This week, I am soexcited to share a collaborative blog post I did with Crystal Karges, who is a mom of five children and a Maternal Health Specialist on, “How to raise kids who are resilient and confident in their bodies.” A topic that is SO important this day in age with social media and all the societal pressures we face. Crystal and I met over 10 years ago, at my first job out of college. I was a Milieu Therapist in San Diego at an Eating Disorder rehabilitation center, which was by far the most challenging job I had ever had. Since then, we stayed connected through social media and I am so grateful that she recently reached out regarding this topic.
So, before I get into that specific post (sharing later this week), I wanted to share a personal triumph about my journey with confidence.
Middle School and High School are one of my biggest fears when it comes to raising children, let alone teenage girls. I don’t want to fast forward too much here with anxiety, but as I recall, it was some of the hardest years for me personally. I struggled with the NEED to fit in to a specific group or sit at a desired table in the lunch room, even if I didn’t actually like the people who were sitting there. I think most of us had a similar story, an insecurity to be liked or want to fit in. I wish I could have felt the confidence I do now, but without those tough days, I wouldn’t have learned about who I was as a person and how to get through those adolescent situations.
I didn’t have anyone interested in dating me until I was close to 15 years old, which looking back, seems incredibly young to even say out loud but in reality… it wasn’t that young. I wasn’t initially interested in this guy, as he wasn’t my type and two years older but instantly became intrigued after receiving gifts, flowers, and consistent sweet notes about how he wanted to date me. Sounds like a true gentleman and dream, right? I wish it was. I still feel bad for my young self… the innocence and belief that this was what a relationship was supposed to be like. How would I know any different? He was sweet one minute and manipulative the next. He would drop off a dozen flowers, bagels, and European mix tape and later found out he was dropping off that same mix tape to my best friend a few doors down. A relationship that made me super insecure and unhappy with myself, he would make comments about how I should dress or wear my hair. One of my biggest insecurities started from this relationship, which is the insecurity I had with my nose. I didn’t think about my nose being large or the fact that it had a slight bump at the top until it was brought to my attention in a dodge neon. I remember this like it was yesterday, my boyfriend was driving me home from school with my friend and her boyfriend and as I was sitting on the driver’s side in the back seat I noticed him looking back at me in the rear-view mirror. I thought, how sweet… he’s admiring me, and it looks like he’s about to say something really nice. He goes, “have you guys ever noticed that Lauren’s nose is too big for her face?” My heart instantly dropped, and I honestly wanted to HIDE. That was just the start of many comments that would soon make me a very insecure person… because of someone else who was clearly insecure themselves.
I drove cross country with my then best friend to San Diego after graduating college in 2008. It was by far one of my favorite trips to date for so many reasons. During one of our stops, we were just hanging out in the hotel room, taking photos of each other (shocking, I know… yet this was before Instagram was around!). I later took a shower while she uploaded the photos to her computer. I walked out of the bathroom to, “hey babe, I just gave you a nose job.” I looked at the photo and thought… yeah, that looks better. That was the beginning of real thoughts about getting rhinoplasty surgery. I even made that photo my profile picture on Facebook.
Fast forward a couple years later, I was dining at Rao’s in New York City with my sister-in-law. We were with some friends and a guy came in a little late and appeared slightly tipsy but super friendly. He sat down next to me and we talked about his kids and my wedding coming up. As we were through half of our meal, he turned and looked at me and said, “whatever you do, never change your nose.” I remember feeling embarrassed and quiet at the time and more than likely wanting to cover my nose from him just staring at it… but later in life have viewed his statement as a compliment.
With being in the industry I am in (reality TV and so present on social media) you really need thick skin. Being so public can often result in negative comments on my feed. Yet to be honest, ever since having my kids and being 100% true to who I am I have noticed so much less hate on my profile. Of course, there is always a random DM here or there to tell me how large my nose is… but to be honest, it NOW doesn’t bother me the slightest. Would it have been the case in high school? Absolutely not. A few years ago? Probably not.
In 2015, I had a rhinoplasty consultation in Scottsdale. I made JJ go with me even though he didn’t agree with the potential decision. He was there for moral support! The doctor took a look at my face and told me that my features are very proportional and that all I would need was some minor changes to the nose to make it look cohesive. I was convinced this was the best decision, as I often took photos for the blog at the time and felt I’d feel better about myself in the long run. I received the estimate a week later, being around 6k all said and done. I didn’t have the extra finances at the time, even though JJ said we could save for it if it’s something I really wanted. I always wonder if I had the money, would I have gone through with it? A few months later I found out I was pregnant with our first child. A girl.
When Vivienne was a baby, I wanted to consistently share my thoughts and feelings on IG story but had no time to put makeup on. To be honest, I can’t really remember what life was like before how I do things now… but I remember feeling self- conscious when I wore no makeup and often preferred to appear like I was always put together. A common beginner blogger problem. What was once an insecurity quickly became a large part of my brand, raw me and real talk. It’s been the most natural progression of the blog. I have my girls and you all to thank for this. I stopped caring about what other people thought, especially when I was able to just be who I was in every way and given so much LOVE from you for doing this. So, thank you.
Raising two girls has me constantly thinking about the choices I make on a day to day basis. From the language used in the home to being the best possible role model, it’s a constant thought. There are two sides to this as I would never put down someone for making a change to feel better about themselves, but for me personally, I cared more about having to explain down the road to my girls, with hopes that they don’t feel the need to make the same change themselves.
Now, having rhinoplasty surgery doesn’t even cross my mind. I think the realization of this was based on a few things. First, as someone who is so present on social media, I am not only a potential role model to my two girls, but many women all over the world. I find it super empowering to not look like everyone else on the internet, and hopefully influence you to feel the same way. Second, I want my girls to grow up and feel confident in who they are, without feeling the need to change themselves. Third, JJ has always been super supportive of the process, but I truly loved how much he was against the change. Last, YOU. Thank you for making me feel so confident in my own skin.