Friday, August 12, 2016

Gal Pal Society:Shelby

Shelby:23

I think most of us take for granted the positive power social media presents us everyday. We view one another's lives through photos and videos but bypass actual personal interaction we COULD have with one another if we only chose to. Shelby and I became acquainted through our Instagram accounts, and honestly I don't remember who reached out to who first, but needless to say a friendship blossomed! Although she lives in Utah and I'm here in Ohio, we have formed a special friendship over unique life experiences, and a natural bond. We have spoken about a potential "girl's trip" in which we can finally meet in person whenever our finances allow it, but in the meantime we remain in contact and speak on a regular basis.
I have grown to truly admire Shelby's heart, and impressive strength in terms of her struggles past and present. One of our common bonds is our pasts with eating disorders, in which we both have proudly conquered. She spoke in our interview that her son Leo, had a lot to do with her recovery and changed  her perspective on caring for her health which rings so true for me. I'm highly grateful I have a Godly friendship built on the ability to be completely transparent with our flaws, but also one that encourages each other in our strengths.
Since I was unable to personally take photos of Shelby and her adorable family, she was kind enough to allow me to share some from a recent session done by Passafras Photos, a local photographer in the Salt Lake City area. If you're in need of a photog and in the area, check them out! How precious are these photos, seriously!

 
Leo you're killing me with that smile and hairdo combo!
Such a dreamy couple and landscape!
Again, with the hair!

You're a Mama to a precious baby boy! What have you learned most about yourself since you welcomed Leo into the world? Are you surprised by anything in particular?
I realized my strength and the power I have as a woman. Our bodies can do such cool and amazing things! I always thought it was amazing, bringing a life into the world. But once you actually go through it yourself, you see things differently. I have a new appreciation and love for myself that I have never had before by becoming a mom. I never thought I would feel that for myself or my body, but I look at my baby and I always feel so proud that I made him and that I help him grow everyday. Becoming a mom is the coolest thing.
I know that you've struggled through some serious issues, including an eating disorder in the past. What's a constant motivation for you through recovery and moving forward?
My son, Leo. He saved my life, literally. I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly 7 years and finding out I was pregnant changed everything. He pulled me out of a really dark hole and seeing him everyday keeps me going. It's a constant battle I fight, some days easier than others, but I know the life that comes along with my eating disorder and the things I would lose... It would take away this amazing life I have right now-- and it's just not worth it.
At what age did you find you became "comfortable" in your own skin, and was there anything significant that gave you that "AH HAH!" moment?
The day I became a mom was significant. I realized how incredible my body was as a whole and how amazing it is that I brought a life into the world.This last year with my son has made me realize the important things in life. I don't have time to worry about what I look like and I realized that's not what's important. I used to spend a lot of time and energy worrying about my weight and what I looked like on the outside. Having a baby really put into perspective for me what's actually important. I kind of laugh at myself sometimes now at the things I used to worry about. We all struggle with insecurity, but it's important to love yourself the way you are. I think it's especially important once you have kids. If I sometimes feel like skipping lunch, he keeps me on track because I know he's watching me and he looks up to me. I want him to always love and accept himself, so I work really hard on myself everyday so that I'm able to be a good example.

What is the most profound advice you were given by a female, and whom was it from?
The best advice wasn't ever anything said, but it was things that were shown to me. The one person that comes to mind is my mom. She's the strongest woman I know and has overcome so much. She always shown me the meaning of strength, what it really means to be strong. That it doesn't always mean that you don't break down and cry, but that sometimes you do break down and cry and that's okay.She's shown me how to be a good person, and shown me how to see true beauty in myself, in others and the world. That no matter how beautiful someone is on the outside, it doesn't always mean they're beautiful on the inside.I could write a book about things my mom has taught me, she's a beautiful person.

What can you do today, that you couldn't do a year ago? What is one thing you hope you can do a year from now that you can't do today?
Tell people how I feel! I've always struggled with that but I think becoming a mom has made it easier for me to say what I need to and stand up for what I believe in. I don't let people use me or walk all over me and I love how empowering it feels to be able to say no without an explanation.
A year from now, I hope I can say that I'm in school. I've applied for college quite a few times, and completed a few semesters at a few different schools. I ended up leaving every time. I guess I haven't quite found what I want to do. I have so many passions and things I want to try, but I finally think I have found something I want to pursue, and I'm hoping by this time next year, I'll be working on a degree. I'm very hopeful that this is it this time. My bank account is hopeful too!

You are a woman of many talents and traits! What is your greatest passion, aside from motherhood of course?
 I have a huge passion for art and music. I used to write songs and sing. I even got signed to a record label, but have yet to move forward with any projects since having my baby. I used to dream of being a singer, but plans change and I love where my life is at now. But music is still and always will be my biggest passion even though it's not something I do much anymore. One day I hope to get back to it when this new motherhood thing settles down. I also love photography! I shoot weddings and everything else as kind of a second job. I've always had a passion for it since I was little.

What do you think is most important to teach Leo regarding women, and his future female friends?
This is a subject I feel so strongly about. I think the most important thing to teach him is RESPECT. I want him to see women for who they are and what they can do, not just their bodies, or what they look like. I want to teach him the same thing my mom taught me, which is to see beauty on the inside. I want him to know women serve a purpose, and that purpose is not for mens pleasure, despite what society tells him. I want him to know the real meaning behind feminism, and how he can support the women in his life. I also really want him to know that being a gentleman is still worth the effort.

What do female friendships need more of? What do they need less of?
Support. I think in today's society, it's so easy to feel jealous and competitive. But all women know and understand the pressures placed on us. I think we need less competition and more support for one another.

Shelby, thank you for sharing your story and being such an inspiration! You're going to do great things in life, and I can't wait to see how God blesses you and your family!
Love ya girl.

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