“In order for us to be the best version of ourselves, we need to first take care of ourselves.”
This post comes from our friend and Studio City store manager, Niree.
Growing up, my twin sister and I would do everything together. And people always ask, “What’s it like being a twin?” The answer is hard to explain… mainly because it is an unexplainable connection. It’s being born with a best friend who looks like you, sounds like you, talks like you, and understands every single emotion and thought just by looking at you. We were born with intertwined souls that are only complete when we are together. She is a part of me the way I am a part of her.
Our childhood consisted of playing in the backyard, commiserating about how annoying our older brother was, riding our bikes and, most importantly, eating and laughing together…. and we sure loved to eat. Our 8-year-old selves ate anything we wanted without worrying about calories, sugar, fat content, etc. We loved junk food. We pluralized the phrase “junk food” to “junks,” and our parents would allow us two “junks” a day. My sister and I would assess what, when and where we would be eating our “junks” that day, based on what we had in our fridge and what our plans were for the day. If we knew we were going to the mall, we would eat a “junk” at the mall and bring a “junk” back home to eat later that night while watching the Disney channel. During the school week, our mom would allow us to purchase one “junk” at school. When we came home from school we would eat one other’s “junk” after dinner and homework. Life was great. We turned 10 and two “junks” became one junk — it was a tough time. To our young ears, the fact that we could now only eat one junk a day was devastating news. I remember my sister and I cried to our parents when they told us this traumatic news, asking, “Why, mom and dad, why can we only eat one junk a day?” to which my mom responded, “Honey, we need to be healthy and we need to eat well.” At the time, we didn’t understand what she meant by that.
The wonderful thing about being young is that there is a universal language all children speak that has no room for criticism, judgement and ridicule. Kids want to be kids. They want to play, laugh, eat and run around. There is no “I feel fat today” or “I feel heavy today.” These words do not exist in a child’s vocabulary. When our mom said, “We need to be healthy and eat well” we were so confused; we had never heard these words before. My sister and I felt good. We weren’t sick, nor did we feel sick, and when our mom said “healthy and well” we didn’t understand. We told our mom, “MOM, BUT WE ARE NOT SICK!” to which she responded, “It’s not about being sick, it’s about being healthy.” To two 10-year-old twin girls who basically planned their day around “junks,” we knew our lives had shifted and it would never be the same again. What we didn’t know was that our parents were preparing us for middle school, where adolescent angst and overall awkwardness became the name of the game. Our mom would always say, “Enjoy your childhood” and now I know why. As children lucky enough to be surrounded by family that state how amazing and beautiful you are every day, and are thrust into the adolescent world full of naïve judgement and criticism, you start questioning everything. We’ve shed so many tears about mundane and superficial things that seemed so important at the time.
As life would have it, my twin and I grew up and life happened. We saw our mom lose her 33-year-old niece to breast cancer, we saw our mom go through the pain of losing her sister to breast cancer, and we saw our dad experience the pain of losing his sister to ovarian cancer. Our parents hid their pain well, never really letting on, which to me is supersonic power.
I’m not that strong. Tragedy often yields strength you never knew you had; well, my parents should be made of kryptonite by now. What this taught us at a young age was to not look at the physical. Go outside and live. Be healthy and well. If you are craving donuts, eat donuts, just don’t eat 10…. and if you do, take the stairs the rest of the week. If you want a hamburger, eat one and follow it up with ice cream, but go hiking or take a jog the next day and enjoy the sunset. Don’t deny your body what it is asking you to feed it. Do what you want and live. Be Healthy. Take a walk with your dog to the ice cream store. Take advantage of the sunlight and swim; if you don’t like to swim, play beach volleyball. If you live in a region privy to 4 seasons, walk when there is sunlight, make snowmen when there is snow, pick flowers in the springtime at the park and play in the leaves during fall. You don’t need a lot of money — or any money — to do any of these things. All you need is YOU. We are on this planet for a very short amount of time. Make the most of it. The notion is hard to embody at times. I hear you asking yourself, “When, when will I have the time to do any of this with work, kids, obligations, etc…” There will never be time if you don’t try to make the time. Try. It might not work one week, but it might work the next week. Don’t forget about YOU. As working women, and when I say “working” I mean moms, professionals, students, etc… we get so caught up in the task at hand and our day to day, that we tend to forget about ourselves. Please don’t forget about YOU; people depend on YOU. In order for us to be the best version of ourselves, we need to take care of ourselves first. Even if it’s waking up ten minutes earlier to brew that coffee you’ve been wanting to try and have a quiet breakfast, or to stretch and see if you can still do the splits you used to, or sing a song that you loved in school, start your day off with something that makes you smile. It will help you be WELL. Remind yourself of this when life gets in the way of YOUR time.
Thank you, Niree. xoxo
Stay tuned for more of Niree in the weeks to come…