I love you, Teri Lynn

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story that involves a reflection in a mirror.... view prompt



Teri Lynn Miller was 43 years old when her life changed in a most unexpected series of events.

The first event, which set off the series, was her only child,

her daughter leaving for college. Lacy didn't start school until September, but

she was headstrong and motivated to move out on her own. She found an apartment

and moved out the beginning of the summer.

Teri Lynn had been a stay-at-home mom. Her husband Jim worked as

a sales consultant and was gone much of the time. She felt strongly that Lacy

needed at least one parent at her disposal, so she made the decision to stop

working and stay home.

Teri Lynn was the epidemy of the title. She was the president of

the PTA, volunteer room parent, volunteer field trip chaperone. Even at their

church she volunteered for all duties that involved what her daughter was


During Lacy's high school years, Teri Lynn would volunteer to be in the snack stand at the sporting events and chaperone all the school dances.

Lacy never minded having her mom around, but when she saw the

chance to fly out of the nest she sure took the fast track, at least that's how

Teri Lynn felt.

Suddenly Teri Lynn felt terribly alone and sad.

It was Thursday and Jim was out on one of his calls very early.

Teri Lynn sat at the kitchen island with her coffee and heavy thoughts, alone. She

had nothing to do. She had no real hobbies. She had no real friends. All her

friends were tied through the PTA or school events she had helped with.

Girlfriends weren't something Teri Lynn ever felt like she had.

So, she sat and scrolled through her social media page. She jumped over to her sister’s page to see what was new with her nephews. Several states separated the sisters, so they were not able to hang out like they had when they were younger.

The siblings kept close tabs on each other through Facebook.  Always sharing pictures and recipes.

As Teri Lynn was scrolling past some ads that kept popping up,

something else caught her eye. It looked like a flyer for some sort of fitness

thing. She had never been one to play a lot of sports or go to the gym regularly,

but she did walk and do yoga. This intrigued her and she kept scrolling.

The post read, "Come as you are and leave changed.

Hmm." She muttered to herself.

She read the rest of the flyer and then she went to the hosts FB

page to learn more about her. There were some videos and testimonials on the

site that really grabbed Teri Lynn's attention. This bootcamp as the flyer called

it started the following weekend.

"Oh my, that's so soon, but I really want to do this."

Teri Lynn did not know what was nudging her to sign up for this

crazy fitness bootcamp, but she could not turn away from it.  She signed up and sent the host a message to

ask some more questions.

Her inquiry read, "Hi Tara, my name is Teri Lynn and I'm

a mom and wife. My daughter recently left for college and I'm finding out I

don't know who I am if I have no one to take care of at home. I'm not overly

active but have wanted to get in better shape and possibly start going to the

gym more. I need more accountability for sticking with it. I'm really just

hoping to find myself again. I suppose that's the old boring truth for a lot of

moms. Dumb I know. Anyway, I hope you have room for me at bootcamp. I would

like more info when you can. Thanks, Teri Lynn."

A response came startlingly quick. Teri Lynn read, "Hello

Warrior! Welcome to the rest of your life! Don't ever call yourself boring or

dumb my dear Teri Lynn, you are so far from that. We are going to change those

negative thoughts into positive self-talk and introduce you to you! Welcome

worthy warrior! Look for more info coming soon. I will always make room for

those wishing to better themselves. You will be receiving paperwork and more

info on how to log into my fitness app and access to our private group FB page.

Go look around it and introduce yourself. Talk soon love! Tara

Teri didn't even realize she had called herself dumb and she

never thought of herself as someone who was negative. But she started to see a

lot of things differently lately.

She jumped when she heard, "What's that?" As her husband

walked in.

She wasn't expecting Jim to be home so soon, although when she

looked at the clock she hadn't realized so much time had past.

"Oh it's just a fitness program I just joined. I need

something to do with all my time."

"Yeah, I guess so, but I would rather go to work than start

a fitness program." Her husband scoffed with air quotes.

"It looks like something that could really help me,"

she quickly defended. "It's more of an overall wellbeing program."

"Oh, excuse me, that sounds better doesn't it." He

teased a little too harshly.

Maybe Teri Lynn just took it to harshly, but she certainly

didn't appreciate the sarcasm.  She

didn't understand why he just couldn't be supportive.

She decided to forget about that interaction and turned her

attention back to the posts she had been reading. She smiled at one in

particular. Her mood lightened slightly, but she still wondered why Jim didn't

seem to notice she was obviously going through something.

"Ugggh!" she grunted and stomped off to bed.

Just as Tara said it would, the information came the next day

and her fitness app was populated with some exercises for her to start.

Tara left messages and videos in both the app and in the FB

page. The crux of it was "Move your body! You need to prepare as much as

you can. You did not join a spa group. This bootcamp is designed to break you

down and then build you back up!

That statement scared her a little, but Teri Lynn did her best

to complete as many exercises a day as she could and she began planning to meal

prep. Everything was new for her, so she did struggle a bit. She had many

interactions with her new coach over the app. Teri Lynn really liked that part

of the app. The accountability of it. Tara could see what she was doing and

encourage her along the way. Even though some of the exercises seemed to be

above her skill level, she always felt encouraged. Also, Tara told her not to

give up. Any preparation would help her in boot camp and they would get easier.

Tara had been through hell in her life and didn't shy away from

talking about it. She came out on the other side stronger and finding out who

she really was. That's what Teri Lynn hoped to find too. She trusted the words

Tara said and was ready.

On the way to bootcamp that Saturday, Teri Lynn had changed her

toon a bit. She now wondered if she'd lost her mind. She thought back and tried

to remember when the last time she was this nervous.

When she arrived, she was welcomed and hurried to set up her

chair in the circle of women who were already there.  She did recognize a few faces from their FB posts.  She didn’t know what to expect at all, so she

sat and listened. She listened to the stories of the women she would spend the

next 24 hours along side. She was brought to tears and laughter. Soon it was

her turn to get up and tell everyone why she was there. She dreaded public

speaking and froze as soon as she stood up.

Tara walked over and laid her hand on her shoulder and walked

with her to the front. She stood right there, but didn't say a word. Teri Lynn suddenly

realized a strength she hadn't known before. She felt a burning inside her

stomach. She soon was able to open up and told the group about her struggles as

a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. She told about her daughter leaving and

how empty she felt. Her husband had his job and hobbies and friends and she had

no one. She didn't really know why she had signed up, but she felt a really

strong connection when she read the flyer.

"I don't know who I am." She said so plain and simple.

"I don't know what I like to do and I have no idea what I'm going to do

now, I've only been a wife and mother. I wanted to do something just for me, so

I guess that's why I signed up."

Everyone clapped and Tara began to speak. All through the

motivation speak Teri Lynn sat captivated by Tara's testimony.

As the next session began, she realized it was time for exercise.  Again, Teri Lynn started to panic. But she

quickly realized that what Tara had her begin with did prepare her for the

movement her body was experiencing. Although it was far more intense than what

she'd done at home.

Sweat rolled down her forehead and stung her eyes. Her arms

burned.  She doubted she could do

another.  When her arms began to quiver, she

groaned. She did one more pushup but didn't make it all the way up. She pulled

herself up on her knees and waited for direction on the next set but realized

that it was over for now.

The crowd began to walk back over to the chairs that still sat

in a circle. "Now we are going to work on some mental aspects of this

journey." Tara stated. She pulled out a box and started to hand out

mirrors. All of the women looked around at each other and one pipped up saying,

"I thought we weren't at a spa weekend?"

"Ha ha!" Tara laughed. "It's definitely not that.

We’re going to practice some self love techniques throughout the next 24 hours.

I'll be bringing these out and we'll do our mirror work."

All the ladies looked confused so Tara went on to explain more.

"I have some self love sentences that I want you to repeat while looking

in the mirror. I want you to keep doing this over and over during our time

together, because I want you to be able to look into that mirror and honestly

say I love you and mean it."

Teri Lynn rolled her eyes and looked down. She didn't wear make up,

she didn't fuss with her hair and she rarely even looked in the mirror. Now she

was expected to stare into it and say I love you?

The paper with the sentences came to Teri Lynn. She quickly read through her sentences and gave the mirror back. Tara simply smiled and they moved on to the next activity.

To Teri Lynn's surprise, activities rotated all night long.  Although time did pass quickly throughout the

night she started to feel very drained and her tank seemed to be empty. She

wanted to give up and go to bed. She didn't want to do anymore. Tears dampened

her face and her appointed partner Sara, sat beside her saying encouraging

words. "Come on Teri Lynn, you can do this. You're doing this for you,

don't give up."

The words clicked for Teri Lynn and she suddenly caught a second

wind. She started to realize that she had given up on herself for her family.

She let her needs and dreams fall away, so they could thrive in what they did.

She wasn't angry about it, she loved those years, but now it was time for her

to soar. She found the energy to push through the last few pushups in the set.

She was about to drop for good when Tara announced that the physical portion

was over.

"Look over my shoulder and through those trees. Do you see

that sunrise? Did you ever think you would see that sunrise? You should be so

damn proud of yourselves!" Tara shouted. "I am proud of you! We have

just a few more things to work on and then we'll have some breakfast."

Teri Lynn knew she should be drop dead exhausted. In fact that’s

how she felt when she thought there was more physical activity to do. But right

now she felt exhilarated.

Tara grabbed the box of mirrors and began to hand them out like

she had several times during the night.

Teri Lynn quickly took her mirror and starred at the face in the

mirror. During the night each time she would read through the sentences and

hand the mirror back unaffected. This time holding the mirror felt different.

She felt an acute sense of accomplishment. She smiled while looking at her

image. Then she blurted out, "I love you, Teri Lynn!" Sara walked

over and hugged her. Then Tara walked over and hugged her and the others


The purpose she had been looking for was now realized. She still

had plenty of questions, but no more doubts. She knew she could do anything,

because she wouldn't give up trying.

Dedicated to my Coach! I am forever indebted to you, Tara!

July 10, 2021 02:28

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Chris Campbell
03:43 Nov 09, 2022

Kar Lynn, this was an easy read, with the narrative flowing very smoothly. I like the self-worth aspect of talking to yourself in the mirror. Like all things sentient, life is a journey, so perhaps building our self-esteem up in the reflection of a mirror, is a way to move forward without depending on others in our lives to notice our progress. I may even try the mirror technique after each story I complete. Well done!


KarLynn Erickson
15:05 Nov 09, 2022

Thank you so much Chris! This story has many different layers of sentimentality for me. It's fiction based on reality. I went through this bootcamp and it changed my life. The main character's name comes from a friend I lost years ago. If she could have experienced this it would have changed her life too. Teri Lynn is not done. I have more in the works for her. Thanks for reading my stories!


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