By the time I hit my mid-twenties, I felt completely lost on how to dress myself. I had spent most of my formative years wearing skinny jeans and a graphic tee or hoodie. If I wasn't wearing that, it was a work uniform. Before I knew it, I had two daughters and a whole new body that came with them and still absolutely no idea how to dress myself to match how I wanted to feel. Try as I might, nothing met the unrealistic expectations set by television and Pinterest.
In an already confusing time in my life, I felt even more lost. I started to find items here and there that I felt good in, but I almost felt fraudulent; like I was trying too hard.
Enter: Filly Flair.
I came across the online boutique Filly Flair in 2015 from a post on Facebook. I browsed their website and fell in love with a brown leather jacket that was perfect for my Halloween costume I was trying to put together. I had to have it. I loved, and still love, that jacket dearly, but I didn't regularly shop the store. Truth be told, at the time I discovered Filly Flair, I couldn't afford to regularly shop anywhere. But I loved the store already.
Even though I couldn't order, I followed their page and often shared their contests on Facebook, hoping at some point maybe I would have the chance to own more of these cute clothes I had always been searching for. When Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2017 rolled around, I managed to snag some deals on their site and was finally able to order a few things. Like the jacket, the styles were cute and the quality so much more than I could hope ordering online. I was sold, but I had no idea some cute clothing items were just the beginning of a new era for me.
At some point, I had been added to Filly Flair's VIP group on Facebook. The team over at Filly Flair was always very active in this group, even including the owner, which was nice to see. Everyone always shared their cute outfits they had purchased, showing everyone how the items truly were instead of us all having to rely on model pictures. While I was unsure at first, I quickly began to love sharing my new items in the group, too. Everyone was so positive and complimentary. We were all complete strangers, but we were all connected by this one store. It was like finding a whole new community!
Last fall, Filly Flair changed things up, which in turn, changed how all of us interacted in the group. They started what's called Comment Sold videos, where the staff (especially the owner!) would go live on Facebook and showcase the new items and the customers commented "sold" to buy it right from the video, clicking a link to check out with ease. The videos let customers get a real feel for how the clothes looked and fit beyond professional photographs on a website. I didn't think I would like the videos. Having previously never been able to make purchases on a whim, the thought of sitting through a God-knows-how-long video instead of scrolling through a website when I had the extra cash sounded like pure torture. But let me tell you guys, I was so wrong. These videos were fun! You got to see the real, bubbly, amazing personalities of the owner and staff as well as getting a more detailed look at these products that a photograph alone can't capture. The new videos became almost addictive. Never having been one to know fashion, I suddenly wanted to know what the next trends were going to be. I began branching out, trying styles I never imagined myself wearing—and never would, if not for seeing them demonstrated so well. And I felt good about how I looked. The feeling I had been searching for for years!
Filly Flair shifted from being just about clothes for me back at the start of this year. The owner had gone to Las Vegas to make purchases for the store. From her hotel room, she would go live on Facebook sharing the newest goodies she found, but being in the intimate setting of a hotel room, the mood was completely different. This was no longer “The Owner of Filly Flair” talking with us from a place of business; it was simply Laura hanging out with us and showing us items she liked. These late night videos became our collective girl hang out time. While it was just a video of her and the women on the trip with her, and comments from us customers, it was a shared feeling throughout. Since, Laura has started going live from her personal bedroom closet and the feeling like we're all friends hanging out is a common topic of conversation. In those videos we get the real, raw life of Laura, with her children or pets sometimes joining in on the fun. Filly Flair isn't just another faceless business, it's a small business (if you could still call it that with their reach thanks to Facebook) owned by a young woman just a few years older than me, who followed her dream and created it with her own two hands.
Beyond watching these videos with hundreds of other women from all over, I've made friends because of the Facebook group. A few ladies realized a couple of us were frequently on the videos and liked a lot of the same items, so one morning, I was added to a group chat on Facebook messenger with these ladies. We've called ourselves the “FF Addicts,” and we talk about our favorite items, share what Filly Flair we're wearing that day, or just talk about what's going on in our vastly different lives.
What started out as a hunt for cute clothes became the discovery of a beautiful community of beautiful women in all walks of life, from fellow moms, grandmas, farmers, women working their dream jobs, students, women traveling the world with their military husbands, just to name a few I've seen. And while most of us have never met Laura or any of her amazing staff, I think it's safe to say we all feel like we have a new friend who rocks an awesome business that is growing right before our eyes.
Deeper than that, I discovered a buried confidence inside of me. Where I was a lost twenty-something trying to find her way in a newly changed body thanks to the miracle of childbirth, I am now a late-twenties woman with her head held high in her new favorite Filly Flair outfit. Of course, clothes are not the end-all-be-all to make a confident person. Beauty on the inside is just as, if not more, important. But you have to admit, when you feel good about the outside, you can feel a lot better on the inside. At least that was the case with me.
In fact, this past June, my husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary in Bora Bora. Over half of my portion of our suitcase was items purchased through Filly Flair. I purchased a lot of it specifically for that trip. I knew that I would have a great time on our vacation wearing a potato sack, but having these items from a company I am passionate about made me feel more beautiful and confident. I absolutely loved taking pictures of the outfits to share with my FF Friends and the Facebook group. It made an already special trip even more special.
I've been enjoying this company for four years now, and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. I absolutely love trying out the new styles, and buying the styles I've loved for years. I love talking with my new friends about our favorite new trends. I love seeing the joy that comes from the whole staff at Filly Flair as they keep hitting new records in their business. I never would've guessed it when I bought that first jacket, but Filly Flair really is more than just clothes.
When you become a mom, it's easy to get swept up in that title and lose sight of who you are as an individual. Your identity feels lost. After my oldest was born, I don't think I fell into that too hard. I worked retail part time, and eventually full time towards the end of that season, which I think probably helped me remember Lindsey alongside Mom. When we moved from Colorado to Texas, and I had our second born, it was different. I was no longer working, we had just moved to a town where the number of people we knew was limited, and my husband worked long hours and eventually started traveling. That left me alone with our daughters, being Mom.
While I (thankfully) didn't suffer from PPD, I was in a sort of funk in this time. Not only was I going through the stress of all of the major life changes, but I couldn't even find clothes I could wear in the closet. For the longest time, I had primarily worn my work uniform (khaki pants and a black shirt), so what clothes I did have that were different than that were styles I didn't really enjoy anymore and what was left after that was too small. I felt like I was in some sort of limbo. I knew I needed to change it. I needed to do something that made me feel good.
I started trying to make a point of the tiniest amount of self care. At the time, that came in the form of MLM nail wraps (I know, I know. Don't judge.). It was just something for me to feel pretty and, since I never felt I was good at painting my nails and couldn't exactly go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, it worked for me. As silly as it seems, it helped. Between liking how I looked and the friendships I made in this time, I was gaining confidence and really solidifying an identity outside of “just a mom.” I moved on from the nails and focused on my writing again.
Being a writer is something I have dreamed of since I was in middle school and realized that that was even a possibility in life. I've been writing since at least that young, if not younger, but I never saw myself as A Writer until I clawed my way out from under “Just Mom” and made myself do something with it. I spent countless hours sitting at Starbucks writing short stories and arranging story orders while my kids played with the toy bin to create Paranormalish. Fast forward a few more years and Lost in Grey came. I'm not just mom: I'm Lindsey Behee, author. I love that this is who I am. It fits.
But still, I am Mom. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mom and seeing the little individuals that my children are growing into. I would never change it for the world. It's just, as any mom can tell you, as much as you love it, it can be exhausting. Oh, the number of times I've said “I'm going to change my name for the night!” or “Can I just run away for a little while?” as the incessant calls of “mom” echoed in the house. Even in knowing who you are on your own, the weight of being mom can be a lot to bear. No matter the number of times you remind them, it feels like they forget that you're as human as they are with your own needs, wants, emotions. No, to them, you fear you'll always be “Just Mom.” (At least, until they're adults.)
That feeling is why I was so taken aback at our kids' open house last night. I snapped a picture of my 8 year old's drawing hanging in the hallway, where one part of it was intended for a person she admired: Mom. I was honored. In the stress of the busy, crowded evening, I didn't look closely at the picture, though. Once we were home and I had a moment to look at the few pictures I took, I zoomed in on that corner of her page. There, pointing at what must be a desk in front of me, she labeled “writing a book.” Across from me, she drew herself with heart eyes, labeled “looking at my mom.” Not wanting to make any assumptions, I showed her the picture and asked her what it said. She confirmed it. “You drew me writing a book?” I smiled as tears came to my eyes. “Yeah, I was thinking about that one book you wrote with [Anna]...what was it? Lost in Grey?” I smiled and thanked her. I then walked in the other room and cried. I had never felt so seen by my children as I did then.
See, we all know that kids see and hear everything. They're no doubt going to repeat that grown up word you just mumbled under your breath, and they're going to make their doll-Moms threaten to ground their doll-kids in a tone you swear you don't use. But they also see more than that. As much as we think that we're only Mom in their eyes, they see who you are and what you're doing. My baby knows I'm a writer, and not just because I tell her, but because she watches me, and she sees me.
There's absolutely nothing wrong if you feel your calling is to be a mom—in fact, I think that's great. But if you feel lost under the weight of that title, know that you can be more and your kids will see it and admire it just as much as they admire your mothering. Our kids, with their metaphorical heart eyes, see us.
Hello! I'm Lindsey. I'm a writer with a ton of random thoughts bouncing around in my head. So I share them here in hopes that they reach others with these thoughts.