reconnect with my body. Two rides a week became three, and then four.  Now I ride all the time and within a year and 200 SoulCycle classes later I have found myself pushing the limits again and challenging myself!

Being that I now felt like the best version of myself I needed a new challenge. That’s when I signed up for the “Dare to Bare” event. To celebrate all that I have overcome in the past year and a half. Don’t get me wrong, “baring my body” in public still scares me. I still worry what others will think and how they will judge my curves. But that fear is also a motivator as well as a broader statement, both for myself and my daughter. My body may not be “Instagram perfect”, but it’s strong, and it’s mine, and I’m proud of it.  In a world where women are expected to sacrifice themselves for others, while always looking the part, that’s a message I want her to hear.